Expansion microscopy – Course and Conference Office

EMBL Course

Expansion microscopy


Please see EMBL’s COVID-19 safety policy for testing and other requirements to attend this on-site course.

Course overview

Expansion microscopy (ExM) physically magnifies specimens, allowing to obtain super-resolution images using a conventional diffraction-limited microscope such as confocal microscopy. This powerful technique is easy to implement but it requires some hands-on training. This workshop aims at disseminating and discussing expansion microscopy protocols and is intended for cell biologists, parasitologists, etc, with applications ranging from tissue to cells.


This course is intended for researchers ranging from PhD students to post-docs and senior scientists as well as staff from bioimaging platforms who wish to establish expansion microscopy in their respective institutes.


  • Principles of expansion microscopy techniques
  • U-ExM
  • Cryo-ExM
  • iU-ExM

Learning outcomes

After this course you should be able to:

  • Apply expansion microscopy on your own samples once back in your laboratory (sample preparation and imaging)
  • Spread the technique to your colleagues in their respective laboratories
  • Choose the most appropriate expansion microscopy protocols for your needs


Speakers, trainers, and staff

Ed Boyden

Massachusetts Institute of Technology


(Virtual Speaker)

Omaya Dudin

Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne


Ruixuan Gao

University of Illinois Chicago


(Virtual Speaker)

Markus Sauer

Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg


Scientific Organizers

Course Organizers

Preliminary programme

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  • Some pre-course work (such as watching pre-recordings, protocol reading and computational exercises) will be required and will be shared in advance of the course.
  • Some speakers may need to join virtually to give their lecture or Q&A, and the programme is subject to change.
  • All times in the programme below are shown as the time in Europe/Berlin.

