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NIEHS Showcases Scientific Resources

By Negin Martin
June 2010

Robert Petrovich, Ph.D.
Petrovich, the event organizer, established the NIEHS Protein Expression Core in 2003 as part of the Laboratory of Structural Biology. Annually, the Protein Expression Core completes between 50 and 80 projects for NIEHS investigators. The latest addition to the technical services offered by the group is baculovirus-mediated transient transfection of mammalian cells. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Jason Williams Ph.D.
Williams, the head of the Protein Microcharacterization Core, provides the NIEHS community with the latest technology in mass spectrometry. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

NIEHS scientists got a much-needed opportunity to view a myriad of services available to them during the NIEHS Scientific Support Facilities Day April 28. The event highlighted services offered by the NIEHS Resource Centers and Core Laboratories (see text box), whose missions are to provide support and training to the NIEHS community. The intramural investigators and their collaborators have the advantage of using these freely available resources to develop strategies and skills to thrive and to realize their goals.

Using different support facilities like pieces of a puzzle, an investigator can put together a comprehensive research approach rapidly and effectively. At each center, trained staff members are available to assist researchers with design and implementation of experiments. In addition to expert advice, investigators can take advantage of laboratory resources, supplies, reagents, and state-of-the art equipment available through core laboratories.

The idea for the Scientific Support Facilities Day was proposed by NIEHS scientists Robert Petrovich, Ph.D., and Jason Williams Ph.D. As the event organizer, Petrovich explained, "Many intramural investigators are not aware of the incredible resources available to them in the NIEHS Core facilities and centers. The event introduced many newly recruited researchers and trainees to the NIEHS support facilities and allowed them to interact with their expert staff."

Petrovich took a creative approach to putting a face on NIEHS scientific resources. During the half-day event, a rolling slide presentation depicted each core's mission, services and pictures of staff.

All scientific services have Web sites linked to the NIEHS Employee Web site.

(Negin Martin, Ph.D., is a biologist in the NIEHS Laboratory of Neurobiology Viral Vector Core Facility and a 2009 Science Communication Fellow with Environmental Health Sciences. She recently completed a postdoctoral fellowship with the NIEHS Membrane Signaling Group.)

Resource Centers

  • Biostatistics and Bioinformatics - experimental design such as sample size, proper randomization and elimination of potential confounding factors; data analysis for gene expression, pathway analysis and molecular modeling
  • Computational Chemistry and Molecular Modeling - protein structure/domain prediction; visualizing proteins, carbohydrates, RNA, DNA and lipid membrane
  • DNA Sequencing - training in primer design, sequencing sample preparation and molecular techniques; sequence analysis
  • Flow Cytometry Center - fluorescent-activated cell sorting and analysis
  • Fluorescence Microscopy and Imaging Center - microscopy/imaging techniques; image analysis for co-localization, FRAP, FRET and TIRF
  • Microarray and Genome Informatics - array-based data analysis, Next Gen Sequence data analysis, deletion mutant screening assay, transcription factor binding identification, data mining and computational data analysis
  • Next Gen Sequencing - NIEHS Illumina sequencer at the NIH Intramural Sequencing Center facility at the National Human Genome Research Institute provides sequencing service

 

Core Laboratories

  • Animal Resources
    • Quality Assurance Lab - detection, isolation and elimination of pathogenic, microbial and chemical contaminants
    • Veterinary Medicine - training and assistance in rodent imaging, behavior phenotyping and surgery
  • Histology
    • Pathology - histology, immunohistochemistry, electron microscopy, necropsy
    • Special Techniques Lab - mouse phenotyping, laser microdissection, digital image analysis graphics
    • Clinical Pathology - clinical chemistry, hematology
  • Knockout Mice - generation of traditional and conditional knock outs and knock ins
  • Microarrays - multiple microarray platforms; DNA methylation, chIP-chip analysis, array CGH, SNP arrays
  • Molecular Genetics - resequencing, mouse tail genotyping and Illumina genotyping
  • Protein Expression - optimizing protein expression using E.coli, baculovirus, or stable mammalian cell systems
  • Protein Microcharacterization - mass spectrometry services including protein identification and post-translational modifications
  • Viral Vector - design, production and validation of viral gene delivery using adenovirus, adeno-associated virus, lentivirus, retrovirus and sindbis virus


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