Electron Microscopy BIL 554

Techniques in transmission electron microscopy including tissue preparation, use of the electron microscope, photography, and interpretation of micrographs


Dr.Jeffrey Prince

Office: Cox 20
Credits: 4

Meeting Time and Place:Tuesday, Thursday 1:40 to 5:15; Cox 20B.

| In Depth Course Description | Admission to the Course | Course/Laboratory Schedule |

In Depth Course Description:

Students will be trained to 1) start with a living organism or tissue, 2) fix (so cells appear in suspended animaton), 3) imbed in a hard resin (permits thin section), 4) section (with an ultramicrotome using glass knives), 5) examine the resulting thin sections (40nm thick) using the Philips 300 transmission electron microscope, 5) take pictures, 6) develope, 7) enlarage the resulting negatives, 8) print them (using the EM darkroom), and finally 9) labelthe organelles and cell structures visualized on the micrograph. Students are given individualized instruction on all the above aspects involved with electron microscopy, they master these techniques by practicing them either individualy or in a group, but the final product is generated by their own, individual effort and work. Operaton of the electron microscope, the ultramicrotomes and use of the darkrooms ultimately is done by each student. This course will help the student decide whether he/she would like to continue on in biological research since the student must set their own schedules for mastering the information (24 hr access to the laboratory and supporting facilities is provided), must accomplish much of this on their own or in concert with other members of the course, and must produce an accceptable product at several set times during the course. Over 95%.. of the students who take this course continue on into professional schools; medical school or graduate school. See BIL 555 for a list of student projects in Electron Microscopy and the professional programs these students entered since graduation from the University of Miami--or CLICK HERE.

Ink gland of Aplysia californica, granulate cell showing elaboration of the plasma membrane into coated vesicles


Admission to the course is only through permission of the instructor. This involves filling out an application and having an interview with the instructor during the spring semester (generally in March) for the next fall semester's course offering. Eight students are selected from the applicant pool and three to four others are chosen as backups in case one of the eight is unable to schedule the course.

Course/Laboratory Schedule

Aug 291 R Introduction
Sept 22 T Scope on; Large traps demo
2 RCheck large traps; Knife making & thick section demo; Eye lash stick
Sept 103 TCheck thick section; Review large trap & thick sect; Class scope on & do; Thin sect. demo.
3 RClass put on scope;Check small traps; Thin sect. demo.
Sept.174 TThin section review; Object. lense stigm.
4 R Check thin sect. on grids; Staining demo; Scope in groups of 3
Sept 255 TReview scope with 3's; Camera and film load & develop; Thick sect. sketch DUE
5 RReview camera and scope; Check camera load
Oct 16 TTEST
Oct 87INTERVIEWS and required tissues
Oct 158Jobs; Required tissues
Oct 229Required tissues & open lab
Oct 2910Dark room; Low mag(Tap2) negatives DUE
Nov 511Low mag. prints DUE; INTERVIEWS
Nov 1212High(Tap 12) and low mag printsDUE
Nov 1913INTERVIEWS; New tissue prep.
Nov 2614Required tissues
Dec 315Required tissues
Dec 1016Second set of micrographs DUE

Please note that this is a tenative syllabus. Laboratory assignments and notices will be posted on the top right side of the lab. blackboard. It is the students responsibility to check the board for any changes to the syllabus, announcements of new assignments and/or changes in dates that various assignments are due

Current Courses

  • BIL 160 Evolution and Biodiversity, Spring 1997.
  • BIL 555 Projects in Electron Microscpy, Spring 1997.

  • Send Email to jprince@umiami.ir.miami.edu