The Aim of the Imaging Core is to provide enabling technology in histology and microscopy for investigators in the Developmental Biology COBRE.
The Imaging Core suite in OMRF’s research tower houses sensitive instruments in dedicated rooms built over a vibration-damping sub-floor (designed by Chad Himmel, P.E., of JEAcoustics). There is also optimized space for sample preparation, tissue sectioning and off-line computing. Sample preparation equipment includes two automated tissue processors, a paraffin embedding station, four microtomes, two cryostats, and an automatic coverslipper. Imaging Core instruments include a cryo-ultramicrotome, a high-pressure freezer, slam freezers, freeze fracture equipment, a freeze substitution system and a sputter coater, as well as
- Standard upright and inverted microscopes
- Two Zeiss LSM-based laser scanning confocal microscopes (a LSM510 and a LSM 710 (both with spectral unmixing capabilities and environmental chambers for live cell work)
- Hitachi H-7600 transmission electron microscope fitted with an AMT 2Kx2K ES 4.0 digital camera
- Zeiss TIRF microscope
- Structured illumination microscope with Colibri LED illumination
- Zeiss LSM-710 intravital, multiphoton confocal microscope with a Becker and Hickl FLIM system and full physiological capabilities
The core also houses a super-resolution DeltaVision OMX-SR microscope. As the only super-resolution microscope in Oklahoma, this instrument provides fluorescent microscopy images with much higher resolution than is possible in conventional fluorescence microscopy through two methods: structured illumination microscopy or SIM, and single molecule localization microscopy or localization microscopy. These methods effectively double or quadruple the resolution of conventional microscopy and are applicable to a wide range of research approaches. Computer support includes a 3D deconvolution 1.6TB data server and a dual zeon 500 GB data server. Also available are 3D deconvolution and data analysis workstations and extremely high resolution printers.
Ben Fowler has been manager of the OMRF Imaging Core for more than 10 years and is responsible for daily management and operation. Fowler has extensive experience in developing experimental protocols for fluorescence microscopy and electron microscopy, maintaining the full range of equipment within the Imaging Facility, and in managing the personnel and business aspects of the Core. There are a total of five full-time employees in this Core.
Mr. Fowler and two of the other full-time technical staff in the facility have extensive experience in training new users to utilize the full suite of light and electron microscopy equipment, following teaching protocols that have been developed over the past ten years. Access to each instrument is controlled by key-card activated doors and log-in requirements for the operating software.
The microscopes are covered by service contracts and Mr. Fowler performs preventative maintenance and quality control procedures as needed. Mr. Flower and his staff are able to perform common minor repairs so that down time is minimized.
Fowler and OMRF vice president of research Rod McEver, M.D., provide administrative oversight and daily management of the Imaging Core. Prospective users are trained in the safe and effective use of individual microscopes by Core technicians. Use of the instruments is monitored by the appropriate Core personnel until the user is approved to operate the instrument independently, including after hours.
User reservations are regulated by an automated, web-based calendar system which is monitored throughout normal working hours by Core personnel.