University of Dundee

3D Structured Illumination

Bringing production super-resolution microscopy to Life Scientists in Dundee, Scotland and the UK


OMX is an advanced, cutting-edge imaging instrument that delivers super-resolution imaging, using 3D structured illumination microscopy.  The ability to image cells at nanometre resolution and millisecond timescales opens several new avenues of research for the Dundee, Scottish and UK research communities.


Dr Paul Appleton, the OMX Scientific Officer, runs the Dundee OMX and is responsible for keeping the system in production mode and supporting use of the system.


One of the most important aspects of the OMX Officer’s role is interfacing with users, and ensuring that their experiments are properly prepared and ready for imaging on the OMX. Super- resolution microscopy is an exacting technique so all aspects of sample preparation must be optimised to ensure the data generated on the OMX provides valid, useful results. Dr Appleton spends many hours with users before imaging starts ensuring that experiments are properly designed and samples are suitable for imaging.

A brief history of the Dundee OMX

An OMX “v2” was installed in Dundee in late 2008, with funding from the Scottish Universities Life Sciences

Alliance (SULSA) and has been available as a resource for Scottish, UK and European life scientists since early 2009. Since its original installation, the Dundee OMX has contributed to >100 scientific projects, and several major publications. In 2012, the system was featured as a Euro-BioImaging Proof of Concept platform, with scientists visiting from all over Europe and performing experiments on the system.

In 2013, with funding from the UK MRC, BBSRC and EPSRC (via a Next Gen Optical Microscopy Award), the Dundee OMX was upgraded to a v4 “Blaze” version, which enables 3D SIM in time- lapse mode. Since this upgrade the system has continued to be a national resource, contributing to several more major publications.