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Washington Cellular and Molecular Imaging Core


The Cellular and Molecular Imaging Core facilitates and enhances the research of Diabetes Research Center affiliates by providing access to specialized expertise and equipment required for high quality histochemical and morphological analyses in a cost-effective manner.

The Cellular and Molecular Imaging Core provides Diabetes Research Center affiliate investigators with:

  • Rigorous performance and quantitative assessment of immunohistochemistry and morphological changes in tissues;
  • Access to state-of-the-art imaging instrumentation;
  • Expert diabetes-related technical and scientific support, including design and interpretation of research protocols;
  • Access to comparative pathologists, to assist with experimental and/or preclinical studies; and
  • Hands-on and didactic training Hands-on and didactic training for routine and highly specialized morphological, histochemical, and imaging techniques.


The Cellular and Molecular Imaging Core has two main locations: the Cellular and Molecular Imaging Core at VA Puget Sound Health Care System and in the Histology and Imaging Core at UW SLU. These two laboratories provide state-of-the art facilities to DRC Affiliates and enable the following services to be offered:

Tissue Section Preparation and Staining
Tissue Processing and Embedding
  • Provision of fixatives and related buffers
  • Automated tissue processing (Tissue-Tek VIP and Leica ASP300S)
  • Tissue embedding (Leica EG1150H and Histocore Arcadia H/C)
  • Paraffin sectioning(Leica RM 2035, RM 2065 and RM2255
  • Cryostat sectioning Leica CM1950 and CM3050S, respectively).

The Cell and Molecular Imaging Core also provides training and consultation in the correct use of fixatives and tissue preparation, a critical determinant of the quality of the data generated from these specimens.

Histochemical and Immunohistochemical Analysis
  • Automated performance of routine histochemical stains such as H&E (Leica Autostainer XL)
  • Expertise in a wide range of special stains and enzymatic histochemistry
  • Conventional immunohistochemistry for a wide range of peroxidase and fluorescent-labeled antibodies and related methods, including multiple labeling applications
  • Automated immunohistochemistry (Leica Bond Max), offering superior reproducibility for use in digital pathology and automated image analysis.
Conventional Bright Field and Fluorescence Microscopy
Digital Pathology

An automated whole slide scanner (Hamamatsu NanoZoomer Digital Pathology Virtual Microscope) scans and digitizes tissue sections.

The digital images are high resolution and preserve information from the original glass slide. Images can be visualized over a network or the internet.

Confocal Microscopy

A Leica Inverted SP5 II Advanced Confocal microscope system is available at the Core at VAPSHCS for use by all Diabetes Research Center affiliate investigators.

Live Cell and Wide Field Imaging

The DeltaVision imaging microscope may be used for live-cell imaging and 3D imaging of fluorescent probes. It is also useful for fluorescence immunohistochemistry for weak signals that are difficult to image on a conventional confocal microscope.

Laser Capture Microdissection

A Leica LMD7000 is available, via training to users or as a full-service technique, including expertise in optimizing yield and quality of RNA collection from tissue and rapid tissue labeling protocols for use with LMD.

Image Acquisition and Quantitative Microscopy
Technical Assistance and Consultation

Core directors and staff provide consulting services to affiliate investigators that use the core facilities on protocols needed to meet their scientific objectives, as well on procedures for analyzing and interpreting the results of these methods.

Comparative Pathology

Access to veterinarians with expertise in comparative pathology, to assist Diabetes Research Center affiliates in translating their findings in animal models to human disease. Contact Charles Frevert for more information.

Core People

Core Director
Rebecca Hull-Meichle PhD Washington Cellular and Molecular Imaging Core Email