II. MORPHOLOGY RESOURCE CORE Research Plan of Morphology Core Much of vision science requires morphological research either as a means to accomplish experiments or as the definitive product of the research. Microscopic images of many kinds must be studied, acquired and quantified before publication or presentation of the studies. This new Morphology Core has been established to provide morphological resources of most kinds that are needed by vision scientists at UCSF, and it incorporates the former Confocal and Digital Microscopy Support Core. The establishment of the Morphology Core is in response to needs of vision scientists at UCSF, and based on a survey of needs, this Core will be extremely heavily used. The facilities and services provided include the following: slit lamp examination and photography, fundus photography and fluorescein angiography using a Micron III unit, optical coherence tomography (OCT), paraffin and plastic embedding, sectioning and staining, cryosectioning for immunohistochemistry, light microscopy (brightfield, darkfield, phase contrast, DIC and fluorescence) and photomicrography, electron microscopy (EM) and confocal microscopy. Of the 16 respondents to the survey of vision scientists, each of these functions had a minimum of 5 needing them, and 13/16 wanted standard H&E-stained paraffin sectioning (this included 6/8 respondents holding ROI grants). The need for morphological methods in vision science is great, so not surprisingly >50% of NEI Core Grants in the U.S. offer some or all of these services. [Note: All image analysis has been moved to the Imaging Core, so there is now a clear distinction between the Morphology (image and tissue acquisition) and Imaging (image analysis) Cores.] As noted below and in the Resources, the Core Director, Assistant Core Director and staff head of the Core (with a To Be Hired, experienced technician) are/will be fully capable of carrying out the various histological services provided by the Core, as well as instructing members of Core Investigators'labs in the methods and procedures required for those working with the Core equipment. A majority of the equipment will be in Dr. Matthew LaVail's laboratory (see Resources for sharing description) or in the confocal microscopy room, both of which are located adjacent to one another and immediately across the hallway from the Imaging Core. There will be close interaction between the Morphology and Imaging Cores for Core Investigators. In addition, there are several special image-acquisition resources at UCSF, described at the end of Resources. All of the instruction, equipment use and services provided by the Core will be free of charge to Core Investigators, except for the optional, special UCSF resources described at the end of the Resources section and, if desired, some EM services. For the past 19 years. Dr. LaVail and his staff have successfully used the San Francisco VA Hospital Pathology Cell Imaging Lab for some EM services, and we propose to use this model for the Core Investigators as follows: the Morphology Core will take fixed tissues from Investigators, postfix in osmium tetroxide, embed in epoxy resin, thick section (1pm) and stain tissue blocks. In consultation with investigators, the Core staff will trim the blocks to nearly the desired area for EM analysis, make drawings with camera lucida or take light micrographs of the area for final trimming, and then contact the EM staff at the VA Hospital. The blocks and drawings/photographs will be sent to the VA unit on the UCSF-VA Shuttle, where the VA staff will take them, do final trimming and ultrathin sectioning. The key personnel at the VA unit are familiar with retina and eye structures, so we have them take survey EMs of different magnifications, which are returned to us electronically. When we need different areas photographed or higher magnifications, we communicate by telephone or Email. Alternatively, we sometimes go to the VA unit and use the EM, ourselves. The VA facility can also do EM immunostaining and EM negative staining. All of these services are recharged to our individual grant accounts and are very cost-effective and time-saving..

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National Eye Institute (NEI)
Center Core Grants (P30)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZEY1)
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