A.Y. 2021/2022
Overall hours
FIS/03 FIS/07
Learning objectives
The imaging of biological samples, or bioimaging, plays a key role in current life science research, enabling scientists to analyze molecules, cells and tissues from a range of living systems. Developments in microscopy techniques and associated tools now allow imaging across an extensive range of scales, from 1-2 nm to whole organism phenotyping.
The aim of the course is to present the theory and the practice of different techniques of microscopy (optical, electronic and scanning probe) also applied in lab-on-a-chip systems.
The course is ideally linked to those dealing with the need of imaging, i.e. molecular and cellular biology, etc.
Expected learning outcomes
After following this course, the students will acquire basic know-how in microscopy and the capability to select suitable approaches to image biological samples.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First semester
All the lectures will be delivered remotely in synchronous mode.
Course syllabus
Module 1 (C: Lenardi)
Module 1 of the course provides a description of the imaging techniques applied to biology. Some basic notions of geometrical optics are functional to the detailed description of optical microscopes. Confocal microscopy and related techniques (FRAP, FRET, FLIM) will be extensively treated together with more recent developments in super-resolution techniques, in particular SIM, PALM, STORM, STED. Electron microscopies (SEM, TEM, Cryo-TEM) will be presented underlying the different investigations on biological samples that can be carried out. Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) will be also presented as a versatile approach for measuring mechanical properties of biological samples.

Module 2 (T. Santaniello)
Module 2 of the course deals with Lab-On-a-Chip (LOC), that are laboratory functionalities integrated into miniaturized devices and with Cell-On-a-Chip (COC) systems, that are miniaturized platforms for cell biology applications. Related microfluidics solutions and microfabrication technologies will be presented together with various read-out methods. Some examples of LOC and COC applications will be given such as PCR chips and Organ on Chips.

The course also includes visits to the imaging facilities, in particular:
a) for the optical and electron microscopy at NOLIMITS platform (UNITECH)
b) for the Atomic Force Microscopy at Department of Physics
c) for Lab-On-a-Chip systems at the microfluidics laboratory, Department of Physics, where some experiments will be carried out on micro-devices.
Prerequisites for admission
Teaching methods
All the theoretical and practical lectures will be delivered synchronously on ZOOM platform. Archive and Notices on Ariel.
Teaching Resources
[1] G. Haugstad, Atomic force microscopy: understanding basic modes and advanced applications, John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, N.J, 2012.
[2] U. Kubitscheck, ed., Fluorescence microscopy: from principles to biological applications, Wiley-Blackwell, Weinheim, 2013.
[3] R.F. Egerton, Physical principles of electron microscopy: an introduction to TEM, SEM, and AEM, second edition, Springer, Cham, 2016.

Copies of the slides projected in the classroom as well as other materials will be made available through the course website on the ARIEL platform of the University of Milano ( By no means this material replaces the lectures or a textbook. The material is made available only to registered students of the Degree Course in Molecular Biotechnology and Bioinformatics and should not be distributed to others.
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam consists of: 1) presentation with slides of a paper assigned by the teachers concerning recent studies in the biotechnology field in which at least one of the imaging techniques described during the course are used (max 20 min);
2) oral exam concerning the topics covered in the course, in particular a part will deal with the principles and istruments for bioimaging and a part concerning the application of imaging techniques in lab-on-chips.
Examples of the examination test will be discussed during classes and made available to students.
FIS/03 - PHYSICS OF MATTER - University credits: 0
FIS/07 - APPLIED PHYSICS - University credits: 0
Practicals: 16 hours
Lectures: 40 hours