Frequently Asked Questions

  • I need to attend training to use one of your microscopes. How do I sign up?
    You may register for iLab and initiate a Consultation/Training Request in iLab. For instructions click here. It is preferred that you hold a Zoom consultation before requesting full equipment training for new projects. A $50 flat training fee is attached to all training appointments. With few exceptions, training sessions for confocal microscopes are held on the 2nd and 4th Mondays of the month at 9:30 am or 1:30 pm by appointment only. Currently, training sessions for other equipment are offered by appointment. You should expect to stay approximately 2 to 2.5 hours for a training session.
  • What information is required before I attend training?
    In order to use the Clemson Light Imaging Facility, you will need to complete iLab registration. Included in the training request, all new users will also need to carefully read our Rules and Policies form, and submit with a signature from you and your PI. Finally, we will require billing information from your PI.  PI billing submission information can be found here
  • Once I have an appointment scheduled for training, what should I bring to the session?
    You may find it helpful to bring tools for taking notes. However, we provide written standard operating procedures for most of our equipment. Therefore, it is probably more beneficial for you to watch us carefully as we are operating the microscope during training rather than taking extensive notes during the session. Please do not bring your own specimens to the training session unless you have specifically been asked to do so. 
  • How do I schedule an appointment to use the equipment after I have been trained?
    The CLIF uses the online scheduling system, iLab, to schedule all user appointments. Once you have attended a training session, and all your documents are on file, you will be granted all necessary equipment access & passwords. Instructions for scheduling equipment reservations can be found here.
  • How do I obtain the door codes to the facility?
    After you attend training, you will receive CUID access* to the main CLIF doors and an email listing the door codes to the rooms which house the equipment on which you’ve been trained. You must not share these door codes with anyone, even other members of your lab.
    * You must bring your physical ID card, digital CUIDs will not provide access to the main CLIF doors.
  • May I use the CLIF after normal business hours?
    Yes.  Although we are closed on the first Monday of each month for maintenance, we make every effort to keep the CLIF open at all other times. You may schedule appointments from 9 am until 6 pm, Monday through Friday, in iLab. If you would like to make an appointment outside of normal business hours, contact us at If approved, CLIF staff will create an iLab after-hours reservation on your behalf. Please note that while the facility is open, no staff is available to assist you after normal business hours.
  • Will someone from the CLIF help me to use the microscopes after I’ve been trained?
    The members of the CLIF management team are not equipment, and therefore, cannot be scheduled as such.  If you anticipate needing extensive help during your imaging appointment, you should contact us before you schedule time on an instrument. Of course, we are happy to answer technical questions if we are available while you are here, but we are often working to assist other CLIF users. You should always contact us if there is a problem with the equipment.
  • Can you help me decide which microscope I need?
    Yes, initiate a Consultation request in iLab and CLIF Staff will be able to help you determine the best machine for your needs.
  • Can I use the CLIF laboratory preparation area to prepare my specimen?
    Yes. If you have not used the preparation area before, please see one of the signs posted throughout the facility which provide instructions for handling chemical and biological waste. You may also contact us at for assistance. As outlined in our rules and policies, you must clean up your work area and properly dispose of materials. We have common laboratory equipment and supplies available, which you may use with permission. Certain items (plates, dishes, antibodies, etc.) are available with a materials fee. Please contact us if you have questions about laboratory consumables
  • Can I use the CLIF laboratory preparation area to grow cells?
    Yes. A complete set of equipment, including incubators, a cell culture hood, refrigerator, freezer, centrifuge, etc., is available to CLIF users for cell culture. The CLIF operates as a Biosafety Level 2 facility.  Prior to bringing any live specimens in the CLIF, please contact us via Specimens that have not been cleared by CLIF management will be discarded.
  • Is there a separate fee to use the CLIF laboratory preparation area?
    No. Currently, the lab prep area is free for CLIF users. However, we reserve the right to ask you to contribute your own consumable supplies.
  • Can you help me choose a stain for my sample?
    Yes. In fact, you should contact us if you need to determine whether or not a particular fluorophore is compatible with our equipment. Also, we have a variety of stains available in the facility. For a materials processing fee of $15, it may be possible to try one of our stains before your lab makes an investment in a particular stain
  • Do you have materials available for immunofluorescence staining procedures?
    Yes. We stock a rainbow of AlexaFluor secondary antibodies. Your lab should provide the appropriate primary antibody. Sample processing can then be carried out in our facility and we can provide a secondary antibody for a fee of $15.
  • What is the appropriate way to acknowledge the CLIF in my publication, poster, presentation, grant, etc.?
    Acknowledgment of the CLIF benefits everyone involved! Acknowledgments demonstrate the utility of our equipment and our facility, which allows us to acquire funding for more advanced equipment! Additionally, since the equipment in the CLIF does not actually belong to you and/or your PI, it is only appropriate to acknowledge this. Therefore, ANY USER of the CLIF should acknowledge the use of the facility in all professional communication. See our complete acknowledgments and authorship policy.
  • How can I determine which type of acknowledgment is appropriate?
    Members of CLIF management are trained scientists, and any intellectual contribution should be credited appropriately through personal acknowledgment and/or authorship, when appropriate. Guidelines are outlined in our acknowledgments and authorship policy, but you can ask yourself these types of questions as well:
  • How do I know when to make a personal acknowledgement?
    If you answered yes to questions such as these, then please consider a personal acknowledgment: Did someone from the CLIF Management go beyond a routine training session to assist you with using the equipment?  Did they stand beside you and teach you how to mount your specimen?  Did they often help you focus on your specimen or remind you how to optimize camera settings, etc.?
  • How do I know when a discussion of authorship is warranted?
    If you answered yes to any of these questions then a discussion of authorship is warranted: Did a member of the CLIF Management do a literature search to identify techniques required to best image your specimen? Did you have to ask for this type of assistance because you were unable to answer this question yourself? Did you ask a member of CLIF Management for assistance with data interpretation? Was your use of the equipment non-standard, and did it require CLIF Management to learn a new imaging technique? Did a member of CLIF Management collect images for you?
  • Can you provide me with a sample acknowledgment statement?
    Yes, we can. 

If your question was not answered here, please contact us.  Note that the answers to many procedural questions can be found in our rules and regulations document.