Research Support Cores

Support CoresThe research support cores exist in order to facilitate research projects. 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. 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 the specific cores – Assisted Reproductive Technology, Endocrine Technologies, Flow Cytometry, Imaging & Morphology, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Molecular Technologies, and Molecular Virology 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 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 cores provide an institutional, cohesive structure for support and growth of intra and extramural collaborative research.

Overview of the Research Support Cores

Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) Core

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.

Endocrine Technologies Core

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 benchtop Roche Cobas e411 and a high-throughput Roche E-170 clinical assay platform for measurement of estradiol, progesterone, insulin, ACTH, GH, prolactin, and T3 in monkey sera, as well as more than 40 immunoassays in human 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).  Two signature functions of the ETSC are traditional RIA for monkey LH and FSH that requires iodination, and multiple determination of steroids in small sample volumes in mouse, fish, and reptiles.

Imaging & Morphology Core

The Imaging and Morphology Support Core of the ONPRC is designed to meet the microscopy needs of ONPRC scientists and of the OHSU scientific community by providing state-of-the-art facilities, expertise, assistance and training in the use of advanced imaging techniques.  Services offered include color bright-field and fluorescence, 3D, time-lapse and large area montages or 96-well plates.  Special fluorescence techniques offered are FRAP, FRET, FURA 2, spectral unmixing and single molecule Q-Dot tracking.  Stereology analyses are offered for both bright-field and fluorescence to provide estimates of volume, surface area, length, cell numbers or neuron tracing and cell mapping.  Laser capture microdissection (LCM) provides pure cell populations from tissue sections for RNA, DNA, or proteins downstream applications.  Image processing and analysis is based on Image J and FIJI and include, in addition to all basic features, artificial intelligence machine learning algorithms for automatic feature identification. 


Histopathology- Morphology Research Core

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.


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, 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 Technologies Core

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.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging Core

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. 


Molecular Virology Core

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.  Services include production of viral vectors and/or antigens from adenovirus, adeno-associated virus (AAV), cytomegalovirus (CMV), rhesus rhadinovirus (RRV), simian foamy virus (SFV), simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), and vaccinia (MVA).  Available viral diagnostic services span the range from tissue processing, extraction of viral DNA and RNA to highly sensitive detection of CMV and SIV viral loads in plasma, tissues, and excretions, virus isolation, cocultures, and virus antibody serology.  The MVSC laboratory provides access to various general and specialized instruments such as HEPA-outfitted ultracentrifuge, multimode plate reader and washer, tissue grinders, nucleic acid extraction robots, qPCR machines, and BSL-2+ containment facilities accessible with proper training.

Primate Multimodality Imaging Center (PMIC)

The Primate Multimodality Imaging Center (PMIC) is a comprehensive facility dedicated to state-of-the-art multimodality imaging of non-human 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 NHP 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, CT, radionuclide imaging, 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 ONPRC Primate Genetics Core Services includes a full range of resources and services to support the comprehensive genetic and genomic analysis of NHPs.  The service components include: the NHP DNA Bank (managing over 11,000 DNA samples, including living NHPs); Genotyping Services (in house assays include: MHC expressed allele analysis, Macaque Ancestry Assay, VNTR assays) and Colony Parentage Validation (96 SNP, Fluidigm genotype assay).  In addition, the ONPRC Bioinformatics Service Core provides custom analyses for RNAseq, MethylSeq, Whole Genome Sequencing, Whole Exome Sequencing, variant discovery studies in NHP, mouse or viral genomes.  The Biostatistics Service Core provides pre- and post-award biostatistics analyses for ONPRC investigators.  All core functions are provided on a fee-for-service basis.


Biostatistics/ Bioinformatics Core

The ONPRC Biostatistics & Bioinformatics Core (BBC) 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.