Unit Platforms


Imaging of Symbiotic Systems

Manager: Séverine Balmand (Engineer INRAE, 100%)

Scientific advisors: Abdelaziz Heddi and Federica Calevro

"Symagerie" is a technical platform within the BF2i unit, specialized in histology, imaging and microscopy techniques. The analyses conducted are mainly focused on the relationship between symbiotic bacteria and their insect hosts. The platform includes sample preparation equipment (a microtome and a cryostat) and observation equipment (epifluorescence microscope, stereomicroscopes and a set of microscopes).


  • Contribute to the understanding of the cellular and molecular processes involved in the establishment of symbiosis, its maintenance, its control, and the process of elimination of symbionts, in the cereal weevil of the genus Sitophilus and in the pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum, by means of structural and ultrastructural histological descriptions of the insect tissues, or by the functional characterization of the genes and proteins involved in symbiosis.
  • Provide imaging equipment to all the teachers of the Biosciences Department of INSA Lyon (practical work), to the collaborating members of the BioEnviS Research Federation, as well as to external collaborations. (Contact us).
  • Offer technical expertise and support to collaborators in the platform's fields of activity: biological sample preparation techniques for photonic and electronic microscopy, histology and immunohistochemistry techniques, microscopic observations, image processing, etc.

Techniques and equipment:

  • Biological sample preparation techniques for photonic and electronic microscopy: chemical fixation, high pressure freezing fixation, paraffin sections, thin and ultrathin frozen sections, semi-thin and ultrathin resin sections, ...
  • Histology and immunohistochemistry techniques: staining, immunostaining and immunogold, FISH, cell staining, ...
  • Wide field, confocal, electronic microscopic observations 
  • Image processing

Equipment currently available on the platform:

  • Semi-automatic rotary microtome for paraffin sectioning, type HM340 equipped with the STS "Niagara" system for recovery of sections in a thermostatically controlled bath.
  • Automatic Cryostat for frozen thin sections, type HM560
  • Olympus inverted epifluorescence microscope, type IX81, Z motorization, phase contrast, filters for dapi, FITC, TRITC, Cy5, digital color and black and white cameras + Cell Sens image acquisition and processing software
  • Wide field light microscopes
  • Stereomicroscopes

Location: 'Symagerie' platform is located within UMR203 BF2i, in the Louis Pasteur building at INSA Lyon, 1st floor.