Information for Users of Facility Instrumentation

The Biological Science Imaging Resource (BSIR) is a multi-user facility housing instrumentation for light and electron microscopy, including high-resolution scanners and computer workstations to facilitate image processing and image analysis. Faculty, students, and research associates have access to a variety of specimen preparation and imaging equipment for pursuing microscopic methods in achieving their research goals.

Users from all departments of the University are welcome, and outside users can be accommodated in many cases. Training in equipment use, and technical assistance, is provided by BSIR staff. In general, specimen preparation appropriate to the imaging technique being utilized is the responsibility of the researcher, with the exception that facility staff can perform standard procedures such as sputter coating for scanning electron microscopy. Because users represent a wide range of disciplines and sub-specialties, the facility cannot provide full specimen processing, but will assist in selection of a preparation strategy. In practice, the determination of an effective specimen preparation method, and an exact protocol is a significant component of most microscopy investigations, and typically must be refined by the individual investigator to optimize the results obtained.

Due to the use of facility instruments by a large number of individuals from many departments both on the main FSU campus, and at Florida A&M University and the FAMU/FSU College of Engineering, it is essential to adhere to certain usage guidelines. The guidelines are established to permit maintaining the instruments in optimum working order, to minimize conflicts, and to allow researchers to most effectively use their time. Additionally, the scheduling guidelines allow the staff to configure instruments appropriately for each user with minimal loss of scheduled time.

Rules for use of the facility are necessary because of the extreme sensitivity of the instruments and very high cost of repair or replacement of many components. If at any time you have questions about the policies, or have a unique situation that requires special consideration, do not hesitate to let us know, and we will try to accommodate your needs. The general policy guidelines for use of the facility are outlined below, and additional details may be discussed when instrument use is initially requested.

  • Initial Access : Time blocks for use of specific equipment items are generally scheduled between 9:00 AM and 5:30 PM each work day. To allow for training that is appropriate to each user's needs and experience, Xiaofeng Fu should be contacted in person (119 BIO) or by phone (850-644-6519) to arrange the initial training sessions. Prior to using the facility, each prospective user will be asked to fill out an information form (Project Information Form) that includes contact numbers, account or budget to be charged, faculty member or principal investigator authorizing the charges, and general information about the intended project.
  • Faculty Responsibility : Except for outside (non-academic) users, a faculty member must take responsibility for their staff and students who use the facility and for any health and safety hazards associated with projects performed in the BSIR. Included is the financial responsibility for costs incurred due to established instrument time charges and any supplies that must be recharged through the FSU auxiliary account that supports operation of the facility.
  • Scheduling : Until a user is thoroughly familiar with a particular piece of equipment, they will be assisted by BSIR staff, and scheduling should be arranged by telephone or in person at the facility. Once a user has sufficient training to safely and comfortably operate the equipment with minimal assistance, scheduling may be done through the online calendar for each piece of equipment, which is accessed by selecting Scheduling from the choices at the top of the BSIR homepage (http://bsir.bio.fsu.edu/), followed by clicking on the desired selection from the equipment list. Scheduling requests for the electron and confocal microscopes, the cryo specimen holders, and for the critical-point dryer must be submitted at least 24 hours in advance. The light microscopes, scanners, and workstations may be scheduled by previously trained users, who do not require assistance, without this lead-time requirement. If assistance from the staff is needed, it is necessary to arrange an appointment by contacting Xiaofeng directly, or by sending an e-mail. If a scheduled appointment cannot be kept, it should be cancelled by telephone as soon as possible to allow others the opportunity to use the time.
  • General Equipment Operation Guidelines : When scheduling instrument time, users should provide basic information about their requirements for that session, such as desired accelerating voltage for the electron microscopes, and fluorochromes being utilized for fluorescence work (laser excitation wavelengths). This enables us to have the scheduled instrument properly aligned and to turn on the appropriate lasers for confocal work prior to the scheduled time block. The confocal lasers are only to be turned on and off by the facility staff. Please do not attempt to fix any instrument problems, regardless of their apparent insignificance. If any component of a system does not seem to be operating as expected, please stop and let us know so that we can determine how to proceed or whether service personnel need to be contacted. It will greatly help us to keep the equipment working optimally if we are aware of any difficulties you encounter so that we can attempt to avoid more serious potential problems and unnecessary downtime.
  • Data Storage : We recommend that you save data to your personal drive space and one other location typically  a USB flash drive. Due to the enormous amount of data collected on most instruments within the facility all files will be deleted 2 weeks from the date of acquisition.

New User Files: