Endocrine Technology

ETSL photo-1The Endocrine Technologies Support Core (ETSC) at the Oregon National Primate Research Center (ONPRC) has provided intra- and extramural investigators with analysis of protein and steroid content in blood and other biological tissues and fluids for more than 3 decades.  Our sample sources include academic institutions, pharmaceutical, biotech, and translational research companies.  

Principal support functions include routine assays for most naturally occurring steroid and protein hormones involved in the regulation of reproduction, metabolism, and the central nervous system, as well as and development of new assays as requested by investigators.

Routine assays provided by the ETSC may be divided into 6 categories:

1. Immunochemiluminescence assays: The ETSC has a  Roche Cobas e411 automatic clinical platform which currently offers 40 assays  for human serum.  The following assays have also been validated for monkey serum: estradiol-17ß, progesterone, testosterone, cortisol, ACTH, prolactin, total T3, free T3, total T4, free T4, insulin, C-Peptide, serum beta-crosslaps, hGH, osteocalcin, total PSA, troponin T, and vitamin D.  The ETSC also has a high-throughput Roche E-170 which has similar function to the Cobas e411.

2. Liquid Chromatography for multiple steroids: Glass columns with Sephadex LH-20 are used to separate steroid hormones, including estradiol-17ß, testosterone, dihydrotestosterone, androstenedione, and progesterone in a single sample with limited volume. When necessary, chromatography is also used for purification of samples before processing with steroid RIAs.

3. Extraction assays for single steroid: Many steroid hormones in serum or plasma can be extracted either by ethanol or ether for RIA, including estradiol-17ß, estrone, estriol, testosterone, dihydrotestosterone, androstenedione, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) progesterone, 17OH-progesterone, corticosterone, ethinylestradiol (EE2), and Levonorgestrel (LNG).

4. Direct assays: Steroid, protein, or peptide assays without extraction are available as in-house assays or from commercial sources, including monkey LH, FSH, inhibin-B, AMH, growth hormone, prolactin, leptin, ghrelin, glucagons, IGF-1, total or high molecular weight adiponectin, pregnenolone, cotinine, and other commercial assay kits.

5. Multiplex Assay Platforms: A Luminex LX-200 is available to measure multiple hormones, cytokines, cell signalling molecule, etc., including a 28-plex monkey cytokine/chemokine platform.  Either magnetic or polystyrene beads can be used.

6. Specific assays: Specific assays for proteins or steroids in body fluids or components, i.e., saliva, urine, ovary, semen, hair, or embryos of various species, including fish, reptiles and mammals.  A monkey LH Bioassay based on testosterone production from Mouse Interstitial Cells is available for small sample volumes collected for analyzing pulsatile LH patterns or in samples with LH concentrations too low to be detected by the specific cynomolgus monkey LH RIA.


Assay Characteristics and Quality Controls

The ETSC has extensive experience with assays currently offered by the laboratory. The traditional steroid assays use standard curves generated with 6 to 12 points with appropriate blanks and recoveries. Quality control (QC) samples are included in each assay. Extraction with diethyl ether or dilution with ethanol helps avoid serum protein or other matrix effects in subsequent RIAs. Such ether extracts are also easily applied to our permanently constituted Sephadex LH-20 microchromatography columns for isolation/purification of one or more steroids prior to RIA. These isolation procedures are particularly valuable when submitted samples have small initial volumes and estimates of multiple steroid concentrations (up to 8 per single sample extract) are requested.

Unique macaque serum QC pools are available within the ETSC for protein, steroid, and multiplex cytokine assays. These include female pools from early, mid and late follicular phases, periovulatory, early, mid, and late luteal phases, intact males, juvenile males/females, gonadectomized males and females, and pregnant females. Serum or plasma QC pools from other species are also available.

The Roche Cobas e411 instrument offers excellent quality within the range of clinically recognized levels. In addition, results are available with fast turn-around time. Both human and macaque QC samples are regularly monitored to ensure consistent instrument performance. Furthermore, the short turn-around time allows us to provide daily assay results to investigators monitoring reproductive cycles in female nonhuman primates.

The ETSC Team

David Erikson, Ph.D. is the Director of the ETSC. He has been at ONPRC in this capacity since Summer 2014. Prior to this appointment, Dr. Erikson held appointments at several academic institutions where he gained experience in endocrinology, reproductive biology, and assay technologies for over 15 years. Dr. Erikson interacts with scientists and clients, initiates new technology development, and manages the operation and direction of the ETSC, including data analysis and reports.

Steven Blue is the Lead Technician in the ETSC. He has worked in the lab over 8 years and has acquired many skills in running steroid and protein assays. He interacts with customers and is responsible for data analysis, work distribution, assay development, skill training, and supervision.

Andrea Winchell is our Endocrine Technician II. She has worked in the ETSC since 2009 and is proficient in running the Roche Cobas e411, E-170 commercial assay kits, RIAs, ELISAs, and IRMA.  She also interacts with scientists and is responsible for data analysis, sample storage, reagent inventories, lab regulations, skill training, and supervision.

Kyndra Needham is our Endocrine Technician II.  Kyndra has worked in the lab since 2010 and she is in charge of the day-to-day operation of the Roche Cobas e411, E-170, assay development as well as sample receiving and inventory.

Nicholas Jaeger has been our lab aide since 2012.  He participates in sample preparation and analysis on the Roche Cobas e411 and is responsible for waste disposal, radiation safety, dish washing, and tube labeling. 

Francis K.-Y. Pau, Ph.D. is the former Director and Manager of the ETSC. He worked at the ONPRC for 30 years in endocrinology, neuroscience and stem cell biology with years of experience in RIA and other assays. Dr. Pau is currently serving as a consultant to the ETSC.

David Hess, Ph.D. is the consultant of the ETSC.  Dr. Hess was the director of the Endocrine Lab/Core for over 3 decades before his retirement.  His expertise in endocrinology and endocrine technology is pivotal to the scientific development and operation of the ETSC.


David Erikson, Director, 503-690-5347

Steven Blue, Senior Research Assistant, 503-690-5354

Andrea Winchell, Research Assistant II, 503-690-5354

Kyndra Needham, Research Assistant II, 503-690-5354

Nicholas Jaeger, Lab Aide, 503-690-5354

Lab contact for ETSC assay request and sample shipment:
, 503-690-5354

For external users, please provide a Purchase Order for billing before initiation of services. 

Sample Shipping Address:
Dr. David Erikson
Endocrine Lab
Oregon National Primate Research Center (ONPRC)
505 NW 185th Avenue
Beaverton, OR 97006