Integrated Microscopy Core services include training and access to digital fluorescence microscopes and transmission electron microscopes.

Access, Tutorials and Fees

A hierarchical access structure is in place for investigators, depending upon institutional affiliations (with or without supporting grants), with the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology given priority. We prefer to meet with new clients to assess their research goals, meet feasible deadlines and direct them toward the best instrument for their needs. To set up an appointment, please contact Dr. Fabio Stossi.

Tutorials are required for all new core users on all instruments. The tutorial fee is assessed at the cost of the instrument plus technical assistance time. Fees vary per microscope from $20-50/hour; technical assistance charges are $40/hour (Internal Baylor pricing. See Price List for non-Baylor clients). Core-approved users can arrange for independent use during peak time (8:30 a.m.-6 p.m.), or, with significant training and use, off-peak time (evenings and weekends) at discounted rates.

Standard and High Resolution Microscopy

For standard bright field microscopy, a Nikon Eclipse Ci upright microscope is available, equipped with PC-controlled, high-resolution color CCD camera and a range of magnifications from 4x to 100x using high quality objectives.

For standard fluorescence microscopy, the core offers a Nikon TE-2000 manual inverted microscope equipped with standard DAPI, FITC, Texas Red and CY5 (far red) filters. The microscope is also equipped with a PC-controlled high resolution black-and-white CCD camera and a range of magnifications from 10x to 100x. Oil lenses available on request.  

High-resolution fluorescence of thin samples (cell monolayers or sections less than 20 microns) is available via a GE Healthcare DeltaVision Restoration Microscopy system, a deconvolution-based, wide-field optical microscope. This instrument is fully automated for Z-series acquisition, with up to four fluorescent channels. Available filter sets include the standard Sadat set (DAPI, FITC, Rhodamine, Texas Red, Cy-5), and a live cell filter set with CFP, GFP, YFP and RFP. Image data collection and interpretation is made with SoftWorx image analysis and model-building software. A stand alone SoftWoRx workstation is also available for further image analysis.

Laser System

Confocal microscopy is available using the Nikon A1Rs confocal laser scanning microscope with a quad laser system and sophisticated AOTF laser control that can eliminate channel bleed through. CFP, GFP, FITC, Rhodamine, Texas Red and Cy-5 can be imaged, along with DIC. The Spectral Detection upgrade is a versatile system allowing spectral unmixing and at least 4 channel acquisition (up to 32 channels possible). An environmental chamber is also available for pre-approved live cell imaging projects, such as time lapse and photobleach/recovery studies (FRET).

Transmission Electron Microscopy

The TEM facility is equipped with a Hitachi H-7500 Electron Microscope as well as a JEOL 1230 TEM. The Hitachi H7500 is fitted with the latest AMT XR-16 16mp camera and AMT Capture Engine software, v.602. The JEOL 1230 is fitted with 2 cameras:  a 4mp Gatan US1000 camera for high magnification, high resolution imaging and a Sapera camera for low magnification, wide-field image capture. Both are driven by excellent, web-enabled database/softwares. Available EM services also include standard fixation, embedding, ultramicrotomy and contrast staining. We accept particle and biological samples.

Assay Development

We provide researchers assistance with all aspects of assay designing and development. Each assay is custom designed for optimal results, from experimental design and image acquisition to data analysis and presentation using Pipeline Pilot for image analysis. This resource provides consultation and technical support for pilot experiments using coverslips, 96- or 384-well plate formats for single cell fluorescence-based imaging studies or quantitative image analyses.

Potential assays include nuclear translocation, reporter gene analysis, cell cycle, apoptosis, and RNAi gene silencing analysis, to name some of the more common assays performed in the IMC. To take advantage of this service, principle investigators are required to submit a one page proposal describing the goals of the assay to Dr. Michael Mancini via e-mail. An ad hoc panel will assess proposals for compatibility/feasibility with the current resources.