Histology Services

Comprehensive Anatomic Pathology Support

We provide expertise in preparing and processing tissues for a wide range of routine and specialized procedures. If you have a custom request, we are available to consult with you to develop an innovative, workable solution to address your project's specific needs. 

Schedule With Us

To schedule histology services, or to get more information about how we can work with you, view our rates and scheduling page or contact our histology team:

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Routine formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) processing 

After tissue has undergone 10% neutral buffered formalin or PaxGene fixation, we process it on automated tissue processors and then embed it into paraffin blocks for slide or curl preparation. FFPE processing preserves tissue proteins and structures in a stable, easy-to-handle form, compatible with many types of assays. 

Tissue cassettes in a jar labeled: 10% formalin with biohazard symbol
Tissue cassettes in 10% neutral buffered formalin Photo by Miki Haraguchi / Experimental Histopathology shared resource
Frozen tissue preparation

When an assay requires unfixed specimens, we embed fresh tissue in OCT (optimal cutting temperature) medium and flash-freeze it in supercooled isopentane. This technique ensures the highest possible morphological preservation and minimizes freezing-related artifacts that can interfere with analysis. 

Due to the preparation time required to process OCT frozen samples, please contact us at least 24 hours in advance to schedule your request.

OCT block on dry ice pellets
OCT block on dry ice Photo by Miki Haraguchi / Experimental Histopathology shared resource
Cell pellet preparation

Investigators can submit cells of all types for FFPE processing. We wash fixed pellets, centrifuge them, embed them in an agar-based matrix, and then process them identically to tissue. Sections of these pellets can be stained or undergo procedures such as immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization.

Microscopic image of cells
mFISH on HeLa cells Image by the Experimental Histopathology shared resource
Routine (H&E) staining

Hematoxylin and eosin, or H&E, staining is a ubiquitous technique for visualizing cellular and whole-tissue morphology. This stain reveals the nucleus and cytoplasm of the cells, as well as extracellular components. Our Sakura Tissue-Tek Prisma autostainer is dedicated to high-volume H&E staining for fast turnaround.   

Microscopic image of cells
H&E-stained skin, 10x Image by the Experimental Histopathology shared resource
Special staining

When H&E staining alone does not provide adequate information, we can perform special tissue staining techniques. Special stains can confirm the presence or absence of specific tissue structures, cell types and microorganisms.

Microscopic image of cells
Movat’s pentachrome stain, 20x Image by the Experimental Histopathology shared resource
Microtomy (tissue section preparation)

Our team is highly experienced in FFPE and frozen sectioning, and we can provide unstained tissue slides from FFPE or OCT blocks for your experiments. We also routinely prepare nuclease-free sections onto slides, or collected as curls, for downstream molecular and proteomic analysis.

Microtomist placing FFPE sections on slides
Microtomist placing FFPE sections on slides Photo by Robert Hood / Fred Hutch News Service
Tissue microarray and multi-tissue block construction

Tissue microarrays, or TMAs, are comprised of tissue cores from multiple donor FFPE blocks and arranged as a mapped array in a new recipient paraffin block. TMAs can be used to compare normal vs. diseased tissues, or to perform screening across many tissue types on one slide, saving time and money. We can construct TMAs of up to 100 cores and prepare multi-tissue blocks containing larger pieces of tissue.

Array of small, stained circles of tissue
H&E stain on TMA cores Image by the Experimental Histopathology shared resource
Training

For training on our Leica laser capture microdissection, or LCM, instrumentation, contact our LCM Specialist David Sierra to schedule a session.  

Scientific piece of equipment including microscope and computer screen
LMD6 Photo courtesy of Leica Microsystems
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Questions about our histology services or how to schedule with us?