About the UA Microscopy Alliance
Finding information about shared facilities at the University of Arizona can be difficult. The Microscopy Alliance is a volunteer and collaborative effort to make information about the University’s microscopy core facilities more accessible to users.
- MICROSCOPY - “the use of or investigation with a microscope” (Merriam-Webster)
- ALLIANCE - “an association to further the common interests of the members” (Merriam-Webster)
I would like to add my equipment to this site. Are there specific guidelines?
Thanks for being interested. We've actually done a good deal of thinking about what we will and will not list on this site. We have modified the core facility definitions originally created in 2009 by the College of Medicine Bioinstrumentation committee. The kinds of microscopy equipment/facilities we intend to list here can be described as:
- OPEN ACCESS - serves users within any College, Department, or Center within the University. Priority for service is on a "first come, first served" basis and the fee schedule is uniform.
- PRIORITIZED ACCESS - primarily serves users from within a specific College, Department, or Center. If necessary, the priority for service is for College, Department, or Center members, with others being served as capacity is available. Physical access to the facility may be limited for “non-priority” users outside of normal work hours. The fee schedule is uniform, although the supporting unit may choose to offer a direct financial subsidy to its members.
Most (if not all) of these facilities charge fees for equipment time or for providing specific services. To be included on this site, these fees are expected to be published and in compliance with Federal requirements (see: footnote).
Hopefully it is clear that we are looking for facilities/equipment that will be broadly and easily accessible to the UA research community. We do not plan to include equipment/facilities that restrict access to members of one organizational unit (e.g., Department, Center, PPG) or are only available to collaborators.
What if my facility has a microscope to offer, but microscopy is not central to our facility's mission?
We are aware that some of the facilities listed here will have a microscope as only one component of the services that they provide. We do not have a problem with this, our goal is to introduce the UA research community to the broad range of microscopy resources that are available on campus. That said, we have no plans for listing facilities that do not include access to a microscope. Facilities on this site will have opportunity to briefly mention their other services (and include a link to their website) and we will list related equipment if the facility is interested in doing so (if there's a lot of non-microscope-related equipment, we may just refer users to the core facility's own website).
How can I raise the profile of my facility, microscopes or not?
If you have not done it yet, please consider getting on the University of Arizona's licensed iLab core facility management software. The cost per facility is covered by the university, so there is not cost to your lab (other than the effort it takes to get on and learn how to use it). iLab (owned by Agilent) is online software that allows trained users to schedule time on instruments and request services all under control of the core manager, it allows for single sign-on using UA NetID (with options for external users) and direct billing through the university's financial system. To inquire about iLab, contact the RII Core Facilities business office (CoreBusiness@arizona.edu).
If you would like to have a more national profile, please consider listing your core with the Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities (ABRF) Core Marketplace. This will also help your core facility to obtain a Research Resource Identifier (RRID), which is "a persistent and unique identifier for referencing a research resource". The concept of RRIDs began in biomedical research as a way to identify exactly which specific antibody (often among several dozen options) was used in an experiment. The use of RRIDs has expanded from reagents to core facilities and even specific pieces of research equipment. Imagine how easy it would be to track down papers that used your facility if you could train your users to just reference your core facility's unique RRID in their publications and grant applications (much like authors list the grant numbers that have supported their research).
How do I get started?
Please reach out to us using the contact form. We will give you more details.
Just one so far and it is regarding Events that can be listed on this website.
The Microscopy Alliance - steering committee:
- Dr. Brooke Massani (Chemistry & Biochemistry)
- Doug Cromey, M.S.* (RII Core Facilities) Microscopy Alliance - website administrator/developer
- Patty Jansma, M.S. (RII Core Facilities)
How long has the Microscopy Alliance been around?
This website was launched October 2013 and the site has been actively maintained on Drupal 7, using the Skeleton theme. It was hosted (originally on the local W6 server and then in the cloud on AWS) by the University Information Technology Services (UITS), University of Arizona. UA News wrote a story about the Microscopy Alliance in December 2013.
The website was remodeled for the move to Drupal 9 and the University of Arizona's Quickstart 2 theme. The Microscopy Alliance was relaunched in early spring of 2023. Hosting is provided by the University of Arizona, R. Ken Coit College of Pharmacy.
Footnote: Office of Management and Budget circular A-21 (and other related documents) are complicated instructions that cover how institutions like the UA can bill Federal grants. While the circular can be confusing, the NCRR and NIH have a frequently asked questions document “FAQs for Costing of NIH-Funded Core Facilities” (05/08/2013) that answers many common questions.
* Mr. Cromey would like to acknowledge the financial support for his time spent on this project provided by the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center and the Core Facilities Department of the Office for Research Innovation and Impact (RII).