|How do I prepare my sample before bring it to the EM Core Facility?|
- In general, we recommend users to bring in samples after fixation. It is particularly important for bio-hazardous samples. The Core Imaging Facility is not a certified BSL2 laboratory. All human pathogens and infectious materials need to be inactivated before entering the premises. Fixation is a most critical step in electron microscopy. Proper fixation ensures preservation of the ultrastructure of the sample. The Facility will provide you with the appropriate fixative and clear instructions for each step.
|Can I bring in EM samples now?|
- Sample drop off needs to be scheduled a week in advance. Please consult with Core Imaging Facility Director or staff first before starting an EM project. Unscheduled samples will not be processed until all pre-aranged samples are processed.
|Is there a prefered time to bring in my EM specimen?|
- The best time is early morning. This gives facility staff enough time to process a sample before overnight incubation. Avoid bringing in samples on Friday afternoon! Of course, special arrangements can be made for individual samples. Please arrange ahead of time with staff to ensure your samples will be processed in a timely manner.
How long does it take before I can get my results?
- For SEM samples, it will take one and a half to two days to dehydrate the sample, sputter coat and mount before samples are ready for observation. TEM samples requiring embedding and sectioning and may take up to a week. Negatively stained samples can normally be done on the same day unless the staff is engaged in other experiments. The time frame given above is based on the most optimal scenario. Please take into consideration that demands on services are unpredictable; therefore experiments maybe delayed when there are multiple samples that need to be processed at the same time. If you have an urgent need for processing of a specific sample, please inform us in advance. We always try our best to accommodate the needs of each user.
|Can I request certain procedures to be performed for a particular sample?|
- Yes, our facility is tailored to provide these services for our research community. We would be happy to discuss with you the possibility of including non-routine steps required by your research. However, the user will be expected to provide special reagents as necessary. You may also face additional charges if these extra steps require extended commitment of our technical staff. Whenever possible, please provide us a reference that clearly explains the purpose of this procedure so our staff understands each step of the experiment. Such procedures should be discussed in advance with the Director. Our facility encourages users to explore challenging EM techniques to expand our experience with the most up-to-date techniques that are available.
|I do not have time to learn to use electron or confocal microscopes. Can CIF staff take images for me?|
- Yes, we do provide services to observe samples and take images for users. Users are to provide Facility staff with relevant literature references and to clearly describe the ultrastructure of interest. Scope hour will be charged at "assisted usage" rate.