The NICHD Microscopy & Imaging Core (MIC) is a multi-user microscopy facility located in building 35A. Service is provided free of charge to all NICHD investigators and, resources allowing, to anyone within the Porter Neurosciences building (publication acknowledgment is required). For the scientist in need of advanced microscopy, the MIC is a vertically integrated facility that provides a variety of services designed to move each project from scientific question to useable data:

  1. Histology and sample preparation
    • Tissue processing: cryostat, sliding microtome, vibratome, paraffin embedding
    • Transcardial perfusion of rats and mice (animal protocol required)
    • Immuno-fluorescence and RNAscope staining
    • Tissue culture facilities for remote users
  2. Confocal microscopy:
    • Laser scanning (Zeiss 800, 880, 900 and 980), Nikon spinning disk, Leica Stellaris
    • Live imaging experiments fully supported
    • Advanced techniques (TIRF, FRAP, FRET, FLIM)
    • Super-resolution microscopy (Zeiss Airyscan, Leica STED)
  3. Electron microscopy
    • JEOL TEM 1400 electron microscope
    • AMT Biosprint 29 high-resolution camera
    • Leica EM UC7 ultramicrotome with cryo-sectioning capabilities
    • Microscopy Innovations mPrep ASP-2000 sample processor
    • Pelco Biowave Pro oven
  4. Data analysis
    • Bitplane Imaris, Zeiss Zen, Nikon Elements w/ NIS-AI, ImageJ

The philosophy of the MIC is to prioritize training, helping scientists master sample preparation, microscopy and image analysis techniques. With the exception of the electron microscopy branch where most of the processing and data acquisition is done in-house, our mode of operation is based on training users on techniques and equipment before letting them execute the project under our supervision. The MIC does not engage in independent investigative work. We may engage in a few collaborations, but the scope and duration of these collaborative endeavors are necessarily limited.

The MIC is involved in several educational efforts, including our extensive microscopy workshop delivered each Spring by the staff. We also organize on-site equipment demonstrations open to the wider NIH community.

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