Biology & Marine Biology

Dr. Alison Taylor in the Richard M. Dillaman Microscopy Lab

Richard M. Dillaman Bioimaging Facility


Contact Us:

Please contact us if you want to discuss your imaging projects or get started with training. We will send a user form for you to complete and submit and then arrange a meeting to plan training and access as appropriate.

Director: Dr. Alison R. Taylor, Professor, Department of Biology and Marine Biology.

Research Specialist: Vacant


Telephone: 910 962 7475

Image: TEM micrograph of mouse liver tissue


Lab Description and Facilities

The Richard M. Dillaman Bioimaging Facility at UNCW is a student-centered facility that serves all departments across the College of Arts and Sciences at UNCW. We are located in Dobo Hall in the Department of Biology and Marine Biology Department and support a wide portfolio of faculty research from neuroscience to geoscience. The facility is dedicated to teaching and training that underpins undergraduate applied learning and graduate research.  The facility runs courses in electron microscopy and bioimaging for credit, and research students are also individually trained in every aspect of sample preparation and equipment operation in order to independently conduct their imaging research.

The RMD Bioimaging Facility is housed in a dedicated 2,000 ft2 laboratory suite located in the 100,000 ft2 Dobo Hall and was expressly designed to accommodate light and electron microscopes.  The entire suite is built on a separate slab to minimize vibrations and the main power lines are routed around the suite to minimize electrical interference.  Two 15’ x 15’ rooms house a FEI Tecnai transmission electron microscope (installed 2013), and a Thermo-FEI Apreo-S FEG scanning electron microscope with Oxford Instruments X-ray microanalysis system, retractable BSE and STEM detectors (installed 2020). Both electron microscope rooms have dedicated auxiliary rooms for support equipment, are acoustically shielded, and have large 50 inch wall mounted display screens for teaching and training.

The main lab includes a sample processing area comprising two full sized fume hoods and ample bench space for media preparation, fixation and staining. Two additional interior rooms in the suite house the confocal microscopes and cryostat respectively. An ancillary 400 ft2 adjacent lab provides additional space for visiting students and faculty and houses ultramicrotomes, fridges and freezers for sample storage.



Electron Microscopy

  1. ThermoFisher FEI Apreo S SEM with immersion Lens, in-lens Trinity detectors, Oxford ULTIM MAX 100 X-ray detector, retractable segmented backscatter electron detector, and retractable STEM detector. Funded by NSF MRI # 1828053
  2. FEI Tecnai Spirit BioTwin TEM (120 KeV). Funded by NSF MRI # 1229024


Image: Apreo-S SEM

Image: Tecnai BioTwin TEM 

Confocal Microscopy

  1. Leica TCS SP8 Confocal System, 2 PMT and 1 HyD detectors + Dic optics and TLD.
  2. Olympus IX81 Microscope FluoView FV1000 Confocal Laser Scanner 3 PMT channels + DIC optics and TLD. Also equipped with FRAP/SIM Scanner Funded: NSF MRI # 0420948
  3. Olympus IX81 Disk-Spinning Unit for Confocal Imaging with a Hamamatsu EM-CCD Digital Camera, Olympus DP 72 color camera. Sutter filter wheel
  4. Bitplane Imaris Image Analysis Workstation

Image: Olympus Fluoview Confocal Microscope

General Light Microscopes

  1. Olympus BX60 upright compound microscope equipped for fluorescent microscopy with attached SPOT RT-KE digital camera
  2. Zeiss Stemi SV 6 Polarized Light Stereoscope (digital camera ready)
  3. Zeiss Axio Polarized light Compound Microscope (digital camera ready)
  4. Olympus SZ Stereo Microscope with Lumera Infinity Digital Camera
  5. Leica Fluo III fluorescence stereo microscope 

