The Imaging Core provides access to knowledge and training allowing the user to learn and understand imaging technologies and sample preparation techniques that are tailored toward inner ear-related research. Beside standard equipment for sample preparation and microscopy, it also offers advanced imaging systems that are integrated into a physiology-oriented concept allowing access to a broad base of users of technology that is not available as off the shelf solution. The Imaging Core is integrated into the overall philosophy of the Stanford OHNS Core Center providing access to knowledge and technology (Aim 1), and to stimulate and inspire discussion among users to identify the best possible imaging solution for a specific question. Previous success supports the strategy that advanced scientific discussions foster and stimulate collaborative research (Aim 2). The core provides access and training for state-of-the-art confocal systems (Aim 3), each configured for specific tasks, such as routine confocal scanning in upright or inverted configurations, fast high resolution scanning, ultrafast scanning for imaging physiological processes in subcellular structures or spinning disk confocal imaging for living cells. In addition, users have access to a highly flexible 2-photon imaging system that allows imaging of isolated tissues and structures in living animals. For histology, the core offers access arid training to use apparatus for cryosectioning as well as paraffin embedding and sectioning.
Access to equipment that requires expert maintenance and advanced training for optimal use of the individual instruments'capabilities can most efficiently be capitalized through the implemented Core Center. For an individual laboratory, it would be economically unbearable to maintain such broad and up-to-date capabilities. Implementing a philosophy where the user base is being educated to utilize the Core-provided technology in the best possible way creates a stimulating and innovative environment for collaborative research.
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