Abstract: Visualizing and understanding complex biological processes demands the integrated efforts of biologists and physicists. The mission of the Advanced Imaging Center (AIC) is to make cutting-edge imaging technologies developed at Janelia widely accessible, and at no cost, to scientists outside of Janelia, before the instruments are commercially available. Operating strategically at the interface of engineering and biological applications, the AIC is positioned to drastically reduce the time between instrument development and widespread use in the increasingly technology-intensive field of biology. The AIC will expand the number and diversity of biologists who have access to the unique, state-of-the-art optical imaging microscopes developed at Janelia years before they become commercially available. This unique imaging center is thus uniquely positioned to empower investigators with tools currently not widely available elsewhere. In alignment with Janelia's philosophy of encouraging bold and risky science, the AIC welcomes proposals with high-risk-high-gain projects that may challenge the current paradigm. In fact, it serves as an ideal platform for researchers to test out their novel ideas with the emerging microscopy technologies, fully supported by Janelia's in-house imaging experts and research infrastructure.