Day 1 – Monday 22 May 2023
08:40Bus departure from Premier Inn Heidelberg City Centre Hotel to EMBL HeidelbergPremier Inn Heidelberg City Centre Hotel bus stop
09:00-09:30EMBL intro & House notesLecture Hall 103
09:30-09:45Course overviewLecture Hall 103
09:45-10:45Keynote lectureLecture Hall 103
10:45-11:15Coffee breakLecture Hall 103
11:15-12:45Icebreaking activity Lecture Hall 103
12:45-13:30Lunch breakCanteen
13:30-15:00Workstations by groupsTBA
13:30-14:15Workstation 1: Cryo-fixation Gp1TBA
Workstation 2: HPF Gp2TBA
Practical lectures: Expansion protocols: Gp3/Gp4TBA
14:15-15:30Workstation 1: Cryo-fixation Gp2TBA
Workstation 2: HPF Gp1TBA
Practical lectures: Expansion protocols: Gp3/Gp4TBA
15:30-16:30LectureLecture Hall 103
16:30-17:00Coffee breakLecture Hall 103
17:00-18:30Workstations by groupsTBA
17:00-17:45Workstation 1: Cryo-fixation Gp3TBA
Workstation 2: HPF Gp4TBA
Practical lectures: Expansion protocols: Gp1/Gp2TBA
17:45-18:30Workstation 1: Cryo-fixation Gp4TBA
Workstation 2: HPF Gp3TBA
Practical lectures: Expansion protocols: Gp1/Gp2TBA
18:30-19:30Pre-dinner drinksTBA
20:45Bus departure to Premier Inn Heidelberg City Centre HotelEMBL bus stop
Day 2 – Tuesday 23 May 2023
08:30Bus departure from Premier Inn Heidelberg City Centre Hotel to EMBL HeidelbergPremier Inn Heidelberg City Centre Hotel bus stop
08:45-09:00Overview of the dayLecture Hall 103
09:00-09:15Workstation – Freeze substitution Gp1/Gp2/Gp3/Gp4TBA
09:15-10:00LectureLecture Hall 103
10:00-10:45Workstation – Sample rehydration Gp1/Gp2/Gp3/Gp4TBA
Workstation – U-ExM and iU-ExM STEP 1 – Gp1/Gp2/Gp3/Gp4
10:45-11:30LectureLecture Hall 103
11:30-12:00Coffee breakLecture Hall 103
12:00-12:45LectureLecture Hall 103
12:45-13:45Lunch breakCanteen
13:45-14:15Workstation – U-ExM and iU-ExM STEP 2 – Gp1/Gp2/Gp3/Gp4TBA
14:15-15:00Coffee breakLecture Hall 103
15:00-15:30Workstation – U-ExM and iU-ExM STEP 3 – Gp1/Gp2/Gp3/Gp4TBA
15:45-16:30LectureLecture Hall 103
17:00-17:30Workstation – U-ExM and iU-ExM STEP 4 – Gp1/Gp2/Gp3/Gp4TBA
17:30-18:15LectureLecture Hall 103
18:15-20:00Tips & Tricks with Pizza DinnerLecture Hall 103
20:15Bus departure to Premier Inn Heidelberg City Centre HotelEMBL bus stop
Day 3 – Wednesday 24 May 2023
08:40Bus departure from Premier Inn Heidelberg City Centre Hotel to EMBL HeidelbergPremier Inn Heidelberg City Centre Hotel bus stop
09:00-09:15Overview of the dayLecture Hall 103
09:15-10:00Workstation – Immunostaining STEP 1 – Gp1/Gp2/Gp3/Gp4TBA
10:00-10:45LectureLecture Hall 103
10:45-11:15Coffee breakLecture Hall 103
11:15-12:00LectureLecture Hall 103
12:00-13:00Lunch breakCanteen
13:00-13:45Workstation – Immunostaining STEP 2 – Gp1/Gp2/Gp3/Gp4TBA
13:45-14:15Coffee breakLecture Hall 103
14:15-15:45Image analysis tutorialTBA
15:45-16:45Workstation – Immunostaining STEP 3 – Gp1/Gp2/Gp3/Gp4TBA
17:00Bus departure to downtownEMBL bus stop
17:30-19:00Heidelberg Old Town tourNeckarmünzplatz
19:30Downtown dinnerTBA
Day 4 – Thursday 25 May 2023
08:00Bus departure from Premier Inn Heidelberg City Centre Hotel to EMBL HeidelbergPremier Inn Heidelberg City Centre Hotel bus stop
08:15-08:30Overview of the dayLecture Hall 103
08:30-09:45Workstation – iU-ExM STEP 5 – Gp1 / Gp2 / Gp3 / Gp4TBA
09:45-10:30Coffee breakLecture Hall 103
10:30-11:00Workstation – iU-ExM STEP 6 – Gp1 / Gp2 / Gp3 / Gp4TBA
11:00-12:45Imaging session (U-ExM) – Gp1 / Gp2 / Gp3 / Gp4TBA
12:45-13:30Lunch breakCanteen
13.30-14:15Workstation – iU-ExM STEP 7 – Gp1 / Gp2 / Gp3 / Gp4TBA
14:15-15:15Imaging session (U-ExM) – Gp1 / Gp2 & Coffee break – Gp3 / Gp4TBA
15:15-15:30Workstation – iU-ExM STEP 8 – Gp1 / Gp2 / Gp3 / Gp4TBA
15:30-16:30Imaging session (U-ExM) – Gp3 / Gp4 & Coffee break – Gp1 / Gp2TBA
16:30-17:00Workstation – iU-ExM STEP 8 – Gp1 / Gp2 / Gp3 / Gp4TBA
17:00-17:30Workstation – iU-ExM STEP 9 – Gp1 / Gp2 / Gp3 / Gp4TBA
17:30-18:30Imaging session (U-ExM) – Gp1 / Gp2 / Gp3 / Gp4TBA
18:30-19:30Workstation – iU-ExM STEP 9 – Gp1 / Gp2 / Gp3 / Gp4TBA
20:45Bus departure to Premier Inn Heidelberg City Centre HotelEMBL bus stop
Day 5 – Friday 26 May 2023
08:30Bus departure from Premier Inn Heidelberg City Centre Hotel to EMBL HeidelbergPremier Inn Heidelberg City Centre Hotel bus stop
08.45-09.00Overview of the dayLecture Hall 103
09.00-11.00Imaging session (iU-ExM) – Gp1 / Gp2 / Gp3 / Gp4TBA
11.00-11.30Coffee breakLecture Hall 103
11.30-13.00Imaging session (iU-ExM) – Gp1 / Gp2 / Gp3 / Gp4TBA
13.00-14.00Lunch breakCanteen
14.00-15.30Final discussion roundLecture Hall 103
15.30-16.00Coffee breakLecture Hall 103
16.00-16.30Feedback round & closing remarksLecture Hall 103
16:45Bus departure to Heidelberg train station and city centerEMBL bus stop

