Otolaryngology Imaging Core  

A Little of Our History


This is when the practical work has actually started. The actual idea came more than one year earlier, when a baseball discussion originated the chance to come to Stanford after five great years at the NIH in Bethesda MD. After obtaining my DDS and PhD in Oral Pathology at University of São Paulo School of Dentistry in Brazil, I had the chance to join Dr. Bechara Kachar’s lab at NIDCD and learn about the fascinating auditory system and of course, microscopy as a post-doctoral Visiting Fellow and later as a Research Fellow. After staying in touch with the major developments and most advanced equipment in electron and light microscopy, I decided to take the challenge and move to Stanford and work on establishing an Otolaryngology Imaging Core. From scratch.


August 29th - September 5th 2010

Yes, I drove from East to West, and had a chance to see a lot. Many memory cards and rolls of film... MD, WV, OH, IN, IL, IA, NE (left), SD, WY, ID, UT, NV, CA. Long road.

September 16th 2010

The official starting day and first impressions. All the equipment had been previously moved from an old location to the current one, at R109 (left). First thing to do was to crunch numbers and have an inventory of usage, conditions, equipment, etc. We really had the intention of restructuring the OIC according to the users/Department needs. Get the most out of it. And especially having users aware that the Imaging Core would no longer be a freely-accessible shared room, but an independent Center, providing resources, and with strict rules.

September 2010 - December 2010

During this period, microscopes continued to be used in the state the room was (right), until the OIC was closed on December 20th, so it would be totally remodeled. Ceiling, floor, windows, everything.



January 4th 2011

This was the day when the equipment was moved back to R109 after the renovations were completed and the Holiday Season was gone. Everything worked flawlessly, from the actual moving to the equipment reconnection. A special thanks to all post-docs, staff and students that helped: Bryan, Byron, Markus, Simon, Homer, (please remind me if I am missing someone, but thanks anyway!)

January 5th 2011

Today the first Introductory Lecture for new and existing users took place. From this day, to be able to regain access to an specific equipment, all users must attend this monthly lecture and then request handson training for the necessary equipment(s). Completion of the hands-on training would allow access to the online booking system, through Stanford Zimbra Calendar. (SUNET ID required).

January 6th 2011

Users started requesting and receiving hands-on training. First brave users to be trained were Markus Huth (Ricci Lab) and Renjie Chai (Cheng Lab). Of course, demand was quite overwhelming during the first two months. All current users needed to regain access in order to continue with experiments.


January 2011

Little by little, intercalating training sessions and routine work, transformations were slowly but consistently taking place. First of all, we received new desks and media-related furniture (right), to improve the overall working conditions and provide users with a cleaner environment, which facilitates maintenance and avoids collection of dust.

We also have added two extra PC and Mac workstations, expanding our imaging processing and analysis capacity. This is also available to users, in a contiguous room. These machines run state-of-the-art 3D-reconstruction and image analysis softwares. More details here.

With all the additions and new environment, users couldn’t wait to start working (left). New desks for the microscope computers were installed, facilitating everyone’s work.

As a last step, new curtains were installed, for a more efficient blocking of light (left, below). They did an excellent job!

In parallel, of course, we were not only having cosmetic changes. Most importantly, our booking system was up and running, so users started having access to a restricted calendar system, where only approved and trained personnel can have access. This happens through Stanford’s Calendar System, and has worked well for our needs. It is not as advanced as the ones used by other Imaging Cores, but it fits the needs of our more restricted audience.

As an extra resource, we keep the full and/or condensed manuals and guides to all equipment that we have, going from microscopes, lasers systems to air tables. Everything can be checked and discussed, in order to meet everyone’s needs.

Thanks to all PIs, a small library has also been established, containing books on topics such as cell biology, morphology, but mostly light and electron microscopy. We always hope that this type of initiative generates interest and pushes users to advance to a next level when it comes to imaging and getting the most out of the microscopes.


February - March 2011

After the initial wave of training requests and lectures, we are on a more established routine, where lectures have been taking place regularly (Extra one in Jan 12th, then monthly on Feb 7th and Mar 7th). New users have been added and receiving training. The diversity of backgrounds and needs only contributes to a fresh and fruitful learning and sharing environment.

So far, all users have been quite responsive and responsible, and the OIC is becoming an established core facility at the Department. Thank to the hard work of everyone, from students, to post-docs, staff, investigators and most especially our office managers, Kathy Fruchterman and Michele Lima.

The booking system facilitated the collection of data, and now we are able to collect monthly the information regarding microscope usage and needs, and to be able to project future purchases, make more accurate plans and meet the highest expectations.


An important step was the acquisition of a new server station, totally dedicated to storing and archiving the image files. This prevents data loss and makes sure that the computers running the microscopes will not be overwhelmed with files and sometimes losing capacity to properly run the softwares.

Currently, March 2011

Thanks to the great work of Jim davis at the Stanford Visual Arts Services, we now have a very unique door sign, not only identifying but also distinguishing this Core Facility. For the walls, we recently acquired LCD pictures frames that will display the best work generated by our labs and the resulting publications.


Next few months...

On the work, we have a series of lectures on important microscopy and image analysis topics, aimed to those who want to get the best out of their confocal systems.

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