Biomedical Imaging Research Unit


  • Annual image competition - results - 2023
    08 December 2023
    The award winners of the 2023 BIRU image competition were announced on Tuesday 28 November at the annual Research Celebration. The joint winners of the visualisation and analysis category and overall winners and recipients of the Hilary Holloway Prize for best image were Vivi Sheppard and Caleb Paterson, two MEDSCI 300 students with their entry entitled 'Morphological Changes of the Aging Human Cerebroventricular System''.
  • New slide-scanner for BIRU
    04 September 2023
    A new Olympus SLIDEVIEW VS200 research slide-scanner was recently installed in BIRU. The system will complement the MetaSystems VSlide, which is very heavily used with little capacity to support new users. The VS200 has a slide loader and both colour and monochrome cameras available together with a range of objective lenses. The software is easy to use. Polarised light, phase contrast and darkfield are new capabilities that the VS200 brings to the BIRU. BIRU staff member Ratish Kurian is in charge of the new system.
  • STED microscopy workshop - 22-23 February 2023
    27 January 2023
    The schedule for the workshop comprises oral presentations in the morning on Wednesday 22 February followed by practical demonstrations in the afternoon using the Abberior Facility Line STED microscope. Morning tea and lunch will be provded. Participants will be allocated to groups and the demonstrations will run for 1-1.5 hours. Additional practical sessions will be held on Thursday 23 February. Standard samples will be used for the initial demonstrations but participants are also encouraged to bring their own samples to try on the system. Those who want to do this, should contact the organisers to discuss sample requirements. Fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) is also possible. To register, please email
  • New additions to the BIRU team!
    09 December 2022
    Dr Sandy Chen and Yohanes Nursalim recently joined the BIRU team. Sandy is in charge of the flow cytometry facility while Yohanes is supporting electron microscopy and is in charge of the MetaSystems VSlide slide-scanner.
  • Retirement news - Stephen Edgar is retiring
    29 July 2022
    Long-time faculty staff member, Stephen Edgar, will be retiring in August 2022. Throughout his 33-year career at the University, Stephen has helped countless students and researchers develop skills and gather valuable data using electron microscopy and flow cytometry.
  • New Technical Manager appointed for BIRU!
    29 July 2022
    Dr Richard Yulo has been appointed as the new Technical Manager of the BIRU. Richard joined the BIRU in 2021 as a Senior Technologist.
  • New Director appointed to BIRU!
    14 July 2022
    Dr David Crossman has been appointed as the new Academic Director of the BIRU, replacing Dr Gus Grey who has moved to a new Role. David is a Senior Research Fellow and Principal investigator of the Cardiac Nanobiology Group in the Department of Physiology, School of Medical Sciences. David completed a BSc(Hons) in Biochemistry at Otago University before moving to the University of Auckland where he graduated with a PhD in Biological Sciences in 2003.
  • New cell sorter for FMHS!
    15 March 2022
    A new cell sorter has been purchased for the Faculty. It has been a journey of several years to get to this point, but thanks to a very generous contribution by the University of Auckland Medical & Health Sciences Foundation (formerly the School of Medicine Foundation) we have now been able to purchase a Cytek Aurora CS spectral cell sorter. Thanks are owed to the Dean, the Head of School Prof Paul Donaldson, and Dr Scott Graham and the selection committee for all their work. The Aurora CS is the first sorter produced by Cytek, and uses the same full spectrum technology as Cytek’s non-sorting Aurora and Northern Lights flow cytometers. Some FMHS researchers will be familiar with the Aurora and Northern Lights instruments in SBS. Full spectrum technology is a recent development in flow cytometry that detects almost the entire emission spectrum of each fluorochrome, rather than just the peak fluorescence as in conventional cytometers. By deconvolution, the signals from all the fluorochromes are separated more completely than is possible on a conventional instrument, and even closely overlapping signals can be resolved.
  • Annual image competition results 2021
    25 November 2021
    The award recipients of the 2021 BIRU image competition were announced on Thursday 25 November at the annual Research Celebration. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the event was conducted over Zoom. The presentation video can be viewed below. The winner of the visualisation and analysis category and overall winner and recipient of the Hilary Holloway Prize for best image was E. J. Loef, a research fellow from the School of Biological Sciences. E.J.'s entry was a stunning time-lapse video of human monocyte-derived dendritic cells and T cells migrating in a co-culture to a CCL19 gradient. A single image from the video is now featured on the BIRU home page and the video can be viewed here.
  • BIRU has a new team member!
    27 September 2021
    Dr Richard Yulo has a background in microbiology and genetics. He did his PhD at Massey University, Auckland where he studied the evolution of cell shape in bacteria using techniques such as a flow cytometry and fluorescence microscopy. Following this, he worked as a microscopy specialist and service engineer at ZEISS Microscopy. Richard now joins the FMHS to be an imaging scientist at the BIRU.
  • Super-resolution microscope is finally here!
    17 May 2021
    The Abberior Facility Line Stimulated Emission Depletion (STED) super-resolution microscope was installed in May 2021. The system was ordered in September 2020 and was delivered in February 2021 but due to COVID-19 restrictions, it was not possible for engineers from overseas to come over to install it.
