Office of Research Development
Resources and Scientific Environment
Facilities & Resources
Laboratory research buildings at MUSC include the Thurmond Biomedical Research Building. This building contains the Gazes Cardiac Research Institute as well as MUSC and VA research labs and shared facilities. The Basic Science Building is a complex that houses the basic science departments as well as the Darby Children's Research Institute. The Institute is fully integrated with the Basic Science Building, providing labs for researchers in 14 multidisciplinary programs. The Walton Research Building houses the Pathology & Laboratory Medicine as well as research laboratories for Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Additional campus buildings that include significant laboratory space as well as clinical facilities include: the Storm Eye Institute, housing the Vision Research Center; the Institute of Psychiatry, basic science laboratories for substance use disorders research; and the Hollings Cancer Center which includes dedicated to laboratory-based research. Two new research buildings opened in fall 2011. Connected to the Basic Science Building via a pedestrian sky-bridge, the Drug Discovery and Bioengineering Buildings were designed for translational research, research training and in vivo experimentation.
All research laboratories at MUSC have access to shared equipment and resources such as ultra-low freezers, centrifuges, scintillation counters, and cold, warm, light-controlled and tissue culture rooms. Appropriate glassware and sterilization facilities are provided. All laboratory investigators have well equipped modern laboratories with suitable space for trainees and students.
MUSC Medical Center
The MUSC Medical Center currently has 709 licensed beds in four inpatient facilities—Medical University Hospital (MUH), Ashley River Tower, MUSC Children's Hospital, and the Institute of Psychiatry. The MUSC Medical Center is fully licensed by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and has JCAHO accreditation with the “Gold Seal of Approval.” The Gold Seal of Approval™ attests that the accredited organization has demonstrated compliance to the most stringent standards of performance.
MUSC is the #1 hospital in South Carolina according to the U.S. News & World Report. In addition, three adult and three pediatric specialty programs at MUSC are ranked among the top 50 in the nation. To be nationally ranked, a specialty program must not only have a good reputation but show that it can handle a high volume of the toughest cases and objectively document the highest-quality care and good outcomes (survival rates, patient safety), often with data available from the federal government.
The three nationally ranked adult specialties are rheumatology (#17); ear, nose & throat (#27); and nephrology (#40). Ten other adult specialties at MUSC are designated as “high-performing,” meaning that they are among the top 25% of programs nationally: cancer, cardiology & heart surgery, diabetes & endocrinology, gaastroenterology & GI surgery, geriatrics, gynecology, neurology & neurosurgery, orthopedics, pulmonology, and urology. Overall, MUSC was recognized for excellence in 13 of the 16 adult specialty programs assessed.
MUSC has been recognized for excellence by US News & World Report for more than 16 consecutive years.
The Children’s Hospital of South Carolina at MUSC ranked in the top 50 hospitals for children’s heart programs in U.S. News Media Group's 2013-14 edition of America’s Best Children’s Hospitals. MUSC is the only medical center in the state that offers transplant programs for heart, pancreas, kidney-pancreas, small bowel and liver (including living donor procedures for liver transplantation), and has the only comprehensive eye center in the state. Medical Center data for the year ending June 30, 2012 include:
Medical Center Research Mission. The Medical Center mission is to provide excellence in patient care, teaching, and research in an environment that is respectful of others, adaptive to change, and accountable for outcomes. The Medical Center advances biomedical knowledge by serving as a setting for clinical and translational research, providing resources to conduct research, and offering opportunities for patients to participate appropriately in research and treatment protocols.
Hospital Accreditation. The most recent Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) survey in September 2006 resulted in full re-accreditation. MUSC Medical Center is fully licensed by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SC DHEC).
Access to Patients. The MUSC Medical Center has managed care contracts with all major commercial payers in its area. The tri-county Charleston area is the state’s fastest growing region with a population of 665,000 in the primary area and another ~500,000 in the secondary market. A quarter of the state’s senior population lives in these catchment areas. As South Carolina's premier health care center, MUSC receives statewide and regional referrals through consortium hospitals, satellite clinics, and an extensive network of referring physicians. Data regarding inpatient and outpatient activity are provided above.
Clinical Trials. SCresearch.org is the South Carolina Research Studies Directory, which enables South Carolinians to participate in research opportunities and novel treatment options available at MUSC as well as many of the other state’s hospitals. Participation in these treatment options (i.e., clinical trials) allows individuals to play an active role in their own health care and access new treatments before they become widely available. It also allows individuals to help others that may benefit in the future from their contribution to medical research.
