Penn Center for Musculoskeletal Disorders

Histology Core

Revised Access Policy during the Pandemic

Training and Consultations

In-person training is currently suspended; however the Histology Core is pleased to offer virtual training for self-service users. Virtual training is available for:

  • Paraffin Microtome – Basic Operation and Safety
  • Cryostat Microtome – Basic Operation and Safety
  • Cryofilm Sectioning

If you are interested in receiving training, please email the Core Technical Director, Dr Waixing Tang. He will email you a link to the training video. After watching the video, email Dr Tang to arrange a phone call to review key training aspects, including safety. He will then provide you with calendar access so you can sign up and use the equipment. Note that standard training fees still apply.

While there will be no in person consultations due to social distancing restrictions, these will be held virtually as needed.

Full Service Histology

We will continue to offer full service histology. Please fill in the project request form. Email the electronic copy to Tang with a drop off date, and leave the paper copy and samples on top of the tissue processor in the hallway. Please don't hesitate to contact us with any questions

Self Service Histology

The histology core has implemented special rules for self-service users during the COVID-19 pandemic.

UPenn Users from within the McKay Orthopaedic Research Labs

Consistent with updated guidelines for Phase II reopening of the McKay Labs, we will now (from July 13) be permitting 2 self-service users to sign up for each Histology Core bay. Users must also sign up for the specific piece of equipment you wish to use, and must continue to follow McKay lab rules for social distancing, PPE and sanitizing equipment before and after use. For users from UPenn labs located outside of the McKay labs, there is a different sign-up policy. Please review separate instructions below.

As a reminder, the equipment located in each bay is as follows:

  • 344B Histology A: Cryostat I (LEICA), Tissue Embedding Center, Paraffin Microtome B, Plastic Microtome
  • 345B Histology B: Cryostat II (Thermo),
  • 364B Histology C: Cryostat III (Thermo), Paraffin Microtome A (Thermo), Paraffin Microtome D (Leica)

Remember to sign up for the bay using this format (PI initial:pennkey:phone number) and then sign up to the instrument calendar as usual. The only exception is Eclipse 90i microscope. You should sign up for Room 342A without simultaneously reserving any histology bay. Always sign your home lab bay at the same time you sign up to use the core (including the microscope room).

UPenn Users from Outside the McKay Orthopaedic Research Labs

As the University moves to Phase II reopening, the PCMD Histology Core will now allow access by self-service users from UPenn labs located outside of the McKay labs. If you are located within the McKay labs, please review the separate instructions above. For all other users at UPenn, please carefully review the usage guidelines below. Unfortunately, we are currently unable to accommodate self-service users located at other Institutions.

As the Histology Core is located within the McKay Labs, all policies for working in the McKay Labs during Phase II will be strictly enforced. Users will need to enter through Johnson Pavilion.

Mandatory Action Items

Complete Penn EHRS COVID-19 Training for Lab Researchers “Penn Guide to Returning to Campus”.

  1. Please submit a PDF copy of your Certificate of Completion for “Penn Guide to Returning to Campus Training- EHRS” (available in Knowledge Link) to and
  2. Enroll in PennOpen Pass

Please be aware that these policies will be strictly enforced. Any violations will result in access to the core being terminated.

  • Facial masks MUST be worn at all times. Standard PPE and safety rules must be followed at all times.
  • Per McKay Lab policy: A lab coat, safety glasses and gloves MUST be worn at all times. We only provide gloves and disinfectant spray. You MUST bring your own safety glasses and lab coat. Sharing lab coats and safety glasses is not permitted. If you normally wear prescription glasses, safety glasses must also be worn over these glasses.
  • Equipment must be sanitized using disinfectant before AND after use.

Consistent with limited occupancy requirements, a maximum of 2 people will be permitted in each histology core bay. Note that the location of some equipment has changed. There are 3 bays available, containing equipment as follows:

  • 344B Histology A: Cryostat I (LEICA), Tissue Embedding Center, Paraffin Microtome B, Plastic Microtome
  • 345B Histology B: Cryostat II (Thermo),
  • 364B Histology C: Cryostat III (Thermo), Paraffin Microtome A (Thermo), Paraffin Microtome D (Leica)

The reservation policy has changed. To reserve equipment for self-service use during Phase II, email Tang ( with the following information:

  • Your name, PI, pennkey and telephone number
  • The piece of equipment you wish to reserve, together with the date, time and duration. You will be given view access to calendars to aid in scheduling time. Note that a maximum of 2 users from labs outside of McKay can be present in the core any one time due to building occupancy requirements.
  • Do not proceed to use the core until you have received confirmation of your reservation.

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