Morphology Core

The Morphology Core provides services in histology, electron microscopy (EM), and atomic force, confocal and laser dissection microscopy.


The histology section of the core is CAP accredited. It provides basic services such as tissue preparation and embedding, paraffin block or frozen tissue sectioning, and H&E staining. The core provides additional services such as direct and indirect immunohistochemical staining, immunofluorescent staining, serial sectioning, RNase free handling, and selected special stains. Core personnel have extensive experience in tissue microarray construction. The lab is equipped with a Perkin-Elmer TMA Master automated TMA arrayer as well as two MTA-1 manual Beecher TMA arrayers.

Electron Microscopy

Routine TEM procedures such as fixation, embedding, sectioning, and visualization are available.  The core utilizes a Hitachi H-7650 Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM) with two digital cameras.  The Hitachi H-7650 transmission electron microscope allows imaging of tissue prepared for routine TEM. Magnification ranges from 0.7K up to 200K. The imaging software is AMtv542.  Scanning electron microscopy is also available. The core houses a Hitachi S-4800 high resolution Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM). This microscope has magnification from 30x to 800,000x.

Atomic Force Microscopy 

The core has an Asylum MFP-3D-BIO   Atomic Force microscope. It is on an inverted Axioscope microscope and is specifically designed for biologists. The scope is attached to a Zeiss Apotome 2 to allow optical sectioning with fluorescent illumination. The MFP-3D-BIO allows investigators to measure picoNewton forces and resolve the smallest features of a sample. Fast Force mapping including automated adhesion and elastic modulus analysis are available.

Confocal Microscopy

The core has two confocal microscopes:  The LSM 700 has 2 fluorescence detectors that can detect up to four color signals in a (quasi-) simultaneous mode. Other applications include time series image acquisition, co-localization, FRET analysis, ROI bleaching, and orthogonal viewing of images. The 700 has 4 lasers: 405nm, 488nm, 546nm, and 633nm.  The ZEISS LSM 800 provides high image quality and offers enhanced productivity and throughput, as well as greater flexibility in live cell imaging. It has a highly sensitive GaAsP detector technology and fast linear scanning. Gallium arsenide phosphide photomultiplier tubes (GaAsP PMTs) display high light collection efficiencies over a broad spectral range. The gain in signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) increases its productivity by achieving faster scan speeds while preserving high image quality. The Airyscan module delivers 1.7 times higher resolution and higher sensitivity with a resolution of 120nm (in x, y) and 350nm (in z.)  There is also a standard Zeiss Axiophot epifluorescent microscope with a Zeiss Axiocam digital camera attached. Single color, multiple color, and bright field images may be captured using the Axiocam digital camera.

Laser Dissection Microscopy

Microdissection of tissues on slides is available using a Zeiss LCM PALM Microbeam Laser Dissecting Scope with a pulsed UV laser (337nm) coupled to a Zeiss Axio microscope. The laser is capable of micro-dissection and micro-ablation of small particles with sub micrometer precision.  Live cell imaging is possible with the Leica DMI6000B inverted microscope with an attached environmental chamber. Additionally, this microscope is capable of bright field, IF, and time-lapse imaging.