Description of the Research Resources Center at UIC
This review of our organization and services is provided for investigators who need information about the RRC for inclusion in their grant applications. Please feel free to include all or any portion of these documents into your grant as your needs require. See also the Long Description of this review.
The Research Resources Center (RRC) of the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) is a division of the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research. Oversight of the management of the RRC is the responsibility of the Associate Vice Chancellor for Research Resources.
The RRC has been providing core support for research at UIC for decades. It provides equipment, training, and a variety of research support services for campus investigators. At present its research support services consist of confocal microscopy, flow cytometry, electron and Raman microscopy, NMR spectroscopy and micro-imaging, mass spectrometry, a DNA laboratory, a genomics facility, a protein laboratory, a macromolecular structure facility, a small molecule X-ray diffraction facility, a transgenic production service, electronic and machine shops, a computing support group and a storeroom operation. In the past few years the RRC has expanded markedly, due in part to the increase in the interest in and need for, biotechnology services and due in part to increased demand for other services.
The UIC administration supports the RRC by providing state dollars. These cover academic salaries and contribute to new equipment purchases. This level of state support permits user fees to be utilized not only for routine operating costs but for equipment upgrade and replacement. Another important source of funding is grants generated by campus investigators and when necessary supplemented with matching money from the campus, colleges, departments and/or the RRC itself for the purchase of equipment that is placed in, inventoried to, and managed by the RRC.
Nearly 1,000 investigators made use of RRC services in the last fiscal year. Income collected for that usage has increased substantially over the last five years with approximately $1.7 million being generated in FY04.
The RRC’s organizational structure consists of three general components: Administrative Oversight, Research Support and Technical Support.
The Associate Vice Chancellor for Research Resources administers the RRC with the help of two directors. The Director of RRC East has oversight for electron microscopy and spectrometry/spectroscopy while the Director of RRC West has oversight for biotechnology services. An Associate Director (MBA, MS) for administrative services oversees accounting, personnel, and the technical support units.
The Research Support Services
The Confocal Microscopy Facility (CMF) is equipped with Zeiss LSM510 and LSM510 META confocal laser scanning microscopes. They are designed for analysis of living or fixed biological specimens in a multi-user environment. Using the Z-Stack software module, both microscopes can scan through a sample and obtain one or a series of high-resolution optical sections. Since both microscopes use the same software packages, there is no retraining necessary for use of either microscope.
An AIS2 automatic microinjection system is available that allows the investigator to operate the system entirely via the computer workstation and inject cells by pointing and clicking, which results in high injection rates of about 1,500 cells per hour.
To facilitate the production of figures for publication from digital images, an image station is available with Adobe Photoshop, NIH image PC, and Zeiss LSM5 software for processing data collected from either confocal microscope.
The DNA Services (DNAS) facility provides DNA sequencing services using ABI automated sequencing instruments. The services include complete sequencing from bacterial cultures, sequencing plasmids, PCR products or other templates provided by users, and performing sequence analysis on reactions performed by users with the dye terminator chemistry. The facility also offers real time PCR and sequence detection service with an ABI 7900HT Sequence Detection System. The facility supports an Applied Biosystems freezer program that stocks enzymes, DNA purification kits, and reagents for investigators.
The Electron Microscopy Service (EMS) is a central facility offering instrumentation, training and service using scanning (SEM & Microprobe), transmission (TEM) and scanning transmission (STEM) electron microscopy, surface analysis (XPS), oxide film growth (MBE) and vibrational spectroscopy (Raman). EM instruments and services are located in two laboratories, one on each side of campus.
Instrumentation in the EMS includes four TEMs for materials science applications, one TEM for life science applications; two SEMs used by both life science and materials science users, a microprobe, XPS, MBE and a Raman Spectrometer. The particular selection of equipment and personnel makes the EMS a world class facility.
