The Imaging Suite

The Imaging Suite is a cross college grouping of three light microscopy facilities at the University of Birmingham; the Technology Hub, Birmingham Advanced Light Microscopy (BALM) and the Centre of Membrane Proteins and Receptors (COMPARE). The Technology Hub and COMPARE are co-located in the College of Medical and Dental Sciences (MDS), whereas BALM is located in the College of Life and Environmental Sciences (LES).

The Imaging Suite has a growing portfolio of state of the art imaging equipment and techniques for the medical and life sciences sectors. It provides a range of services from user training on standard equipment, through to collaborative bespoke microscopy experiments and image analysis. The Imaging Suite is accessible to all current students and staff, all UK academics and commercial organisations.



Located in the School of Biosciences at the University of Birmingham, the Birmingham Advanced Light Microscopy (BALM) facility provides cutting-edge microscopy resources to members of the university community and beyond (commercial and academic). Within a large range of advanced fluorescence imaging systems, our microscopes are routinely used for high resolution imaging of biological (live and fixed) as well as non-biological samples. More information can be found on the BALM web page.


The Centre of Membrane Proteins and Receptors (COMPARE) is a unique collaboration between the Universities of Birmingham and Nottingham. Bringing together leading researchers to develop novel methods for visualising single membrane proteins, as well as identifying new approaches for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease and cancer angiogenesis.

Our systems comprise a diverse range of super-resolution, light-sheet, wide-field and confocal microscopes suitable for imaging live and fixed samples, ranging from single cells to small embryos.

More details and a list of equipment can be found on the COMPARE website.

Imaging Suite 

The Technology Hub imaging facility provides a diverse portfolio of imaging platforms. You can view the full list of instruments by visiting the instruments page.

Imaging Suite Team

Advanced Imaging Specialists

Robert K. Shaw

Rob, joined the Technology Hub imaging facility in 2013, and comes from a strong research background in microbiology at the University of Birmingham, having completed his PhD in 2003. During this time he focused on the development of in-vitro infection models with human enteric bacterial pathogens applying a range imaging approaches to these models in the light and electron microscopy fields. Rob oversees the day-to-day operations of the Technology Hub Imaging Facility.

Office: WXG.80



Alessandro Di Maio

Alex is a cell biologist with an extensive experience in imaging and microscopy (both fluorescence and electron). He received his Ph.D in 2009 from the NFS Institute (Japan) and University of Pennsylvania (US) working on muscle cell biology and ultrastructure, mostly using transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and laser scanning confocal (LSC) microscopy. He then joined the Drexel Medical School (US) for his first postdoctoral post, working on axonal regeneration, developing techniques of in vivo imaging with widefield and confocal microscopy. Subsequently, he was a postdoctoral fellow at UC Santa Barbara (US) where he worked on stem cell biology and regeneration, with extensive microscopy applications (TEM, LSC and 2P).

Since 2014, Alex operates the Birmingham Advanced Light microscopy (BALM) facility where he provides a multidisciplinary service in Widefield, TIRF and Laser Scanning Confocal microscopy to the academic and non-academic community within the University of Birmingham.

Office Location: 811 (Biosciences Building)

Telephone: +44 (0)121 414 5368



Deirdre (Dee) Kavanagh

Dee received her PhD in microfluidics in 2012 from Heriot-Watt University. She carried out her post-doctoral research within the Edinburgh Super-Resolution Imaging Centre (ESRIC), where she applied advanced imaging techniques to study regulated secretion at the level of single proteins.  Here, she gained expertise in single molecule microscopies as well as single photon counting techniques (FCS and FLIM-FRET). These techniques are extremely powerful tools to probe the interactions, conformations, dynamics and the nano-scale positions of proteins in cells.

In her role at COMPARE, Dee works closely with researchers to optimise and develop their experiments using advanced imaging techniques. Dee provides specialist training for the microscopy technologies available at COMPARE, including single molecule microscopies, structured illumination, single plane illumination, TIRF microscopy and FCS. As well as managing the COMPARE advanced microscopy systems, she also organises COMPARE events and training days.

Telephone: +44 (0)121 414 43325



Image Analyst

Jeremy A. Pike

Jeremy joined COMPARE in 2017 as a Research Fellow in Image Analysis and is based at the University of Birmingham. Jeremy completed his PhD in Birmingham where he developed automated image analysis workflows to quantify receptor trafficking using confocal microscopy. Subsequently he worked as an image analyst and microscopy specialist at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute. Here he developed expertise in a range of analysis techniques and applied these methods to applications in cancer research, including the development of automated feedback microscopy protocols.

In his role at COMPARE Jeremy will collaborate with research groups to design image analysis workflows. Alongside this, he will provide a range of training courses using leading open-source software. Jeremy is Imaging Suites principal point of contact for enquiries relating to data analysis, processing or storage.

Office Location: WXG.80


Access and Booking

External users are encouraged to contact us via email in the first instance, however all internal prospective users will need to request an account on the core facilities booking system Stratocore; (unless you already have one). Account requests and microscope training requests may be submitted simultaneously.

COMPARE users are requested to submit a new project form through Stratocore before requesting microscope training.

Image Analysis and IT Infrastructure

The Imaging Suite provides access to six high end analysis workstations (located in MDS) and three compute nodes. Use of open source software is encouraged but we also have a Imaris licence available for users.

Regular training courses on image analysis are organised through COMPARE but available to all students and staff. We regularly engage in collaborative research to develop bespoke analysis workflows.

Please address analysis related enquiries to Jeremy Pike (