Get Started

Information for New Users


Reservations and billing for the Electron Microscopy Center (EMC) are handled by a web-based system called iLab. Users and their PI's must have iLab accounts before starting to use the facility. We offer a description of how to interact with iLab.

Starting New Projects

Please initiate all new projects by contacting the EMC's staff director (currently David Morgan) to ask for a consultation. The consultation request can be made by anyone but should always be done with the approval of the PI('s) involved in the proposed work. In most cases, the staff director will simply arrange a face-to-face meeting between the person who made the request and the EMC staff member most qualified to help. This meeting should involve all PI's and lab personnel who will be involved in the project. The purpose of such a meeting is to establish details (including the potential costs, the state of the sample(s) to be examined, expectations for the project's time-to-completion (including possible benchmarks along the way) and involvement of the staff versus lab personnel (for example, specific roles of the staff with regard to providing advice, training, imaging and/or data analysis). There is never a fee for staff time spent in such meetings consultations.

After such a meeting, the EMC will provide a document that includes an assessment of overall project feasibility, and where possible, timelines and estimates of the amount of effort required by everyone involved in the project. This document and an estimate of the fees associated with various parts of the project will be emailed to both the person who requested the consultation and all PI's involved in the work. Before work on the project can begin, a PI will need to authorize the EMC to use a specific account.

NOTE: When the staff is asked to perform fee-for-service work, even more attention than usual should be paid to the discussion described above. While some fee-for-service work is quite simple and straight-forward, other projects can be more ill-defined, open-ended and/or at the cutting edge of what is feasible. Everyone involved in such difficult projects needs to have a clear understanding of goals, timelines, feasibility, etc., and that only happens with frequent and detailed communication among the involved parties. Plans for such communication should be part of the initial discussions before beginning a project.