General Policy: No food or drink in the lab
The FIC provides access to a variety of brightfield, widefield fluorescent, and confocal microscopy instrumentation on a pay-per-use basis. All newer microscope systems are maintained under individual service contracts with the respective manufacturers to ensure continued, optimum performance. Researchers, technicians, students, or other academic personnel can be granted access to an instrument but must have a valid Research Resources Center Account Number before any data collection can be carried out.
The FIC also reserves the right to refuse certain specimens or imaging practices that may have a negative impact on the instrument performance, or otherwise affects the accessibility for other users.
All of the instruments in active use within the FIC can be reserved via the online scheduler. Reservations are currently limited to 4 hours per day. (Special reservation guidelines apply to the Prairie In Vivo Multiphoton system, see instrumentation page) Users are not permitted to book an instrument for others if they will not be present during the allotted time. These guidelines are intended to avoid the monopolization of a single system by any individual laboratory.
Training and Assisted Use Policy
All new users and investigators are required to receive formal training for the instrument before it can be independently operated. Such training is typically divided into a pair of 2-hour sessions (spaced no more than a week apart) to fully acclimate users to the system and it’s software*.
Users who received informal training from other advanced users (not FIC staff) are still required to demonstrate a working knowledge of each system for separate access to be granted.
For users pursuing certain highly-specific or single-use imaging approaches, the FIC is able to provide assisted use for any available instrument. However, such assistance is dependent on the availability of the FIC staff and must, therefore, be requested at the time of instrument reservation.
*Training time on the Prairie In Vivo Multiphoton system is 4 x 2 hours. Users also need to pass the UIC laser safety course and email the certificate to the FIC staff prior to Multiphoton system training.
Extended Use Policy
The standard hours of operation for the FIC are 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. Monday -Friday, and the facility observes all university holidays. However, the use of some instruments beyond these regular hours may be granted (24/7) to certain users if they have shown a proficiency in image acquisition and the handling the equipment. Be advised that it is generally easier to accommodate a reservation that extends past 5:00 P.M. than it is to prepare an instrument earlier than 9:00 A.M.
The FIC staff understands that the preparation of specimens must often be carefully timed to coincide with the reservation of an instrument and that sometimes the poor viability of cells or tissues may necessitate the cancellation of a reservation window. However, a number of the FIC instruments are consistently in high demand, and a number of users find themselves delaying experiments to wait for an available time slot.
To fairly compromise between the two situations, the FIC must enforce a strict cancellation policy for each reservation made. A user may cancel a booking up to 12 hours before the start of the reservation time through the online scheduler with no cost or penalty.
Any cancellations made less than 12 hours from the start of the reservation time cannot be performed via the online scheduler. In these instances, a notice must be sent by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org concerning the cancellation. A service fee of 1-hour rate of the instrument which user reserved will apply and be billed to the user’s RRC account.
A missed reservation -or a failure to cancel any unused booking -will result in the entire original reservation being billed. In the event of a late start or delay to an appointment, the full reservation will also be charged.
The FIC requests that the use of the facility’s instrumentation is acknowledged in any published papers. The following text provides an example of such an acknowledgment:
Portions of this work were carried out in the Fluorescence Imaging Core (FIC) via the Research Resources Center (RRC) at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC).
In addition, co-authorship of papers may be appropriate when an FIC staff member provides significant input to the research outcome or text for a detailed methods write-up. In other cases, a simple personal acknowledgment may be warranted.