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Eight steps to Rigorous and Reproducible Experiments in Biomolecular Research at UNC:

  • If using a core facility, consult with the core staff in the planning stage. Consult with a statistician if you need help developing a Power Analysis to assure that your results will be adequately powered.
  • Design your experiment with sufficient controls (rigor) and replicates (reproducibility).
  • Assure that ALL of your reagents (antibodies, cell lines, mice) are fully validated (see below).
  • Have a clear and detailed protocol (SOP) and data analysis plan. Assure that the protocol is strictly followed or that any deviation is well documented.
  • Assure that the staff or students performing the experiment are well trained and understand each step and the importance of performing them precisely.
  • Use only well-maintained instrumentation, preferably maintained and operated in a core facility with expert staff (see #1 above).
  • Document all steps, reagents, equipment and data analysis methods used in the experiment. Assure that the both the documentation and the data itself are properly stored in a safe data management repository.
  • Acknowledge the Cancer Center Support Grant (P30 CA016086) (if applicable), other grants that support the core, the core (by name), and core staff in publications.


Guide to Rigor and Reproducibility for the Histology Research Core Facility:

  • Consult with the core staff in the planning stage.
  • To improve the quality and reproducibility of histological and immunohistochemical staining the Histology Research Core Facility utilizes standard histology reference material.  Most of our protocols can be found online through the Protocol Database at IHC World or in histotechnology training textbooks which are recommended by the ASCP’s Histotechnologist certification program. Copies of all protocols are available upon request.  All customers receive a customized datasheet along with any immunhistochemistry order detailing the reagents used, their corresponding catalog numbers, lot numbers, and all incubation times.
  • All reagents and antibodies provided by the HRCF are from established vendors, and we encourage all clients to validate their antibody selection through an antibody comparison site such as BenchSci ( or the Antibody Registry (  When possible all samples from a single study are stained as a unified batch (to avoid batch variability) and with the same lot of reagents (to avoid lot-to-lot variability).
  • Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and other detailed protocols are available at the Histology Research Core Facility upon request.
  • Preventive maintenance of instruments used at the Histology research Core Facility is conducted regularly.
  • Detailed descriptions of experimental procedures including those pertaining to sample processing and antibody specifications are documented electronically and manually. Instruments and laboratory instructions pertaining to work done at this facility are documented electronically and manually. All documentation and data relating to respective experiments are stored in a safe data management repository.
  • Please acknowledge the UNC Histology Research Core Facility and the Cancer Center Support Grant (P30 CA016086) in your publications.