The sample preparation branch of the MIC is designed to take users through the steps of preparing high-quality samples for microscopy: dissection, fixation, cutting, immunostaining and mounting on slides. We emphasize training rather than bulk processing of specimens. We also provide sample troubleshooting and technical advice on protocol optimization, antibody selection, and mounting media to help users obtain the best possible sample for imaging.

We do not provide medical and clinical histology services. In particular we are not equipped to handle paraffin-embedded specimens. Investigators who need this service should either contact one of the intramural histology facilities or an outside provider such as Histoserv .

The MIC sample preparation lab houses the necessary equipment to produce high quality, biological samples for use in immunofluorescence and immunohistochemical procedures.  Following proper training, users have access to:

  1. Gravity-driven small animal perfusion on a down-draft system. (animal protocol required)
  2. Dissection platforms for recovery of required samples.
  3. Reagents and supplies for cryoprotection and cryo-embedding.
  4. An extensive selection of sectioning equipment:
    • Leica VT1000S Vibratome (50 – 1000 µm floating sections; fresh or fixed)
    • Leica SM2010R Sliding Microtome (20 – 60 µm floating sections; fixed only)
    • Leica CM-3050S Cryostat (5 – 100 µm frozen sections; fresh or fixed; thin sections on glass; sections >25µm can be floated)
    • Brain Matrices (0.5 and 1mm crude mouse or rat brain sections)
    • Leica MZ6 Mobile Dissection Scope with LED Illumination.

Once users receive proper training, the cryostat, sliding microtome and perfusion fixation apparatus can be reserved on our calendar .

The wet-lab area provides bench space for immunofluorescence and/or immunohistochemical processing.  A complete tissue culture room with a biological safety cabinet and 37°C incubators (5 and 10% CO2) and a cell culture microscope with fluorescence capabilities is also available to users located outside the Porter building.

Leica Vibratome in the MIC sample preparation lab.
Leica Vibratome
Leica Sliding Microtome in the MIC sample preparation lab.
Leica Sliding Microtome
Leica Cryostat in the MIC sample preparation lab.
Leica Cryostat
Dissection Microscope in the MIC sample preparation lab.
Dissection Microscope
Tissue Culture Facilities in the MIC sample preparation lab.
Tissue Culture Facilities
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