Practical information

Registration fees and motivation letter

The course is limited to 16 participants. For selection purposes, please note that your application will not be considered without a letter of motivation.


Registration fees include admission, course materials, COVID-19 safety measures, meals and coffee breaks. Participants are expected to book and pay their own accommodation and travel expenses

PhD Student€675

NO visa support letters will be issued until payment of the registration fee is confirmed.

Confirmation and payment

The registration fee should be paid only after acceptance to the course. The results will be announced approximately 2-3 weeks after the application deadline.

Motivation letter submission

After you have logged in and successfully registered, you will receive an email asking you to submit your motivation letter. Click on the link provided and enter your motivation letter in the text box provided. Alternatively you can submit your motivation letter by clicking on the link on the confirmation page directly after registering.


  1. Include your relevant skills, experience and qualifications showing why you would be suitable for the course.
  2. Explain why you would like to attend, including what you can contribute and how you think you will benefit from the course.

Please note:

  • The limit of 2000 characters refers to manually typed text and excludes spaces. If an error occurs try using a different web browser (preferably Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox).
  • If you copy-paste the text into the form, hidden formatting might still be included which may cause the text to exceed the 2,000 character limit resulting in an error message. We recommend you clear all formatting before pasting in the text.
  • If you have special symbols in your text, make sure you are using Unicode characters, otherwise these will not be recognised.

For detailed instructions, please watch our video on how to submit a course motivation letter.

Further details

For further information about registration and motivation letter submission please refer to the FAQ page.

Financial assistance

Financial assistance

Limited financial assistance is provided by the EMBL Advanced Training Centre Corporate Partnership Programme and EMBO in the form of both registration fee waivers and travel grants. Availability is limited to participants attending on-site EMBL Courses and virtual or on-site EMBO Practical Courses in Heidelberg, and will be indicated during the motivation letter submission process.

Your place in the course is only confirmed by paying the registration fee, which is mandatory even when receiving a fee waiver.

Registration fee waiver

The fee waiver will cover the registration sum that you have paid to attend the course.

Travel grant

The travel grant will cover the cost of travel (airfare, train, bus, taxi, accommodation, visa, and/or registration fees*) and is provided up to specified caps which are normally as follows:

– up to €400 for participants travelling to an EMBL Course within Europe.

– up to €1000 for participants travelling to an EMBL Course from outside Europe.

– up to €500 for any participant travelling to an EMBO Practical Course.

– up to €1000 for any participant working in Chile, India, Singapore or Taiwan travelling to an EMBO Practical Course.

– up to €700 for any participant working in Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Slovenia, and Turkey travelling to an EMBO Practical Course.

*Registration fees are only covered for EMBO Practical Courses

The organisers may reduce the grant cap to accommodate more participants. Recipients will be notified of their travel cap amount when they are informed of the outcome of their application. Original receipts must be provided with your signature for all costs incurred within two months of completion of travel. Scanned copies cannot be accepted.

Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds travel grant

Applies to selected courses only. Availability will be indicated during the motivation letter submission process.

This grant covers costs related to your attendance at the course (registration, travel and accommodation costs). The grant is restricted to PhD students and postdocs who conduct basic biomedical research.

Whether you are eligible to apply for a travel grant, depends on when you received your university entrance qualification (e.g. Abitur, A-Levels, High School Diploma, Final State Examination):

– for PhD and MD students, as well as graduates, the university entrance qualification must not have been obtained more than 11 years ago at the time of the envisaged course

– for postdocs, the university entrance qualification must not have been obtained more than 13 years ago at the time of the envisaged course


You may apply for financial assistance when submitting your motivation letter for courses. In your application, you will be asked to answer questions regarding why your lab cannot fund your attendance and how your attendance will make a difference to your career. Application for financial support will not affect the outcome of your registration application.

