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 About Facility - Facility Use Guidelines

Many different researchers use the LSMF so it is essential that all users respect the needs of others and leave equipment and space equal, if not better, than you found them. There are a few laboratory guidelines that all users are asked to observe in order to provide equipment in good working order, minimize conflicts, and make the best use of your time. The main items are outlined below.

Requirements for core Users:
All university researchers have equal access to the services provided by the LSMF.  External users are accommodated as time permits. Researchers who work independently on the major instruments must have a formal course in microscopy (SEM and/or TEM given through the LSMF, other facilities on campus or other institutions) or demonstrated knowledge of basic theory of the microscopy area required. Taking a written qualifying exam or demonstrating past experience through publications and training in other facilities can most easily accomplish this demonstration of proficiency.

Those requiring access to light microscopes and sample preparation equipment are handled on an individual basis as quickly as staff scheduling permits.

Expectations by core staff:
Core staff works as efficiently and carefully as possible and tries to treat all investigators and their projects with equal respect.  Every project is equally important to its investigator and thus deserves equal attention. The Investigators are expected to treat core staff accordingly.  Any concerns related to courteous or respectful treatment by either staff or researchers that cannot be resolved by discussions with the core director will be taken to the advisory committee for resolution. If resolution is not achieved than the conflict will be taken to the administrators of the involved departments/schools/colleges for their assistance.

If at any time you have questions about lab policy or have special needs, please do not hesitate to let us know and we will try to accommodate you.

Access: The facility is open from 8:00 to 5:00 each workday. It is available to all researchers on campus. However, because you must be trained and checked out on equipment, it is necessary to contact Debby Sherman (46666) prior to use. You will be asked to fill out a general information form and we will review procedures and guidelines prior to your actually using the facility.

Faculty Responsibility: A Purdue faculty member must take responsibility for their staff and students who use the facility and the projects done here. This includes financial responsibility for costs incurred.

Off-Hours Access: Access after hours is limited to those regular users who have been checked out on desired equipment and are not able to complete their work during normal hours. It is possible to sign-out a key to the facility for single-time use.

If possible, please reserve time on the light and electron microscopes, microtomes,  and sample preparation equipment in advance. You can do this by personally signing schedule sheets or by phone (46666), E-mail (dsherman@purdue.edu) or through the web sign-up system (major equipment only). This procedure is necessary to avoid scheduling conflicts.
Instruments are scheduled on a first-come basis with all users having equal scheduling rights. Exception to this is, if the instrument was acquired on a federally-funded grant, those research projects that justified the instrument acquisition would have priority for access to it. Cancellations are requested the day prior to use so that vacancies can be filled. Only the facility staff can request changes to the schedule to try to maximize instrument use.  Users are requested to limit advanced sign-ups to 4hrs/week on major instrumentation.  However, if time is available 48hrs prior to desired use than additional time is permitted.  Some procedures /experiments may require additional time and this is permitted upon request to the Director.

Equipment Malfunctions:
Do not attempt to fix any equipment problems, regardless how small or insignificant they may appear. Contact the staff and they will attempt to rectify the problem or will contact the appropriate service personnel. This rule must be enforced so that we can maintain the equipment in the best possible shape and avoid unnecessary downtime. We can only maintain the equipment properly if you, the user, keep us informed of potential problems.

The users provide some supplies. Other routine items are supplied by the facility. Please ask prior to using something. Recharge supplies must be recorded for future billing.

A full or partial service option is available for preparation of samples and imaging. Contact Debby Sherman (46666, dsherman@purdue.edu) to discuss your needs and obtain rate information.

a. Prioritization of projects:
All projects are handled on a first come basis to the greatest extent possible. Investigators are encouraged to schedule sample submission so that the staff is ready to immediately begin sample preparation and/or imaging. This is important for staff time management and scheduling.  Some samples require more extensive preparation than others but we try to have a maximum 2-week turn-around for all but the most extensive sample submissions.  If sample preparation is minimal the data may be ready the same day as submission.  Investigators are encouraged to attend imaging sessions whenever possible so they can direct this part of the process.

