Histology image showing stained bone tissue: streaks of red through blue and cyan blobs
| Core Facilities

Histology Core at HSCRB

Histology slide: bone tissue stained with Safarini O stain, 10x magnification.

Our Histology Core provides laboratories across Boston with an array of histological and immuno-histochemical services.

Situated in the Bauer Building (room B008) at 7 Divinity Ave., Cambridge, we offer services to any laboratory requiring histology support. We offer both full-service and self-service options.

General services: Our histologists can advise and assist with experimental design and development.

Custom services: Our technicians are available to carry out specialized histology and immuno-histochemistry, for a fee charged at the Tech Service rate.

Training: Our histologists can train lab personnel for self-service use of the facility and its equipment. We provide this service for a fee.

Histology Core general services

  • Training and troubleshooting on equipment
  • Embedding paraffin and OCT
  • Sectioning with a cryostat, microtome, or vibratome.
  • Special stains
  • Antibody titration and optimization

Histology Core Equipment

Tech-supported only

  • 1 automatic tissue processor [Microm STP120]
  • 1 embedding center [Leica EG1150H]
  • 1 microtome [Leica RM2255]
  • ThermoSci HM550 cryostat
  • 1 Olympus BX53 microscope with Olympus camera

Available for self-service

  • 1 automatic stainer [Shandon Varistain 24-4] (use Spinal to reserve)
  • 3 manual staining racks (use Spinal to reserve)
  • 2 microtomes [Leica RM2255] (one available on Spinal to reserve)
  • 1 older model microtome (available as needed)
  • 1 vibratome [Leica] (use Spinal to reserve)
  • 4 cryostats (use Spinal to reserve)
  • Bright cryostat (use Spinal to reserve)
  • Leica CM1950 cryostat (use Spinal to reserve)
  • ThermoSci HM550 cryostat (available after 5pm on Spinal)
  • 2 brain slicers (one adult, one neonatal)
  • 1 Olympus CX41 microscope (available for use)


Histology core fees are charged in half-hour increments. There is no extra service charge for training our staff to provide specialized or unique services and requests, for example handling tissue types that are specific to your laboratory’s needs. Rates as of 1 March 2024 are:

Harvard account code PO Payment
Non-profit For-profit
Self service $75.00 $107.25 $275.00
Technician assisted $120.00 $171.60 $275.00


Fill out the order form to use our facility or services.

The cost of general-use supplies is included in the hourly fees.

For specialized procedures such as immuno-histochemistry, the individual laboratory is responsible for purchasing and providing specialized agents, stains and supplies. Contact Cathy MacGillivray to determine whether a specific agent or supply falls into this category.

Reserving equipment and time

To use the SPINAL system 24/7, you must have a Harvard Research Computing account and complete training on the relevant equipment.

Log in to the SPINAL system to reserve equipment.

Otherwise, contact Cathy MacGillivray to reserve equipment and time in our core.

Cancellations and no-shows

If you are unable to make your appointment, please cancel it at least 24 hours ahead of time. If you do not, you will be charged for the time scheduled. The costs of “no shows” are charged only to faculty research funds (e.g., start-up), not to grants.

Contact the Histology Core

For more information on specialized histology techniques, immuno-histochemistry services, equipment training, work requests, billing, and technical issues, contact Cathy MacGillivray, Lead Histologist.


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