Electron Microscopy

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Questions we can help you answer (illustrated by six of the eight pictures above):

  1. What is the cellular structure of my sample?  Does genotype, disease, or different environmental conditions affect the structure?  (see picture of diseased kidney in upper right)
  2. What is the morphology of a biological macromolecule?  Does genetic mutation or different environmental conditions affect the morphology?  (see picture of phage particles, top row, second from left)
  3. What is the morphology of a macromolecule or macromolecular complex within a cell?  Does genetic mutation, disease, or different environmental conditions affect the morphology?  (see picture of dynein in human respiratory tract cilia, upper left, and annulate lamellae, second from right in top row)
  4. What is the three-dimensional structure of a biological macromolecule?  How does genetic mutation, interactions with other molecules, or different environmental conditions affect its morphology?  What residues (e.g. amino acids or nucleotides) interact in a macromolecular complex?  (see picture of virus-antibody complex in bottom left)
  5. What is the size and morphology of a nanoparticle or synthesized nanomachine?  How do different synthesis methods or environmental conditions affect the morphology?  (see picture of nanoparticles, bottom right)

To answer these questions, both transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) imaging and sample preparation are available.  For example, we a) process tissue from fixative through plastic embedding and thin-sectioning, b) perform immuno-labeling experiments, c) view particulate samples, d) prepare frozen-hydrated specimens, and e) compute three-dimensional reconstructions.

To make a reservation for use of our equipment or services, please go to the Batch Viewer login page.

The Electron Microscopy Core Laboratory is not responsible to keep copies of research data. That is the responsibility of each user of the facility. As a courtesy to our users (to keep a copy of images until the user has ample opportunity to copy data to another computer) and provided space exists, the EM Core Laboratory will retain copies of images stored on our computer hard drives for at least one month. Clinical data is retained for a significantly longer period. Please see the Clinical EM page. (updated May 14, 2014)

If you are trained on the EM and use the EM Core for your research project, please acknowledge that use in the acknowledgement section of your publication. Here is one example: “Electron microscopy was performed by [EM Core researcher] at the University of Utah Electron Microscopy Core Laboratory.”

If a member of the EM Core Laboratory does research work for you, please consider him or her as a collaborator on your project. He or she wants to be part of your team. As appropriate, please have that person participate in group discussions of the project. At a minimum, please acknowledge that person and the University of Utah Electron Microscopy Core Laboratory in the acknowledgement section of your paper.

Clinical EM

Transmission electron microscopy is used in the diagnosis of some diseases, particularly certain renal diseases.  The EM Core Laboratory provides the technical component for clinical electron microscopy, or clinical EM.  We process (fix, embed, and stain) submitted tissue samples.  Once embedded in a plastic block, thin sections of the biopsy are cut on an ultramicrotome and then are imaged on one of our transmission electron microscopes.  Images are then turned over to a pathologist for diagnosis.  The EM Core Laboratory is certified by the College of American Pathologists (CAP).

Please contact the EM Core Laboratory to arrange for this “technical only” service.   Please note that we require submitted samples to have at least two identifying labels:  patient name and an accession number.  If submitted samples are not compliant, we will contact the submitting institution.  Samples should be sent in fixative.  Please contact us for our preferred fixative solution.

Pricing is as follows.  Note that prices may be reduced or increased for very simple or complex cases, respectively.  For example, if a large amount of tissue is sent, then we are required to produce, cut, and image more blocks.  We will increase pricing accordingly.

Clinical Service Price
Full Tissue Biopsy Thin Sectioning: process tissue sample (fix, embed, and stain); cut sections; record images $450/sample
Partial Tissue Biopsy Thin Sectioning: process and cut or cut and record images $225/sample
Partial Tissue Biopsy Thin Sectioning: stain and image sections $100/sample

 

As per CAP requirements, sample blocks and images are stored for at least 10 years.

Research Services
Service Academic Fee* Commercial Fee*
EM Core Staff Time $35/hour $54/hour
Training of new users by EM Core staff see Training see Training
Cut sections on microtome $8/hour $12/hour
Cut sections on ultramicrotome $13/hour $20/hour
Record images on transmission electron microscope see Equipment see Equipment
Record images on scanning electron microscope** see SAL see SAL

 

*Supplies are additional cost.  Also, add staff time charges to usage fees if a EM Core staff member is involved.

**For SEM, we use equipment housed in the Surface Analysis Laboratory.

Specific Research Procedures Done by Core Staff

Procedure for observing tissue & cellular specimens Academic Cost* Commercial Cost*
Epoxy Resin Embedding    $145/batch (1-5 vials)    $218/batch
L.R. White Embedding    $70/batch (1-5 vials)    $105/batch
Immuno-Bed (for light microscopy only)    $128/batch (1-5 vials)    $192/batch
Critical Point Drying    negotiate with staff    negotiate with staff
Osmification and Storage (in buffer)    $22/batch (1-5 vials)    $33/batch
Osmification, Dehydration (ethanol) & Drying (hexamethyldisalizane)    $54.50/batch (1-5 vials)    $82/batch

*Includes supplies

Procedure for observing particulate samples Academic Cost* Commercial Cost*
Negative Staining and Imaging $80/sample $120/sample
Metal Coating (sputter coating) negotiate with core staff negotiate with core staff
Critical Point Drying negotiate with core staff negotiate with core staff
Cryogenic TEM by hour by hour
Three-Dimensional Reconstruction (cryo-TEM or non-cryo-TEM) negotiate with core staff negotiate with core staff

*Supplies are additional cost

Equipment

To schedule the instruments or microtomes listed below, please visit resource.cores.utah.edu or contact a member of the Electron Microscopy (EM) Core staff.

