Biomarker Development - Facilities

The Laboratory consists of three adjoining wet laboratories with a total area of about 2,000 ft2 including a walk-in cold room. A suite of offices for lab members is adjacent to the laboratory.

Major Laboratory Equipment

The laboratory is equipped with all the necessary equipment required for radiochemistry, organic syntheses, cell culture studies, and animal distributions in connection with radiopharmaceutical and optical biomarker development. In particular, there are five state-of-the art Waters HPLC systems consisting of Waters 515 HPLC pumps, in-line Waters 2487 Dual Wavelength Absorbance UV detector and in-line radioactivity detectors. Both detectors of each HPLC system are interfaced to PCs running the Waters Millennium/Empower software. Three of the HPLC are capable of gradient elusions. Other large pieces of equipment include a laminar flow hood, CO2 incubator, a Packard Cobra II Auto Gamma automatic sample changer-NaI(Tl) gamma well counter interfaced to a PC for read-out and data manipulation, microcentrifuges (Heraeus Biofuge, and Beckman) and a Beckman Allegra X-15R centrifuge. A Perkin Elmer GeneAmp PCR System 2400, a Beckman LS 6000IC liquid scintillation counter. The laboratory has an LKB cryomicrotome capable of providing thin sections of small animals for autoradiography.

Other pieces of equipment include: five dose calibrators; Hitachi UV/vis spectrophotometer; shaking incubators for cells; pH meters; and a SpeedVac rotary evaporator. In addition, the university has 30 cores to cover specialized research needs, usch as a core for cell maintenance; core for flow cytometry; and a core for animal housing/services. Smaller pieces of equipment include Waters Quanta 4000E capillary electrophoresis system and horizontal and vertical slab gel electrophoresis units, inverted microscope, drying ovens, water baths and multiple refrigerator/ freezers. A variety of size exclusion and ion exchange HPLC columns are routinely in use.

In cooperation with Dr Hendrik Pretorius, we have also access to a three-head gamma camera equipped with three multiple pinhole collimators suitable for small animal SPECT imaging using the HiSPECT (Bioscan) small animal imaging system.

In cooperation with Dr. Alex Bogdanov of this department, we have access to a Nikon Eclipse TE 2000-S microscopy(Nikon Instruments Inc., Melville NY) equipped with Cy5.5 filter and CCD camera and then processed using IPLab software (BD Biosciences, Franklin Lakes, NJ) and a SpectraMax M5 / M5e Microplate Reader (Molecular Devices Corporation, Sunnyvale, CA) equipped with a heating block.

Imaging facility

 

SPECT-CT PET

 

A Bioscan NanoSPECT/CT and Philips Mosaic PET small animal cameras for molecular imaging are located in a 350 ft2 laboratory that constitutes the University of Massachusetts Medical School Small Animal Imaging Core Facility. Also, an IVIS 100 optical imaging camera is available for our routine imaging investigations. The Small Animal Imaging Core facility is operated by support staff from the Radiology department with Mary Rusckowski, PhD, as Core supervisor. The 5 -8 cm (9-pinhole) bore size and the parallel hole collimators on the microSPECT and the 18 cm bores size of the microPET will permit imaging of animals from mice to rabbits and marmoset monkeys. The biodistribution of proteins, peptides, oligomers, nanoparticles, and other biomarkers of interest may be followed noninvasively using the microSPECT camera and radionuclides such as 99mTc, 111In, 123I and 125I, by dual acquisition if desired, and with resolution of about 1 mm, and with the microPET camera using positron emitting radionuclides such as 18F, 68Ga, and 64Cu and with resolution of less than 2 mm. The CT component of the NanoSPECT/CT camera will provide registration for both cameras and, in addition, can be used without radioactivity for high resolution anatomical imaging. The mice and the rat beds are exchangeable between cameras and are heated and allow for the transfer of gas anesthesia. Data may be transferred via DICOM 3.0 throughout the institute.