Optical Imaging & Vital Microscopy Core (OiVM)

Welcome to the Optical Imaging & Vital Microscopy (OiVM) Core at Baylor College of Medicine. 

The mission of the OiVM Core is to provide state-of-the-art optical sectioning instrumentation as well as cutting edge image analysis tools for the research applications of a broad range of BCM investigators. This core is dedicated to vital and intravital imaging of cellular processes within cells, intact tissue explants, developing embryos and functioning organs within the live animal. Our users are focused on a variety of applications such as understanding cell migration, optimizing angiogenic therapies, how blood flow influences development and cancer, immune cell recruitment, stem cell-niche interactions and cancer metastasis.


OiVM Imaging Technologies

  • Confocal Microscopy
  • Lightsheet Microscopy
  • MultiPhoton Microscopy
  • High Speed Confocal Microscopy
  • µCT Scanning
  • OPT (Optical Projection Tomography)
  • OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography)
  • Fluorescence Stereomicroscopy
  • Live imaging of tissue/organ development in embryos and live animals
  • Live imaging of flowing fluorescent particles such as fluorescent beads, fluorescently labeled erythroblasts, etc.
  • Excitation and emission fingerprinting of fluorescent markers 

OiVM Image Analysis

  • 3D rendering of fluorescent structures in z-stack images
  • Automated nuclear counting
  • Detection and tracking of fluorescently labeled particles to measure their displacement, speed, etc.
  • Quantifying vascular morphology using classical measures and complexity measures such as fractal dimension
  • Enhanced image analysis using parallel computation on multicore processors 


Our Process

The OiVM offers two levels of service for all the instruments in our core.  The first level is unassisted use, where users are trained on the instrument that best suits their needs and are then permitted to sign up for time on that system.  The second level is assisted use, where users can schedule time with an imaging specialist to operate the instrument for them during their session.  OiVM core staff are always available to discuss the service level that will work best for you.

To inquire about our services please contact OiVM staff (contact information below) or fill out our User Request Form.

Our Team


Mary E. Dickinson, Ph.D. | Academic Director

Office: T421

Phone: 713-798-2104

Email: mdickins@bcm.edu


Jason M. Kirk | Technical Director

Office: Cullen 113AB

Phone: 713-798-OIVM (6486)

Email: jason.kirk@bcm.edu


Chih-Wei (Logan) Hsu, Ph.D. | Imaging Specialist

Office: Cullen 113AA

Email: loganh@bcm.edu


Where Are We?



Cullen Building, Rm 114A

Baylor College of Medicine

One Baylor Plaza

Houston, TX 77030

Phone:  (713) 798-OIVM (6486)

Contact Email:  oivm@bcm.edu 

8 a.m. - 6 p.m., Monday to Friday

Core Approved Users: 24/7


Visit Our Website

OiVM Core

Publication Acknowledgements 

Scientific publications containing data obtained using the services offered by the core should include the following statement in the acknowledgment section: This project was supported by the Optical Imaging & Vital Microscopy (OiVM) core at BCM.


Name Role Phone Email Location
Mary E. Dickinson, Ph.D.
Academic Director
Jason M. Kirk
Technical Director
713-798-OIVM (6486)


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