*Note: Holidays also fall under “Evening & Weekend” rates.

FEI Tecnai 12 Transmission Electron Microscope

Location: SMBB Room 2137
Academic Fee:

  • Mon-Fri (8am-5pm): $45/hr
  • Evenings & weekends: $25/hr

Commercial Fee: $68/hr

Reserve for Use
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JEOL JEM-1400 Plus Transmission Electron Micrscope

Location: SMBB Room 2135
Academic Fee:

  • Mon-Fri (8am-5pm): $45/hr
  • Evenings & weekends: $25/hr

Commercial Fee: $68/hr

Reserve for Use
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Hitachi 7100 Transmission Electron Microscope

Location: Biology Room 90
Academic Fee:

  • Mon-Fri (8am-5pm): $30/hr
  • Evenings & weekends: $15/hr

Commercial Fee: $45/hr

Reserve for Use
Hitachi 7100 Transmission Electron Microscope

Location: RB Lab Room 71
Academic Fee:

  • Mon-Fri (8am-5pm): $30/hr
  • Evenings & weekends: $15/hr

Commercial Fee: $45/hr

Reserve for Use
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FEI Tecnai F20 Transmission Electron Microscope

Location: ASB Room 230
Academic Fee:

  • Mon-Fri (8am-5pm): $45/hr
  • Evenings & weekends: $25/hr

Commercial Fee: $68/hr

Reserve for Use
Leica UC7 with Cryo-Attachment Ultramicrotome

Location: ASB Room 230
Academic Fee: $20/hr + liquid nitrogen fee
Commercial Fee: $30/hr + liquid nitrogen fee

Reserve for Use
Leica UC6 Ultramicrotome

Location: SMBB Room 2128, RB Lab Room 71
Academic Fee: $13/hr
Commercial Fee: $20/hr

Reserve for Use
Leica UCT Ultramicrotome

Location: SMBB Room 2128
Academic Fee: $13/hr
Commercial Fee: $20/hr

Reserve for Use
Leica Reichert Ultramicrotome

Location: ASB Room 230
Academic Fee: $13/hr
Commercial Fee: $20/hr

Reserve for Use
Other Specimen-Preparation Equipment
  • Sputter coater
  • High-pressure freezer (e.g. tissue or cells)
  • Vitrification robot (plunge freezing, Vitrobot)
  • Microscopy tissue processor
  • Laboratory microwave oven
  • Freeze substitution machine
  • Light microscope
  • Critical-point dryer
  • Rotary microtome
Supplies

*Do note that this is not a complete list

Supply Cost per unit
Box for Light Microscope Slides $14.10 per box of 100
Chucks for Light Microscopy (for Immuno-Bed) $1.75 each
Embed 812 (for TEM sample preparation) $2.50 per syringe
Forceps (tweezers), Dumont #5 $40 each
Immuno-Bed Filtrate $25 per 100 mL
Immuno-Bed Solution B $1.25 per 3mL
Kodak 4489 electron microscope film (includes developing) $2.00 per sheet
Kodak SO-163 electron microscope film (includes developing) $1.90 per sheet
Liquid Nitrogen $0.70 per liter
Osmium tetroxide (for sample preparation) $1.50 per mL
Printing images on glossy paper $0.70 per sheet
Saturated aqueous uranyl acetate $1.00 per 5 mL
TEM grids, carbon- and formvar-coated, 200 mesh $62.00 per box of 50
TEM grids, single grids at cost per grid
TEM grid box $12.50 each
Tray of Molds (for light microscopy) $44 each (one tray comes with 20 cavities)
Hours of Operation

Please contact us by phone or email.

Location

Main Lab Location
Sorenson Molecular Biotechnology Building (Bldg 151), SMBB Rm 2500
36 S. Wasatch Dr.
Salt Lake City, UT 84112
801-585-1242

Satellite Labs
Radiobiology Laboratory (Bldgs 585 & 586), RB Lab Rooms 48 & 71
30 N. 2030 East
Salt Lake City, UT 84112
801-581-4571

Biology (Bldg 84), Biol Rm 90
257 S. 1400 East
Salt Lake City, UT 84112

A. W. Skaggs Biology Research Building (Bldg 82), ASB Rm 230
259 S. 1400 East
Salt Lake City, UT 84112

Staff

David Belnap Ph.D., Director
Expertise:  Macromolecular or Particle EM
801-585-1242
David.Belnap@utah.edu

Nancy Chandler, Senior Laboratory Specialist
Expertise: tissue and Cellular EM
801-585-1242
Nancy.Chandler@hsc.utah.edu

Linda Nikolova, Senior Laboratory Specialist
Expertise:  cellular and Tissue EM
801-585-1242
lnikolova@genetics.utah.edu

Shiane Escobedo, Technician
801-585-1242

Megan Kent, Technician
801-585-1242

Alfred Van Hoek Ph.D.
801-585-1242
alfred.vanhoek@hsc.utah.edu

Oversight Committee

Erik Jorgensen, Department of Biology
Mary Bronner, Department of Pathology
Frederic Clayton, Department of Pathology