Advanced Spatial Biology and Research Histology Facility
The Saint Louis University Advanced Spatial Biology and Research Histology Facility
provides a wide range of microscopy equipment and histological and microscopy services
on a fee-for-service basis to researchers at SLU and those at other universities and
businesses around the world. We specialize in techniques that bridge microscopy and
molecular techniques and provide multiple related services.
Our technical staff will assist researchers in planning experiments, working at the
microscopes and evaluating results. We carry out microscopy projects for researchers
at many starting points. We are sensitive to the importance of getting results to
the researcher as quickly as possible, and we endeavor to maintain the shortest turnaround
times consistent with sample volume and complexity.
Fixation, processing and sectioning of samples for paraffin, frozen and plastic workflows
Routine and special histological stains for paraffin and frozen tissue sections
Automated and manual immunohistochemistry (IHC)/immunofluorescence (IF) for paraffin
and frozen tissue sections
Digital spatial profiling services (transcriptomics and proteomics)
RNAscope, BaseScope in situ hybridization
Whole-slide scanning and web database storage
Microscopy project design
Please inquire about other services not listed above.
Samples must be submitted in 10% formalin only and in an appropriate volume (at least
20:1). Samples must be cut to no more than 3mm thick and must fit within a tissue
cassette. For best results, submit specimens oriented in tissue cassettes (please
see an ASBRH staff member for helpful tips). We will not accept specimens stored in alcohol. Please see the timing guidelines below for sensitive assays (IHC/IF/RNAscope).
It is preferred that samples be submitted in sucrose (30% w/v for neural tissues;
20% for all other tissues). For best results, it is recommended that animals be perfused
with 4% paraformaldehyde followed by an optional post-perfusion 4% paraformaldehyde
fixation and mandatory graded sucrose incubations. Quick freezing in appropriate molds
in dry ice or liquid-nitrogen-cooled 2-methyl butane after drying tissue is essential
to good morphology. Some tissues such as skeletal muscle and eye have notable exceptions
to these guidelines. Please see ASBRH staff for full protocols.
Optimal tissue processing is often antibody-dependent. Please discuss with an ASBRH
staff member for your specific assay's needs. As a general guideline exposure to aldehyde-based
fixatives should be limited to no more than 32 hours. Consequently, samples should be submitted within 24 hours of harvest to the ASBRH.
Samples are only received Monday through Thursday for IF/IHC work. Regardless of these policies, we cannot guarantee every IF/IHC experiment to produce
the expected results due to the variability in primary antibody quality from manufacturers.
RNAscope assays have specific requirements and may be submitted as either fixed/fixed-frozen
samples or fresh-frozen samples. Fixed/fixed-frozen samples must be submitted in either
10% formalin or 4% paraformaldehyde, respectively, within 24 hours of harvest to the
ASBRH (samples may not be in fixative for more than 32 hours). The date and time fixation
began must be provided along with the type of fixative. Fresh-frozen samples may optionally
be collected from animals perfused with 4% paraformaldehyde, but should be snap-frozen
in liquid-nitrogen-cooled 2-methyl butane and wrapped in foil. Please see an ASBRH
staff member for the full protocol.
Please consult an ASBRH staff member for the appropriate tissue fixative for your
tissue. Tissue must be submitted as a cube in no greater than 1 mm in each dimension.
Please see ASBRH for instructions for oriented tissues. Samples must be submitted
within one week of harvest.
Slides for GeoMx must be sectioned according to Nanostring's recommendations on either
Leica Apex Superior Adhesive slides or Fischer SuperFrost Plus. The tissue needs to
be within a specified area of the slide. The slides should be prepared no more than
one week before the desired staining time. A plan must be provided or outlined for
ROI selection or time set aside for coming in to do the selection with assistance.
Due to its logistical complexity, a kickoff meeting is required with the ASBRH to
initiate a digital spatial profiling project.
We are in the Saint Louis University School of Medicine in Schwitalla Hall, Room M102.
The entrance to the building is at 3545 Vista Avenue. Please enter at this address
and you will be directed to our facility.
In short, no; we only work with samples for research studies. Clinical samples can
be submitted to either the Histopathology Lab (314-617-2814) or the Clinical Electron
Microscopy Lab (314-617-2854). For research samples using human tissues, please check
with us for policies regarding IRB approval.
Investigators within SLU can bring the sample to our lab or call us to arrange pick-up
from a lab. Those in the St. Louis metropolitan area can bring the sample to our lab
or submit using our online sample submission tool.
You can do your own scope work if you have been trained to use the microscopes. There
will be a charge for scope time, but no additional charge for ASBRH personnel. Please
contact us well in advance to schedule an appointment.
We suggest you discuss your project with us at the outset to determine which procedures
will yield the specific information you need. We can provide the appropriate fixative
and even assist with dissections to ensure the best possible outcome for your studies.