Clinical Data Management System
|MUSC has embarked on a multi-year, multi-project initiative (MUSC Epic Enterprise Program) to replace many of its patient access, patient management, revenue cycle, inpatient, and ancillary clinical systems as well as its Ambulatory Electronic Health Record (EHR) system. As a result, MUSC will realize the vision of “one patient – one record” which will optimize process efficiency and improve quality at each step of the continuum of care across the entire healthcare system, as well as migrate further toward a paperless environment. The MUSC Epic Enterprise Program is organized into several Projects: Enterprise-wide Patient Access and Revenue Cycle; Inpatient Clinical Systems – Clinical Documentation, Labor and Delivery, Oncology, Orders, Pharmacy, and Radiology; Surgical and Anesthesia System and Emergency Departments; Ambulatory Electronic Health Record (EHR), including optimization and rollout of additional modules and functionality such as MUSC Health Link for referring physician access; and Enterprise-wide Analytics. The system features a variety of functions including improvements to order entry, physician inpatient documentation and a patient portal (MUSC MyChart). The system also provides additional levels of security and authentication for users and follows the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act for privacy and compliance.|
Ashley River Tower
|MUSC’s Ashley River Tower facility opened for patient care in February 2008. It is the first phase of a long-term initiative to construct an entirely new comprehensive teaching and referral hospital on the west side of campus. This facility continues MUSC’s long history of providing excellence in patient care. Focusing on Heart & Vascular Disease and Digestive Disease, Ashley River Tower offers the latest technologies and top physicians to address the increased incidence of cardiovascular and digestive diseases among the growing population of South Carolina and the region. This state-of-the-art building has 156 licensed beds, an intensive care unit, operating rooms, laboratories, interventional radiology and endoscopy suites, and a specialized chest pain center. The hospital is designed to accommodate the most modern medical equipment available and to offer patients and their families the highest quality of care in a safe, comfortable and healing environment.|
The Children's Hospital of South Carolina
The Children's Hospital of South Carolina at MUSC is the largest and most comprehensive pediatric medical center in South Carolina. Our health system covers the state with an extensive network of physicians, health care professionals and services – all dedicated to children. The Children’s Hospital was ranked in the top 50 hospitals for children’s heart programs in U.S. News Media Group's 2013-2014 edition of America’s Best Children’s Hospitals, along with a first-time top 50 ranking for the pediatric nephrology and a second year showing for the pediatric gastroenterology program.
The MUSC Children’s Hospital is dedicated to enhancing the health of children throughout South Carolina and to providing an environment that supports excellence in pediatric patient care, teaching, and research. The Children’s Hospital offers a full range of age-specific care. It is South Carolina’s largest and most comprehensive pediatric healthcare center, offering the only Level III neonatal intensive care unit in the region and the only Children’s Emergency Department in South Carolina. MUSC Children’s Hospital consistently earns high rankings from American Health Magazine and Best Doctors of America. The health system consists of a comprehensive network of primary care physicians, specialists, surgeons, and service providers who provide a variety of services and programs, including the Child Life Program, Community Outreach, Emergency and Transport Services, Pediatric Burn Center, Prenatal Wellness Center, Transplant Programs, and Trident Area SAFE KIDS, as well as specialty care in more than two dozen medical, surgical and psychiatric areas.
Darby Children's Research Institute
The Darby Children's Research Institute is the largest and most comprehensive pediatric research facility in the Carolinas. It is one of 15 buildings in the country dedicated to children's research. Located next to the Basic Sciences building on Ashley Avenue, the seven-story institute houses 150 state-of-the-art laboratory modules, 11 research programs, and approximately 150 investigators and staff. Researchers work non-stop to discover the causes of and cures for ailments that continue to afflict our children, including cancer and blood disorders, congenital heart disease, multiple sclerosis, AIDS and other immunological diseases, Genetic disorders, mental retardation and learning disabilities, pneumonia and respiratory syncytial virus, and diabetes, which afflicts more than 311,000 children and adults in South Carolina.
The work being performed in these areas raises the level of care not only at MUSC Children's Hospital, but also throughout the entire Medical University. Research conducted at the Institute could potentially assist children throughout the world.
Ralph H. Johnson Veteran's Administration Medical Center
The Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center (VAMC) in Charleston, SC offers primary, secondary, and tertiary care facility and operates approximately 145 inpatient beds. The facility provides primary and specialized outpatient services in southeastern South Carolina and Chatham County, GA. The VAMC also supports Veterans Centers in North Charleston, SC and Savannah, GA and operates outpatient clinics in Savannah, GA and Myrtle Beach, SC. Over the past year, the total number of inpatients treated was approximately 4,500 and the total number of outpatient visits was more than 500,000. The Charleston VAMC is closely affiliated with the MUSC. For FY11-12, the VAMC supported an average of 84 House Staff positions. Residents from MUSC rotate through all major clinical services (23 total), as do student trainees and trainees from nursing, pharmacy, social work, and other allied health positions.
The Research Service at the VAMC is broad-based with more than 262 active research protocols being conducted by 98 investigators. A unique partnership between the VAMC and MUSC maintains the nation’s only mutually supported research facility, housing collaborative biomedical research with an FY12 VA and non-VA funding level of about $23 million ($14.4 million from the NIH and the remainder from other sponsors) and over $9.3 million in funding from the VA. VA investigators have wet bench laboratories totaling more than 46,000 square feet in the Thurmond Biomedical Research Facility as well as an AAALAC accredited Veterinary Medical Unit directed by a board-certified veterinarian. Major research areas include hypertension, diabetes mellitus, heart failure, stem cell biology, immunology, cancer biology, renal diseases, signal transduction, mental health, substance abuse, and aging.
