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xx MDACC Chemical Imaging Research Core

Overview of Services

This section was established to promote and spearhead application development on chemical imaging. Traditionally, tissue samples are prepared by sectioning and staining on microscope slides. This method, under a seasoned histopathologist, can obtain mostly structural data using visual confirmation, while mostly ignoring the significance of chemical information that is inherent in the varied tissue components. Conventional mass spectrometry will give molecular information on the samples but spatial information is lost, during sample extraction and homogenization.
Today, mass spectrometry imaging can be used to unlock this chemical information and will be a key component for earlier and better detection of cancer. Central to the chemical imaging core is the Waters Synapt G2-Si high definition mass spectrometer, which allows mass spectrometric imaging of tissue sections, and discern disease-related molecules from the surrounding population. The Shimadzu IMLayer can prepare the tissue sections for imaging with consistency, speed and ease.

Other complementary instruments are present to support the developmental workflow in the core. The CytoViva Hyperspectral Microscope is a darkfield-based microscope, which one of the main features is to enable spectral analysis of both biological and materials-based nanoscale objects using visible near Infrared and Shortwave infrared. Research involving the use of nanoparticles to enhance radiotherapy in cancer treatment has found many uses for this innovative microscope. Another instrument in the core is the Agilent 7900 ICP MS, which is primarily used for elemental analysis of samples. Its main use in the clinical field is for biological and chemical quantitative analysis with metal-tag labels for biomarker tracing.  


Funding made possible by the E.L. Wiegand Foundation and James B. and Lois R. Archer Foundation


Dodge Baluya, Scientist


Erik Cressman, Core Director

Location and hours of operation

Hours Location

Hours Open:  9 am - 4 pm

Hours Staffed:  8 am - 5 pm 

Mass Spectrometry Imaging

Biomedical Research and Science Building



Elemental Analysis (ICP-MS)

Zayed Building




Name Role Phone Email Location
Dodge Baluya
Erik Cressman
Core Director
FCT 14.6010

Service list

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Agilent 7900 (1)
Consultation Fee (1)
Cytoviva (1)
Mass Spectrometry Imaging (1)