Cell Morphology Core

The Cell Morphology Core is a Penn service facility that provides to Gene Therapy Program (GTP) investigators and faculty members a full range of technologies for morphologically based studies. The core is active in processing tissues for microscopic analysis, including the preparation of frozen, paraffin and plastic sections as well as sample preparation for electron microscopy. The CMC also provides technically more complex support in the detection of transgenes and transgene products using techniques of in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry.

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Histology and Histochemistry Immunohistochemistry and In Situ Hybridization
(Transgene Expression)
Image Analysis & Morphometry photo
Image Analysis & Morphometry Electron Microscopy

Critical to many in vivo experiments of gene therapy is a standard assessment of histopathology and evaluation of gene transfer efficiency. Animals that receive gene therapy need to be evaluated for toxicity of the intervention, which is often detected at the histopathologic level. The CMC can provide a full necropsy service with tissue preparation and assessment of pathology. Considerable effort has been expended to provide state-of-the-art digital image capture systems for investigators. In addition, CMC evaluates viral vector preparation by EM negative staining to assess purity, density, and possible contamination with other viruses.

The Cell Morphology Core has a history of providing key technical support and service to investigators working on new and innovative gene therapy strategies. The core plays an important role in assisting with basic science research addressing cellular mechanisms associated with various diseases, by supporting investigators in all aspects of specimen collection, preparation, fixation, processing, staining, and analysis. The CMC may also provide training and consultation to the investigator concerning all aspects of each project. GTP has a well developed financial management system that is program based and the CMC is fully integrated with this system.