The Ralph H. Johnson center has 1 of 13 national VA Health Services R&D Research Enhancement Award Programs (REAP); research focuses on disease prevention and health interventions for diverse populations. Outpatient clinical/translational research activities are housed in a dedicated 2,800 square foot Clinical Research Unit (CRU) on the 2nd floor of the VAMC. The CRU has 10 examination rooms, a 4-station transfusion room, a 3-station physician workroom, a waiting room and a general laboratory with a –80ºF freezer, centrifuge, several refrigerators, and a microscope. The CRU also includes a sterile specimen storage facility, staff offices, and break- and workrooms. Construction for a new mental health research building that will be attached to the VAMC is soon to break ground.The Charleston VAMC was one of the first research programs in the country to successfully achieve accreditation for its Human Subjects Protection Program. Re-accreditation was accomplished in December 2011 for a five year duration. The research program has also obtained and maintained accreditation of their animal program through the AAALAC, with re-accreditation accomplished in 2011.
Protection of Human Subjects
Participation of human subjects in research is under the jurisdiction of federal regulations (45 CFR 46 and 21 CFR 50 and 56). MUSC investigators are granted the privilege of working with human subjects under normal assurance to the government that such research complies with regulations protecting human subjects. The university has a federal-wide assurance for research with human subjects (FWA 00001888, expires 08/25/2016), and is in compliance with federal policy governing use of human subjects. Individuals involved in human subject research at MUSC are required to complete the Collaborative IRB Training Initiative (CITI) offered on-line by the University of Miami. All human subject protocols are reviewed through an academic Institutional Review Board (IRB) process that has been accredited by the Association for Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs (AAHRPP). The MUSC Office of Research Integrity coordinates the activities of three IRB committees, involving faculty members as well as representatives of the business, legal, ethical, religious, and civic communities. These committees are registered at: http://ohrp.cit.nih.gov/search/search.aspx. The MUSC IRB serves as the university affiliate for the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center, which is accredited by the National Committee for Quality Assurance.
The MUSC University Compliance Program is a proactive program designed to promote full compliance with all applicable policies, procedures, laws and regulations. This involves a confidential Compliance Helpline to encourage all members of the MUSC community to ask questions or voice concerns about laws and regulations on such topics as coding and billing, research integrity, professional ethics, human subject/animal research, biological safety, conflict of interests, and patient/subject confidentiality. The Compliance Office proactively trains employees, monitors high-risk activities, and facilitates discovery of concerns, followed by appropriate investigation and corrective action where appropriate. This program directly assists MUSC’s management at all levels in maintaining and enhancing an environment where ethics are paramount considerations in strategic and operational decisions throughout the organization.
Care and Use of Vertebrate Animals in Research
The Division of Laboratory Animal Resources (DLAR) centrally manages the University’s animal care program. The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) is independently chartered and appointed by the President and is fully independent of DLAR. The IACUC reports to the Vice President for Academic Affairs & Provost. Committee functions are staffed by the Office of Research Integrity under the direction of the Associate Provost for Research. The IACUC is responsible for review of all proposals using lab animals at the university as well as oversight of the programs and policies associated with animal use. The committee meets monthly to review and approve animal protocols and address other issues. It performs semiannual inspections and review of the DLAR programs and facilities for compliance with PHS, USDA and AAALAC regulations. To help the IACUC in monitoring the conduct of animal-based research and proactively assist investigators in establishing and maintaining good practices, MUSC also has a program for Post-Approval Monitoring of Animal Use (PAMA). A designated Animal Research Compliance Liaison works with the MUSC investigators and the individuals who handle animals in their laboratories to ensure that the highest level of animal care is maintained and that all research involving animals is conducted with appropriate IACUC review and approval.
MUSC has been fully accredited by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC International) since 1987, with an unbroken record of compliance with regulatory inspections by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). MUSC’s Animal Welfare Assurance number is A3428-01 (expires 04/30/16).
Office of the Chief Information Officer – Information Services (OCIO-IS)
Information Services, a division of the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO), manages MUSC’s campus-wide data and voice communication network as well as other core infrastructure systems and applications. The campus data network provides Gigabit Ethernet connections to the desktop and Gig throughputs in the core. There are currently 50000 network ports with 35000 active devices. The campus wireless network has 1000 access points with 3500 wireless users daily. Campus data switches utilize a fiber optic backbone to the core switches/routers and fiber optic and copper cables connecting the access layer switches. Gig connections are provided for users with a need for higher bandwidth requirements. Individual campus sub-networks are administered as an Internet Class B Network. Cisco routers provide high-speed connections between internal subnets and the Internet. A 400 Mb connection is provided for the commercial Internet and 600 Mb connection for Internet 2. Metro Ethernet and cable modems are used to extend the campus network to remote or rural office locations.
