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Electron Microscopy Laboratory

The Electron Microscopy Laboratory at Saint Louis University School of Medicine provides diagnostic electron microscopy (EM) services for a wide range of surgical specimens as either stand-alone electron microscopic analysis or in conjunction with histological and immunohistochemical services provided by the Histopathology Laboratory.

Diagnostic ultrastructural analysis is available for renal, muscle, tumor, ciliary, heart, liver, nerve, buffy coat, and muscle specimens. Specimens may be submitted for technical preparation and interpretation provided by pathologists in the Department of Pathology or for technical preparation only, with slides and micrographs returned to the referring pathologist for interpretation.

Address questions to Dr. Rowley at 314-977-7854 or by email at

Request for Services

Specimens submitted for diagnostic report must be accompanied by a Fresh Tissue/Electron Microscopy Requisition. Specimens submitted for technical only service must be accompanied by a signed requisition which includes the patient name, date of birth, surgical identification number, tissue type and any preliminary diagnostic information when available.

Fresh Tissue/Electron Microscopy Requisition Form

Electron Microscopy Laboratory Specimen Requirements
  • Minimum specimen size is a block of tissue approximately 2 mm square. Larger pieces of tissue should be cut into 2-3 mm-sized pieces to facilitate rapid fixation.
  • Tissue may be held for a short time (minutes to an hour) on ice in a physiological buffer or on saline soaked gauze but should be placed in a glutaraldehyde fixative as soon as possible after excision. Rapid fixation is critical for preservation of ultrastructure. A suitable 2 percent glutaraldehyde fixative is available from the Electron Microscopy Laboratory and can be shipped by overnight express on request. For specimens that have been previously fixed in formaldehyde or other fixative, make inquiries about suitability to Dr. Rowley at 314-977-7854.
  • The specimen in glutaraldehyde solution should be shipped on ice (do not freeze) or at ambient temperature to the Electron Microscopy Laboratory by courier or overnight express.
  • For specimens requiring special handling, such as fresh blood for buffy coat preparation or specimens for scanning electron microscopy, please contact Dr. Rowley for specific instruction.

Specimens should be shipped to:

Electron Microscopy Laboratory
Saint Louis University School of Medicine, Department of Pathology
Schwitalla Hall, Room M105
3545 Vista - East of Grand
St. Louis, MO 63104

Hours of Operation
The Electron Microscopy Laboratory is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Contact Us

Telephone: 314-977-7854
Fax: 314-977-8740


For full diagnostic interpretation, a written report, including representative micrographs as appropriate, will be returned to the referring physician.

For technical-only analysis, glass slides of toluidine blue-stained plastic sections and electron micrographs in digital format will be returned to the referring physician.

The average turnaround time for reporting is two to three business days.