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General Questions & Facility Operations FAQ

  1. Where is the Facility located? How do I get there?
  2. How do I schedule an appointment for consultation? (Casual drop-in visits are always welcome!)
  3. Who can use the Facility?
  4. Do I need to be a member to use the Facility?
  5. What is membership? Why should I join?
  6. Will the Facility staff help me use Facility equipment?
  7. Can I use Facility equipment myself?
  8. Will the Facility staff help prepare specimens and collect images?
  9. Will the Facility staff help me analyze my data?
  10. Will the Facility staff help me customize equipment or software for my applications?
  11. Will the Facility purchase new equipment or accessories for my applications?
  12. Can Facility staff collaborate with me on my microscopy project?

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  1. Where is the Microscope Facility located? How do I get there?
  2. 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).

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  3. How do I schedule an appointment for consultation? (Casual drop-in visits are always welcome!)
  4. If you've used the Facility previously, feel free to email or call the Facility people you wish to consult on your research problem. If you are new to the Facility, contact us for further information . We will direct your inquiries to the appropriate person within the Facility.

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  5. Who can use the Facility?
  6. 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!

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  7. Do I need to be a member to use the Facility?
  8. No, membership is not a prerequisite for using the Facility. We will provide any assisted technical services to all users on a fee-for-service basis. However, technical assistance must be scheduled in advance. Typical lead-times are one to two weeks. The main restriction placed upon non-members is that they cannot use Facility equipment without dedicated assistance by Facility staff. Only the cryostat is open to self-service by non-members.

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  9. What is membership? Why should I join?
  10. Lab group membership allows trained and certified users in the group to perform experiments on their own time and to save money (see our rates). We will train and certify only people that are members. For labs using equipment >1 hr/month, membership is a terrific deal. See JoinUs for more information.

    Non-members must pay for technical assistance. With our professional assistance, we can assure you of prompt delivery of data without the delays inherent for you to learn to become a proficient microscopist.

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  11. After training me, will the Facility staff still help me use that piece of Facility equipment?
  12. 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 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. We recommend scheduling a block of dedicated supervised time with Facility staff to assure that your with the microscope is most productive.

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  13. Can I use Facility equipment myself?
  14. Yes, you can use the Facility equipment without assistance, but you must be a member and you must undergo training to get certified first. In addition, membership does not entitle users to swap accessories between microscope stations, nor does it entitle them to borrow accessories from the Facility. Think of the other users of the Facility! We will revoke user-certification and even lab-membership should users abuse their privileges.

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  15. Will the Facility staff help prepare specimens and collect images?
  16. 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.

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  17. Will the Facility staff help me analyze my data?
  18. 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!

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  19. Will the Facility staff help me customize equipment or software for my applications?
  20. 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!

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  21. Will the Facility purchase new equipment or accessories for my applications?
  22. 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!

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  23. Can Facility staff collaborate with me on my microscopy project?
  24. 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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