The campus voice communications network has more than 15,000 telephones and a voice mail system with more than 6000 active mailboxes. Information Services also provides support for main infrastructure systems, including Microsoft Exchange email, file storage (Homeroom), Web servers, calendar, network identification and account maintenance, network time protocol, domain name system, and directory services. Core applications supported by Information Services in the area of Academic and Research Computing include the MUSC library system, OVID, WebCT, SYBYL (molecular modeling), and GCG (gene sequence research). Core campus-wide financial and administrative applications are also supported through Information Services, such as GL, AP, financial reporting, purchasing, payroll, and human resources. Infrastructure services and key applications are accessible to authorized users from any Windows, Macintosh, or Unix workstation with access to the campus network. The MUSC Web servers provide a convenient campus-wide search and retrieval system for information. MUSC accesses the supercomputer at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC, and co-sponsors the Beowulf cluster at the College of Charleston. Laptop Encryption. The OCIO office provides free encryption service for laptops, personal or institutionally owned. Encryption is important for computers containing Personal Health Information (PHI) or sensitive data of any kind.
South Carolina Light Rail
The South Carolina Light Rail (SCLR) joins the state to the Southern Light Rail and National Lambda Rail research networks. It is a state-funded high speed network dedicated to education, research and healthcare. The SCLR has points of presence at the state’s three research universities: Medical University of South Carolina, University of South Carolina, and Clemson University. It is a fiber optic network with 16 10Gigabit channels. The SCLR can be used for high definition, full motion video conferencing as well as rapid massive file transfers, uploads and downloads and remote computational resources. The SCLR is configured for telemedicine and telehealth applications, providing secure transmissions to protect Private Health Information (PHI) and other sensitive data.
Computational Biology Resource Center
The Computational Biology Resource Center (CBRC) is a state-of-the-art computational infrastructure for scientists to apply advanced computer algorithms to biological problems. Toward reaching this goal, the CBRC has purchased and maintains a 16 node 132 CPU computing cluster combined with multi terabit storage capacity. The cluster is a LINUX-based system aimed at supporting a host of biodatabases as well as applications in drug discovery, NMR, x-ray crystallography, DNA microarray analysis, bioinformatics, image analysis and molecular modeling.
Office areas at MUSC are well lighted ventilated and appointed for scholarly activities, paperwork, and modes of communication (voice, data, analog, digital, etc.) that are common and appropriate at a contemporary health professional university and academic medical center. Competent support staff and all standard office services and software are readily available to facilitate the academic and scientific activities of faculty, trainees, and technical staff.
Cores & Facilities
Space at 30 Bee Street is the main facility for human imaging research and houses a Siemens 3T TIM Trio MRI scanner equipped with integrated fMRI paradigm presentation equipment. The scanner operates with a 100% mandate for research use and is covered by a master research agreement with Siemens Medical. The site also contains an image analysis laboratory and bioengineering facility along with subject interview and changing rooms. Researchers also have access to clinical Siemens 1.5T and 3T Verio MR scanners, located within the Radiology Department in the Clinical Sciences Building. The space at the Bioengineering Building house offices, wet and dry labs, classrooms, an auditorium, a Bruker 7T/30 animal MRI system, a bioluminescence imager, and a Siemens micro PET/CT scanner. There is also an animal quarantine room within the imaging center itself dedicated to holding animals that have been imaged.
The Biorepository & Tissue Analysis Shared Resource at MUSC and the Hollings Cancer Center provides investigators with access to meticulously collected and annotated human specimens as well as advanced human and animal tissue analyses that require state-of-the-art instrumentation and expertise. The shared resource is comprised of several integrated components: biospecimen and data repository, customized and readily available tissue microarrays, laser capture microdissection, matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization tissue imaging, and research pathology services such as histologic analysis of fixed, frozen, and stained tissues and analysis of experimental results.
The primary mission of the Collaborative Unit is to provide expert grant development assistance in biostatistics and epidemiology. The Collaborative Unit is housed within and includes the entire faculty of the Department of Public Health Sciences. Faculty activities include assistance in design of clinical trials; observational studies and experiments; selection of data collection instruments and data management systems; and preparation of the statistical narratives, with appropriate budget and justification associated with grant applications.
Biostatistics Shared Resource (Hollings Cancer Center)
The Cell Evaluation & Therapy Shared Resource offers the Hollings Cancer Center (HCC) investigators comprehensive analytic flow cytometry and high-speed cell sorting services and the capacity to generate human cellular and tissue-based products for use in translational research. The mission of the Shared Resource is to provide an integrated platform where HCC users can evaluate pre-clinical or clinical experimental data in a cell-specific manner and then convert this knowledge using the cell-manufacturing facility to take a cellular product into patients. Immune monitoring services are embedded in this resource and make use of flow cytometry and other technologies that can be used to evaluate the immune response in patients and provide valuable data needed for more basic laboratory investigations in animals or tissue culture. The Shared Resource and consists of two synergistic and coordinated units – the Flow Cytometry and Cell Sorting Unit and the Cell Therapy Unit.