The Flow Cytometry Service (FCS) maintains six flow cytometers, two of which are also cell sorters. A Beckman-Coulter Elite ESP is used for routine sorting, while our newest instrument (acquired in 2003) is a state of the art high-speed sorter, the DakoCytomation MoFlo. All of the other instruments are bench-top flow cytometry analyzers. The Elite and MoFlo are each capable of analyzing and sorting thousands of cells/particles per second. The newest flow cytometer, the Bio-Rad Bio-Plex, is a protein array system designed by Luminex to analyze multiplex microsphere arrays, which is an alternative to using ELISA assays to determine the concentration of proteins in solution (cell lysates). The FCS also maintains an automatic magnetic bead sorter (autoMACS from Miltenyi Biotec) that is often used as a pre-sorter to enrich rare populations of cells before sorting for greater purity on one of our sorting flow cytometers.
The Core Genomics Facility (CGF) provides state-of-the art equipment, technical resources and bioinformatics support for Affymetrix array and glass slide DNA and protein array processing, glass slide DNA array preparation, and data analysis. CGF services include: Affymetrix GeneChip array hybridizaton and data acquisition, hybridization and scanning of glass slide DNA and protein arrays, custom preparation of glass slide DNA arrays, access to discount pricing on Affymetrix GeneChip arrays, access to IMAGE Consortium human cDNA clone collection, specialized software for data acquisition and analysis, and bioinformatics support. The facility has licensed the Research Genetics 40,000-clone sequence-verified human IMAGE cDNA library, each representing a single UniGene cluster.
The Macromolecular Structure Facility (MSF) uses x-ray diffraction for the determination of the structures of proteins, DNA or RNA, etc., at atomic resolution. The facility houses two area detector instruments coupled with an x-ray generator, focusing mirror optics and low-temperature cooling systems. At present, the MSF is available only on a subscription basis.
The Small Molecule X-ray Diffraction Facility (SMXRD) uses x-ray diffraction for the determination of the structures of small organic and inorganic compounds at atomic resolution. Data collection and analysis are carried out by the facility manager and a set fee is charged for the service.
The Mass Spectrometry, Metabolomics & Proteomics Facility (MMPF) serves as a research core facility and resource for the analysis of a wide variety of molecules ranging from low molecular weight volatile compounds to high mass polymers and biopolymers such as proteins. Types of measurements include qualitative and quantitative analysis, purity assessment, molecular weight determination, and high-resolution exact mass measurements for the determination of elemental composition. The hyphenated techniques of gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and liquid chromatography spectrometry (LC-MS) permit the composition of complex mixtures to be analyzed, and tandem mass spectrometry (MS-MS) provides information regarding molecular structure.
The Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Laboratory (NMRL) offers NMR techniques for both spectroscopy and imaging (microMRI). Several spectroscopy probes are available for determining the structure of compounds, the interactions of drugs with proteins, cellular pH, in vivo metabolite levels and the metabolic fate of nonradioactive tracers. Both spectroscopy and imaging are non-destructive.
The Protein Research Laboratory (PRL) provides comprehensive services related to protein studies. Services include peptide synthesis, protein sequencing, protein purification, antibody production, amino acid analysis, western blotting, PCR, ELISA, circular dichroism spectroscopy, 1-D and 2-D gel electrophoresis, proteomics, and recombinant protein production.
The Transgenic Production Service (TPS) generates transgenic and gene-targeted mice. Services include pronuclear microinjection of DNA constructs into mouse zygotes for the production of transgenic founders and injection of targeted ES cell lines into blastocysts to produce chimeric mice. Investigators submit purified transgenes or targeted ES cells for microinjection to produce founders or chimeras, respectively. Vectors may also be submitted to the facility for gene targeting in ES cells. Services for cryopreservation and storage of embryos and sperm are also offered to provide insurance against the loss of a colony or to preserve seldom-used strains. Frozen strains may be recovered using IVF and embryo transfer.
The Technical Support Services
In addition to the Research Support Services, the RRC provides technical support in the form of a Scientific Electronics Shop (SES), Scientific Instrument Shop (SIS), Scientific Computing Support (SCS) and the RRC Scientific Supply Center (SSC).