The TRIP Lab provides routine histology, including paraffin and frozen processing, embedding, and sectioning.  We also do routine and special histological staining. See our TRIP Fee Schedule for available stains and pricing. If there is a stain that you would like that is not listed, please inquire at trip@pathology.wisc.edu. To submit a service request, go to our iLab page.


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How should I prepare my samples for submission?

Please refer to the following Histology Specimen Submission Guide.

Tissue Submission Guide

Frozen Tissue Preparation Protocol

Where should I deliver/pick up my samples?

Histology samples should be delivered to the TRIP Lab (2214 WIMR).  A sample cart is left outside the door daily.  Samples to be paraffin processed should be transferred to 70% ethanol after appropriate fixation, then “double contained” (specimen container AND sealed bag) for transport safety purposes. Finished materials will be left on the same cart for pickup.  Please email TRIP or appropriate TRIP staff member when you plan to leave your sample(s) and/or materials.

How should I label tissue cassettes?

Label tissue cassettes with a “solvent-resistant” marker, not a Sharpie.  If unsure, use a standard pencil.  Sample labels can be entered within the iLab submission form or uploaded as a spreadsheet. Do not include PHI (Personal Health Information) on the iLab request.  Please note, sample labels should be concise, as there is limited space on both cassettes and slides.

What type of embedding is best for my experiment?

We offer two options: Frozen and Paraffin embedding– The option selection will depend upon your downstream application.  Many markers may be masked from routine fixation; however, antigen retrieval techniques may be able to remedy this.  The best tissue morphology is obtained with paraffin processing; however, the majority of our users who use frozen sections are fixing their tissues (4% PFA) prior to freezing.  This provides some morphology preservation with, hopefully, minimal antigen masking.  If molecular work will be performed, find out if what you are looking for will remain stable through paraffin processing or if frozen sections are necessary.  Even some RNA experiments can be performed on FFPE tissue.

What should I do if I have special requests?

You will have the chance to indicate the following on the iLab histology form:

  • Orientation of samples (How do you want your sample sectioned?)
  • Number of slides
  • Number of sections per slide
  • Thickness of sections (The default  is 5µm for paraffin sections and 8µm for cryosections)
  • Any special instructions (glass coverslip for special imaging, no coverslip, etc.)

Please contact TRIP if you have specific questions regarding your samples.

What is the average sample/slide shelf-life?

Frozen samples, kept at -80C, can be gone back to for sectioning for quite a long time, months to even years if properly stored.  Frozen samples should be well sealed to prevent “freezer burn”/drying out.  Paraffin-embedded tissue can be viable for even longer.  For histological staining, slides that are years old can perform as well as freshly cut ones.  However, for IHC staining, the same is not true.  Once tissue is cut onto a slide, it has a more limited shelf-life.  Tissue remaining in the block tends to retain more viability.  The routine advice is to cut slides when you are ready to use them.  Paraffin slides, if storing is necessary, can be stored in the fridge or -20C freezer, no colder.  If stored in the freezer, they should be well-sealed in a plastic bag.

How can I retrieve blocks and slides from UWHC Surgical Pathology and transfer to TRIP?

Fax surgical pathology form with a list of blocks to (608) 262-7174. Make sure you check the box “TSB TRIP Lab” in the form under the “Materials Requested” section.