The Cell and Molecular Imaging Shared Resource provides members of the Hollings Cancer Center (HCC) with a fully supported suite of state-of-the-art imaging capabilities. These capabilities include imaging at the cellular, tissue, intravital, and in vivo whole animal levels. The CMI Shared Resource consists of two synergistic and coordinated units – the Confocal & Multiphoton Microscopy Unit and the Small Animal Imaging Unit.
In addition to providing state-of-the-art imaging, the shared resources provides consultation and assistance concerning experimental design, sample preparation, probe selection, data analysis for imaging applications, and transitioning microscopic evaluations to whole animal imaging. Investigators receive in depth training in multiple imaging modalities and education in the fundamentals of imaging technology and its application. The Cell and Molecular Imaging Shared Resource is also a part of the Center for Cell Death, Injury and Regeneration.
Cellular Therapy Unit
The Cell Therapy Unit consists of three components: a 200 ft2 Process Optimization Lab, a 200 ft2 materials Management/QC Laboratory, and a 1000 ft2 clean room suite comprised of manufacturing rooms, general processing area, storage, gowning and de-gowning areas. The cGMP clean room suite contains three annually certified ISO 14644-1 compliant Class 6 manufacturing rooms. Each of these is a fully functional processing laboratory. In addition, each room contains at least one Class 5 Biological Safety Cabinet (BSC) for performing open system sterile processing. The largest of these rooms contains two BSCs. Additional processing equipment includes two COBE 2991 automatic cell processors, a CliniMacs for subset isolation, and centrifuges enabling cell separation. Multiple CO2 incubators and inverted phase microscopes allow all phases of cellular isolation, culture, differentiation, and packaging of final product to be performed inside the clean room environment. An in-lab Accuri C6 flow cytometer is available for cell subset identification and analysis. Sterility testing, including mycoplasma and endotoxin, is performed as required per FDA guidelines. In addition, this laboratory has dedicated refrigerated centrifuges, incubators, microscopes, a Cole Parmer sterile tube welder/sealer, a tabletop autoclave, and controlled rate and cryogenic storage freezers.
Clinical Trials Office
For a full listing of current clinical trials, please search our Clinical Trials Database.
Computational Biology Resource Center
The Confocal & Multiphoton Microscopy Unit of the Cell & Molecular Imaging Shared Resource provides live cell imaging of parameter-sensitive fluorophores, high resolution imaging of tissue sections for immunocytochemistry and fluorescent protein distribution, fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) and fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) to characterize and quantify interactions between specific molecules and their mobility, and intravital microscopy to monitor microcirculation.
This resource is equipped with the following instruments:
The Data Coordination Unit (DCU) provides assistance with the design of clinical trials and analysis of their data and in establishing, implementing and maintaining data and project management systems for multicenter clinical trials. The DCU has expertise in the design and conduct of Phase I through III trials in a variety of therapeutic areas including neurology, digestive diseases, psychiatry, and diabetes, as well as trials conducted under FDA Investigational New Drug/New Device applications. All trial management activities are conducted using the DCU’s internally developed Clinical Trials Management System (CTMS) referred to as the WebDCU™ system. The WebDCU™ offers a full collection of web-enabled modules for central randomization, protocol and site management (e.g., drug accounting and shipping, automated SAE reporting, regulatory document tracking), study monitoring, safety reporting, data entry and validation, and report generation. The system provides a web-based collaborative environment for study team members across all participating clinical sites and provides all the required tools for site coordination and data management in one efficient and easy to use system.
The Drug Design and Synthesis Core combines synthetic chemistry and powerful computational resources to support high-throughput screening and pre-clinical experimental therapeutics, thus facilitating an iterative interdisciplinary framework for drug discovery. The Drug Design Core is equipped to provide a full range of discovery chemistry services including synthetic method development, hit-to-lead structure optimization, scale-up synthesis, virtual screening, virtual docking, fragment-based drug discovery and QSAR.
Drug Discovery & Screening Shared Resource
This resource maintains multifunctional Molecular Devices Spectramax M5 and PerkinElmer Envision microplate readers that are capable of quantifying absorbance, luminescence, fluorescence intensity, time-resolved fluorescence and fluorescence polarization. These are robotically coupled to a Caliper SciClone 3000 ALH automated liquid-handling workstation and a Molecular Devices AquaMax microplate washer. A GE InCell Analyzer 1000 with liquid handling and the OptiGrid Structure Light Module is used for cell imaging-based assays.
