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Integrated Microscopy and Imaging Laboratory

About the Laboratory

The mission of the IMIL is to support research progress and grant development by encouraging researchers to explore advanced imaging modalities and to incorporate them into their existing research programs.

The IMIL provides technical expertise and cutting-edge microscope systems to support the research of faculty and staff of Texas A&M University Health Science Center, Texas A&M University, and all other campuses. The IMIL includes six microscopy rooms, supporting facilities, and an image processing station.

Technical staff is available to train and assist with design, implementation, and analysis of experiments as well as assist in troubleshooting.

Training

In-house equipment demonstrations/workshops will be provided in order to illustrate the capabilities and potential applications of the Core Instrumentation. Workshops for introducing new equipment to the users’ community will also be organized as needed.

Training sessions will be organized by the facility manager on an as-needed basis.

The normal procedure for initiating the use of IMIL instrumentation is as follows:

  1. Interested investigators will contact the facility manager and/or facility director regarding the feasibility and design of their proposed experiments.
  2. The investigator and the facility manager will schedule a preliminary experiment.
  3. The investigator and the facility manager and/or facility director will then consult to plan the costs and time frame of additional experiments and to determine the role (if any) of the technical personnel in the project.
  4. After the appropriate training and checkout, the experiments can then be conducted by the investigator or by members of his/her research group.

Competency checkouts will be required for the solo operation of all shared instrumentation.  This will assure other users of the IMIL that care, calibration, and maintenance of the instruments meet the highest standards.  Approvals for the solo operation will always be at the discretion of the facility manager and/or facility director. NO TRAINING WILL BE provided WITHOUT PRIOR LASER SAFETY TRAINING CERTIFICATION.  The laser safety training is offered by Texas A&M Environmental Health and Safety, Radiological Safety (https://ehsdtraining.tamu.edu). A copy of the completion certificate must be emailed to the facility manager for record-keeping.

Reservations

The online scheduling calendars for IMIL core equipment is hosted by the TAMU Outlook. Users can access the IMIL calendars through their Outlook email client on their computer or by visiting exchange.tamu.edu with a web browser. Users sign in with their TAMU email addresses and add the calendar to their TAMU calendars. Instructions on how to add IMIL calendar (PDF). Once users have completed training, they will be given editing access to the calendar. If the user does not have a TAMU email address, the calendar can be reserved by contacting Dr. Malea Murphy at maleamurphy@tamu.edu. Scheduling for using the microscopes (including after-hours and weekend use) can be done up to but not exceeding 4 weeks in advance. Microscopes availability will be on a first-come, first-serve basis. Double booking of a time slot is not allowed. Researchers should estimate the scheduled time as accurately as possible.

Users MUST sign in and out of the instrument by using the log sheets present in each room at the start and end of use time. Billing will be done according to this log and the online scheduling calendar.

Schedules are subject to rearrangement by the facility director and facility manager, if necessary. The facility will use 4 hours a week for the development and maintenance of each instrument.

A user may cancel scheduled time without charge if the cancellation is done at least 48 hours in advance of the scheduled time. To cancel reservations, email Dr. Malea Murphy at maleamurphy@tamu.edu.

Rates

Core Equipment Rate/Hour Outlook Calendar Name
Olympus Flouview: 3000 Confocal Microscope $30/Hour IMIL-Olympus FV3000 confocal
Olympus VS-120 Slide Scanner $20/Hour IMIL-SlideScanner
Olympus FVMPE-RS Multiphoton Microscope  $55/Hour None
Leica AOBS SP2 Confocal Microscope $20/Hour IMIL-LeicaSP2 confocal
NanoFluor II Integrated Microscope System $20/Hour

IMIL-Spinning-Disk FastScan

Technical Support    

$45/Hour

none

 

Technical Support (Training)        

Free to users none
Image Analysis Computer Free to users IMIL-ImageAnalysis
Histology Laboratory Free to users IMIL-Histology
Cell Culture Laboratory Free to users IMIL-Cell Culture
Tissue Prep Laboratory Free to users IMIL-Tissue Prep

Initial Inquiry Form

 

Parking Directions

IMIL Parking Directions

Biohazard Safety

The IMIL laboratory rooms meet the criteria for Biosafety Level-1 (BSL-1). Under no circumstances are BSL-3, BSL-4 agents/pathogens or radioactive material allowed in the facility at any time. However, some rooms have been approved to be convertible up to BSL-2. Users who wish to bring BSL-1 or BSL-2 material (including animals) to the IMIL must fill out an IMIL Biosafety Conversion Form.

