Refer to the specific policies and guidelines of the EM Suite below:

Service and billing

  1.  For service and training enquiries: Applicants fill out the EM Project Application. The form shall be approved by project P.I. (responsible for covering the costs for services) and submitted to the EM suite manager.
  2. Our staff provides consultation service (free of charge) to discuss applicant’s objectives, technical details, available tools and conditions. For an assessment of EM project feasibility the applicants are encouraged to provide all supporting information and may be requested to provide quality control of samples and reagents subject to the EM analysis. 
  3. Quotation for our services is provided only as an estimate of expected costs because individual biological samples have unique qualitative properties and processing and/or imaging of additional replicates or collection of an additional imaging dataset beyond quantity estimated in the original quotation may be necessary for delivery of conclusive results. 
  4. Acceptance of the EM service/training project is subjected to mutual agreement between the EM suite manager, the applicant and the P.I. of a project or supervisor of a trainee on project feasibility, time schedule for sample submission or service/training delivery, service conditions and  co-authorship (if applicable).
  5. Appropriate sampling (including controls), harvesting and pre-fixation of submitted biological material are critical for delivery of conclusive imaging data and shall be discussed with our staff in advance. 
  6. Applicant shall deliver samples in pre-arranged time and conditions together with EM Sample Delivery form (for reference purposes). We reserve the right to reject specimens that do not meet our criteria for quality and/or quantity necessary for the EM analysis.
  7. Service projects are handled without unnecessary delay. The time necessary for completion of an individual EM project depends on objectives and type of EM analysis, complexity and total volume of analyzed samples, method of processing and imaging and whether quantitative analysis and/or data post-processing has been requested. The length of training depends on instrument and previous experience and learning skills of a trainee (charged by hourly rate).
  8. Upon project completion, applicants certify reception of services (imaging data, processed samples or completion of training) by signing EM Service Delivery form. Our personnel is responsible for sample processing, acquisition of imaging data and their evaluation (except interpretation for diagnostic purposes) but not for quality of results generated by users themselves.
  9. The EM Service Request with billing details is sent to project P.I. who shall generate a Purchase Order in the ePRS procurement management system (A*STAR clients) or through procurement system of his/her institute or company (non-A*STAR clients). The invoice is generated via IMB or IMCB Finance Department and billed to the client. Should client’s procurement need to raise the P.O. prior service delivery, the P.O. will be based on quotation estimate which is subject to change (see paragraph 3 above).

Biosafety and user policy

  1. Handling of biological samples from First, Second, Third and Fifth Schedule of Biological Agent & Toxins Act (BATAs)* is not permitted in the EM suite premises. Biological samples from Fourth Schedule shall be inactivated by chemical fixation prior delivery to the EM suite (exceptions may be considered for cryo-processing operations). Biological samples containing pathogens, toxins or toxic substances shall be delivered with appropriate ATCC documentation including SDS/MSDS and risk assessment protocol. 
  2. The EM suite is certified for work with corrosive, toxic, radioactive and explosive substances and with high voltage instruments (TEM/SEM microscopes). By accessing and working within the EM suite, users must read, understand and sign risk assessments where applicable and safety guidelines must be followed by all users at all times. Biohazard and toxic waste (both, liquid or solid) must be disposed appropriately. All samples, bottles, tubes and containers must be labelled to indicate their content, date and name. Non-labelled items will be discarded.
  3. For self-use of a particular instrument in the EM suite users must first apply for a training by our staff and pass a proficiency assessment before being qualified as an “accredited user”. Accredited users may access instruments only after booking through the online reservation system. Cancellation of unattended sessions must be made by user as soon as possible and communicated to our staff. Our staff reserve priority access to all instruments.
  4. Use of the EM suite instrumentation by accredited users is limited to standard working hours (afterhours shall be negotiated with our staff). Carrying away any material, samples, chemicals, tools or datasets that are in propriety of the EM suite is not permitted. It is user’s sole responsibility to keep and leave their workplace, instruments and tools clean, in place and in fully working conditions available for the next user. Depletion of consumables shall be reported to our staff promptly. 
  5. Users are requested to copy their imaging datasets to data exchange folder located on IMU server and remove their data from the microscope’s computer at the end of their session. Data older than two months may be deleted by our staff. Plugging portable hard discs or USB flash disks to microscope computers is not permitted.
  6. Lab accidents including chemical spills and injury must be immediately reported to our staff. Instrument malfunction shall be noted in the log book (if applicable) and reported to our staff promptly so we can assist in troubleshooting. User will only be held responsible for damage caused by improper manipulation (user error).

(*) For the list of Biological Agent & Toxins Act (BATAs), please refer to the MOH website.

Acknowledgements and authorship

The EM suite staff shall be recognised with co-authorship for projects where our staff provided a significant assistance or contribution in conception or design of experiments, data analysis or interpretation. For projects launched as collaboration the co-authorship must be approved by project P.I. and by the EM suite manager. The EM suite staff reserve the right to review presentation and interpretation of data generated at the EM suite prior to submission of manuscript for publication or prior data presentation on poster, internet or other media. Researchers are obliged to provide reference information to the EM suite about presentation of any data generated within the EM suite. When contribution of the EM suite staff to a research project does not merit co-authorship, the authors are obliged to acknowledge the EM suite in their publications, abstracts, presentations, posters and grant proposals, using variations of the following text: "The authors would like to acknowledge the IMB-IMCB Joint Electron Microscopy Suite for assistance in sample processing, image acquisition, imaging and data analysis in this study."