CBS houses a core facility with several scanning electron microscopes.
The SEMs are part of ongoing research to develop a three-dimensional electron microscopy facility, in order to image neural circuits with the highest possible resolution. Traditional methods of serial reconstruction of the brain, in which hundreds of electron micrographs from adjacent slices of a tissue are used to reconstruct the three-dimensional shape of an object, are burdensome. The central objective of the 3D electron microscopy facility is to overcome the technical barriers to serial electron microscopy so that this technique can become as routine as confocal microscopy. We are investigating several approaches to constructing a high-throughput device for generating thousands of serial electron micrographs. With such a tool in hand, investigation of any brain region would be able to include a three-dimensional analysis of the synaptic circuits at full resolution. We believe such a tool will be invaluable for a wide range of neuroscience (and other) questions.