Drug Metabolism and Clinical Pharmacology
The Drug Metabolism and Clinical Pharmacology Shared Resource offers the following services:
Flow Cytometry Facility
Equipment available to the facility includes: Becton Dickinson FACSVantage flow cytometers with five fluorescent detectors for use in complex cell sorting; tissue culture hoods and incubators; a Cryomed Programmatic Cell Freezing system with an MVE Cryogenic Liquid Nitrogen Freezer for keeping cells long-term; and computer workstations for visiting faculty and students.
Flow Cytometry & Cell Sorting Unit
The Flow Cytometry & Cell Sorting Unit of the Cell Evaluation and Therapy Shared provides comprehensive analytic flow cytometry and high-speed cell sorting services to Hollings Cancer Center (HCC) investigators. The facility staff members have considerable expertise in high-speed sorting of rare populations of cells including stem/progenitor cells and epitope-specific T cells and are continually expanding the repertoire of available techniques to meet the needs of the innovative research within the HCC.
This resource offers a wide range of services from access to routine flow cytometric analysis to expertise in high-speed cell sorting to the development of novel assays. Examples of assays available include, but are not limited to: immunophenotyping, cell cycle analysis, DNA ploidy analysis, apoptosis, cell proliferation (BrdU incorporation), intracellular antigen/protein and membrane potential measurement, as well as cytokine detection (bead assay). High-speed cell sorting based on cell surface marker immunostaining and/or side-population staining is also available.
Facility supports the following equipment:
Fluorescence Imaging Plate Reader Facility - (FLIPRTETRA®, Molecular Devices)
The table lists examples of target assays and current available LEDs and emission filters, highlighting (underlined) those currently installed. Experiments must be pre-consulted with Dr. Tom Morinelli, facility manager, to assure that they are feasible and that the properdyes are available. All disposables are provided by user (plates, dyes, buffers). Subsequent to initial training session, reservations can be made utilizing the on-line calendar.
TheFLIPRTETRA® facility is located in room 519 Strom Thurmond Biomedical Research Center.
Gene Targeting and Knockout Mouse Facility
The overall goal of Gene Targeting and Knockout component of the Animal Models Shared Resource is to provide the means by which researchers can learn and apply cutting edge technology to the molecular analysis of mammalian gene function. The specific aim of this facility is to create "knockout mice" through the utilization of DNA-, stem cell-, and embryo-manipulation procedures. Molecular cloning techniques are employed to clone and manipulate DNA sequences. Homologous DNA recombination in cultured embryonic stem (ES) cells is employed to generate "targeted" ES cells (i.e. ES cells carrying the replacement of specific chromosomal DNA sequences with cloned DNA sequences). Embryo manipulation techniques involving the targeted ES cells are employed to generate chimeric mice, which are then used to generate the knockout mice.
The Hollings Cancer Center Genomics Core Facility at MUSC offers state of the art next generation sequencing (NGS) including DNA-Seq, RNA-Seq, ChIP-Seq, Methyl-Seq, Targeted sequencing utilizing Illumina HiScanSQ and Ion Torrent instrumentation. In addition to NGS, Bead-Array analyses for GWAS, RNA expression and other analyses are available.
This Shared Resource supports the following equipment:
Gnotobiotic Animal Research Facility
The Gnotobiotic Animal Research Facility, established in 2001 and currently under the direction of Dr. Caroline Westwater, gives MUSC investigators and others a unique opportunity to conduct research with germfree or “gnotobiotic” animal models, in addition to more widely available specific-pathogen-free animal models. Located in the Darby Children's Research Institute, the facility is a joint initiative of the College of Dental Medicine, University Research Resource Facilities program, and the Division of Laboratory Animal Resources (DLAR). A range of services are provided including: 1) derivation of new strains of mice into the germfree state; 2) germfree colony maintenance and management; and 3) production of germfree and defined flora mice (i.e. mice free of microbes or selectively colonized with one or more microbial species).
Laser Capture Microdissection Facility
The establishment of the LCM shared resource is a combined effort of the College of Dental Medicine Center for Oral Health Research and the Hollings Cancer Center Tissue Biorepository. The Center for Oral Health Research provided significant support such as LCM equipment and partial salary support for LCM personnel. The LCM shared resource is housed in the Tissue Biorepository at Hollings Cancer Center, and is equipped with an ArcturusXT LCM system, Agilent Bioanalyzer, Leica CM 1850 Cryostat, and a Microm HM340E Microtome, which are available for a wide range of applications. Viability of the IR laser-enabled LCM technique has been shown for a variety of different cell types.
The LCM procedure is remarkably simple and robust. The method is extraordinarily gentle and ideal for microdissection of single cells or small numbers of cells. The LCM system utilizes a laser microbeam that melts a thermoplastic membrane that sticks to the selected cells, which can then be lifted and secured in a microfuge tube containing the appropriate extraction solutions. The transferred tissue on the film retains its original morphology, thereby allowing microscopic verification of the specificity of the captured material. Using this strategy, a single small cluster up to thousands of cells can be procured safely and without contamination. The Agilent 2100 Bioanalyzer and Nanodrop ND1000 monitor the quality and quantity of extracted RNA, DNA, as well as proteins from the LCM sample.
