Sample Prep

We accept tissues and materials from all species including de-identified clinical samples for research studies.

Submitting Samples

  • Bring tissues in cassettes in a leak proof container labeled with PI’s name and contents (cassettes in 70% ethanol). Let us know if you want your container returned otherwise it will be recycled among users.
  • Sign the log form at the submission counter.
  • Bring a slide box or purchase from the Core.

Preparing Samples

Labelling Cassettes

Hand label cassettes with #2 pencil or solvent-resistant markers (listed below). Labeling with Sharpies and other ink pens can come off during paraffin processing. Approved marking pens include:

  • Cancer Diagnostics Moist Marker Plus from Lab Safety Supply
  • HistoPrep Pen from Fisher Scientific
  • Klinipath KP Marker Plus from Mercedes medical
  • Stafmark Pen from Statlab Medical Products


  • All fixatives are accepted.
  • Transfer your fixed samples out of fixative before submitting so you determine duration of fixation.
  • From the Vanderbilt Pathology Core: Not all fixatives are alike. The best example of this is 10% neutral buffered formalin and 4% paraformaldehyde. These two solutions are not the same in composition or rate of fixation. 10% neutral buffered formalin will cross-link the proteins in specimens more quickly than 4% paraformaldehyde. 10% formalin is very rarely made up in labs, is readily available from most scientific vendors, comes ready to use (no dilution is required), and is stable for long periods of time at room temperature. Paraformaldehyde can be purchased in powder form and must be dissolved to a final 4% in PBS. It should be made up right before use because of its poor shelf life (1 week, refrigerated). Stock solutions can also be purchased or prepared. We highly encourage the use of 10% neutral buffered formalin for fixation. 4% paraformaldehde gained widespread usage when investigators were performing a lot of in situ hybridization work. Unless you are actively using these procedures, please consider trying 10% neutral buffered formalin first.

Sample pick-up

  • You will be notified by email.
  • Pick up in D11-41.
  • Initial and date the original submission form and leave it in the red folder.
  • If you want an electronic copy of the services performed, ask at pick up or request by email.

Standard Operating Procedures

A list of standard operating procedures (SOP) created for GLP and CLIA compliant studies. For more information, please contact us directly.