A tight collaboration of research/development teams and microscopy research platforms

The Montpellier node comprises a tight collaboration of research/development teams and microscopy research platforms. The main objective of this FBI node is to develop, implement and provide access of state-of-the-art optical microscopy systems allowing microscopic imaging from unicellular organisms to whole animals. Specifically, our emphasis is on super-resolution and fluctuation microscopies, high-throughput high-content microscopies, and in vivo cellular imaging and manipulation. Our national specificity resides in the use of high-end microscopies to study different aspects of chromatin biology, such as chromosome organization and gene expression.

FBI-Montpellier is composed of a microscopy research and development facility (MARS of the CBS), two microscopy facilities (MRI and IPAM), and two R&D groups (Nollmann and Margeat labs). Several active and synergistic collaborations exist between these different entities in which R&D groups contribute their expertise in optical/instrument development and platforms contribute their savoir-faire in user service and in general logistics.

2018 in numbers

  • hosted projects
  • publications
  • training programs
  • patents since 2011
Steve Bourane, INM, Montpellier

State-of-the-art Imaging

  • Six PALM/STORM setups (3D, multicolor, multiplane, correlative)
  • 3D-structural Illumination Microscope (OMX) fitted with PALM/STORM
  • Five Fluorescence Correlation Spectroscopy and two Singel-Plane Illumination Microscopes
  • High-content Screening and Tomographic 3D electron Microscopies
  • Multiphoton microscopes for in vivo Intravital and Serial Block Face Imaging
Lionel Simmonneau, INM, Montpellier

Technological innovations

  • Number & Brightness (PNAS, 2012)
  • smFISH (Nat. Methods, 2013)
  • PALM/μfluidics (PLoS Biol., 2013)
  • PIE-FCS (Nat. Comm, 2014)
  • Multi-Focus Microscopy (patent filed 2015)
Alexandre Philips - MRI

Training & Tech Transfer

  • in 2016, 485 researchers received training in our facilities.
  • France BioImaging promoted the creation of the MARS facility, specifically devoted to tech transfer from R&D to platforms. https://fbimars.weebly.com/

Montpellier Resource Imaging

↗ Website + Info

Facility: Montpellier Resource Imaging

Scientific director: Patrick Lemaire

Université Montpellier 1, Montpellier, France

Montpellier Ressources Imagerie (MRI) is a distributed imaging facility present on six sites in Montpellier (www.mri.cnrs.fr). MRI is labeled IBiSA and certified ISO9001-2008 LQRA. It has a staff of 30 engineers and is directed by P. Lemaire (CNRS). MRI manages numerous microscopes (36 photonic and 2 electron microscopes) and 14 analysis workstations, and especially microscopes for long term or short live experiments. MRI offers a complete set of state-of-the-art technologies, from single molecule to small organism imaging. The platform offers and develops 3D-SIM, SPIM, FCS/FCCS, CLEM and 2photons microscopies, and also develops a new service of High Content Screening, with a specific emphasis on gene expression analysis by smFISH techniques. MRI organizes regular training sessions with theoretical presentations and practical sessions about advanced light microscopy and image analysis. Once trained, a user can freely access microscopes on a pay-per-use basis. For the screening facility, the access is evaluated on a project-by-project basis.

Services on this Facility


HCS & HTP facilities


Microscopy Technologies



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Facility: IPAM

Head: Chrystel Lafont and Pierre Fontanaud

Chrystel.lafont@igf.cnrs.fr and Pierre.Fontanaud@igf.cnrs.fr
Hôpital Arnaud-de-Villeneuve, Montpellier, France

IPAM is a platform for the investigation of small animals. IPAM platform is under ISO9001 certification (starting from June 2014) and a labeled IBiSA facility. IPAM is headed by P. Mollard (CNRS, IGF) and with help of C. Lafont (tech leader). IPAM-IGF is dedicated to cellular in vivo imaging techniques in both anesthetized and vigile animal models. Our latest development involves 2-photon cellular in vivo microscopy with long-range objectives (Mitutoyo, wd: 2cm, x20 magnification, NIR transmission) readily applicable to imaging of deep tissues structures (metabolic brain, pancreatic islets from animal models of diabetes) in anesthetized animal models. Access to IPAM-IGF equipment is based on project selection (http://www.ipam.cnrs.fr/), IPAM-IGF is also an international member of the National Biophotonics and Imaging Platform Ireland (NBIPI, http://www.nbipireland.ie/ ).

