Statement of Purpose:
The purpose of the Imaging Core User Facility is to provide the instrumentation infrastructure and learning environment required to support the research and teaching programs at Marshall. Working within the constraints of grant and user fee support, the Core seeks to recognize both current user hardware and training needs as well as emerging needs which are on the horizon. Due to the dynamic nature of research and the funding environment, early and constant feedback from users is a vital component of achieving this mission.
Statement of Philosophy:
Imaging tools are all in some ways related to photography. Although one can be taught how to snap a photo on any system, elements of an art remain components of this pursuit, and mastery and style develop and evolve in the user with practice and experience.
There are several pathways into using the Core facility, as described below.
History and Future:
Each of the imaging sstems have been acquired through specific research grants. Although the systems currently reside in a variety of environments, selected systems are now located in the central Imaging Core User Facility in room 107 of the Byrd Biotechnology Research Center.
How can the Core Assist me in my Research?
As soon as you recognize that imaging should be a component of your research, you should arrange a discussion with the Core Director Michael Norton or David Neff to define the use of the core which makes most efficient and effective use of your resources.
There are three major ways in which researchers can interact with the Core Facility:
1. Technician Assisted User. There are situations where it is impractical for a faculty member or a student to become a certified user. Some people just need a nice image or two of their samples, and we can help them with this. Examples include gaining preliminary data for a proposal, gaining preliminary data to determine the suitability of a particular imaging system for a particular project, or imaging studies which provide closure for a project which will not be repeated. Short term use of this mechanism (total of 4 or less hours per year) is encouraged, and has been found useful for assisting groups in defining new research directions.
2. User in training. Some groups have long term imaging needs. Since we lack the staff to conduct experiments for researchers, we expect researchers to work independently after completing a training sequence. In cases where agreement has been reached that imaging is a component of a research project or program, students begin the training program described in the next section.
3. Certified Users. These are fully independent academic users who have taken either a full semester course in a technique, or have completed a selected training program as described below. Such users are free to schedule instrument time on the imaging system they are certified to use, as described below.
4. Other modes. Arrangements can be made for users whose requirements do not fit in the descriptions 1 – 3 above.
What is the Process to become a Certified User?
While we do offer experimental assistance at an increased rate, these services are intended only for short-term arrangements. The majority of users are expected to become Certified Users.
Becoming a Certified User is a two stage process, initiated by contacting David Neff, our Imaging Core Technician, by email at email@example.com
1. The user, most normally a graduate or undergraduate student with a long term project, arranges to meet with the Core Technician for a series of introductory sessions on the particular imaging system. There are manifold purposes for such an introduction. There are elements of concern for personal safety and for proper operation of the system to avoid operator induced damage to the system. Also of importance, however, is an understanding of operational variables which may produce artifacts in data, some of which may be obvious, many of which are not intrinsically obvious. Such an in depth introduction is not required in order to operate an imaging system, but is demanded by the instructional purpose of the Core, to develop the critical intellect in a developing scientist. As an example, alignment of a confocal system is a very technical operation, and is never performed by users except during training. In training, however, the user is introduced to the artifacts which can be introduced into so called “co-localization” experiments through a variety of factors, including, but not limited to alignment errors. The training process can be completed in less than two days (some homework reading is required) for the motivated learner. Students are welcome to bring samples of interest to the training sessions, so that the introduction to imaging can be made extremely relevant to their research. Upon successful completion of a comprehension test, students are termed Certified for use of a particular instrument.
2. The second step toward independent instrument use is then signing up for instrument time and filling out the associated bio-safety protocol and new user forms. It is strongly suggested that the novice user schedule instrument time which coincides with David’s schedule, so that students may readily be afforded technical assistance. Although certainly assistance from other students in the early days of your imaging experience is valuable, it is important that all users obtain Certification, and that technical questions should be directed to David or to the Core Director, if only to obtain a “second opinion”. It is also suggested that experimental design and data interpretation may benefit from early discussions involving the PI, the student and either the Core Director or the technician.
What is the Process for Scheduling Time on an Instrument?
We are currently using yahoo calendar to schedule instrument time. Always sign in to instrument logbooks, the future health of the microscopy facilities depend on demonstratrable and quantifiable use.
Researcher can sign up as early as one week in advance and are allowed to sign up for a maximum of 12 hours per person per week without
justification. Longer periods of
use can be readily arranged by submitting a written request.
Users will be billed based on the hours they have reserved on the
Sign-Up Page and the logbook records. Once signed, users are
financially responsible for the assigned time and may cancel their
reservation no later than 24 hours before the reserved time. After
this time, users are released from their obligation only if they can
find a replacement user. In addition, it is mandatory for all users to
record their time of usage in the logbooks provided for each system.
New microscope scheduling routine (as of 2/2006)
On line instrument scheduling with yahoo calendar, please do not change any calendar settings, this is a public use calendar:
1 - go to http://calendar.yahoo.com
2- sign in as below to one of the following calendars
3- use add button to add your name (in title box) and reserved time and duration
4- if you change your plans and do not want to use the instrument, change the calendar immediately (delete your reservation)
5- any problems, email firstname.lastname@example.org (696-3569)
|SEM and accessories
In order to keep the imaging equipment performing well, users are not permitted to permanently store image data on the microscope computers. Image files will be removed from these systems periodically.
