Comprehensive Electron Microscopy Services

Scanning electron microscopy services (SEM) provide additional topographic detail including the biocompatibility of device products, such as ophthalmic implants or drug-eluting stents. Our experienced electron microscopy staff is available to provide guidance in protocol design for the most appropriate fixation, collection, preparation, and evaluation of biologic samples to ensure sample integrity. 

Electron Microscopy Services and Applications

    • Light microscopy
    • Transmission electron microscopy (TEM)
    • Scanning electron microscopy (SEM)
      • Energy-dispersive spectrometer microanalysis (EDS)
    • Nanoparticle/nanomaterial electron microscopy
    • Immunoelectron microscopy
    • Characterization of animal models
    • Proof-of-concept
    • Detection and characterization of on/off target tissue, cell, and organelle changes
    • Understanding mechanism of action (MoA)
    • Investigation of light microscopic changes
    • Characterization of red blood cell morphology
    • Investigation of nanomaterial structure and tissue interaction
    • Detection of surface deposits and changes
    • Cell culture contamination identification
    • Biomanufacturing process validation
    • Elemental analysis of medical devices
    • High throughput counting of full and empty AAV capsids
    • Detection of sub-cellular therapeutic targets

Our dedicated electron microscopy service laboratories feature multiple electron microscope rooms with chiller, processing, and microtomy rooms and digital cameras. On-site veterinary pathologists and technical specialists take advantage of these facilities to offer complete histopathology services. Additional image analysis and stereology scientists on-site allow for quantitative assessment of electron microscopy images.

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Performing electron microscopy can be quite complex so it is crucial to choose a provider with proven experience performing quantitative pathology techniques to avoid program setbacks including compromised study designs, increased costs and extended timelines.

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We provide GLP-compliant transmission electron microscopy services (TEM) for ultrastructural pathology as well as viral particle identification, tabulation, quantitation, and characterization in support of the FDA’s Points to Consider (PTC) and guidance documents as well as the IHC Guideline Q5A (R1). Recognized for our extensive experience in this field, we offer full electron microscopy services in support of the R&D, preclinical, and manufacturing phases of development.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Electron Microscopy Services

  • What would you recommend for proper harvesting and fixation of tissues for electron microscopy?

    We recommend fixation by cardiac perfusion, using a fixative that contains glutaraldehyde (we recommend freshly made Modified Karnovsky’s or McDowell-Trump fixative). If perfusion is not possible, then tissues should be harvested within five minutes of euthanasia; the liver and kidney should be harvested first. Tissue should be trimmed immediately into 1 mm cubes to ensure proper fixation throughout the tissue for electron microscopy services.

  • What is Scanning Electron Microscopy?

    Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) enables the investigator to examine the surface topography and morphology of cells, tissues, or medical devices by scanning a beam of electrons across a sample using the low vacuum (low resolution) mode or high vacuum (high resolution) mode. For low vacuum mode, wet tissue samples for SEM are processed, dried with a critical point dryer, placed on a specimen stub and sputter-coated with gold or gold/palladium alloy before microscopic examination. This electron microscopy service may be employed in studies in which exterior damage or integrity is of concern. Tissue samples can be mounted such that alterations in cellular growth can be monitored. Samples can be photographed and reviewed by our veterinary pathologists. Elemental sample composition analysis utilizing energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (Edx) technology can also be performed and reported.

  • What is Transmission Electron Microscopy?

    Ultrastructural morphology procedures on ultra-thin sections (50nm – 90nm) enable the visualization of unique details of the structure and the quantification of subcellular organelles, test material, or inclusions. Transmission electron microscopy specimen preparation, which includes processing, embedding, semi-thin and ultra-thin sectioning, and staining, is critical to visualization at the cellular to molecular levels. This electron microscopy service gives investigators precise data on mitochondria, peroxisomes, smooth and rough endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi cytoskeletal components, cytoplasmic granules, and inclusion bodies, which assist in determining a compound’s mode of action and understanding the pathogenesis of toxicologically-related lesions. Our investigators perform a variety of ultrastructural analyses. Lesions at the sub-cellular level, not visible by light microscopy in standard H&E sections, can be observed to identify any likely pathogenic mechanisms. Additional state-of-the-art techniques include immuno-EM to detect subcellular localization of test article and high-throughput quantification of full and empty AAV capsids for cell and gene therapy studies.