Cell & Tissue Imaging

The Biomaging Cell and Tissue Core Facility of the Institut Curie (PICT-IBiSA) gathers highly sophisticated equipments and up to date technologies in advanced microscopy. Its main aim is to provide research groups from inside and outside the Institut Curie with a workflow of state to the art imaging approaches to study at different scales and with complementary methods molecules, organelles, cells, whole organisms and tissues in normal and pathological states.

Our Imaging Core Facility gathers equipment in advanced light microscopy (Optogenetics and Active Illumination setups, d-STORM, high resolution SIM, LLSM; multiple MP(NLO), Multi-Angle TIRFM…), electron microscopy (immunololabelling, cellular EM, High-pressure freezing, CryoEM, room temperature and cryo-EM tomography, STEM and EFTEM 2D/3D, chemical mapping) and NanoSIMS, and correlative light-electron microscopy.

PICT activities

photonics electronics chemical HCS

Our facility :

  •  provides advanced technologies and expertise in optical and electronic microscopy and image optimization/analysis to the researchers of the Institut Curie unit and external researchers,
  • provides users with training, help and advice,
  • participates to experimental planning,
  • maintains a leading technological facility,
  • performs technical developments and designs technologies and software,
  • collaborates in scientific projects,
  • collaborates with innovating private companies
  • disseminates and communicates on its activity
  • trains and teaches at national and international level

In particular last year:  PICT pursued a quality management approach (OpenIris), a continuous technological survey, and provided R&D support for advanced imaging project 2015-2016: Rotator in LM-BDD; 2016-2017 LLSM in Burg; Live-SR in Burg; HPF, live CLEM and eC-CLEM software, in EM-PICT and LM-Burg. PICT is also involved in establishing the “full cost” model for National Infrastructures in Biology and Health, with the TGIR dept of the MENESR, Aviesan and CNRS.

 Equipment covers almost all Imaging techniques for multi-scale investigations, from Molecules up to preclinical studies in small rodents. With a strong emphasis on 3D+time fluorescence imaging.


For scientific and technical reasons the facility includes equipments and expertise provided by researchers and engineers located in different departments of the Institut Curie in Paris:

And Orsay Sites:

A little about the facility history…

PICT-IBiSA at Institut Curie won official recognition as an operational platform in life sciences (“Cell Imaging” Platforms coordination RIO) in 2003. This recognition has been renewed in 2008 and PICT-IBiSA is now one of the fifteen national platforms for cellular imaging of the GIS-IBiSA. Since 2007, in close collaboration with Nikon France, Nikon BV and other industrial partners, PICT-IBiSA also hosts and administers the Nikon Imaging Centre @ Institut Curie-CNRS (http://nimce.curie.fr/), one of three centers of this kind in Europe, one of the nine, worldwide. PICT-IBiSA is a member of the consortium France BioImaging, which has been validated as part of the “Infrastructures for health-biotechnology” and is supported by the program “Capital for the Future” from the Ministry of Research and Higher Education (March 2011). France BioImaging aims to represent the national branch of the European ESFRI project, Eurobioimaging.

Key numbers

In 2016 :

  • The PICT Activities concerned 14 Units at the Institute Curie (50 teams) and about 20 external research teams, in total more than 300 users. Not including Demos on systems for external colleagues.
  • 51 light microscopy systems (from 3D deconvolution to TCSP-FLIM) were in open use. A total of about 63 000 hours of occupancy, included 261 hours for Demos (by PICT members/Nikon staff /Roper staff….) and 442 hours for training/teaching.
  • 3 EM microscopes including Tomo EM (TEM JEOL 2200 FS) and 4 ultracryo-microtomes.

Key publications

Year of publication 2016

Floris Bosveld, Olga Markova, Boris Guirao, Charlotte Martin, Zhimin Wang, Anaëlle Pierre, Maria Balakireva, Isabelle Gaugue, Anna Ainslie, Nicolas Christophorou, David K Lubensky, Nicolas Minc, Yohanns Bellaïche (2016 Feb 18)

Epithelial tricellular junctions act as interphase cell shape sensors to orient mitosis.

Nature : 495-8 : DOI : 10.1038/nature16970
Cédric Delevoye, Xavier Heiligenstein, Léa Ripoll, Floriane Gilles-Marsens, Megan K Dennis, Ricardo A Linares, Laura Derman, Avanti Gokhale, Etienne Morel, Victor Faundez, Michael S Marks, Graça Raposo (2016 Jan 4)

BLOC-1 Brings Together the Actin and Microtubule Cytoskeletons to Generate Recycling Endosomes.

Current biology : CB : 1-13 : DOI : 10.1016/j.cub.2015.11.020
Topkaya D., Lafont D., Poyer F., Garcia G., Albrieux F., Maillard P., Bretonniere Y., Dumoulin F. (2016 Jan 1)

Design of an amphiphilic porphyrin exhibiting high in vitro photocytotoxicity

NEW JOURNAL OF CHEMISTRY : 40 : 2044-2050 : DOI : 10.1039/c5nj02716k
All publications