Research Core Services

ONPRC research cores provide an array of specialized services to facilitate research projects of ONPRC and OHSU investigators and their collaborators. They provide 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. Fee-for-service rates are designed to recover a portion of the cost of staff time and materials.

Each of the cores are staffed with specially trained personnel and equipment. Core directors are responsible for prompt response to requests and for providing the central accounting unit with the required billing information. Each core has an oversight committee made up of ONPRC investigators. These committees meet twice a year to review core activities, assess the amount of chargeback recoveries, and make recommendations for the addition of new services and changes in charge-back fees. The Associate Director for Research, and ultimately the Director, coordinates programs and resolves operational issues.

Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) Core

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. Core staff also work with investigators to develop protocol-specific techniques to achieve experimental endpoints incorporating in vitro gamete and embryo sampling and manipulation. Training is also available to researchers on ART-associated skills, including oocyte recovery/grading, semen analysis by CASA, in vitro fertilization and embryo culture, oocyte/embryo microinjection, and semen/embryo vitrification.

Bioinformatics & Biostatistics Core

The ONPRC Bioinformatics & Biostatistics Core provides support for data analysis, study design, and grant/manuscript submission. Project planning, experimental design assistance, and grant support is provided free of charge. Data analysis is billed hourly or via partial FTE support, depending on the project’s needs. Biostatistics support covers a wide range of analyses, including statistical genetics, meta-analysis, Bayesian data analysis, longitudinal data analysis, and survival analysis among others. Bioinformatics primarily supports analysis of next-generation sequencing data, such as DNA-seq, RNA-seq, variant calling, differential expression analysis, pathway analysis, and single-cell analysis in most species. Integration with other datasets and custom analyses can also be provided.

Endocrine Technologies Core

Principal support functions of the Endocrine Technologies Core include provision of routine assays and development of new assays for most steroid and protein hormones involved in the regulation of reproduction, metabolism, and the central nervous system. Assay modalities include RIA, ELISA, Luminex LX-200 multiplex assays, an automated clinical assay platform using immunochemiluminescence technology, and liquid chromatography-tandem triple quadrupole mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). The Core utilizes a  Roche cobas e411 clinical assay platform for measurement of estradiol, progesterone, testosterone, cortisol, insulin, ACTH, prolactin, and other hormones in monkey sera, as well as more than 40 immunoassays in human sera. Two signature functions of the Core are traditional RIAs for monkey LH and FSH that require iodination, and multiple determination of steroids in small sample volumes in multiple species including monkey, human, mouse, fish, and reptile samples. The Core utilizes Shimadzu Nexera-LCMS-8050 and Shimadzu Nexera-LCMS-8060 LC-MS/MS platforms for high-sensitivity determination of steroids, small molecules, and peptides in samples from multiple species, including monkeys.

Flow Cytometry Core

The Flow Cytometry Core provides 24/7 flow cytometric support for OHSU West Campus. The core contains a Becton-Dickinson (BD) FACS Calibur analyzer, a BD LSR2 analyzer, a Cytek NorthernLights spectral analyzer, 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.

Integrated Pathology Core

The Integrated Pathology Core provides investigators with state-of-the-art histology and light microscopy imaging and analysis through extensive expertise, services, data analysis, and access to advanced equipment. Services provided include routine histology, cryosectioning, immunohistochemistry, next-generation RNAScope/DNAScope in situ hybridization, advanced light (brightfield and multi-spectral confocal) microscopy, digital whole-slide imaging, quantitative image analysis, and laser-capture microdissection. Core personnel are available at every stage of histology and microscopy-based experiments, from planning to training, troubleshooting, and quality control.

Molecular Virology Core

The Molecular Virology Core provides essential virology services, reagents, and specialized expertise and training to advance a wide array of nonhuman primate research, including viral biology, pathogenesis, immunology, viral vaccines, gene transfer, and gene therapy. Services include production of viral vectors and/or antigens from adenovirus, adeno-associated virus (AAV), cytomegalovirus (CMV), recombinant lentivirus, rhesus rhadinovirus (RRV), simian foamy virus (SFV), simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), and vaccinia (MVA). Available viral diagnostic services include tissue processing, extraction of viral DNA and RNA, highly sensitive detection of CMV and SIV viral loads (in plasma, tissues, and excretions), virus isolation, cocultures, and virus antibody serology. The Core laboratory provides access to various general and specialized instruments such as HEPA-outfitted ultracentrifuge, multimode plate reader, tissue grinders, nucleic acid extraction robots, qPCR instruments, and BSL-2+ containment facilities accessible with proper training. NHP-related services include generation of NHP-specific cDNAs, establishment of monkey specific digital quantitative PCR assays, and large-scale plasmid and phage preparation. 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, supply of a limited number of reagents, and training of new personnel.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging Core

The Magnetic Resonance Imaging Core provides instrumentation and technical support for MRI examinations of sedated nonhuman primate subjects at the ONPRC. The MRI facilities are in a 2,500 -q. ft., free-standing facility. To facilitate access of these 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 includes 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.

Primate Multimodality Imaging Center (PMIC)

The Primate Multimodality Imaging Center (PMIC) is a comprehensive facility dedicated to state-of-the-art multimodality imaging of nonhuman primates (NHPs). The center is located in a dedicated 7700-sq. ft. building that was designed specifically for NHP in vivo imaging and operates a wide variety of radiologic imaging systems, protocols, and support services. The goal of the PMIC is to provide scientists and veterinarians with advanced diagnostic technologies that will facilitate biomedical research and complement clinical care. The PMIC provides users with equipment resources (angiography, ultrasound, PET-CT, SPECT-CT, stand-alone CT, and x-ray), tracer development resources, and expertise necessary for guiding the creation and implementation of imaging protocols. The PMIC was constructed with a temperature-controlled internal corridor connected to both the Animal Sciences Building and the MRI facility to allow safe transportation for all NHP subjects.

Primate Genetics Core

The Primate Genetics Core offers a full range of resources and services to support comprehensive genetic and genomic analysis of NHPs for research and colony management. Available genetic assays and services include parentage validation, ancestry determination, MHC expressed allele analysis, NGS library prep, DNA sequencing (MiSeq and Sanger), real-time PCR, and allele-specific genotyping. DNA and RNA analysis from a variety of tissue sources is facilitated by both magnetic bead and spin column-based automated nucleic acid extraction platforms. Additionally, to support research flexibility and efficiency, training and access to individual researchers is provided for most core-operated and maintained equipment. The Core also manages the NHP DNA Bank, which manages DNA and tissue from over 19,000 NHPs and distributes samples to internal and external researchers.