Integrated Microscopy Core

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the lab located? 
The Integrated Microscopy Core is located inside the Advanced Technology Core Suite 112A, in the south wing of the Roy and Lillie Cullen Building. If you are a non-Baylor client, please bring a picture ID and present it to the Security Officer at the main Baylor entrance. The Integrated Microscopy Core will be to the right as you look from the Security desk down the corridor. Security can direct you if you are still unsure of our location.

How do I access the equipment in the IMC? 
All new users must meet with Dr. Mancini or Dr. Stossi in order to describe their prospective project and the depth of their microscopy experience. Once the client's skill are assessed, an effective plan to accomplish the imaging goals is devised. From your project description we will help you determine which type of microscopy best suits your needs and then schedule training on the appropriate equipment. Regular use of the microscopes is required to maintain access, and any user who has a break of three months or more will be required to have refresher training.

How do I schedule a tutorial? 
The standard sequence of events is for new users to meet with Dr. Stossi, after which the staff of the IMC will contact you to schedule your tutorial sessions. Tutorials are scheduled Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.

How do I schedule use of a particular microscope?
After demonstrating proficiency in the use of the microscope, you will be given access to the iLab Scheduler and may reserve equipment on your own. There are time constraints on specific instruments each day. Special circumstances can be discussed and work-arounds are possible for live or timed experiments.

How do I cancel or reschedule my appointment? 
You must contact the Integrated Microscopy Core by e-mail or phone. Users are not allow to cancel or edit equipment reservations. To avoid being charged, you must cancel or reschedule during business hours 1 hour preceding your appointment. If you do not cancel and cannot make the appointment, you may have someone else in your lab take your time slot on the instrument. If you do not notify us of a cancellation in a timely manner, you will be charged for the appointment time.

How can I have my samples processed for Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM)? 
You must meet with the staff to determine how best to proceed. There are typically several options:

1) The core will process your sample(s) to completion. This includes fixation through embedding. You may wish to have ultra-microtomy, staining and image capture done elsewhere.

2) The core will process and cut your samples. You may wish to have the sections stained and scoped elsewhere.

3) The core will process, cut and contrast stain your samples. You may choose to have your samples scoped elsewhere.

4a) The core will process, cut, stain and scope your samples for you. Collected images will be balanced for contrast and brightness, and sent to you via BigFile.

4b) The core will process, cut and stain your samples. We will then teach you how to use a TEM (tutorial + instrument fees apply), and you may capture images on your own.

How should I prepare my sample for TEM?

Rapid fixation using the correct reagents is essential to preserve ultrastructure. Various samples may require different fixation techniques for optimal results. The best time to discuss sample prep is prior to beginning your experiments, Specimens that have been improperly fixed, stored or handled are very likely going to yield poor images. Our EM technician can travel to your specimen preparation area and assist in tissue collection. Contact Debra Townley for more details.

Can I use the microscopes after hours and on weekends? 
Only pre-approved Baylor clients who are able to demonstrate complete independence on an instrument are allowed access to the facilities during off-peak hours (before 8:30 a.m; after 6 p.m; weekends). The charge for off-peak use is 50 percent of the regular hourly rate charge.

How do I move my files? 
The IMC policy is that all files are to be removed from the computer at the end of your scoping session. There are a number of options, depending on the size of your data set. We provide access to a shared network drive as a convenience for users to temporarily store data until it can be saved to the user's preferred storage location. Portable hard drives, USB flash drives, CDs and DVDs are all viable options. If your department has a shared network drive, you may be able to access this resource. Ask for IT support.

Almost all computers in the IMC are linked to a common network drive. If you need to use one of the IMC analysis computers to analyze your data, you may store your data here briefly until the analysis is complete. Users of high-content imaging and assay development should have a data management plan, as very large quantities of data can be generated quite rapidly.

I have a question and I can't find Debra, Radhika, Fabio or Dr. Mancini? 
Given the many different rooms in the core area and Mancini Lab, they are probably in one or the other locations. Check a few different locales such as Rooms 123A, 125A, 128A, 130A.

How often will I get billed? 
All Baylor users will be automatically billed on the account provided at the end of every month. For users outside the Baylor system, a quote can be provided by the core and a PO# must be generated before project work can begin.