Research Cores and Infrastructure

Imaging

The Mason 3T MRI Facility houses a Siemens Prisma 3T Magnetom for human brain and whole body MRI. This facility is equipped with 32 channel phased array head coil, 16 channel shoulder coil, and multiple other head/neck/ spine, body, and flex coils. Applications include sequences for neuro, angio, cardiac, body, onco, breast, ortho, 2D and 3D ASL, SWI, and spectroscopy imaging. A 64 channel, MR compatible EEG system is also available. Visual displays include an Eiki projector. An ARRT certified MR Technologist is available for scanner operation.

Contact: James Thompson, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology
Emailjthompsz@gmu.edu

The Krasnow Institute Imaging Facility houses two confocals (upright and inverted): a Zeiss LSM800 AxioObserver with AxioCam and a Nikon C1si D-eclipse. An Olympus/Provis with Neurolucida software is available. The Facility also contains a light and a dissecting microscope. 

Contact: Nadine Kabbani, Associate Professor, School of Systems Biology, Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study
Email: nkabbani@gmu.edu

Proteomics 

The CAP/CLIA Clinical Proteomics Laboratory, provides a unique opportunity to assess and evaluate new proteomic technologies under rigorous clinical guidelines; accelerate the verification and validation of promising candidate biomarkers in a clinical diagnostic setting; and implement unique clinical trials and diagnostic tests. The CAP Clinical Proteomics Laboratory uses an Aushon 2470 Automated, High-Throughput Protein Arrayer, and a Dako robotic autostainer to generate protein arrays and perform immunohistochemistry for analysis of tissue and cellular samples for biomarker discovery. An Immulite 1000 Immunoassay instrument is also available to measure protein analytes and perform clinical tests.

The Mass Spectrometry Laboratory uses specialized chromatography, electrophoresis, and cell fractionation systems, combined with high-performance mass spectrometers (Orbitrap Fusion, LTQ-Orbitrap, Triple Quadrupole, and MALDI- TOF-TOF), to separate and analyze components of tissue, serum and other physiological samples, resulting in protein characterization, identification and biomarker discovery. The laboratory is equipped with 4 mass spectrometers that are capable of identifying and quantitating femtomole levels of biomolecules such as peptides and proteins.

The Nanofabrication Laboratory is equipped to manufacture hydrogel nanoparticles used for biomarker discovery and the development of diagnostic tests. A novel protein painting technology developed in the lab identifies hot spots of protein-protein interaction.

The Protein Microarray and Molecular Characterization Laboratoryhouses Aushon 2470 Automated, High-Throughput Protein Arrayers and Dako robotic autostainers utilized to generate protein arrays for analysis of tissue and cellular samples for biomarker discovery. The Molecular Characterization Laboratory is equipped with an lllumina Bead Array Reader for high density DNA single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analysis. The SNP analysis assess genomic copy number variation and can be used to create a molecular karyotype.

The Tissue Processing and Imaging Laboratory is equipped with histology equipment to embed and cut paraffin and frozen tissue sections with a Tissue Tek VIP Tissue Processor, Thermo microtome MH325, Harvard Apparatus vibratome, and Leica CM1850UV cryostat. Five laser capture microdissection systems in the laboratory are used to isolate enriched cell populations under direct microscopic visualization (2 Arcturus XT Automated Laser Capture Microdissection Systems, and 3 Arcturus PixCell II/IIe Laser Capture Microdissection Systems). A cytospin centrifuge and RoboSep magnetic cell sorting instrument are also available for processing biological fluids.
Imaging capabilities include an Olympus BX51 microscope outfitted with a digital camera, phase contrast and fluorescence, as well as an Olympus BX51 dual head, light microscope with a digital camera.

Metabolomics Sequencing 

The Mason Metabolomics Facility houses several chromatography instruments, including a GC-FID, GC-NPD, and semi-preparative and preparative HPLCs. The metabolomics platform is centered on an Agilent 7890A Gas Chromatograph with 5975C Mass Spectrometer, an Agilent 1290 Infinity LC with a 6530 QToF (MS/MS), and an Agilent 1100 LC-MSD (with interchangeable ESI, APPI, and APCI sources). Coupled with custom designed software algorithms and the commercially purchased Agilent Mass Profiler Professional software package, these instruments enable a comprehensive examination of volatile and non-volatile metabolites present in biological samples.

Contact: Robin Couch, Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry
Email: rcouch@gmu.edu

Genomic Sequencing

The MicroBiome Analysis Center has a separate PCR room with 10 PCR machines, an ABI 3130xl sequencer, a Life Technology RT PCR instrument, an Ion Torrent PGM sequencer (4 million reads/run), an Ion Torrent S5 (80 million reads/run), and high-end computational facilities. The computational facilities include 10 iMac computers, a 48 processor HP workstation, two development HP servers, and access to a 640 node SGI cluster. A wide array of bioinformatics software is accessible through networked computers within the DNA research labs.

Contact: Pat Gillevet, Director, Microbiome Analysis Center
Email: pgilleve@gmu.edu

Macromolecular/Small Molecule Engineering and Spectroscopy

The NMR Laboratory will be equipped with a Bruker AVANCE III HD 400 MHz NMR instrument for multi-dimensional magnetic resonance spectroscopy experiments, including structure determination/confirmation of small molecules. It’s Diffusion Ordered Spectroscopy (DOSY) capabilities enable investigation of intermolecular interactions. The instrument is equipped with Bruker’s SMART Probe technology for enhanced resolution and an automatic sample changer for processing up to 24 samples. (Available Winter 2018)

Small Molecule, Peptide, and Protein Engineering Spectroscopy Laboratory is equipped for small molecule, protein, and peptide synthesis. Computational chemistry experiments are performed using a variety of available software on the Mason Argo cluster. Proteins are expressed in either bacterial or mammalian cells. Molecular characterizations are performed using a Bruker AVANCE III HD 400 MHz NMR.

The Spectroscopy Laboratory is equipped with 1) Jasco FP-8300 Spectrofluorometer w/ Peltier temperature control and polarizers, 2) Jasco FTIR4100 Infrared Spectrometer w/ Peltier temperature control and protein secondary structure prediction software, 3) Bio-Tek Eon Microplate Spectrophotometer, 4) Molecular Devices SpectraMax Gemini EM Microplate Spectrofluorometer, 5) Tecan Spark 10M Spectrophotometer w/ AlphaScreen and chemiluminescence, 6) Rudolph AUTOPOL IV Polarimeter, 7) Rudolph J357 Automatic Refractometer, and 8) Jasco J-1500 Spectropolarimeter.

Biodefense and Infectious Diseases

The Biomedical Research Laboratory is a 52,000-square foot, stand-alone, high-security facility. The BRL features more than 18,500 square feet of lab space comprising BSL-2 open-design laboratories with cell culture suites, preparation areas, and a microscopy room. The facility is also equipped with ABSL-2 spaces, a surgery suite, BSL-3 laboratories, ABSL-3 suites and a necropsy suite.

Contact: Charles Bailey, Director, National Center for Biodefense and Infectious Diseases
Emailcbailey2@gmu.edu

Research Computing 

The Office of Research Computing offers the following on-campus research computation options:
1. The ARGO cluster, which has been installed in the Aquia Data Center for large scale computation needs of researchers in the university.
2. Requesting a virtual computer for research from ITU. This is for research related computations that cannot be done on university researchers’ desktops or laptops.

Contact: Jayshree Sarma, Director of Research Computing
Emailjsarma@gmu.edu