Forms and Guidelines

External Intake Form

Submit an inquiry to setup a consultation with our team

1. Overview

The Institute for the Chemical Imaging of Living Systems (CILS) Core Facility at Northeastern University consists of three unique cores: microscopy, flow cytometry, and preclinical imaging (MRI and Ultrasounds). The facility is located on the Boston campus at the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex (ISEC)basement level, rooms 051, 052, 080, and 090. The facility is available to both internal and external users. The guidelines set forth below apply to all users unless where specifically stated for internal or external users. 

2. General Guidelines

2.1  Food, Beverage, Cosmetics 

Due to the nature and sensitivity of the research and instruments, the possession or consumption of food and/or beverage is prohibited in the Core Facility.  

The use or application of cosmetics in the Core Facility is also prohibited.  

2.2  Protective Equipment & Personal Attire  

Lab coats: The Core Facility is a wet lab; therefore, users must wear a lab coat while inside the facility. Users are welcome to provide their own lab coat or may request one, in advance, from Core Facility staff.  

Gloves: Gloves are required when handling or manipulating samples. Users should remove gloves to operate or interact with instruments/workstations. Gloves are provided free of charge to all users.  

Shoes: Users should wear closed-toe, closed-heel shoes with non-slip soles such as sneakers or athletic shoes. Open back shoes, such as sandals or CrocsTM, are prohibited. 

2.3  Facility Access  

The Core Facility is open for use 24/7 year-round, but we can only guarantee it will be staffed during business hours (Monday-Friday 9AM to 5PM), except when the university is closed (see holiday schedule).

The entrance doors to the Core Facility are locked 24/7. A doorbell is available for new users and visitors to use to gain access to the facility during business hours. Active users can use a university-issued ID to access the facility.  

Users who want to access the Core Facility off-hours access may request access by speaking with facility staff. Staff will review the nature of the work, frequency of use, and relative risk when considering requests. If approved, users may be asked to complete additional biosafety and instrument training. External users will also be asked to register for a university ID/sponsored account. 

Users may not prop entrance or suite doors to ISEC or the Core Facility at any time. 

2.4 Identification 

Users should have and display either a university issued ID (NUID) or a CILS Core Facility ID badge while in the Core Facility and ISEC complex.  

2.5 Guests 

Users are welcome to have guests accompany them in the Core Facility. Pre-approval by Core Facility staff is required. Users are responsible for their guests at all times, including adherence to Core Facility and university policy. Guests are not permitted to operate any instrument/workstation. 

2.6 Consumables & Hazardous Waste 

Users must provide their own reagents and supplies to conduct their experiments. The Core Facility has a small inventory of certain reagents and supplies available for purchase, on a first come, first serve basis. 

Users are required to inform core facility staff of any hazardous chemicals or reagents that they are planning on brining into the facility for either sample preparation or that are to be used during their imaging experiment.   

Reagent specific waste disposal is not provided by the Core Facility. Only reagents which can be disposed of down a sink are permitted to be disposed of within the facility. 

Hazardous waste boxes are available for the disposal of gloves, pipette tips, and kimwipes. Sharps containers are available for the disposal of any slides, needles, or other sharps used during a session.  

Users should clean and disinfect their instrument/workstation at the end of each session. Cleaning supplies are available for use in the Core Facility.  

2.7 Damage 

Users should immediately notify Core Facility staff of any instrument/workstation that appears broken or damaged. Users should not attempt any adjustment or repair on their own. Core Facility staff will diagnose and repair as quickly as possible. In the case of unreported damage, Core Facility staff will contact the last user on record to investigate. Users who damage an instrument, accidental or otherwise, may be subject to retraining and instrument repair costs.  

3. Booking & Reservation

3.1 Facility Software 

The university uses Priority Software® FBS to manage its Core Facility. Reservations, scheduling, and billing are all handled through FBS. Existing users may access the portal here.   

New users must complete required biosafety training and either an instrument skills assessment or instrument training session with Core Facility staff prior to receiving access to FBS.  

Internal users will be asked to provide a valid Banner index number at the time of each new reservation. From time-to-time, instruments are taken offline for general maintenance or repair and users will not be able to book time in FBS while the instrument is offline.  

3.2 Modifications, Cancellations, No-shows 

Users may modify a reservation in FBS at any time prior to starting a session. During a session, users may extend their reservation in FBS if the instrument is available (e.g., not booked by another user). Once a reservation ends, the reservation cannot be modified in FBS. Contact Core Facility staff to report any discrepancy or issue with a reservation.   

Users who complete their experiment before the reserved instrument time ends can modify their reservation in FBS to reflect actual use and avoid charges for the unused instrument time. This must be done before the reserved instrument time ends.  

In addition to the FBS reservation, users should also write in their actual start and end time in the physical log sheet next to instrument. This log will be checked by staff each business day, and if necessary, may adjust the user’s FBS reservation to reflect the actual usage documented on the physical log sheet.  

3.3 Rates and Fees 

Core Facility rates are updated periodically in accordance with NIH guidelines and best practices. Current rates are located on the Core Facility website 

The following instrument use discounts are available to users:  

  • 70% off the hourly instrument fee when an instrument is used during weekday off-hours (6pm-9am) or full day weekends/holidays.