  • Annual image competition results 2020
    20 November 2020
    The results of the annual image competition were announced at the end of year Research Celebration on Wednesday 18 November 2020. There were over 70 entries from across the University and the standard was very high. The winner of the confocal microscopy category and overall winner and recipient of the Hilary Holloway Prize for best image was Joscelin Smith, a PhD student with Professor Johanna Montgomery in the Department of Physiology, School of Medical Sciences.
  • BIRU webinar - Super-Multiplexed Imaging
    02 September 2020
    The BIRU was pleased to host their first webinar, “Super-Multiplexed Imaging: The next level of Anatomical Microscopy and Digital Pathology” on Wednesday 2 September. Over fifty people zoomed in to hear Drs Praju Vikas Anekal, Helen Murray, and Saem Park talk about their use of the latest multiplex-ready slide scanner systems in their research into olfactory bulb anatomy and digital pathological analysis of melanoma tissue.
  • New Technical Manager for BIRU!
    23 August 2019
    One of the outcomes of the recent Technical Services Review is that long-time Faculty staff member Stephen Edgar has joined the BIRU as Technical Manager. Stephen graduated from the University of NSW. He then spent ten years at the University of Sydney and the University of NSW conducting research on the ultrastructure of fungi and plants, and teaching microscopy at Sydney Technical College. In 1989 he came to Auckland to take charge of the Electron Microscope Unit in the Department of Pathology, in the days before the BIRU was established. Since 2001, he has been in charge of the SMS flow cytometry and cell sorting facility.
  • Zeiss LSM 800 Airyscan confocal microscope installed
    19 August 2019
    A Zeiss LSM 800 confocal microscope was installed in BIRU last week. The system has an inverted microscope stand, Marzhauser motorised XY stage, 4 objective lenses and a Colibri 7 LED light engine (for direct observation). There are 4 lasers available for excitation (405nm, 488nm, 561nm, 640nm). The machine has 2 GaAsP-PMT detectors and an Airyscan module
  • Hilary Holloway retires after almost 50 years!
    29 March 2019
    Hilary Holloway retired from the Biomedical Imaging Research Unit at The University of Auckland at the end of March this year. She initially joined the Department of Anatomy in the 1970 working with Dr Denis Boshier. After leaving to travel through South America, she later returned and took charge of the transmission electron microscope. She was later appointed as the Departmental Manager.
  • NOBIAS, a new Network of BioMedical Image Analysis
    11 January 2019
    Quantitative multi-parametric analysis of biological imaging is fast emerging as a crucial area in biomedical research. This progress towards increasingly advanced image analysis is made possible by the confluence of molecular and cell biology, microscopy (and nanoscopy), image processing algorithms and data science within a single biomedical image analysis workflow. Currently, NZ researchers are doing high quality biomedical imaging through many different modalities. However, the image processing and data analysis parts are mostly low throughput and manual. Collaboration between the different discplines to improve the image analysis workflows is largely ‘ad-hoc’ and many biological researchers are not familiar with the ‘state of the art’ in the other domains (e.g. advanced image processing algorithms for better object segmentation and parametrization or machine learning mediated automatic classification of objects or unsupervised clustering of objects in multidimensional space to identify new patterns and clusters).
  • New Director for BIRU!
    22 February 2018
    Dr Gus Grey has been appointed as the new Director of BIRU, replacing Dr Sue McGlashan who has moved to a new role. Dr Gus Grey is a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Physiology, School of Medical Sciences. He studied at the University of Auckland, and graduated with a PhD in Physiology in 2007, having investigated the functional implications of ocular lens membrane protein distributions by fluorescence confocal microscopy.
  • New high sensitivity detectors for Olympus confocal microscope
    26 January 2018
    New high sensitivity detectors (HSDs) were recently installed for the Olympus FV1000 live cell imaging confocal system. These GaAsP detectors enable the use of very low laser power which provides huge benefits for time-lapse imaging. Two filter sets are available for the HSDs, green/red and red/far red. The HSDs can be used in tandem with the other detectors.
  • New Zeiss Axio Imager.M2 upright microscope installed
    22 January 2018
    A new Zeiss Axio Imager.M2 fluorescence microscope has recently been installed in BIRU. This microscope replaces the Zeiss Axioplan2 fluorescence microscope. The new microscope is fully motorised with a convenient TFT panel for control of the microscope. All components can be controlled by MetaMorph. The motorised focus drive can be used to acquire z stacks for deconvolution in the same way as the Axioplan2.
  • New staff member Dr Praju Vikas Anekal joins BIRU
    20 October 2016
    Dr Praju Vikas Anekal has just joined the BIRU from Singapore and his principal responsibilities will be looking after the ImageXpress high content screening system and the MALDI-TOF imaging mass spectrometer. Praju Vikas has 12 years of experience in cell biology imaging with a particular focus on the cell cytoskeleton. He did his Ph.D. at the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology in Singapore.
  • Hitachi Tabletop scanning electron microscope installed
    16 November 2015
    The new Hitachi Tabletop scanning electron microscope (TM3030Plus) has arrived and been installed successfully. It features an ultra-variable pressure secondary electron detector (SE) for low vacuum imaging and a high sensitivity back-scattered electron detector (BSE). It is also equipped with an energy dispersive X-ray spectrometer (EDX) for elemental analysis.
  • MetaSystems VSlide has arrived!
    02 April 2012
    The new slide scanner has been installed and is now ready for use. It has a slide feeder, which handles up to 80 slides using a robotic arm.