The NICHD Microscopy & Imaging Core (MIC) is a multi-user microscopy facility located in building 35A. Service is free of charge to all NICHD investigators and, resources allowing, to anyone within the Porter Neurosciences building. 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 data:

  1. Histology and sample preparation
    • Tissue processing: cryostat, sliding microtome, vibratome
    • Transcardial perfusion of rats and mice (animal protocol required)
    • Immuno-fluorescence staining
    • Tissue culture facilities for remote users
  2. Confocal microscopy:
    • Laser scanning (Zeiss 710, 780, 800, 880) and Nikon spinning disk instruments
    • Live imaging experiments fully supported
    • Advanced techniques (TIRF, FRAP, FRET, photo-activation)
    • Super-resolution microscopy (PALM, STORM, Zeiss Airy)
    • Multi-photon (IR) imaging
  3. Electron microscopy
    • JEOL TEM 1400 electron microscope
    • AMT Biosprint 29 high-resolution camera
    • Leica EM UC7 ultramicrotome with cryo-sectioning capabilities
    • Pelco Biowave Pro oven
  4. Data analysis
    • Image analysis protocols
    • High-volume image processing
    • SVI Hyugens, Bitplane Imaris, Zeiss Zen, Nikon Elements and ImageJ software
    • Dedicated high-performance workstations

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, we believe resources are better spent mentoring and training a large number of scientists rather than bulk-processing a limited number of projects. We usually do not request authorship, but we ask that you acknowledge the MIC in your publications.

The facility has limited resources to provide a range of services to a large community of investigators. As a result, the MIC does not have the means to engage in investigative work. While we may engage in collaborations from time to time, the scope and duration of these collaborative endeavors are necessarily limited. 

The MIC is involved in several educational efforts, including an extensive two-week microscopy workshop delivered each Spring by the staff, and the FAES BioTech 35 course. We also organize numerous on-site equipment demonstrations open to the wider NIH community.

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