BEFORE any BSL-1 or BSL-2 material is brought to the facility, applicable microscope and support rooms must be added to the investigator’s approved TAMU Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) permit AND users must provide agent specific hazard awareness information to Dr. Murphy. EACH TIME a user plans on performing BSL-2 experiments in the IMIL they must first submit an IMIL Biosafety Conversion Request Form AND receive written confirmation and approval from Dr. Murphy. Approval from Dr. Murphy will not be granted until the Office of Biosafety (OB), has received all documentation and approved the conversion.  At that time, the appropriate entry signs will be posted by Dr. Murphy, and appropriate procedures will be implemented and enforced. BSL-2 conversion kits will be assigned and users will place biohazard autoclave bags into the glove trash bin.   

Any manipulation of biohazardous samples before imaging should be done in the user’s lab if possible. Otherwise, all manipulations must be performed in a biosafety cabinet in room 1310. When possible, seal culture dishes with parafilm. Samples must be placed in secondary containment before moving to the imaging laboratory. All reasonable precautions must be made to prevent spills on or near the microscope equipment. The microscopes are very sensitive to cleaning agents. ANY DAMAGE TO THE MICROSCOPE RESULTING FROM SPILLED SAMPLES, INCLUDING NECESSARY DISINFECTION WITH HARSH CHEMICALS, WILL BE THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE USER AND PI. Before bringing samples into the microscope laboratory, a new diaper pad must be place on sample working area. All required equipment/disposables, such as lens wipes, sample holders, stage top incubation chamber must be prepped and ready for use and all unnecessary items put away before samples are removed from secondary containment. When the imaging experiment is complete, samples should be returned to secondary containment first. The microscope and associated stage holders/incubation chamber should be disinfected with 70% ethanol. All contaminated equipment should be cleaned with appropriate disinfectant. Dispose of bleach-soaked paper towels (or other absorbent materials) as non-biohazardous waste. Other solid biohazardous wastes must be collected into a biohazard waste bag and autoclaved. Bleach-containing solutions or materials should NOT be autoclaved.

Users' samples will be evaluated on an individual basis and the appropriate disinfectant approved on their IBC permit will be used on all surfaces other than the microscope. If the necessary disinfectant is something other than ethanol or bleach then it will be provided by the user.

If intravital imaging of animals/animal manipulations are classified as BSL-2 all surgery will need to be performed in a biosafety cabinet. Animals will need to be transported to the microscopy lab in secondary containment. 

In the event of a spill, spill kits can be found in each laboratory.  Assess personnel involved first. If any biohazardous material gets in your eyes, flush your eyes at the nearest eyewash immediately. Remove any contaminated clothing or personal protective equipment (PPE) and wash any exposed areas of skin with soap and water. Put on clean clothing (if necessary) and fresh PPE (i.e., lab coat, gloves, and eye protection) before cleaning the spill. NOTIFY DR. MURPHY IMMEDIATELY. Cover the spill with paper towels. Consider that the spill may extend farther than you think and may have contaminated other surfaces nearby. Apply agent-appropriate disinfectant on the spill area, working from just outside the margins of the spill towards the center. Use only 70% ethanol on the microscope and optical table. If possible, Dr. Murphy will decontaminate the microscope and any other sensitive equipment. Allow for sufficient disinfectant contact time. Note: minimum contact time may vary, depending on the disinfectant(s) in use and the agent(s) being treated. Pick up any broken glass using forceps, tongs, or a broom and dustpan. NEVER pick up glass with your bare hands. Ensure glass is decontaminated before disposing in broken glass or sharps container. Dispose of bleach-soaked paper towels (or other absorbent materials) as non-biohazardous waste. Other solid biohazardous wastes must be collected into a biohazard waste bag and autoclaved. Bleach containing solutions or materials should NOT be autoclaved. Repeat disinfection of the spill site to ensure the area is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Immediately report any spill of risk group 2 materials outside the biosafety cabinet, any spill of risk group 1 material in excess of 25 ml, and any spill of recombinantly modified risk-group 1 material to Dr. Malea Murphy and to the Office of Biosafety by calling 979-862-4549 or e-mailing biosafety@tamu.edu. For after-hours spill emergencies, please call the Communications Center at 979-845-4311 for assistance.

BL2 Conversion Form

 

Contact

Andreea Trache, PhD
Facility Director
trache@tamu.edu


Malea Murphy, PhD
Facility Manager
979-436-9037
maleamurphy@tamu.edu