Penn Center for Musculoskeletal Disorders

Histology Core

Histology Core Phase II usage guidelines (CLICK HERE)


Overview and Mission

The mission of the Penn Center for Musculoskeletal Disorders (PCMD) Histology Core is to provide comprehensive, high quality histology services to musculoskeletal researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and the broader research community.

The Specific Aims of the core are:

  • To provide guidance and training on the capabilities, advantages, and disadvantages of the various methodologies to assess musculoskeletal tissue structure and composition through formal educational enrichment programs and one-on-one interactions.
  • To provide expertise and service for histological and histomorphometric assays of musculoskeletal tissues.
  • To develop new histologically-based techniques that will be applicable to musculoskeletal research.
  • To provide funding for development of new projects and collaborations and to develop preliminary and/or feasibility data for investigators.

Services Offered

The core offers a complete spectrum of services from sample preparation and processing, to sectioning, staining and analysis, with capabilities for paraffin, plastic and frozen histology. The core provides state of the art equipment in each of these areas, which can be accessed either on a self-service basis (upon completion of training) or a full-service basis through our full-time histology technician. Service fees are highly competitive, with significant discounts offered for PCMD members.

Services offered:

  • Consultation and protocol development (no charge)
  • Paraffin processing and embedding
  • Paraffin sectioning
  • Plastic sectioning
  • Frozen sectioning
  • Routine histochemical staining
  • Training in histology techniques

If you are using the core for the first time, we highly recommend scheduling a meeting with one of the core co-directors and the core technician to discuss the scope of your project and specific needs.

We are very happy to provide letters of support for grant applications. To request a letter, please contact the core co-directors and provide the project title, a brief description of the project and core services you propose to use.

Histology Core Service Fees

Submitting Samples

To submit samples, download and complete the service request form using the link below. Bring the completed form with you to the core when you drop off your samples. Be sure to include any special instructions on the request form. The service request for is not required for self-service equipment usage. An online submission form is under development and will be offered in the near future.

Histology Service request form
**Fillable pdf**


If you wish to use core equipment on a self-service basis, please contact Waixing Tang at ( to schedule training. Once training has been completed, you will be given permission to sign up to use equipment on a Google calendar. Sign up time is used to calculate usage fees.


Invoices for core usage are prepared and sent to Principal Investigators on a quarterly basis.

New Protocol Development Service

An extensive, free protocol development service is available to all PCMD members. The core directors and technician will work with lab representatives to optimize histological techniques including processing, sectioning, and staining for new tissue types and applications.

Core Equipment

  • Three microtomes for paraffin sectioning*
  • Polycut microtome for plastic sectioning*
  • Two cryostat microtomes for frozen sectioning*
  • Automated paraffin tissue processor
  • Paraffin embedding center
  • Twin-head microscope for slide viewing
  • Bright field and fluorescence microscope with high resolution camera
  • Ovens and slide warmers
  • Bioquant histoquantification workstation*

*Available for self-service usage upon completion of training.

Location and Core Personnel

The core is located in room 344 on the 3rd floor of Stemmler Hall, within the Medical School of the University of Pennsylvania. Enter from Hamilton Walk.

Citing the core in your publications: “This study was supported by the Penn Center for Musculoskeletal Disorders Histology Core (P30-AR069619)”.

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