Sample Preparation

  1. Histology Fume Hood for tissue processing
  2. American Optical Corporation microtome for paraffin sectioning
  3. EM Preparation Fume Hood for fixation and resin embedding
  4. Vacuum Ovens
  5. Leica CM1860 Cryocut
  6. Leica EM CPD300 critical point dryer
  7. Leica ACE600 sputter coater (metal and carbon thread)
  8. Cressington 208HR sputter coater with Cressington mtm20 Thickness Controller
  9. Leica Sputter coater
  10. Reichert-Jung ULTRACUT E ultramicrotome
  11. Leica EM UC7 ultramicrotome and Reichert Ultracut E
  12. Leica EM KMR3 glass knife cutter

Image: Leica UC7 Ultramicrotome


  1. Epson 9600 large format printer for posters and presentation materials


Recent research highlights

A wide variety of undergraduate and graduate research is supported by the RMD Bioimaging Facility, here are some recent publications:

Athey SN, Albotra SD, Gordon CA, Monteleone B, Seaton P, Andrady AL, Taylor AR, Brander SM (2020) Trophic transfer of microplastics in an estuarine food chain and the effects of a sorbed legacy pollutant. Limnology and Oceanography Letters 5 (1):154-162. doi:10.1002/lol2.10130

Meyer EM, Langer G, Brownlee C, Wheeler GL, Taylor AR (2020) Sr in coccoliths of Scyphosphaera apsteinii: Partitioning behavior and role in coccolith morphogenesis. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 285:41-54. doi:10.1016/j.gca.2020.06.023

Kroeger JP, McLellan WA, Arthur LH, Velten BP, Singleton EM, Kinsey ST, Pabst DA (2020) Locomotor muscle morphology of three species of pelagic delphinids. Journal of Morphology 281 (2):170-182. doi:10.1002/jmor.21089

Emslie SD, Alderman A, McKenzie A, Brasso R, Taylor AR, Molina Moreno M, Cambra-Moo O, González Martín A, Silva AM, Valera A, García Sanjuán L, Vijande Vila E (2019) Mercury in archaeological human bone: biogenic or diagenetic? Journal of Archaeological Science 108. doi:10.1016/j.jas.2019.05.005

Kramer BJ, Bourdelais AJ, Kitchen SA, Taylor AR (2019) Uptake and localization of fluorescently-labeled Karenia brevis metabolites in non-toxic marine microbial taxa. Journal of Phycology 55 (1):47-59. doi:10.1111/jpy.12787

Zimmerman KL, Jamshidi AD, Buckenberger A, Satterlie RA (2019) Organization of the subumbrellar musculature in the ephyra, juvenile, and adult stages of Aurelia aurita medusae. Invertebrate Biology 138 (3). doi:10.1111/ivb.12260

Fox E, Meyer E, Panasiak N, Taylor AR (2018) Calcein Staining as a Tool to Investigate Coccolithophore Calcification. Frontiers in Marine Science 5. doi:10.3389/fmars.2018.00326

Gabler MK, Gay DM, Westgate AJ, Koopman HN (2018) Microvascular characteristics of the acoustic fats: Novel data suggesting taxonomic differences between deep and shallow-diving odontocetes. Journal of Morphology 279 (4):458-471. doi:10.1002/jmor.20782

Keenan-Bateman TF, McLellan WA, Costidis AM, Harms CA, Gay DM, Rotstein DS, Rommel SA, Potter CW, Pabst DA (2018) Habitat use pattern of the giant parasitic nematode Crassicauda magna within the pygmy sperm whale Kogia breviceps. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 127 (3):163-175. doi:10.3354/dao03205

Roer RD, Dillaman RM (2018) The Initiation and Early Stages of Postmolt Mineralization in the Blue Crab, Callinectes sapidus. Frontiers in Marine Science 5. doi:10.3389/fmars.2018.00151

Walker CE, Taylor AR, Langer G, Durak GM, Heath S, Probert I, Tyrrell T, Brownlee C, Wheeler GL (2018) The requirement for calcification differs between ecologically important coccolithophore species. New Phytologist 220 (1):147-162. doi:10.1111/nph.15272