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N.C. Brown Center for Ultrastructure Studies

Director: Dr. Susan E. Anagnost

  • Professor, Department of Paper and Bioprocess Engineering
  • 211 Baker Lab; seanagno@esf.edu

The N.C. Brown Center for Ultrastructure Studies is the central microscopy facility at SUNY-ESF, located on the second floor of Baker Lab. The Center for Ultrastructure Studies provides students, faculty and research staff with access, assistance, and training in modern microscopy techniques. These techniques include light microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, flydigital imaging, image analysis and a host of ancillary applications.

This facility was first established in 1957 with the installation of the first transmission electron microscope in central New York. The N.C. Brown Center for Ultrastructure Studies was formally established in 1972 when anETEC scanning electron microscope was installed in Baker Laboratory. The Center has always maintained a position of leadership and excellence in the areas of wood structure and microscopy, both nationally and internationally.

Many departments and programs within the College and neighboring universities are represented among the faculty, staff and students who utilize the Center for research. During an average year, 30 faculty, 35 graduate students, and numerous undergraduate students utilize the resources of the Center for their research. Outreach activity is also an important service provided by the Center. These services include providing micrographs for educational purposes, assistance to other universities, tours and demonstrations to interested technology groups, and microscopy assistance to private industry. The types of private industries for which we provided microscopy services include forest product industries, pulp and paper manufacturers, wood preservation companies, consulting engineering firms, and large pharmaceutical companies.


The mission of the NC Brown Center for Ultrastructure Studies is to promote the use of microscopy-based research methods to advance knowledge on subjects related to the academic mission and programs offered at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and partner universities, Syracuse University and Upstate Medical University; to educate students and faculty on microscopy methods appropriate to their research; and to provide support to industry for research and quality control based on faculty expertise and appropriate microscopy methods.


Transmission Electron Microscope Lab 238 Baker

JEOL JEM 2100F Transmission Electron Microscope with STEM, Cryo,

and Oxford AZtec EDS

Scanning Electron Microscope Lab 240 Baker

JEOL JSM IT100LA InTouch Scanning Electron Microscope with low vacuum,

EDS, STEM in SEM, in-situ freeze drying

Light Microscope Lab 243 Baker

Description of workstations: Light Microscope Lab 243 Baker

Nikon Eclipse E600 with Nomarski

Nikon Eclipse E600 with Fluorescence and Phase contrast

Nikon Optiphot

Nikon StereoZoom SMZ1500

Academic Program

The Academic program offered by the Center consists of graduate and undergraduate courses, graduate level special topic research projects, and graduate student guidance. We offer a twelve-credit minor in microscopy for undergraduates. Our program is unique in central New York as the only microscopy center to offer comprehensive formal training in the theory and application of these research tools. The courses offered are:


  • MCR 480 Fundamentals of Microscopy (3)
  • MCR 484 Scanning Electron Microscopy (3)
  • MCR 485 Transmission Electron Microscopy (3)

Graduate/ Advanced Undergraduate

  • MCR 580 Microtechnique of Wood (1-3)
  • MCR 585 Light Microscopy (3)
  • MCR 590 Operation of the IT100 Scanning Electron Microscope for Experienced SEM Users (1)


  • MCR 680 Fundamentals of Microscopy (3)
  • MCR 683 Operation of the Transmission Electron Microscope (3)
  • MCR 783 Scanning Electron Microscopy (3)

Microscopy Minor (12 credits):

  • MCR 480 Fundamentals of Microscopy (3)
  • MCR 484 Scanning Electron Microscopy (3)
  • MCR 485 Transmission Electron Microscopy (3)
  • MCR 585 Light Microscopy (3)


Student Projects

Graduate student projects from MCR 683 Transmission Electron Microscopy Spring 2019:

Student projects from Scnaning Electron Microscopy Fall 2016 are posted on Digital Commons/Ultrastructure.


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NSF Funds $1.12M for Transmission Electron Microscope at ESF

$1.12 million NSF Grant awarded to ESF for a cryo field emission scanning transmission electron microscope. The successful proposal was submitted by Dr. Susan E. Anagnost, Robert P. Smith, M.S, Dr. Ivan Gitsov from ESF; Dr. Mathew M. Maye from Syracuse University; and Dr. Stephan Wilkens from Upstate Medical University. Read more >>

N.C. Brown Microscopes and Equipment

  • JEOL JSM IT100LA InTouch Scanning Electron Microscope with EDS, low vacuum imaging, in-situ freeze drying; STEM in SEM
  • JEOL JEM 2100F Field Emission Transmission Electron Microscope with STEM, Cryo and Oxford AZtec EDS
  • Nikon Eclipse Light Microscopes with Brightfield, Nomarski Differential Interference Contrast, Phase Contrast, and Fluorescence
  • Nikon Optiphot
  • Infinity Camera for Light Microscopy
  • SPOT cameras for Light Microscopy
  • Leica UC6 Cryo and Resin Ultramicrotome
  • Reichert Ultracut E Ultramicrotome
  • Denton Vacuum DESK V Cold Sputter/Etch Unit
  • Tousimis Samdri PVT-3B Critical Point Dryer
  • Ladd High Vacuum Evaporator
  • Leica Freeze Substitution Machine
  • Leica Plunge Freeze Device
  • Leica Automatic Grid Stainer
  • Sliding Microtomes
  • Epson Scanner
  • ImagePro, Image J, PhotoShop, Infinity Analyze

Annual Reports



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