3.4 Invoice & Billing  

Users are invoiced on a monthly basis. Invoices include instrument use by datetime, and rate, as well as the amount due and payment instructions. Users have 10 calendar days to dispute the invoice.  

Internal users are charged automatically after 10 calendar days of invoice date, unless a dispute arises from the user and/or PI. The invoice amount is deducted from Banner index-account code on file for the user.  

External users can pay via check or credit card and the invoice will provide instructions for both methods. Payment is due within 30 days of invoice date.  

4. Acknowledgement

Please acknowledge the CILS Core Facility and Northeastern University in any publication or grant application where its instruments, knowledge/expertise or data helped support research activity. We suggest the following text in the acknowledgements section of your paper: “We thank the Institute for Chemical Imaging of Living Systems at Northeastern University for consultation and imaging support”.  

The CILS Core Facility staff would love to hear about any grant applications or papers accepted for publication.   

5. Instrument and Safety Training

Users are required to complete the following training before they can freely reserve and use an instrument:  

  • Online Laboratory Safety Refresher 
  • Biosafety Online Refresher course (and provide Core Facility staff with a certificate of completion) 
  • Instrument skills assessment or instrument training session 

All Users must be trained by Core Facility staff. Users are not permitted to train other users.  

Two initial 2-hour instrument training sessions are required for all new users. Sessions are billed at the instrument’s user assisted rate. Users are highly encouraged to schedule their training close to the date they plan to start using the instrument. Refresher training is also available and offered at the instrument’s user assisted rate.    

Upon completion of the instrument training sessions, users will be allowed to use any instrument during regular business hours (9am-5pm, M-F). Facility staff will evaluate the user’s instrument proficiency during the first two weeks of use. If deemed necessary, facility staff may require further training session, until the user can demonstrate proficiency.

6. Data Storage and Management

The Core Facility does not guarantee the safety or storage of any data saved on a workstation or OMERO cloud storage. 

It is the user’s responsibility to make a permanent copy of his or her data upon completion of a session. Workstations  have temporary storage available to users to save data during the session; however, upon completion of a session, data must be transferred off the workstation using one of the methods below:  

Cloud storage: users may use any cloud-based storage service available to them. Each workstation is connected to the internet for high-speed data transfer.  

OMERO: internal users may use OMERO, a cloud storage service provided by the university for temporary storage. Users will need to setup an account before data may be transferred. Core Facility staff can assist users with how to setup an account and transfer their data to OMERO.  

Due to the threat of virus transfer, users are prohibited from connecting a USB drive or other portable storage device to any workstation. Download of programs or files to a workstation is prohibited.  

7. Grant Application Support

CILS is more than happy to support your grant application with the resources below. You can edit the letter template for your specific grant proposal, Please mail the revised letter to for approval. The facility will reply to you with a final, signed pdf letter of support.

Letter of Support

Facility Description

Facility Director NIH-formatted Biosketch



8. Voucher Program

CILS is proud to implement a Facility Voucher Program (FVP) to encourage multi-disciplinary research by supporting investigators who want to explore imaging modalities at CILS Facility that are new to them:  Lightsheet, LSM 880 NLO (2P/SHG), MRI, Ultrasounds  

FVP will subsidize usage cost on a new instrument that the investigator/research group has no previous experience with.   

Eligibility requirements 

Any Northeastern labs. Labs can only receive one voucher award per instrument and fiscal year.


There will be three funding cycles per year. Applications will be reviewed on January 15th, April 15th, and August 15th. Please allow for 3 weeks of reviewing time. The maximum per request is $1,000 per lab per instrument. Each PI can apply for a maximum of two vouchers (for separate instruments) at a time. Funds must be utilized by the deadline included in the Notice of Award (NOA).  


Applications must be submitted electronically via CILS website portal, including the following information:   

  • PI contact information and scientific role(s) 
  • Co-PIs (if any): Name, department affiliation, and scientific role(s) 
  • Instrument of interest 
  • Rationale and objectives of the proposed project, with an emphasis on the relevance/importance of the new imaging technique and research application, with supporting literature (300-word maximum) 
  • Experimental plan including image acquisition and analysis (300-word maximum).  
  • Estimated budget (hours requested)   
  • Any other supporting info  
  • Please contact the core director if you need support in developing these sections.


A review committee will review submitted proposals, based on the following criteria:  

(1) Significance of FVP on current and future research  

(2) Feasibility of the presented experimental plan  

(3) Goals to facilitate future external funding 

Post-voucher award reporting 

PIs must submit a brief impact report (1 page) within 1 year of the Notice of Award in CILS portal, in which information about the impact of the FVP will be inquired. 

Lab members may be asked to participate in an oral presentation or workshop on the following Core Facilities Day. 


Any awarded grants or publications must acknowledge financial support from CILS Institute. 

If you have any questions about this program, please contact CILS Core:

Please use the form below to submit your application!

Our facility

Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex

ISEC 080, 805 Columbus Ave, Boston, MA, 02115


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