Seeking MMA sectioning tips/tricks etc

From:Anthony Norman

Hello All,

Well, I ended up going with the Leica 2500E system which arrived today 
in what I believe is a minor record for getting my university's 
purchasing dept moving on a product in this price range. Now I have a 
new toy to play with and my chairman is a tad on the antsy side to get 
things to look at and publish. So, in the interests of getting up and 
running quickly, I thought I would ask people's advice on starting 
points, at least. (they would like to have data for an abstract due in 
April and the tissues are not going to be here for a couple of weeks 
still ... plus I am still taking classes and occasionally try to sleep 
and eat).

Our blocks consist of rabbit or canine bone/cartilage in a MMA/GMA 
resin (85/10%) and the block cutting faces are going to be in the range 
of 3x4 cm (rabbit) and 6x4.5cm (canine) (we don't do anything on a 
small scale around here). Desired section thickness anywhere from 5-20 
um. I'm most interested in learning best cutting speeds (never used a 
motorized system before) and starting blade angles. I seem to have all 
sorts of protocols/recommendations for the embedding, laying out of 
sections and staining, but little to no info on what would seem the 
slightly more important bit of actually getting the section from the 
block. Actually, I guess that is my largest anxiety source at present 
as the engineer side of my brain is warning me about breaking a machine 
which costs more than 3 times my annual salary.

Anyway, any thoughts, tips etc you might be able to lend as I get this 
program up to speed would be greatly appreciated!

Tony Norman
Graduate Research Assistant
UW-Bioengineering/Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine
Seattle, WA

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