Submitting samples to HSR

Message to the research community from the University Shared Resources – Rates for fiscal year 2023:

It likely won’t surprise you that the University Shared Resources (USR) has seen significant increases in costs of operations over the last couple of years. To offset some of these rising costs and sustain operations, the contribution from the USR has increased significantly. As a result, core leaders are in the process of reviewing their rates, which will need to increase to offset some of these costs. We want to assure you that the core leaders and USR administration are doing all we can to minimize the effect of these circumstances on your research, and optimize our service to you.

We appreciate your support and understanding as we navigate these challenges.

Preparation prior to submitting to the core

Researchers are required to prepare the specimen(s) prior to submitting to the core. 

For Formalin Fixed Paraffin Embedded (FFPE) tissue specimens processing:

  • Researchers are responsible for fixing their samples, as HSR does not handle any fixatives.
    • HSR recommends immediately fixing FFPE specimens for 16-24 hours in 10% neutral buffered formalin before rinsing well with water and then transferring to 70% Ethanol.
  • HSR will only accept samples that are delivered in 70% Ethanol. Please make sure that there is an appropriate volume of 70% Ethanol to keep the tissue fully submerged to prevent tissues from drying out while waiting for processing.
  • HSR recommends using a pencil or a solvent resistant pen (ethanol and xylene resistant) when labeling cassettes and/or sample containers.
    • Failure to use appropriate ethanol and xylene resistant pens for labeling will result in the sample ID's coming off during tissue processing in the Tissue-Tek VIP® 6 AI Vacuum Infiltration Processor. HSR can generate pre-labeled cassettes using our Tissue-Tek SmartWrite Cassette Printer which uses thermal printing to ensure labels will remain intact during tissue processing.
  • Researchers are responsible for grossing and/or trimming their tissue before submitting to the core. The researcher is likely to be more acquainted with the region of interest and should prepare the tissue accordingly.
    • Large specimens in particular may not process well due to the inadequate paraffin penetrating the tissue during processing.
  • All researchers are required to submit their specimens in a secondary container such as a Ziploc bag or a box. 

The turnaround time for FFPE specimens may vary depending on the request submission volume. Contact HSR for the current estimated turnaround time.

For OCT Specimen Processing:

  • HSR will accept frozen samples delivered on dry ice or fresh tissue delivered in PBS/Sucrose.
  • HSR does not keep or provide dry ice. The researcher must provide their own dry ice for sample drop-off and pick-up, if applicable.
  • OCT request have a longer turnaround time than FFPE samples. Please contact the core for a current estimated turnaround time.

For IHC and/or Special Stain Requests:

  • Contact the core before submitting a request.
    • Researchers must contact and discuss their project with the Immunohistochemistry and Special Stains Contact (listed below) before any work can be performed. This is especially needed for antibodies that have not been optimized by the Core (list of optimized antibodies is posted on the HSR website).
  • The researcher must provide the antibody/antibodies.
    • The researcher can provide the antibody with the samples submitted or HSR can purchase the antibody for the researcher and then will bill the researcher for the same cost once the request has been completed. This is listed as a "Reagent Charge" in iLab.
  • The turnaround time for IHC is minimum 14 business days.
    • If the request requires the work-up of an antibody, also known as optimization, may cause delays in turnaround time.
  • Antibodies never before used at the core will require researcher selection of dilutions and staining review.
  • For antibodies that are new to HSR, researchers are required to review the optimization slides and select which dilution they prefer, as the researchers are more familiar with the antibody.
  • HSR does not perform IF staining, multiplexing, or imaging at this time.

Requesting services required through Agilent Crosslabs online

  • All researchers using any University Shared Resource (USR) must be registered in Agilent Crosslab/ iLab Solutions, a online software billing system. This system allows researchers to place requests, track and manage submissions to the shared resource cores at OHSU.
  • To learn how to get started, please visit Cores and Shared Resource iLab Solutions for more information.
  • Once registration and/or account activation is completed, please log in and begin filling out a HSR request form with as much information as possible.
  • Any preferences or considerations should be noted such as:
    • If the sample(s) require embedding in paraffin or OCT, which orientation should the tissue have for sectioning? Is there a particular area of interest that you are trying to capture?
    • How many number of slides per paraffin block or OCT
    • How many number of sections on a slide? (This may not be an option if the tissue is too large.)
    • Out of the slides generated and staining is requested, which slide should be chosen to stain?
    • Any other information that HSR staff need to be aware of before working with the sample(s)
  • Once the request form is submitted, a service ID will be generated that the core will use as a reference. When submitting the samples to the core, make sure to place this HSR Service ID and your name on the bag or container housing the samples.
  • If any pricing information or an estimate is needed, please address it to HSR staff prior to sample submission. The Histopathology Shared Resource does not provide an estimated quote prior to performing services unless a researcher places a direct request.  Please contact the core directly if an estimated quote is required.

For more information on using Agilent Crosslab/iLab Solutions, please visit Cores and Shared Resource iLab Solutions.

Appointments required for sample submissions

Once an online request form is submitted, researchers are required to schedule an appointment with our HSR staff to deliver samples (fresh, frozen or fixed) to our laboratory located in the Robertson Life Sciences Building on the 6th floor North. Do not wait for the core to agree to the online request. Immediately contact the HSR team at to coordinate sample drop-off. 

  • Appointment scheduling for incoming and outgoing specimens
    • HSR staff must confirm appointments for incoming and outgoing samples as direct access to our lab space and our staff will be restricted. HSR has two incoming and outgoing specimen boxes set up for room temperature sample submissions only:
    • Researchers are required to submit their specimens in a secondary container such as a Ziploc bag or a box. This container must have their name and HSR Service ID (generated when submitting a request in iLab) for our staff to collect.
      • Researchers with no badge access to RLSB laboratories: HSR has set-up a sample drop off/pick-up box on RLSB 6th floor North next to the Research Laboratories door. Researchers can drop off the samples at the confirmed appointment scheduled by leaving the samples in the box
      • Researchers with badge access to RLSB laboratories: HSR has set-up a sample drop off/pick-up box on our lab bench in RLSB 6N096 B1. Please come in the laboratories area at the confirmed appointment scheduled by leaving the samples in the box.
      • Temperature sensitive items such as frozen OCT samples or antibodies are not allowed in these boxes. These items must be handed off to HSR staff directly for HSR to place them in the appropriate storage conditions.

Retrieval of completed request

  • HSR staff will contact a researcher via email upon completing a request 
  • Upon arriving to HSR to retrieve the request, a researcher must:
    • sign and date a copy of their request form. If retrieving it from the pick-up box, please take a photo of the signed form and leave the form in the incoming and outgoing box for HSR to keep for our records.
    • If a researcher takes a photo of their request and takes the original form, they are required to email the picture of the signed form to as proof the completed request has been retrieved.

Shared Resource Acknowledgement

Please remember to acknowledge use of the Histopathology Shared Resource in talks, posters, and publications which include data generated in the core lab.  The use of data generated in an OHSU core facility in a grant application, progress report or publication contains the implicit understanding that the PI or authors will acknowledge the use of the OHSU core facility.