Advanced Microscopy Core
Tissue morphology and knowledge of the localization of specific proteins within a cell are integral to understanding cellular metabolism and the causes and consequences of diabetes and new advances for the treatment of diabetes. The tools of morphological analysis are varied but most involve particular skills or equipment that are too costly to be supported in individual laboratories. The Advanced Microscopy Core provides a wide range of service covering the broad categories: performing specific morphological procedures, providing training and access to equipment, maintaining the specialized microscopes, and giving advice and interpretation.

While the plastic embedding and electron microscope work, including immunolocalization of specific molecules at the ultrastructural level, are done by the Core Manager, the other equipment are available for individual use after completion of training with the Core Manager.

Services of the Advanced Microscopy Core:

1. Tissue preparation / embedding / sectioning

  • Cryostat sectioning/use of cryostat  After training, researcher can book the cryostat for individual use.
  • Plastic embedding and sectioning for Light microscope A useful service for very small samples, such as cell pellets, transplanted islets, pituitary grafts or young mouse embryos, for light microscopic analysis. Order is made under EMNet online using the CORTEX system.

2. Transmission electron microscope analysis Samples analyzed on EM are first fixed, osmicated, embedded and sectioned as above for plastic sections. Fixation procedures are discussed with the Core personnel; fixatives and their recipes are available from the core. Immunochemistry on ultrastructural level is also available. Order is made under EMNet online under Cortex.

3. Confocal Microscopy Use After training, researchers can use independently with sign up on Intranet for the Zeiss LSM710NLO. This microscope with 6 laser lines including two photon, 3 spectral detection channels allows multifluorescent spectral imaging, ion imaging, enhanced 3-D examinations, and manipulations for FRET or FRAP. Live cell imaging is possible.

4. Inverted Zeiss Axio light microscope with high speed Hamamatsu camera. Whereas the confocal takes 2-3 sec/ scan to produce an image, this camera can take 100 frames/second, allowing for tracking calcium flux with Fura 2 or rolling of white blood cells along vessel walls. Its Lambda XL Ext. Life Light Source is a good fit for both Ca++ and immunofluorescent imaging.

5. Laser capture microdissection facility use. Arcturus Pixcell II Laser capture microscope and accessories. After being trained, researchers book the facility for independent use.

6. Consultation. Expert advice provided by both the Core Manager and Core Director. ​

Core Director: Dr. Susan Bonner-Weir ( 

Core Manager: Chris Cahill (


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Cortex Services.