Core Facilities


In-house Service: Histology

Bill Keyes, PI of the Mechanisms of Cancer and Aging, Dept. Gene Regulation, Stem Cells and Cancer
Alexis Rafols Mitjans, Marina Nuñez Alfonso
Juan Martin Caballero, Head of the Animal Facility of PRBB; Juana M. Flores, Professor of Anatomía Patológica and Director of the Department of Medicine and Surgery, Faculty of Veterinary, Universidad Complutense de Madrid


The Histology Unit was established in 2007 to provide the CRG with the histopathological analysis required for analyzing tissues from research performed in in vivo models. Studies involving developmental biology, tissue homeostasis and pathology, require an in depth analysis of the morphological and molecular characteristics of the tissues, and the alterations incurred by manipulation. A common tool for these studies is to generate animal models that may recapitulate a specific process or a particular disease. Subsequently, histological and immunohistological analysis are required to identify and characterize changes in the cytoarchitecture and morphology of the tissue. Immunohistochemistry is an essential tool to determine the localization of proteins and RNAs at the tissue and cellular level. In this respect, the main goal of the Histology Unit is to perform and optimize histological processing and analysis of the tissue, from experimental animal models and human origin. The unit also provides mentoring and training in common histological techniques, in close association with the different groups at the CRG.


The aim of this unit is to provide researchers with assistance in the histological processing and analyzing of samples derived from in vivo models. The unit centralizes and performs all the histological analysis of the CRG and works in close association to the Animal Unit of the PRBB (Headed by Dr. Juan Martin Caballero). It provides the following services:

  • Preparation and sectioning of paraffin embedded samples.
  • Preparation and sectioning of frozen samples.
  • Common histological staining.
  • Full post-mortem histopathological analysis of mouse models.

The unit also provides researchers with the necessary equipment and material to perform their own histological preparations, processing and analysis, as well as with experimental planning and training. When required, custom analysis will be designed.


  • Two cryostats: Sectioning of frozen tissue blocks.
  • Two microtomes: Sectioning of paraffin blocks.
  • Two vibratomes: Sectioning of fresh tissue.
  • Two histological water baths: For paraffin embedding and sectioning.
  • Paraffin dispenser, hot and cold plate: Paraffin embedding.
  • Autostainer (Leica): Performs histological staining of frozen and paraffin sections.
  • Tissue Processor (Leica): Automated paraffin embedding.
  • Shaker and Precision balance.
  • One Olympus BX51 microscope and an Olympus DP70 digital camera. The microscope incorporates two softwares, Neurolucida-mbf bioscience, MicroBrightField, Inc.; and CAST-Olympus, which allows the study of cellular morphology and 3D reconstruction of tissue by sterological analysis.
  • Movable Fumehood.

Most of the tissue processing equipment is duplicated to enable both technicians to work simultaneously.