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General Questions & Facility Operations FAQ

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Enlarge or get directions to JHU SoM Microscope Facility.

Conveniently located in the heart of School of Medicine (East Baltimore) campus, the Microscope Facility spans two buildings, Wood Basic Science and Physiology Buildings, on the ground and basement levels.

Please refer to the directions for visiting the Facility. Because of the Madison Street loading dock (address below) in Wood Basic Science Building, ground-level access from the main elevators requires card-key access. Instead of the main elevators, use the Physiology Building stairwell or elevator to get to the Microscope Facility.

For deliveries, please ship to: 1915 E. Madison Street, Baltimore, MD 21205
(the aforementioned loading dock).


Avoid all elevators or stairwells in PCTB and WBSB. On the Ground floor (hallways shown in red), they trap you on the wrong side of the Loading Dock. Instead, stay on the First floor and use Physiology Bldg elevator or stairs (yellow oval).

If you are new to the Facility, email our groupmail () to request an appointment. Please provide some background information (scientific, as well as technical), and we will direct your inquiries to the appropriate person within the Facility. If you've used the Facility previously, feel free to email or call the Facility people you wish to consult on your research problem. However, just in case they're not available, we recommend cc'ing the Facility's groupmail (), ensuring someone will answer. We are eager to help you See the Science!

As a Core Service Center, we are happy to provide services to all researchers in the local area. Most of our users are from School of Medicine, Bayview, and Homewood campuses of Johns Hopkins University, but we have also helped users from University of Maryland and the National Aquarium in Baltimore, amongst others. The breadth of users and their research problems provide welcome challenges. We want to help you make an impact with your science!

Yes, you can use the Facility equipment without assistance, but you must undergo training to get certified first. For labs new to the Facility, there is a mandatory consultation meeting to discuss your science and the potential data you might collect on our various equipment.

Remember, training/certification to use equipment does not allow users to swap accessories between microscope stations, nor does it entitle them to borrow accessories from the Facility without our explicit permission. Our other users need those accessories, too! Only Facility staff are permitted to change accessories or configurations of equipment. We will revoke user-certification should users abuse their privileges.

We are eager to get people onto the right equipment for their science. Often, we can make a recommendation following a scientific consultation with our staff or our Director. However, there are times where only an experiment can determine the right equipment. We will provide at most one hour of assisted use on our recommended choice(s) of equipment, just to determine their suitability for your science. Subsequently, you will be trained on the appropriate piece of equipment.

Of course! We are more than happy to assist members should they encounter difficulties on equipment. We view the Facility's role as an educational opportunity for all users, making it a particularly good investment for students and post-doctoral fellows as career training. Unfortunately, without prior scheduling or consultation, we cannot assure that problems can be solved in a just-in-time basis. /for more complex problems or questions, we recommend scheduling a block of dedicated supervised time with Facility staff to assure that your time with the microscope is most productive.

Yes, the Facility staff is more than happy to assist you with sample preparation and imaging. Please refer to services for a listing of ways we can help you can obtain your data. Collaborative efforts to develop new methodologies are also possible. All consultations are free, but are required before we can start. Please arrange an appointment in advance to insure sufficient time for these discussions. There is a consultation checklist that can be prepared in advance to help guide the discussion.

Yes, the Facility staff will help you analyze data. Such help can range from training you to do the analysis yourself or having us perform the analysis and formatting. We can train you on generic software tools, such as Adobe Photoshop/ImageReady or Microsoft Excel, as well as specialty software licensed on our workstations, such as Improvision's Volocity, BD Biosciences IPLab, 3i Slidebook, or Zeiss AIM. Free versions of the licensed software can used on your own computer for initial data screening. More sophisticated data analysis and custom image processing software can also be developed for high volume, specialty applications. However, customization is a new service for the Facility, currently on offered only a limited basis. In any case, talk to us and I'm sure we can help!

As part of our standard consultation, we discuss available strategies to adapt existing equipment for your application, often demonstrating the necessary customization for you. However, more sophisticated customization may be required, both of equipment or software. We have the capabilities for such customization, but the development time is significant. In any case, ask us about how we can help you get a more productive experience at the Facility. You might be surprised that you're not the only one and that it's already feasible!

If the Facility doesn't already have something to help you in your research, we will consider buying it. In fact, that's part of our mission as a core facility: procuring shared instrumentation that's not possible for individual investigators. If you don't ask, we wouldn't know that there's a need in the community. Both minor and major purchases are an on-going effort for the Facility. Just ask us!

For major equipment, we must write Shared Instrumentation Grants and your citations helps us in procuring new grants, as well as demonstrating that we used prior grants wisely. Please refer to Citation guide table for a details for each instrument, or contact us for any additional information.

Yes, we will collaborate on projects that require development of new microscopy methodologies, including sample prepartion, experimental design, and data analysis. Jointly mentored students are one mechanism of collaboration. Contact us to discuss the possibilities.


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