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Microscopy

Houston, Texas

A view of cells
Integrated Microscopy Core, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology
not shown on screen

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the lab located?
The Integrated Microscopy Core is located within the 110C Cullen Suite at the hub of C Corridor near the bend in the hallway. Several rooms comprise the core. At this time, our old location is being renovated; this new space is only temporary.

How do I access the equipment in the IMC?
All new users must fill out an online Investigator/Project Profile form,describing their prospective project and the depth of their microscopy experience. Once the form is processed, the staff of the Integrated Microscopy Core will meet with the new user and the PI in order to develop and effective plan to accomplish the imaging goals. 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 6 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 complete the online Investigator/Project Profile, after which the staff of the IMC will contact you to arrange a brief meeting and 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 able to use the online scheduler to sign up. You are only allowed 2.5 hours on a particular instrument each day. Special circumstances can be discussed and work-arounds are sometimes possible, as long as the user is flexible with regard to starting early or late.

How do I cancel or reschedule my appointment?
To avoid being charged, you must cancel or reschedule during business hours on the day preceding your appointment. If the appointment is on a Monday, it must be cancelled prior to 5:00p.m. on the Friday previous to your appointment.

How can I have my samples processed for Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM)?
You must first fill out an Investigator/Project Profile form and meet with the staff to determine how best to proceed (generally in person, sometimes by phone or electronically). There are typically two options:

  • The core will completely process your sample(s) and provide files or prints for a fee, or
  • We will prep your samples and after you have been trained on the instrument, you may operate and take images of your sample(s) on the TEM. The new digital TEM is quite user-friendly.

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 sample preparation. Contact the IMC for more details

Can I use the microscopes after hours and on weekends?
Only users who are pre-approved (i.e., 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). Unfortunately, only BCM researchers can use the facility at night and on the weekends. The charge for off-peak use is 50 percent of the regular hour time 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 users preferred storage location. Portable hard drives, USB memory sticks 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.

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 or give Dr. Mancini a call (713-798-8952).

How often will I get billed?
Baylor users will be automatically billed at the end of every month. For users outside the Baylor system, a monthly invoice is sent to each principal investigator.

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