Lipidomics Shared Resource
The Lipidomics Shared Resource includes analytical and synthetic units. Resource personnel provide conceptual and practical training in various aspects of lipidology, qualitative and quantitative analysis of lipid components from different biological materials (cells, tissue, biological fluids), synthetic molecular tools to study lipid metabolism (functionalized and fluorescent ceramides, site-specific radioactive sphingolipids), diversified synthetic lipids and analogs for cellular, in vitro, and in vivo studies (organelle-targeting sphingolipids and organelle-targeting inhibitors of sphingolipid metabolizing enzymes). Resource personnel also assist investigators in experimental design, selection of lipid of interest and interpretation of the analytical results. Analytical approaches are based on High Performance Liquid Chromatography-Tandem Mass Spectrometry (LC/MS) technology. This sensitive and specific analytical methodology can be applicable to a broad spectrum of diversified chemical compositions of sphingolipids and glycerolipids.
This shared resource supports the following equipment:
Mass Spectrometry Facility
The MALDI-TOF MS, LC-MS, and LC-MS/MS tandem mass spectrometry analyses are offered for protein analysis. Protein identification services include in-gel or in-solution protease digestion, chromatographic separation and tandem mass spectrometric analysis of the resulting peptides, and interpretation of MS/MS data using Sequest® or Mascot® software. The facility will also assist in the development of customized applications for the isolation, detection and characterization of posttranslationally modified peptides (e.g. phosphorylation, glycosylation, oxidation, glutathionylation, and O-GlcNAc modification). Sites of modification are verified by manual inspection of the data. Please consult facility staff for feasibility and pricing of quantitative proteomic experiments (iTRAQ or SILAC), the implementation of specialized approaches with quantitative proteomics (e.g. phosphoproteomics, O-GlcNAc proteomics), and MALDI-imaging mass spectrometry for tissue imaging experiments.
Mass spectrometers and associated proteomic applications available include:
Metabolomics Core Facility
The Metabolomics Core Facility provides the technology and expertise for the identification and quantification of low molecular weight metabolites related to cellular redox. Because energy metabolism produces both the primary oxidative and reductive species involved in cellular redox reactions, another major focus of the core is on the characterization of energy metabolism in cells, tissues, and whole animals. The facility provides access to traditional, ‘gold standard’ techniques such as isotopomer, radiometric, and spectroscopic analyses.
In addition to a dedicated Thermo-Finnegan HPLC-hyphenated ion trap mass spectrometer used for basic biochemical metabolite quantifications and quantification of complex mixtures of metabolites obtained from biological samples (cell lysates, plasma, urine). Also provided is access and expertise in state of the art techniques that include hyphenated biosensor-based metabolic flux assays and surface plasmon resonance (SPR) imaging of protein arrays. The core is a development site for an innovative SPR Protein Microarray Imaging Instrument. The microarrays consist of immobilized antibodies that can capture specific proteins for which the level of metabolite modification (i.e., carbonylation, sulfenic acids, etc.) can then be quantified with secondary reagents.
Mineralized Tissue Facility
Services available include: ex vivo microCT imaging and analysis using a Scanco uCT40 scanner and software; digital imaging/slide scanning and pathological scoring using automated software; brightfield and fluorescent imaging; plastic and ground sections of mineralized tissues; and specialized histological stains and analysis for mineralized tissues.
Molecular Morphology and Imaging
Nephrology Proteomics Laboratory
Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Facility
The NMR facility serves as a research resounce and shared instrument facility for researchers at MUSC and in the region. The facility offers access to state-of-the-art instrumentation and expert assistance in designing NMR experiments and applications.
Nucleic Acid Analysis Facility
Nucleic Acid Analysis Facility of the Biochemistry Department provides automated DNA sequence analysis to members of the MUSC community. The service includes performing thermal cycling sequencing reactions on investigator-provided DNA templates followed by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, laser-induced fluorescence detection analysis of the gel, data collection and analysis. Both plasmid DNA and PCR fragments can be sequenced and a variety of primers are provided by the facility. Custom, investigator supplied primers can also be used for sequence analysis. Sequence data are provided to investigators as four-color electrophoregram plots and as text files delivered via e-mail or on a computer disc.
Oral Preclinical Research Facility
Protein Production Laboratory
The laboratory is fully equipped for molecular biology, protein expression, protein purification, crystallization and the biophysical characterization of proteins. Instrumentation includes a circular dichroism spectrometer (Aviv Biomedical) that is used to determine the folded state of a protein and its thermal stability, and to measure conformational changes that occur in the protein response to titration of a ligand. A dynamic light scattering instrument (Precision Technologies, Inc) is used to measure the disparity of a protein in solution (i.e., the degree of protein aggregation) and to provide an approximate measure of the oligomeric state of the protein. A full-time technician works within this laboratory to perform protein purifications or provide assistance, expertise and training to investigators who wish to perform these experiments themselves.
