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Tissue processing and preparation

The Histology team at the Stem Cell Institute specialise in cutting and staining of frozen sections and paraffin wax embedded tissues for all Cambridge University researchers. They can provide advice and services on a wide range of molecular techniques as well as traditional tinctorial staining. They can give guidance on the fixation, processing, sectioning and downstream applications on a wide range of biological samples. 

The Histology Facility at the SCI has expanded its repertoire to incorporate novel methods to assist in all aspects of stem cell tissue research. Automated immunohistochemistry, in-situ hybridisation utilising both DNA and RNA probes, specific tinctorial stains e.g. Giemsa for haemopoietic cells are now available. The facility can help with the design of tissue staining protocols using both chromogenic and fluorescence probes including double staining protocols for co-localisation of antibody targets. Researcher costs can be minimised with the introduction of tissue microarrays enabling staining of up to 100 samples on a single slide. Tissue culture samples can be processed to paraffin wax for downstream analysis. The facility now provides a standard two week processing to H&E for most samples and can also offer an “urgent” service to meet those publishing deadlines. The histopathology team are happy to discuss all your tissue requirements and look forward to working with you.


The Histopathology Facility is based in the CSCR building in Tennis Court Road, Cambridge. It offers a service for paraffin processing and embedding of fixed and frozen samples. We also offer paraffin section cutting and cryostat sectioning of frozen samples. Automated haematoxylin and eosin (H&E) staining of slides is also available alongside may other techniques.

The facility is a well equipped histopathology laboratory with tissue processing, embedding, microtomy and cryotomy machines available for use by both histology staff and trained researchers.



The facility has embraced the automation of histological services and can offer automated staining for both tinctorial stains such as H&E and immunohistochemical staining including antigen retrieval techniques. We have automated coverslipping and can offer a bespoke services for most histological requests.



The Facility is staffed by experienced scientists & technicians who are happy to consider ‘non-routine’ requests and offer advice to get the best results from your samples. we can train individuals in the use of histological equipment.


The Facility technical staff are experienced in histopathology and are happy to help researchers get the best from their samples. The Histopathology Facility is run by Irina Pshenichnaya & Helen Skelton

Helen Skelton graduated from Cambridge University and has over twenty years’ experience of several disciplines including Histopathology, Pathology, Immunology & Microbiology. She has worked for the Cambridge University Department of Veterinary Medicine, the Cambridge University Department of Pathology and the Wellcome Trust-Medical Research Centre Cambridge Stem Cell Institute, amongst others, undertaking both laboratory and field work. She now assists the Stem Cell Histopathology Facility with her expertise alongside running the Histology laboratory at the Pathology Department.

Training in use of equipment is available to those who’d prefer to do their work themselves.


How to book

For further information regarding services provided by the Cambridge Stem Cell Institute Histopathology Core Facility, please contact:

Stem Cell Institute affiliated researchers can register to book equipment via PPMS system:

For all training requirements please e-mail Helen Skelton at

Please send all requests for histology with a filled in electronic version of the following request form:

Download request form

Please see the following form for details of how to fill in the request form followed by an example of a completed form:

Download example request form 1

Download example request form 2

For design of tissue microarrays, setting up of large projects or the implementation of a novel assay please e-mail




Book Contributions

Pre-invasive Disease: pathogenesis and clinical management. Editor: Fitzgerald, R.C. 1st Edition, Chapter 20 Breast: Ductal Carcinoma In-Situ (DCIS) J.P. Brown S.E.Pinder p421-436. Springer Science+Business Media, New York 2011: ISBN 978-1-4419-6693-3.