Confocal: mages collected on the Bio-Rad confocal microscope can be viewed using free software Confocal Assistant which may be obtained from the website:
There is no USB memory support on windows NT so using CDs is recommended. Multiple sessions can be written to one cd.
While using imageJ from NIH, all parameters used during imaging are viewable. ImageJ is an excellent program for looking at many types of image data (ct scan, confocal, some AFM)
SEM: save .bmps and take with you on 100 or 250 MB zip disks
AFM: PNI data must be analyzed on one of the computers in 107 unless additional software licences are obtained. Screen captures and .BMPS can always be taken on USB memory
Leica SP5:to prevent possible virus trouble, please use only newly formatted usb memory sticks or burn CDs
Responsibilities of All Users of the Facility:
Keep excess oil off of the objectives.
Keep the microscope areas clean and removing all belongings after each session.
If you schedule to be the first or last scope user of the day, make sure that you know the procedure to startup or shutdown the system.
Any observed problems with system performance should be reported to Center Staff. (All systems are supported with service contracts)
Marshall University now has organized microscopy facilities in a center called MBIC (Molecular and Biological Imaging Center). Instrumentation includes electron, confocal, atomic force and fluorescence microscopes. What follows is a fee schedule, the proceeds from which will support upkeep of the facility. This fee structure is designed to encourage new, preliminary and student research via lower fees. Funded researchers and commercial customers fees are quite competitive with fees charged by similar facilities and analytical labs. This fee structure helps ensure the health of the facility. Researchers may be charged additional fees for the use of consumables, i.e., OsO4 or fluorophores, stocked in the facility.
Fee structure (new 2012)
MU College of Science Departmental use (COS coursework) $15/hour (max $150/semester) COS Departmental use (capstone beyond 10 hours) $15/hour (max $150/student)
Unfunded faculty (for research) negotiable, reduced fees granted on merit basis (e.g. for Leica SP5 $15/hour UV Vis - $35/hour MP)
Funded faculty (for research and non-COS coursework) $55/hour (Leica SP5, $35/hour UV-VIS or $55/hour MP*)
Faculty/student (supervised by technician) $110/hour ($70/hour for Leica SP5 UV-VIS or $110/hour MP))
Corporate (supervised by technician) $250/hour - independent $125/hour
MU Capstone students receive no cost use for their projects, as long as the student themselves perform the work. Students capped at 10 hrs/project. We require a project plan on file. Further hours may be awarded at the discretion of the steering committee, with an appropriate application/rationale from user.
We are open to discussion of individualized instrument use plans.
*for live cell/time lapse expts. >8 hours, rate drops by 50% after first 4 hours.
A modification to the non-corporate fee structure for frequent users is in effect (holds for use over a continuous12 month period):
-$55/hour for the first 100 hours ($5500)- $27/hour for the next 100 hours (up to $8200 total)-$13/hour for hours beyond 200 hours
- maximum charge of $10000/year
Labs that anticipate heavy use can make special arrangements for long term access.
The cost for training is $300 per user, or $450 for a group of two. This fee will be offset by billing charges incurred by the user within the first 6 months following training (i.e., if the user incurs $300 in use charges over the first 6 months, the training cost will be reduced to $0).
Experience leads us to believe that a training session without regular usage (regardless of how thorough) does not lead to effective use of instruments some months later. That is the reason for the 6 months window on new user fee waiver/reduction. Please encourage new users to schedule some time on the scope as soon after training as it may be beneficial to your lab.
After your lab has a competant SP5 user, that user may train new users from your lab if the arrangement is cleared with the facilities manager.
Examples of expenditures
Dr. Michael L. Norton
Supplies (paper, ink systems, lens paper, lamps, etc.)
Upgrades of hardware and/or software
New equipment and/or attachments related to microscopy and microscopy research
Warranties and extended warranties
Repair if not covered by warranty
Salary for faculty/technician/operator of instrument
Acknowledgment of the Center:
Published data obtained using facility equipment should include an acknowledgement of "The Marshall University Molecular and Biological Imaging Center". Particular imaging assistance or experimental design assistance can be acknowledged by name or co-authorship, depending upon the level of collaborative assistance provided.
Text descriptions of the Core Facility are available for researchers writing descriptions of the Facility in grant applications, and Dr. Norton can provide letters of consultation, collaboration or support, as needed. The number of publications and grant applications involving the Core Facility are used to demonstrate productivity of the core in justifications to the entities that subsidize the Core Facility. We ask that users supply us with an updated list of publications and grant applications using the Core Facility every 6 months (January 10 and July 10th) in order to renew each laboratory's access to the Core.
Facility news, including new equipment and personnel, significant changes or updates, and problems with equipment or user decorum will be posted on the facility website.
Dr. Norton is the Director of the Imaging Core User Facility at Marshall. Questions, complaints and/or comments can be directed to him via any of the avenues listed below:
Department of Chemistry
1 John Marshall Drive