Our Department consists of research laboratories, preparatory and service labs, a seminar/classroom, a computer classroom, and Departmental offices. All of our laboratories are properly equipped to utilize biophysical, cellular, molecular, and/or structural approaches to biological problems. In addition, as well as other departments, colleges and programs on campus, we maintain core facilities available to everyone. Here are a few that our faculty members routinely use:
The University supports an AAALAC-accredited animal research laboratory facility utilized for teaching and research activities.
The Bioinformatics Core provides informatics and statistical support for the design and analysis of molecular biological experiments with specific expertise in microarray experimental design and interpretation.
This unit was established to develop and maintain a comprehensive coordinated program of research support covering biostatistics, statistical genetics, and epidemiology for biomedical and health-related research activities. As such, staff members are available for consultation on study design through statistical interpretation.
The UVM College of Medicine operates a Cell Imaging Facility to provide researchers and students throughout the University with state-of-the-art imaging capabilities for the collection and analysis of biological images used for clinical and research applications. Major items of equipment include: Two Confocal imaging systems, Atomic force microscope, an Olympus BX50 light microscope for fluorescence In Situ hybridization, both scanning and transmission electron microscopes, Universal Imaging MetaMorph image analyzing workstation, as well as photographic quality color laser printers.
In 1998 the CXX was established as a campus facility to expand structural biology at the University of Vermont. Its creation and operation is supported by a Howard Hughes Medical Institutes Award given to the College of Medicine. The center is jointly run by four new crystallographers [K. Chu(Physics), S. Doublié (MMG), S.J. Everse (Biochemistry) and M.A. Rould (MPB)] and includes a Rigaku RU200 generator, two MAR345 image plate detectors, two mirror systems for focusing the x-rays, and two cryostreams for reducing radiation damage.
In addition, the CXX has obtained all the equipment necessary to purify and crystallize proteins, including a Gilson 925 high-throughput crystallization robot, DynaPro DLS, and a Pharmacia Akta purification system. Incubators for growing crystals and dissection microscopes for observing/mounting crystals are also available in the facility. Liquid nitrogen dewars are available for storing crystals awaiting a trip to the synchrotron and a Xenon-Cryositter is now available for making Xeon derivatives.
With the establishment of the CXX, the College of Medicine has made a strong commitment to structural biology. In that regard, the College received a second award from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute which brought two Cryo-electron microscopists Michael Radermacher and Teresa Ruiz (Physiology) and two electron microscopes to UVM to augment this initiative.
In 2005, the Dana Library moved into the Medical Education Center providing over 1,200,000 volumes, a complete collection of scientific and medical journals (paper as well as electronic), as well as over 30 workstations for computer-aided literature searches and classrooms for teaching. The Library connects the University of Vermont and Fletcher Allen Health Care campuses and is flooded with natural light from skylights, furnished with tables and study carrels designed and built by Vermont craftsmen.
The DNA Analysis Core Facility provides fast, user-friendly DNA analysis services to the members of the Vermont Cancer Center and other campus members. Facility staff can help to troubleshoot problems and assist with experimental design. The facility regularly sponsors technology seminars and provides software tutorials.
A NIH Shared Instrumentation Grant has facilitated the purchase of two state-of-the-art flow cytometers for the high speed analysis and sorting of cells, and the College supports specialists to assist in their use. This facility is heavily used by several of the members of our Department.
Established in 2002 the Microarray Core utilizes the Affymetrix GeneChip system to assist in expression profiling or SNP studies. The facility staff has developed protocols to extract DNA or RNA from novel sample types. All projects are reviewed using an integrated approach to experimental design, workflow, and sample collection in collaboration with the UVM Bioinformatics Core to ensure high quality, statistically relevant results.
As part of its Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) in Neuroscience, the facility is equipped with state of the art imaging capabilities for work on live cells with concomitant electrophysiological measurements. The system allows multifluorochrome capability on thin sections or cells and utilizes a wide field deconvolution restoration approach. This core complements the Cell Imaging Facility described above.
Seeded with the equipment from two NIH Shared Instrumentation awards, the Protein Core was established by Dr. Robert Hondal in our Department in 2004. Over the years it has provided researchers with hundreds of peptides and access to our MALDI mass spectrometer.
Supported by the Vermont Genetics Network (VGN), the facility aims to characterize and quantify the proteins present in different biological and biomedical samples by using the state-of-the-art mass spectrometry techniques. The facility currently includes 8 mass specs with new machines arriving each year.
Directed by Dr. Mercedes Rincon (Immunobiology in the Dept of Medicine), the facility is equipped to generate knock-out mice and to house transgenic mouse models in a strict barrier facility to maintain a pathogen-free environment.