Prof T. Naicker
Tel: 031-260 4746/260 4435
Fax: 031-260 4311
Optics and Imaging

The Optics and Imaging Centre (OIC) is a biomedical core research microscopy facility within the College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal. The OIC is located on the second floor, Doris Duke Medical Research Institute at the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine Campus. We provide imaging and image analysis technologies to help medical researchers understand biological structure and function relationships of cells and tissues relevant to normal and disease conditions. The services of the OIC are also available to researchers from other tertiary institutions nationally and internationally.

We serve four main areas of activity in microscopy viz.,

  • development and application of specific ultra-structural protocols as required by research-based needs/users. This includes standard electron microscopy procedures as well as specialised techniques such as immunogold labelling, cell culture ultrastructure, ultra-structural image analysis
  • Tissue fixation, automated processing, embedding and microtomy for routine light microscopy stains;
  • Immunohistochemistry protocols inclusive of immunofluorescent staining protocols specific to user demands;
  • Image acquisition, image analysis and data processing;
  • Teaching and training activities to users, undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Advanced research equipment housed at the OIC include:

  • Transmission Electron Microscope -Jeol 1011
  • White Laser TCS SP5X Confocal Laser Scanning Microscope- Leica
  • Axiovision Fluorescent/Brightfield Microscope– Zeiss Axioscope A1 interfaced with Axiovision image analysis software version 4.8.3.
  • Autostainer Link 48 with pre-treatment link –Dako
  • Bioplex Magpix Multiplex Reader with Bioplex manager software version 4.1.1- Biorad

Instrumentation specific for the ancillary preparative techniques allied to each of the above equipment are available at the OIC.  These include:

  • Automated tissue processor -Leica
  • Automated tissue embedder-Leica
  • Automated electron microscopy tissue processor – Lynx
  • Microtome (x2)-Leica and Sakura
  • Ultramicrotomes (x2)-Leica

Educational courses offered:

The OIC routinely organises theoretical and practical courses on transmission electron, confocal and brightfield microscopy. We provide training for specimen preparation, offer consultation, support and equipment management services.

The OIC staff performs lectures in various undergraduate modules on the principals of various types of microscopy. We also offer post-graduate degrees (MMedSci and PhD) with a focus on hypertension in pregnancy. Hypertension in pregnancy is one of the main direct causes of maternal mortality in South Africa, hence research into this disorder is important.

For further enquiries please contact: 

Professor Thajasvarie Naicker (Anita) on 031 260 4435 or via email at


 TEM-endoplasmic reticulum

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