For the Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds Travel Grant, there is a pre-application question during the motivation letter submission process, and if selected you will be requested to complete a standard form and documentation consisting of your travel expense estimation.


The scientific organisers will select the recipients of all financial assistance during the motivation letter selection process. Results will be announced approximately 6-8 weeks before the event start date, however for some events this may be delayed. Selection results do not impact your admission to the course. Selection is based on scientific merit, your current work or study location, the reasons for needing financial support, and the impact this event will have on your career.


Costs will be reimbursed after the meeting only once a reimbursement form and original receipts (from travel costs) have been received.

Further details

See our list of external funding opportunities and for further information about financial assistance please refer to the FAQ page.

Accommodation and shuttles


Single rooms have been reserved for 5 nights (21-26 May) at the Premier Inn Heidelberg City Centre Hotel. After the selection process, selected participants should contact the hotel directly to make a booking (booking code EIC23-02). We recommend that all course participants stay at the Premier Inn City Center Hotel which is the dedicated hotel for the course.

Local transport

Shuttle buses will go from the Premier Inn Heidelberg City Centre Hotel to EMBL and back, mornings and evenings. A bus schedule and location of the bus stops will be made available prior to the meeting.

Further details

Address: EMBL Heidelberg, Meyerhofstraße 1, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany

For further information on getting to EMBL Heidelberg visit our Travel Information page.

For enquiries about accommodation and local transportation please refer to the FAQ page.

Event software

Event software

The EMBL eCampus learning platform will be used to collaborate, communicate and network with all of the course participants. All participants will receive information on how to join shortly before the course. We recommend using Chrome, Safari or Mozilla Firefox browsers for eCampus. 

Additional information

Please find additional information including FAQs, terms and conditions, COVID-19 safety policy and travelling to EMBL on our Information for Participants page.

COVID-19 related questions

COVID-19 information for on-site events at EMBL Heidelberg can be found in our COVID-19 FAQs.


Event supporters:

Media partners

FocalPlane, a The Company of Biologists microscopy community site


Sponsorship opportunities

We offer a variety of event sponsoring possibilities, with the flexibility to select a set sponsorship package or combine individual sponsorship options to suit your event budget. Discounts are available for companies sponsoring multiple events at EMBL Heidelberg. View other events, or contact sponsorship@embl.de for further information.

If you are interested in becoming a media partner of this event, please visit our media partnerships webpage.


EMBL wishes to warn sponsors of EMBL conferences and courses of fraudulent schemes purporting to offer sponsorship opportunities on behalf of EMBL or affiliated with EMBL officials. One current scam campaign of which we are aware is conducted using the name ‘Judy Eastman’ (judy@gopcontact.a2hosted.com) and entails approaches to sponsors offering sponsorship opportunities on EMBL’s behalf. Please be kindly advised that all relevant communication regarding sponsorship of EMBL conferences, symposia and courses is handled by EMBL directly and is sent from an official EMBL account. EMBL does not work with any external providers on sponsorship acquisition.

Please also note that:

  • EMBL never provides attendee lists for purchase. Any offers of such are fraudulent.
  • EMBL will never call or email you to ask for your credit card details or to request a payment.
  • All payments are on invoice.

Suspicious communications purportedly from, for or on behalf of EMBL should be reported to EMBL at the following email address sponsorship@embl.de.

Media kit

Want to let others know you’re attending this event? Take a look at our shareable media and feel free to use them in your social media channels or presentations.

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Date: 22 - 26 May 2023

Location: EMBL Heidelberg

Venue: EMBL Imaging Centre


Application: Closed


  • Niccolo Banterle
    EMBL Heidelberg, Germany
    • Gautam Dey
      EMBL Heidelberg, Germany
      • Paul Guichard
        University of Geneva, Switzerland

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