The Hope Babette Tang (1983) Histology Facility at the Koch Institute at MIT is available to researchers interested in producing quality frozen, paraffin, or resin sections of a wide variety of samples, including mammalian tissue, zebrafish, bacteria, and some implantable devices/plastics.

We are happy to meet with any interested individuals to discuss ways in which we can assist ongoing or future projects. After submitting your request through iLab, please bring your specimen to the Facility. See Core Access for guidance on iLab registration.

Please contact the Histology core to schedule time for consultation and for a tour of the Tang Histology Facility, located in Building 76, Room 182 (x8-8183). 

Services offered:

  • Paraffin processing and embedding: This medium is appropriate for most routine histology. Fixed tissue pieces are dehydrated through a series of graded alcohols before clearing with xylenes. The final step in the processing is the replacement of the xylenes with molten paraffin. The tissue is then removed from the processing machine, infiltrated with fresh molten paraffin, oriented, and allowed to cool and harden into a block. Tissue is then sectioned on a microtome and slides are produced.
  • Frozen sectioning: Many antigens and RNA do not survive routine histological processes. An alternative method requires tissue to be frozen and sectioned in a cryostat. Antigen preservation is always superior in fresh frozen tissue. Unfortunately, the drawback to frozen sections is the vastly inferior morphology of the tissue.
  • Resin sectioning: The facility has available a Thermo automated microtome and tungsten carbide blade used in sectioning resin-embedded tissue for the light microscope. The reagents used are glycol methacrylate resins that produce a firmer medium, allowing thinner (2 um) sections to be cut. It is particularly useful for undecalcified bone. The disadvantages to this method involve the toxicity of the reagents and the limited stains that are compatible with the resin.
  • Hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) staining: One of the principal histological stains used in medical diagnosis. 
  • Immunostaining: We offer cleaved caspase3 and Ki-67 antibodies, however, we will utilize antibodies provided by researchers. The KI standard automated IHC (ThermoScientific IHC Autostainer 360) run consists of Endogenous peroxidase blocking: 10 minutes protein block: 30 minutes primary antibody: 60 minutes labeled polymer: 15 minutes DAB: 5 minutes. (Other programs are available for other species/primaries, please contact the Histology lab to discuss options.)
  • Special staining: 

    • Carbohydrate stains: Periodic acid–Schiff (PAS), PAS (+diastase digestion), and Alcian blue
    • Connective tissue stains: Oil Red O* (neutral lipids and adipocytes, fat droplets in fibroblasts) *(frozen sections only), Safranin-O (cartilage, mucin, and mast cell granules), Sirius red (collagen and amyloid), Trichrome (collagen), and Verhoeff-Van Gieson (elastic fibers)
    • Nerve stains: Luxol Fast blue and Cresyl Echt Violet
  • Digital whole slide scanning and software access
  • Leica VT1000S vibratome and McIlwain tissue chopper (independent use)
  • Microtome and cryostat training and independent use