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Simply put, the "Widening the Lens" (WtL) program seeks to extend access to high-quality light microscopy education to all who seek it, regardless of an institution's or department's particular expertise, or equipment availability.


Light microscopy as a tool in biomedical research has seen enormous growth in the past decade, with seemingly countless platforms being developed and deployed. While this speaks to its profound impact on discovery, students and trainees looking to microscopy as a cornerstone tool in their research often feel overwhelmed with where to start. Further, many are eager to learn more in-depth imaging fundamentals, but have not had the opportunity, given the limited number of institutions and/or departments offering imaging science instruction.


The Widening the Lens microscopy education program, funded by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and hosted by Vanderbilt University, seeks to reach those students and trainees, by laying a foundation of microscopy-based fundamentals, and enable them to unpack the microscopy “technology of the day.”





The Widening the Lens microscopy program seeks to break down physical, institutional, and/or financial barriers to high-quality imaging instruction and is thus virtual and completely free of charge. Graduate students and post-doctoral trainees in the biomedical sciences from both within AND outside Vanderbilt are encouraged to apply! Faculty and staff will also be considered on a case by case basis.



The WtL program seeks to immerse a group of students, each semester, into the world of light microscopy and imaging science. This is done through a highly interactive and discussion-based virtual format, where students learn microscopy fundamentals in a small group setting. Students are encouraged to explore how these principles apply to their research interests. As such, while a core number of topics will be addressed (diffraction, lensing, resolution, optical sectioning, sensors, fluorescent probes, super resolution name a few), curiosities of the students help drive the trajectory of the course material. Further, participants each semester are linked together via a network of students/trainees from past semesters to create a communication channel, whereby those starting out in microscopy can feel free to ask questions and those further along can apply what they have learned through interactive discussion.

Starting:       Fall 2022

Format:        Virtual 

                    Single Semester

                    1x per week for 2 hours

*Limited Seats Available!

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