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Facilities & Equipment

Our research in the BMRC is strongly underpinned by our state-of-the-art facilities containing the latest in biological and chemical analysis equipment.

Cell culture Laboratories

We currently carry out research relating to the study of cancer, musculoskeletal disorders, neurological diseases and chronic diseases. Staff use a number of 3D cell culture approaches to study disease processes in vitro. Our cell culture laboratories provide facilities for sample preparation, primary cell culture and secondary cell culture and include:

  • Sysmex XP-300 Automated Haematology Analyser - Analysis of white blood cells, red blood cells, neutrophils and platelets.
  • Coy Hypoxic Glove Box - Culture of eukaryotic cells in a hypoxic environment. This mimics the gas conditions found in mammalian bodies.
  • Invitrogen Countess Automated Cell Counter - Rapid enumeration of cells
  • BD FACSCALIBUR Flow Cytometer - Enumeration, typing and sorting of cells
  • Gallios 10 Channel Flow Cytometer - Enumeration, typing and sorting of bacterial or mammalian cells
  • Leica Benchtop Tissue Processor - Processing of tissue samples prior to sectioning and analysis
  • Leica Microtome - Sectioning of tissue samples
  • Cryostats (x3) - Sectioning of tissue samples
  • Cell Culture Suites - For culture of primary and secondary cells (6 laminar flow hoods)


Microscope suite

Our microscope laboratory contains:

  • Olympus IX81 Motorized Inverted System Microscope - Fluorescence and bright field microscopy. Features live tiling of multiple fields of view
  • Olympus BX60 Microscope - Fluorescence and bright field microscopy.
  • Zeiss Laser Scanning Confocal Microscope (LSM800) - 2D and 3D fluorescence microscopy of biological samples.

Mass Spectrometry Imaging

Mass spectrometry (MS) is used to solve a range of bioanalytical problems..

A range of projects are in progress which are concerned with the utilisation of matrix assisted laser desorption mass spectrometry imaging (MALDI-MSI) for imaging the distribution of chemicals and biomarkers in a wide range of sample types. We currently have facilities for both standard and high resolution imaging:

  • Waters SYNAPT G2-Si High Definition Mass Spectrometer - This instrument can be used in multiple modes for chemical and biological analysis of samples
  • Bruker Autoflex III - Analysis of samples via MALDI-TOF or TOF/TOF
  • Applied Biosystems API QStar Pulsar - Hybrid quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometer for the analysis of biological samples
  • Waters Xevo G2-XS QTof - Quadrupole Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometer for the analysis of biological samples.
  • Suncollect MALDI Spotter - Coating of samples with matrix prior to MALDI-MS analysis.
  • Labcyte Portrait 630 Spotter - Coating of samples with matrix via acoustic droplet ejection prior to MALDI-MS analysis.

Analytical Laboratory

The analytical laboratory houses equipment for the biological and chemical analysis of a number of different sample types. Equipment includes:

  • LC-Q - Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectrometry
  • Micromass GCT System - Thermal probe for Gas Chromatography - Mass Spectrometry analysis of solid samples
  • Applied Biosystems Voyager-DE STR - Analysis of samples via Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption Ionisation Mass Spectrometry
  • Horiba Activa ICP-OES - Quantitative analysis of elemental concentrations in liquid samples using Inductively Coupled Plasma - Optical Emission Spectroscopy
  • Perkin Elmer NexION ICP-MS System - Quantitative analysis of elemental concentrations in liquid samples using Inductively Coupled Plasma - Mass Spectrometry. Ancillary equipment allows separation of sample components by HPLC prior to ICP-MS analysis, or the analysis of solid samples using Laser Ablation. The latter technique can also be used to produce elemental distribution images of samples
  • Bruker 400 MHz NMR System - For the study the structure of molecules, the interaction of various molecules, the kinetics or dynamics of molecules and the composition of mixtures of biological or synthetic solutions or composites by Nuclear Magnetic Resonance

Microbiology Laboratory

Our microbiology laboratory is used for the culture and analysis of bacteria, yeast and fungi for research into bioremediation, environmental microbiology, antimicrobial systems and microbiological applications in material science. Our facilities include:

  • 2 x 5 litre fermenter systems - Mid-volume batch or continuous culture of micro-organisms. Can also be linked to speciality gas supplies for organisms grown on specific carbon sources, i.e. methane
  • Don Whitley Scientific MACS VA-500 - A gas controlled incubator for the culture of micro-organisms under microaerophilic or anaerobic conditions.
  • Thermo French Cell Press - Shearing of bacterial cells prior to protein or nucleic acid purification
  • Static and Orbital Incubators - For the culture of microorganisms

Molecular Biology Laboratory

We have facilities for the molecular analysis of RNA, DNA and proteins, including

  • Thermocylers - Amplification of DNA via PCR or RNA to DNA via RT-PCR.
  • Biorad D-Code Universal Mutation Detection System - Detection of single-base changes in DNA by the Single-stranded conformation polymorphism (SSCP), Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE), Constant denaturing gel electrophoresis (CDGE) or Temporal temperature gradient gel electrophoresis (TTGE).
  • NuGenius Gel Doc System - Imaging of agarose or acrylamide gels.
  • Applied Biosystems StepOne Plus Real-time PCR System - Quantitative analysis of DNA.
  • Applied Biosystems QuantStudio 3 Real-time PCR System - Quantitative analysis of DNA.
  • Telstar Mini V/PCR Vertical Laminar Flow Bench - UV hood for oligonucleotide disruption to prevent contamination when performing PCR.
  • Qiagen Pyrosequencer - Sequence-based detection for rapid and accurate quantification of sequence variation in genetic material
  • Wallac Victor 2 Plate Reader - luminescent or colourimetric analysis of well plates assays
  • CLARIOstar Microplate Reader - Analysis of well-plate assays
  • Biotek Cytation Plate Reader - Cell imaging multi-mode Reader for capturing rich phenotypic cellular information and quantitative data
  • Luminex system - Multiplex analysis of up to 100 analytes in a single microplate well

Biochemistry Laboratories

Our biochemistry laboratories are used for research into disease states, cell function and structure and cell regulation. Our facilities include:

  • ÄKTA Start - Automated for the purification of tagged and untagged proteins as well as antibodies. Currently situated in a cold room for temperature sensitive proteins
  • ÄKTAprime Plus - Purification of tagged and untagged proteins as well as antibodies.
  • ÄKTApurifier - Purification of tagged and untagged proteins as well as antibodies. Currently situated in a cold room for temperature sensitive proteins.
  • LI-COR Imaging system - Quantitative analysis of western blots using Infra-Red Fluorescence
  • Biorad Trans Blot Turbo - Semi-dry blotting system for western blots.
  • Nanion Port-a-Patch - Patch clamp system used to study ionic currents in individual isolated living cells

Chemistry Laboratory

Our chemistry laboratory houses facilities and equipment for research into catalyst design, novel organic compounds, reaction mechanisms and formation of challenging bonds. Our facilities include:

  • Advanced Instruments Osmometer - Determination of the osmotic strength of a solution.
  • Isolera One Flash Purification System - Rapid chromatographic separation of chemicals.
  • MARS6 Microwave Digestion System - Preparation of solid samples prior to analysis by ICP.
  • CombiFlash Purification System - Rapid chromatographic separation of chemicals in a mixed sample.
  • Retsch Planetary Ball Mill PM 100 - Preparation of ultra-fine chemical powders.

A full list of our equipment can be found here.

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