b.  Conflict Resolution:
The investigator is encouraged to be present during final imaging so as to direct the research.  At this time any technical problems are discussed.  Concerns are directed to the facility director for further clarification and discussion. Investigators can contact members of the advisory committee if they so desire.  Advisory committee members and contact information is posted on the facility web site.

c. Uncompleted projects:

  • The LSMF staff does it’s best to produce usable data from every experiment. However, this cannot be guaranteed to be successful, especially for pilot experiments. Each project involves consumables and technical time as well as instrument use. Investigators are given cost estimates upon request. They are informed of potential problems prior to the start of the experiment and are expected to pay for all services requested and completed even if data produced is not as anticipated by the investigator.
  • There will be no charge for experiments that fail due to errors (see note) by the LSMF staff or equipment malfunction as long as no usable data is collected. If the investigator elects to collect data from experiments that are technically not up to standard than normal charges will apply.
  • The investigator may elect to terminate a project prior to completion. However they will be charged for all procedures completed prior to the experiment termination.

Note: Errors are defined as mistakes in carrying out the planned sample preparation.  Unsuccessful sample preparation based on the unique nature of the samples or sample response to routine preparation methods is not considered an error. Investigators are encouraged to provide methods from the literature as a basis for preparation of new samples so as to minimize potential sample preparation problems.

d.  Publication/Acknowledgement Policy
Inclusion of LSMF staff on publications is not assumed when a sample is submitted. Inclusion is not expected for providing routine sample preparation and imaging. Investigators are given a written report containing preparation and imaging details for all projects with the final data. Completing such a report does not require staff inclusion on a publication and is done for staff records as well as for the investigator,  

Inclusion as a co-author on a publication is appreciated and may be requested if the investigator requests staff be involved in addition data interpretation, input in experimental design, and participation in manuscript preparation. Such request for authorship should be made and agreed to by all parties prior to beginning these additional activities. In turn, no staff member should be included as a co-author without their permission and their having the opportunity to review a manuscript prior to submission.

The recovery of Core expenses through the Core cost recovery system does not exclude the possibility for authorship for Core research personnel. Similarly, investigators are expected to pay all charges incurred in the LSMF and this is independent of authorship on resulting publications.

Investigators are requested to acknowledge the LSMF and it’s role in producing data for that manuscript in the acknowledgement section if the data is significant for the research conclusions in the publication.  The primary author is also asked to submit a copy of the manuscript for the LSMF files after publication.

e. External service

  • Projects for external clients (not directly associated with Purdue University) are done on a time-available basis but do not preempt internal users for scheduling.  However, once scheduled, the external projects will be completed accordingly. 
  • The rate structure for external service is approved through the Purdue University Business Services.
  • Fees for external projects reflect fully costed salaries with sample preparation and imaging rates that are competitive with those of regional commercial providers. (see Section 5: Cost recovery/payment). Estimates are provided when requested.
  • External projects are billed through the Purdue University Central Accounting with the assistance of the Department of Horticulture Business Office.  Fees collected are then deposited into the general LSMF account. 
  • A finance and administration charge of 54% is included in all external project billing as required by the university.  This amount is deducted from payment and goes directly to the university.

f.  Confidentiality:
Confidentiality is required by university policy for all users who are members of the Purdue research community. The University Policies on intellectual Property and on Research Misconduct establish that research and research data at Purdue is to be protected from intentional and unintentional disclosure. Relevant Purdue policies are found at:

External users of the core, identified as any person or group who are not members of the Purdue staff, are extended similar confidentiality treatment. Confidentiality contracts are executed for external users upon request through the Contracts Group in the Sponsored Programs Office. The LSMF director will provide assistance in establishing such agreements upon request.  Additional information can be found at:

Reporting problems: Contact Debby at the lab (46666) or at home (Emergency only 583-2984) if any equipment or other problems arise in the laboratory. If she is not available during working hours and the problem must be taken care of immediately, contact Chia-Ping Huang (46666) and she will attempt to help you.