Resources at Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute


Our $13 million, 44,000-square-foot center contains seven laboratories and sophisticated core equipment for immunology and virology research, which deal with the study of the immune system.

OHSU Gene Microarray Shared Resource

This state-of-the-art microarray facility allows investigators to determine the expression status of thousands of genes simultaneously. Microarray technology is based on the use of small glass chips imprinted with thousands to hundred of thousands of different gene sequences that can be hybridized to RNA samples extracted from many different biologocal sources. This technology provides researchers with the ability to rapidly analyze the gene expression profiles for a wide range of diseases and model systems. Eventually, these arrays may be engineered to hold the entire human genome on a single chip. The Microarray Cores (Affymetrix Microarray Core and Spotted Microarray Core) offer the capability to use chips containing standard sets of genes (Affymetrix and Spotted Microarray Cores) or to fabricate chips with genes selected by the investigator (Spotted Microarray Core). For more information, visit the GMSR web site.

Flow Cytometry Core

This is a fluorescence-activated mechanism that identifies, sorts and counts cells. By labeling cells with antibodies tagged with different "colors", scientists can quickly determine the type and the function of the cell population they are looking at, or if a particular antibody is present. This core is available to researchers outside of the VGTI on a fee-for-use basis.

The Virology Core

The Molecular Virology Support Core (MVSC) based at OHSU’s primate center is a valuable resource to investigators at VGTI, ONPRC, OHSU, and beyond. The overall mission of the MVSC is to provide expert virology services to support basic and translational research in infectious diseases, vaccines, gene delivery and therapy. Services available to investigators are (a) virus quantification and identification, (b) production of virus and viral vector and antigen stocks, (c) virus serology, (d) maintenance of cell stocks and sample processing and (e) development of new reagents and standardized assays. The MVSC service portfolio encompasses a wide range of areas - such as lentivirus (SIV), cytomegalovirus (CMV), vaccinia, and adenovirus - and is constantly evolving to best meet user needs. Consultations and custom services are available. For more detailed information and a detailed list of services, please contact Gregory Dissen at or visit our website.

Imaging Core

This core has both conventional microscopes and computer software for image analysis. Also available is a phosphorimager for gel analysis.

Laser Capture Microscope

The Palm Microbeam laser capture microscope is able to isolate and extract a small set of cells for further molecular or genomic analysis.

Real-time PCR analysis

The VGTI currently has two Applied Biosystems, Inc. Sequence Detection 7700 Systems, otherwise known as real-time PCR machines. The real-time PCR machines are capable of detecting amplified PCR products in real time, directly as the DNA products are being amplified. Real-time PCR is therefore highly quantitative, without the need for further analysis of the PCR products on a gel or by Southern analysis. Both DNA and RNA (after reverse-transcription) can be readily quantified. The real-time process entails utilizing a fluorescently-labeled probe to detect product. The use of different fluorophores on the PCR probes can therefore be used in order to quantify several different PCR products in one reaction, rather than having to perform separate amplification reactions. Currently, investigators at the VGTI are using real-time PCR to quantify viral loads, to examine microarray samples, to look at gene expression, and to investigate the presence of different genotypes of the T cell receptor.

Mass Spec Core

The VGTI Mass Spectrometry Laboratory features a system specifically designed for proteomics research. The ThermoFinnigan ProteomeX system combines micro-capillary high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with the electrospray LCQ Deca XP Ion Trap mass spectrometer (MS) and the database searching program, SEQUEST. Samples are automatically introduced into the system through the autosampler, which is controlled by a user-defined sample queue via the ProteomeX software. Within this software HPLC and MS methods are also chosen by the user and run in automated fashion.

The lab maintains current protein and nucleotide databases for searching with SEQUEST. Customized databases can be created. Additional software for database searching, de novo sequencing, and filtering is available if needed. Instrument, software, and data analysis training for users of this lab is available on an ongoing basis. Additionally, the lab provides consultation on experimental design, sample preparation, methods development, and data analysis.