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UW Laboratory for Biological and Biomaterials Preparation, Imaging and Characterization (BBPIC)

The BBPIC was founded 20 years ago primarily as a facility to prepare biological and mixed biological-materials specimens for examination by light and electron microscopy. Development and application of advanced labeling technology for correlative light and electron microscopy of living and fixed specimens has also been a major BBPIC focus.
Currently the BBPIC operates two scanning electron microscopes. A conventional LaB6 scanning electron microscope has secondary and backscattered electron detection capabilities. The second instrument is a high resolution field emission SEM with an in-lens detection system optimized for SE and BSE operation at low accelerating voltages.  This instrument is equipped with a cryostage for examination of frozen specimens. It also has an Autrata high resolution backscattered electron detector. 
In co-operation with the Materials Sciences Center in the College of Engineering, the BBPIC provides assistance for biological users of the Zeiss 912 Energy Filtering TEM and the FEI Titan aberration corrected STEM with high resolution EFTEM EELS and STEM EDX analytic capabilities.  This includes instrument operation as well as specimen preparation and labeling of biological or biomaterial specimens for imaging/analysis with the 912 and/or the Titan.
The BBPIC also maintains a Zeiss spinning disc confocal inverted light microscope with a high sensitivity Andor electron multiplying CCD camera.  The spinning disc configuration and high sensitivity camera allows for real time imaging, use of a wide range of excitation and emission wavelengths for fluorescence microscopy, and live cell imaging.
The BBPIC provides a wide range of ancillary technology for the preparation of biological and biomaterials specimens for LM, EM, and correlative studies.  Standard procedures include conventional fixation, critical point drying, and sputter coating as well as embedding and sectioning.  Instrumentation and expertise is available for specialized procedures including ultrarapid freezing, cryoetching and crycoating as well as cryofracture, cryo-ultramicrotomy, freeze substitution, freeze drying, and ion beam sputter coating. Specialized labeling procedures for LM, EM and correlative studies are available. Correlative simultaneous multiple labeling for LM/EM studies is achieved using fluorescent dyes for LM in combination with colloidal nanoparticles of different elemental composition or shape for EM. 
Over the past 5 years nearly 80 different laboratories in 6 different colleges or schools on the UW Madison Campus have utilized facilities at the BBPIC. A number of individuals from private, government, and other university laboratories have also been assisted with specimen preparation and/or imaging at the BBPIC facility.