Research Support Cores
The research support cores exist in order to facilitate research projects. This division provides quality technical assistance, specialized and widely utilized scientific procedures, access to informational cataloging and/or retrieval of animal histories and previous scientific findings, and rapid and effective communications to appropriate groups. Where feasible and appropriate, fee-for-service rates have been initiated to reduce the center grant costs for these services. These charge backs are designed to significantly recover the cost of staff time and materials.
Each of seven specific cores – Assisted Reproductive Technology, Endocrine Technology, Immunology, Imaging & Morphology, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Molecular & Cellular Biology, Virology & Serology are staffed with specially-trained personnel and equipment. Laboratory supervisors are responsible for prompt response to the lab requests and for providing the central accounting unit with the required billing information. Each of the Cores has an advisory oversight committee that is made up of scientists and staff at the Center. These committees meet twice a year to review the activities of the cores, assess the amount of chargeback recoveries, and examine progress made on any research development projects. Recommendations for the addition of new services and changes in charge-back fees are made by the oversight committees. The Associate Director, and ultimately the Director, coordinate programs and resolve the common and specific problems. These support laboratories provide an institutional, cohesive structure for support and growth of intra and extramural collaborative research.
Overview of the Support Cores
Priorities for new services, activities and developmental studies by the ART Support Core continue to be established by a committee comprised of all its users. The ART Core provides researchers with NHP gametes, embryos, follicular cells, and other ART-related services in support of studies on gamete and follicular development, fertilization and contraception, early embryogenesis, pregnancy initiation, fetal development, and cell-based therapy of human disease, and the creation of disease models in NHPs.
Principal support functions include development of new assays and provision of routine assays for most steroid and protein hormones involved in the regulation of reproduction, metabolism, and the central nervous system. Assay modalities include RIA, ELISA, Immunoradiometric Assay (IRMA), Liquid Chromatography (LC), Luminex LX-200 based multiplex assay platforms, and an automated clinical assay platform using immunochemiluminescense technology. The Core utilizes a Roche Cobas 3411 clinical assay platform for measurement of estradiol, progesterone, insulin, ACTH, GH, prolactin, and T3 in monkey sera. The Roche instrument has proven extremely robust with rapid turnaround time (up to 60 individual estimates per hour). The quantity of serum required by the instrument is relatively small (10-100 l/test) and the range of detection is adequate (3-4 log dynamic range).
The Histopathology-Morphology Research Core of the ONPRC is designed to meet the research histology needs of anyone in the ONPRC, OHSU, Academic- non OHSU communities. Services are also provided to external persons.
The Flow Cytometry Core provides 24/7 flow cytometric support for OHSU West Campus. The core contains a Becton-Dickinson (BD) FACS Calibur analyzers, two BD LSR2 analyzers and a BD Aria II cell sorter. The Core maintains the equipment and monitors the on-line scheduling sites. The analyzers are provided on a self-serve basis, while core personnel usually run the cell sorter. The core trains new users to run the analyzers and provides basic technical support dealing with cell cultures and staining procedures. Depending on need and after demonstrating sufficient technical skill, selected individuals can also be trained to run the Aria II cell sorter.
Molecular biology services include automated DNA sequencing, automated genotyping, robotic preparation of RNA and DNA, preparation of monkey genomic DNA, generation of lentiviral vectors, generation of monkey specific cDNAs, establishment of monkey specific realtime PCR assays, large scale plasmid and phage preparation, supply of a limited number of reagents, training and access to specialized equipment including liquid handling robots, realtime PCR machines, scanning fluorometers and phosphor imaging. Cell biology services include preparation of media and reagents, freezing, storage and amplification of cell lines, transfection and cloning of cell lines, establishment of primary cell lines, preparation of coated culture ware and cover slips, and training of new personnel.
The MRI Support Core provides instrumentation and technical support for MRI examinations of sedated nonhuman primate (NHP) subjects at the ONPRC. The MRI facilities are in a 2,500 sq. ft. free-standing facility. To facilitate access of this resources to the ONPRC community, the MRI Support core is managed as a satellite of the OHSU Advanced Imaging Research Center (AIRC), which in conjunction with ONPRC staff, provides technical advisory support, training, and infrastructure to ONPRC scientists. To ensure close veterinary care throughout MRI procedures, the MRI equipment is located adjacent to the ONPRC surgical facilities. Instrumentation maintained at the MRI Support Core include a Siemens 3T Tim Trio whole-body MRI system, physiological support and monitoring equipment (including an InVivo Precess MRI-compatible multi-component monitor), and several commercial and custom-built radiofrequency coils specifically designed for use in conjunction with studies of nonhuman primate subjects.
The MVSC provides essential virology services, reagents, specialized expertise and training to advance a wide array of non-human primate research, including viral biology, pathogenesis, immunology, viral vaccines, gene transfer, and gene therapy.