Clinical Electron Microscopy (EM) is a powerful diagnostic tool used to assist in the diagnosis of Kidney Disease, Muscle Disorders, Neurological Disorders, Ciliary Dysfunction, Viral Gastroenteritis, Viral Infections or any disorder that may benefit from the analysis of the fine structures of a biopsy.

The Clinical EM Laboratory is able to work with sub-optimal specimens, if no glutaraldehyde fixed tissue is available. For instance: paraffin embedded blocks or sections on a glass slide (stained or unstained).

How to Submit a Sample

Outside the DUMC System

Include with the specimen the patient’s demographic information, insurance information, contact information from the sender, and to whom the final report and billing should be sent.

Instructions for Handling and Sending Material

Instructions for Surgery and Pathology of Muscle Specimens

Send the sample, on ice or ice pack to:
Clinical Electron Microscopy Laboratory
Duke Clinics, Green Zone, Room 251M
Durham, NC 27710

From Inside DUMC

Send surgical samples to:
Duke North, Surgical Pathology Accessioning, Room 3415

Send diagnostic virology samples to:
Central Collecting
Clinical Laboratory Support Services (CLSS),
Room 128 CARL Building

or hand-deliver to Duke South, Green Zone, Room 249M.

For Surgical Pathology

Label the container with the patient's full name, date of birth, date and time of fixation.

Collection Notes

  • Sampling - Areas of pathology may be small and focal. If possible, collect several pieces from different locations.
  • Specimen size - For optimal fixative penetration, specimens should be in small pieces or thin slivers (1- 3 mm thick in greatest dimension; do not mince the tissue). If special orientation is needed (e.g. for intestine or muscle), leave the sample whole or large enough to discern areas of interest.
  • Fixation - All specimens should be placed into buffered glutaraldehyde immediately after collection (i.e. within a few minutes if at all possible).
  • For non-DUMC requestors, glutaraldehyde can be purchased commercially; we can also mail out vials of buffered glutaraldehyde upon request (phone the Clinical EM Laboratory at 919-681-2091).
  • For in-house requestors, this fixative can be obtained at Duke North Accessioning (room 3415, phone 919-681-3909) or the Clinical EM Laboratory (Duke South, Green Zone, room 251M, phone 919-6814-2091).
  • Storage - Keep the sample refrigerated: DO NOT FREEZE.

For Diagnostic Virology

Label the container with patient's name, date of birth, and date and time of collection

Collection Notes

  • Keep the specimen cold; DO NOT FREEZE; DO NOT place into transport media; DO NOT dilute; DO NOT fix. Place specimen into a puncture-resistant container, place it in a leak proof plastic bag. DO NOT PLACE ANY PAPERWORK IN WITH THE SPECIMEN.