Services on this Facility


Microscopy Technologies



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Facility: MARS

Head: Marcelo Nollmann

Hôpital Arnaud-de-Villeneuve, Montpellier, France

MARS is a research facility born from a collaboration between R&D groups at the CBS, and the PIBS, MRI and IPAM facilities. The main objective of MARS is to offer the scientific community access to a selection of advanced microscopy technologies, generally not commercially available. To achieve this aim, we implement in MARS state-of-the-art optical microscopy methods developed by R&D teams of the FBI node (Nollmann, Margeat, Milhiet, Mollard). MARS offers access, training, and support to several custom-made optical setups.

R&D Teams

Three R&D teams are part of the MARS facility to port their methodological developments. The group of Emmanuel Margeat develops single molecule FRET and fluctuation microscopies to investigate the structure, dynamics, and interactions of macromolecular complexes, with a specific focus on membrane receptors and transcription regulation. The team of Marcelo Nollmann (see Group website) specializes in the development and implementation of super-resolution and advanced microscopy methods to investigate DNA organization and remodeling. Specifically, the team has developed two-color ultra-stable PALM/STORM microscope (currently available at MARS), a 3D-PALM setup based on adaptive optics, and multi-focal plane microscopy. The group is currently working as well in the combination of these methods with structured illumination microscopies. Together with the group of Pierre-Emmanuel Milhiet, the team has recently developed a combo PALM/STORM/Atomic Force Microscopy.

Services on this Facility


Microscopy Technologies



↗ Website + Info

Facility: PIBBS @CBS

Scientific manager: Christine Doucet

Centre de Biochimie Structurale, 29 Rue de Navacelles, 34090 Montpellier, France

PIBBS-Optics facility gathers state-of-the-art, custom built setups for various advanced microscopy techniques, such as Single Molecule Localization Microscopy, Multi-Focal Microscopy, smFRET, PIE-FCCS, 2-photons FCS, single particle tracking…

Located in the CBS (Centre de Biochimie Structurale, Montpellier), it offers access to advanced microscopies to the scientific community through local, national and international collaborations.

Users are assisted by dedicated research engineers and scientific coordinators to define the best approach, experimental design, help in data acquisition and analysis.

More details are available on our website:


Services on this Facility


Microscopy Technologies

R&D team

Mechanisms of DNA segregation and remodelling Team @CBS

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R&D team: Mechanisms of DNA segregation and remodelling Team @CBS

Head: Group Leader: Marcelo Nollmann

Rue Serge Reggiani, Montpellier, France

We develop single-molecule and advanced microscopy methodologies to investigate the mechanisms underlying DNA segregation and remodeling in live cells.

Our current research projects:

  • DNA organization and segregation in bacteria
  • Eukaryotic DNA structure
  • Molecular Motors
  • Single-molecule & advanced optical microscopies
R&D team

Structure and dynamics of nucleoproteic and membrane assemblies Team @CBS

↗ Website + Info

R&D team: Structure and dynamics of nucleoproteic and membrane assemblies Team @CBS

Group Leaders: Emmanuel Margeat & Pierre-Emmanuel Milhiet

Centre de Biochimie Structurale, Rue de Navacelles, Montpellier, France

Our research aims at characterizing macromolecular complexes governing major biological processes, focusing on transcription regulation, signaling and remodeling of biological membranes. To achieve these goals, we develop, combine and use advanced single molecule biophysical methods (such as atomic force and fluorescence microscopies), as well as DNA nanotechnology.


Structure and dynamics of nucleoproteic and membrane assemblies

Structure and dynamics of membrane assemblies

R&D team

ICAR Research-Team @LIRMM

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R&D team: ICAR Research-Team @LIRMM

FBI Contact: Emmanuel Faure

Building 5 - 860 rue de St Priest 34095 Montpellier

The ICAR Research-Team develops research themes combining the interaction and processing of visual data such as 2D, 3D, videos or nD+t image sequences and 3D meshes. The team is structured according to 3 research axes: Analysis & Processing which is focused on new low-level processing techniques of visual information, Multimedia Security which is interested in securing visual data and Modeling & Visualization which aims at representing large and complex visual data sets.

Recent publications