California Animal Health & Food Safety Laboratory System

Electron Microscopy

The main mission of the section is to provide centralized Electron Microscopy (EM) services to all four CAHFS laboratories, consultation to UCD SVM and other laboratories assuring established quality management program and the state of the art procedures. On a long term basis, the section is envisioned to develop a Regional Center for Excellence for Electron Microscopy. This includes providing E.M. workshops or training for domestic and foreign visiting scientists, collaborating on creative research activities, and publicizing the function and importance of E.M. as a diagnostic tool. This is accomplished by seeking additional resource opportunities and partnerships with the medical communities to ensure the ongoing feasibility of the E.M. facility at CAHFS.

The electron microscopy suite in the Davis facility handles samples from all species for direct negative stain electron microscopic evaluation of feces and tissues and transmission electron microscopy of thin-sectioned tissues. Our clients include CAHFS diagnosticians, veterinarians within and outside the state of California, faculty and residents from the Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, School of Veterinary Medicine, the California Department of Health Services, pathologists from other state and university diagnostic laboratories and private laboratories across the country.

For more information contact:

Scott Fish or Michele Persiani
EM Lab
California Animal Health and Food Safety Lab
1233 Thurman Lab
School of Vet. Med.
University of California, Davis
Davis, CA 95616
Photo: Electron Microscope

On this page:

Equipment | Services | Submission Process | Sample Cases

Electron microscopy and related services are available to faculty, staff, and graduate students through the California Animal Food Health and Safety lab located in Room 1233 in the Thurman building of the College of Veterinary Medicine.

  • Equipment

Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) is supported by a Zeiss high-resolution transmission electron microscope with digital imaging acquisition and archiving.

  • Services

A complete range of conventional preparative services are offered, allowing investigators to submit fresh or fixed tissues and receive representative study prints in digital format within a reasonable turnaround time. See our Fee Schedule for services and pricing.

Special Services

Special services available include:

  • Direct Negative Staining
  • Immuno Electron Microscopy

Diagnostic Services

Diagnostic services are available in which electron microscopy is essential for correct diagnosis. Diagnostic services are also offered to outside veterinary clinics and other diagnostic facilities requiring electron microscopy.


Research in electron microscopy is alsodone for various departments both within the College of Veterinary Medicine andthroughout the Davis campus, as well as surrounding research facilities.

Instruction and Training

On-site instruction and training is available to most individuals who would like to utilize the facility for their own research and casework.

Graduate students or technicians needing the services of the facility in their own or assigned research projects are encouraged to take the electron microscopy courses offered.

Direct negative staining in vial diagnosis

Tissue processing for transmission electron microscopy (TEM)

  • Submission Process

The Service Request Forms are used when submitting samples (see guidelines below) for:

Negative staining for viral confirmation/identification

Tissue processing for Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM)

Forms must be filled out completely and accompany all samples submitted to this facility.

EM Service Request Form

Sample Submission Guidelines:

Negative staining for viral confirmation / identification

Sample (usually feces or other body fluid) should be submitted fresh in a closed container.  Tissue samples for negative staining should be submitted fresh, and the EM Lab should be notified prior to submission.  Preparation and interpretation will take 3–48 hours depending on workload.

Tissue processing for Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM)

Sample should be submitted fixed in anapproved EM fixative*. Sample should be submitted in pieces no larger than 3mmat any one length. Sample identification needs to be written on the containeras well as the type of fixative the sample was placed in. Processing takes 5–7working days.  Ultramicrotomy andinterpretation takes 5-10 days depending on workload.

* An approved EM fixative contains a 1.5% – 3% glutaraldehyde solution in a stable buffer pH 6.8–7.3. It may also contain formaldehyde of up to 4%. Appropriate fixatives are available in the EM Lab.

  • Sample Cases

Cat Polyomavirus

Pidgeon Pox Virus Direct Negative Stain Bacteriophage
Cat Polyomavirus Photo: Pigeon Poxvirus Photo: Bacteriophage
K9 Storage Disease Direct Negative Stain Rotavirus Budgie Adenovirus
Photo: K9 Storage Disease Photo: Rotavirus

Photo: Budgie Adenovirus

Direct Negative Stain Adenovirus Pigeon Herpesvirus K9 Circovirus
Photo: Adenovirus Photo: Pigeon Circovirus Photo: K9 Circovirus
Direct Negative Stain Poxvirus Pigeon Reovirus Direct Negative Stain Small Round Virus
Photo: Poxvirus Photo: Pigeon Reovirus Photo: Small Round Virus