VRC Facilities

VRC services are generally available to Penn NEI grant holders. Some limited funds are available to support pilot research expected to lead to an NEI grant proposal/renewal or other vision research. If you have such a project, please send an email request for approval in advance of using the services. The email should include a short description of the project and services requested.

A summary of the modules follows. Services for all modules are available to all VRC investigators, with priority given to participating investigators who currently hold NEI grants that qualify for P30 support. To learn more about what services a module offers, or to schedule use, please contact the primary contact person listed for that module.

Please remember to acknowledge the support of the core grant (P30 EY001583) in any publications that describe work that received support from it.


Dr. Gui-Shuang Ying, Module Director and Primary Contact

This module provides consultation in design and analysis of clinical and laboratory research.

Click here for the Bistatistics Module page.


Imaging and Electrophysiology

Dr. Sergei Nikonov, Primary Contact

Dr. Qi Cui, Module Director

This module supports and/or subsidizes access to a number of imaging and electrophysiology instruments, as well as provides technical support for the use of these instruments.

Click here for the Imaging and Electrophysiology Module page.



Michael Suplick
Primary Contact, David Rittenhouse Labs Machine Shop
(215) 898-8927
Click here for Machine Shop information and rates

Vincent Lau
Primary Contact, Penn Electronic Design Shop (Penn EDS)

Dr. William Beltran, Module Director

This module offers the design and fabrication of special purpose, novel instrumentation. VRC will pay 70% of the labor costs at the Machine Shop and 65% of the labor costs at the Penn Electronic Design Shop, with 100% of materials costs to be covered by investigators’ grants. Without prior approval, the VRC will support up to a maximum of $5000 of subsidized labor expenses for each project. The shops will provide a rough estimate of costs towards the start of each job, but because of the unique nature of each job, these should be regarded as ballpark numbers to guide decision making, not as binding contracts.



Molecular Biology

The VRC has discontinued most of its molecular biology services, as these are now available through broader campus cores at reasonable rates. We do, however, maintain two sequencing machines, an ABI 7500 and an ABI 7900. These are available for use by vision researchers on a self-service basis, and with supplies paid for by the investigator. For information on using the ABI 7500, please contact Joshua Dunaief (jdunaief@pennmedicine.upenn.edu). For information on using the ABI 7900, please contact Dwight Stambolian (stamboli@pennmedicine.upenn.edu).


Scientific Transparency and Image Analysis

Dr. Min Chen, Primary Contact for Image Analysis

Dr. Geoff Aguirre, Module Director and Primary Contact for Scientific Transparency

Dr. James Gee, Module Co-Director

This module provides support for data analysis related to vision experiments. Support is provided for the development of custom solutions for experimental image analysis, and for the development of curated data analysis pipelines. The latter is based on the Flywheel platform and the module supports the storage and analysis of both brain (e.g., MRI) and retinal imaging datasets.

Please contact Min Chen to discuss image analysis applications, and Geoff Aguirre to discuss support for curated data analysis.