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Your Environment. Your Health.

Special Techniques Group

Technology Development

Julie Foley
Julie F. Foley
Health Scientist
Tel (919) 541-3772
P.O. Box 12233
Mail Drop K2-17
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709

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CMPB Special Techniques - Cell under microscope

Research Summary

The Special Techniques Group conducts investigative, research support for NIEHS directed at refining, adapting, and developing technologies for the purposes of supporting morphologically-based research. The focus is on technology development rather than exclusively hypothesis-based research and applies to research throughout the Division of Intramural Research (DIR) and the Division of The National Toxicology Program (DNTP).

State-of-the-art equipment exists to assist investigators and their research in the identification, quantification and documentation of morphological events. Since these techniques are used intermittently in a given research project, they are most efficiently and effectively developed, and carried out by scientists and technicians with expertise in utilizing these special methods.

By providing intellectual support and technical advice on applications utilizing the specialized research tools that exists within the Special Techniques Group, there is a more efficient achievement of ones’ research goals by making the technology serve research, rather than engaging in technology-driven activities. The group serves as an intellectual resource for NIEHS investigators and performs technical tasks as full research collaborators.

Areas of Expertise:

Mouse Phenotyping (Embryonic Lethality) (Contact: Julie Foley)

The primary focus of the mouse phentoyping core in the Specialized Techniques Group is to provide support in the area of pathology phenotypes of genetically altered mice. Efforts are geared more towards understanding the cause of an embryonic lethal phenotype. Assistance is provided with the collection, histologic processing and pathological assessment of embryos.

Laser Capture Microdissection (LCM) (Contact: Yu Wang)

LCM allows for target-based research. Molecular analysis of DNA, RNA or protein can be assessed from individual cells or tissue specific regions of interest collected by laser capture techniques. The LCM lab works extensively with the NIEHS Microarray, Epigenomics and Protein Microcharacterization Cores to develop protocols for the analysis of biomolecules in frozen and paraffin-embedded tissue.

Digital Photomicroscopy/Image Analysis (Contact: Norris Flagler)

Assistance is provided to investigators with the acquisition of high quality digital images to be used for publication, presentation or to obtain additional information via image analysis. This support includes the capture, modification and enhancement of an image to be produced electronically for photo quality work through the use of state-of-the-art brightfield and fluorescence microscopic slide scanners, computers and software, digital cameras, and digital and ink jet color printers.

These two posters depict some of the scientific imaging issues that the Special Techniques Group can help researchers with.

Specialized Necropsy Techniques (Contact: Julie Foley)

For these specialized technologies to work, the Specialized Techniques Group also provides support with the collection of the tissue samples at necropsy. The group informs investigators of the ideal fixatives to use and whether the work can be completed on paraffin-embedded or frozen tissue. After developing and establishing a protocol for a particular technique, support is provided to investigators wishing to perform these techniques in their laboratories. Trouble-shooting and problem solving techniques are performed frequently with the investigators as collaborative efforts.

For protocols used by the Special Techniques Group, please see the Resources for Scientists protocol page.

Julie Foley leads the Special Techniques Group within the Cellular and Molecular Pathology Branch. She received a B.S. in Biology from East Carolina University before attending Duke University where she received a B.S. in the Allied Health Science Program as a Pathologist Assistant.

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