Opera Phenix High-Content Screening System

The Opera Phenix High-Content Screening System is a microscope designed for high-throughput 3D imaging of fluorescent samples in microplates.  This imaging system, open to all investigators, is critical to the mission of the Center to Advance Predictive Biology and associated NSF/EPSCoR and NIH/BRP awards.  

Microscope configuration.  The Opera Phenix can operate in standard fluorescence and spinning disk confocal mode and has temperature and CO2 control for live cell imaging.  It is equipped with 405, 488, 561 and 640 nm solid state lasers and a variety of objectives, including objectives with a high numerical aperture (NA), long working distance (WD) and large field of view (FOV):

  • 5x air objective (NA=0.16, WD=12.1 mm, FOV=2583x2583 um) 
  • 10x air objective (NA=0.3, WD=5.2 mm, FOV=1292x1292 um)
  • 20x air objective (NA=0.4, WD=8.28 mm, FOV=646x646 um)
  • 20x water-immersion objective (NA=1.0, WD=1.7 mm, FOV=646x646 um)
  • 40x water-immersion objective (NA=1.1, WD=0.62 mm, FOV=323x323 um)
  • 63x water-immersion objective (NA=1.15, WD=0.6 mm, FOV=205x205 um)

Microplates. A wide variety of microplates can be used on the Opera Phenix (see also protocols below). For high-resolution imaging, the microplate's bottom of the well should ideally be thin and low. A thin bottom accommodates the short working distance of the water-immersion objectives and limits chromatic and spherical aberration.  A low bottom makes it possible to image wells on the edge of the plate with the water-immersion objectives.  For example, the following microplate is well-suited for high-resolution imaging on the Opera Phenix:

  • CellCarrier-96 Ultra Microplates (PerkinElmer Cat # 6055302): bottom thickness = 188 um, bottom height = 200 um.

The following plates are used in CAPB for 3D microtissues:

  • 96 well Screenstar microplate (Greiner Bio-One Cat # 655866). Cycloolefin film bottom, thickness = 190 um
  • 96 well Sensoplate Plus microplate (Greiner Bio-One Cat # 655891).  Glass-bottom, thickness = 175 um

Image Analysis.  The microscope's software is used for instrument control (Harmony Instrument Control Software) and for data navigation and analysis (Harmony Office).  In addition, Imaris image analysis software is available for visualization, analysis, segmentation and interpretation of 3D datasets.  All users are encouraged to join user group meetings to develop more efficient protocols for automated image analysis.  To add your name to the mailing list, please contact ​Susan Hall.    

Location of the microscope  

Laboratories for Molecular Medicine, Room 528, 70 Ship St, Providence, Rhode Island

Contact information

  • Samanta Madnick ([email protected]) is the primary contact for training & application support.  To start using the Opera Phenix, please schedule a training session with Sam.  Sam can also provide additional information on the associated cell culture facilities and operating procedures. 
  • Susan Hall ([email protected]) is the manager of the Opera Phenix imaging facility.  Please contact Sue if you think the system needs to be serviced, if you'd like to have your name added to the mailing list, or if you need access to the online signup calendar.
  • Benjamin Knorlein ([email protected]) is the Senior Research Software Engineer.  Please contact Ben if you have questions about advanced image analysis, machine learning, saving data or data management.  
  • Robbert Creton ([email protected], webpage) is the Director of the Leduc Bioimaging Facility and Molecular Pathology Core, which will provide operational support for the Opera Phenix.  Please contact Robbert if you have any questions about these centrally available resources or if you need help with automated image analysis using ImageJ.   

User Fees:

RI C-AIM (NSF EPSCoR) use will be paid by URI
CAPB use will be paid by Brown University's CAPB

Publication & Funding.  For publications that made use of the Opera Phenix, please acknowledge Center funding:  The Opera Phenix in the Center to Advance Predictive Biology is supported by the National Institute of Health (U01 ES028184), the National Science Foundation (EPSCoR award 1655221) and a generous gift by Donna McGraw Weiss (’89) and Jason Weiss.  

Signup on the online calendar 

Trained users can reserve time on the online calendar. 

Starting August 10th, 2020, the Opera Phenix can be reserved using the iLab calendars:

For information on how to register and reserve microscope time, see:

CAPB users, who are listed on the CAPB website, can sign up for the Opera Phenix any time.  Likewise, approved NSF/EPSCoR and NIH/BRP users can sign up for the Opera Phenix any time. All other users may only sign up for the Opera Phenix in the 48 hour period prior to imaging.

OLD Opera Phenix Calendar (discontinued Aug 9th, 2020):  Opera Phenix Signup Calendar 


Additional information

Protocols, user manuals and application guides can be found on the password-protected 'protocol page'