A Shared Resource Fee-for-Service Laboratory

The Research Histology Laboratory is an integral and essential component of the Department of Pathology. It functions as the histology laboratory of the BioRepository & Precision Pathology Center (BRPC), while additionally providing specialized support to clinical services and multiple investigators at Duke. The Research Histology Laboratory is a state-of-the-art facility that provides both routine and specialized histological services. The staff provides assistance with respect to the proper collection and fixation of the tissue, paraffin and OCT embedding, microtomy and cryotomy techniques, and the evaluation of the stains. The histology teams works closely with BRPC’s Immunohistochemistry, Tissue Microarray, Nucleic Acid Extraction, Digital Spatial Profiling, and Digital Imaging specialists, and any of these services can be requested along with histology for convenience.

Hours of Operation: Monday-Friday, 8am-6pm
Designated drop off and pick up times: 9:30-11:00am; 3:00-4:30pm
Location for General Histology Services: Duke South Green Zone, Room 254

Contact Information
Phone: 919-684-6209

Director: Shannon J. McCall, MD

Scientific Director: Zuowei Su PhD,  919-684-1727

Emily Knutson, HT (ASCP), Team Lead
Laura Sparks, HT (ASCP)



  • Routine paraffin processing, embedding, and sectioning
  • Hematoxylin and eosin (H+E)
  • Frozen Sectioning
  • Special staining


Please call if you need a stain not listed here. Contact Dr. Zuowei Su at  919-684-1727 to discuss your immunostaining needs, and see the list of our currently available stains. If the antibody you need is not on our list, then please contact Dr. Su for advice and assistance. A list of some commonly requested stains are:

  • Beta Amyloid Protein (BAPP)
  • Alpha-Synuclein
  • BAF47, CD3, CD4, CD8, CD15, CD31, CD34, CK(AE1/AE3), CK14
  • Cleaved Caspase 3
  • Estrogen Receptor Alpha, F4/80, FoxP3, GRP78, HAM56, HMB45, Ki67, GFAP, Mart-1, Neurofilament (NFP), p53, S100, Synaptophysin


  • Congo Red
  • Peiodic Acid Schiff- Diastase Digestion (PAS-D)
  • Luxol Fast Blue
  • Mikat
  • Masson Trichrome
  • Martius Scarlett Blue (MSB)
  • Oil Red O (frozen sections only)
  • Periodic Acid Schiff (PAS)
  • Periodic Acid Schiff – Diastase Digestion (PAS-D)
  • Toluidine Blue


  •  Sakura Tissue Tek VIP 5 tissue processors
  • Sakura Tissue Tek 5 tissue embedding console
  • Leica RM2235 manual microtome
  • Thermo Scientific Microm HM355S automated microtomes
  • Thermo Scientific CryoStar NX70 cryostat
  •  Leica Autostainer XL H&E Stainer




Please fill out this form and email to path-rhl@duke.edu or bring a physical copy to the lab when you drop off your sample.

Turnaround time varies depending on the project, specific services requested, and the number of samples involved in the project.

Yes – please clearly state on your request form that you have provided your own and label the containers to make sure they are used and returned to you.

Yes – please clearly state on your request form that you would like them returned and label the containers to make sure they are returned to you. If we do not have an indication that your container should be saved, it may be disposed of.

Yes – we can only ensure your samples are both returned to you and handled per your specifications if we can match them with a list. Providing a typed list also ensures the lab can accurately label any slides, as handwriting on blocks often smears during processing.

No – our lab is open daily from 9:30-11AM and 3-4:30PM. Please feel free to stop in during these hours and someone will be available to assist you. Staff may be working in other lab spaces outside of these times, so please contact us if you need to make other arrangements.

Ask staff about current turnaround time (this depends on project size, complexity, current staffing, and other pending projects) – a rush may not be necessary for the project to be completed by your deadline.

We used charged slides manufactured by Cancer Diagnostics for the majority of our output. We also stock FisherBrand SuperFrost (recommended for IHC work), Cancer Diagnostics uncharged, and FisherBrand ProbeOn Plus slides, which can also be used upon request. If you have your own slides that you would like the lab to use, those may be provided during project drop off.

Our molecular precautions procedure requires our technicians to spray down all equipment and tools with an RNAse inhibiting spray, use molecular grade bottled water in waterbaths, wear gloves, and change microtome blades between individual samples. We always use this procedure when alerted that samples will be used for RNA extraction, and strongly encourage it for DNA extraction as well. This procedure is not necessary for standard staining or immunohistochemistry.

Yes – please contact Dr. Zuowei Su directly for any questions relating to IHC antibodies and work ups.

Yes – please let us know your samples will need extraction so we can coordinate with Dr. Xufeng Chen, who provides this service.

Yes – please let us know which slides need to be imaged and we will do so after staining. Alternatively, slides stained prior may also be sent for imaging only.


Emily Working3