Proteomics related services include: Luminex bead array based cytokine and phosphoprotein analysis (i.e., Bio-plex) and surface plasmon resonance based protein interaction analysis (i.e., BIAcore). In addition, the facility provides genomics related services such as Qualitative analysis of RNA (i.e., Agilent Lab-on-a-chip Bioanalyzer), DNA microarray based whole transcriptome and miRNA expression profiling, SNP and ChIP-Chip analysis, Real time PCR, Next generation sequencing (i.e., Ion Torrent PGM) for RNA-seq, resequencing and ChIP-seq applications, and bioinformatics services for analysis of DNA microarray and next generation sequencing data and web-based archiving of data.
Seahorse Biosciences Academic Core Facility
The Seahorse Bioscience Academic Core Facility is part of the Center for Cell Death, Injury & Regeneration and provides access to the XF Extracellular Flux Analyzer. This equipment is the industry standard for measuring cellular bioenergetics, simultaneously measuring the two major energy producing pathways of the cell – mitochondrial respiration and glycolysis - in a microplate, in real-time. This fast and sensitive measurement of cellular bioenergetics is label free, enabling time-resolved analysis and the reuse of the cells. XF assays provide increased throughput in a drug discovery format that is superior to its single parameter predecessors.This fast and sensitive measurement of cellular bioenergetics is label free, enabling time-resolved analysis and the reuse of the cells. XF assays provide increased throughput in a drug discovery format that is superior to its single parameter predecessors.
shRNA Shared Technology Resource
The shRNA Shared Technology Resource will provide investigators at MUSC access to genome wide human and mouse libraries that together encode a total of almost 160,000 shRNA clones against over 41,000 genes. The resource utilizes The RNAi Consortium’s (TRC) genome-wide lentiviral mouse and human libraries and investigators will have the option of ordering shRNA’s targeting single or multiple genes, gene family sets as well as pathway specific pooled libraries. The library will allow access to multiple shRNAs for a single gene, which is important for validation against off target effects. This technology holds tremendous power, and is ready to help investigators at MUSC work toward breakthrough discoveries.
The Small Animal Imaging Unit of the Cell & Molecular Imaging Shared Resource is a collaborative effort between the Center for Biomedical Imaging and the Hollings Cancer Center. The Small Animal Imaging Unit provides state-of-the-art instrumentation enabling noninvasive anatomical, metabolic, and functional imaging. By leveraging HCC cancer research experience with the facility’s extensive expertise in imaging, this unit is able to monitor cellular events such as tumor progression and metastasis in living animals. In vivo fluorescence and bioluminescence imaging is also used to evaluate tumor metabolism and cell biology in response to genetic manipulations, pharmacologic agents, and cancer chemotherapy drugs. This unit has experience in in vivo imaging of brain, colon, lung, head and neck cancers as well as multiple other tumor types.
The Small Animal Imaging Unit supports the following equipment:
State Office of Research and Statistics
Within the limits of state staffing availability it is possible for some special data files to be generated or tabulations to be run by SBCB staff in response to questions from researchers. Direct access to individual patient data is not currently possible for researchers due to concerns about patient and provider confidentiality. In some cases, MUSC researchers arrange to support a programmer at the state to prepare data sets that can include linkages across time with ID codes but without patient identifiers. Through a strong collaborative relationship between MUSC’s Department of Biostatistics, Bioinformatics & Epidemiology and the State Office of Research and Statistics, MUSC faculty and trainees can gain invaluable data to advanced health-related research projects.
Transgenic Mouse Core Facility
The Transgenic Mouse Core Facility is located in a new integrated laboratory animal facility in the Children’s Research Institute (CRI). Facility equipment includes a Defonbrune microforge, a Sutter automated programmable needle puller, color video system for oviduct transfer stereo microscopy, tissue culture incubator, Zeiss inverted research microscope equipped for pronuclear/blastocyst microinjection, Zeiss stereo microscope system for embryo pronuclear evaluation, black and white video system for pronuclear microinjection microscopy, Zeiss stereo microscope system equipped with dual observation for teaching oviduct transfer, Physiotemp warming stage for pronuclear microinjection, and an optical illumination system for the dual observation system. The housing for the animals is located adjacent to the laboratory in the CRI. Housing is in isolator cubicles, each with its own environmental controls. This is a pathogen free-facility that is designed to keep the mice free of naturally occurring rodent pathogens.
Translational Research Shared Resource
The Translational Research Shared Resource offers the following services:
X-Ray Crystallography Resource
It includes three components: X-ray diffraction, crystallization and molecular graphics. X-ray diffraction is a purpose-designed diffraction laboratory containing an RU-H3RHB rotating anode generator fitted with Osmic Blue Confocal Optics, a Raxis-IV++ imaging plate system, and an X-Stream cryostat (Rigaku-MSC). In an adjoining room, the crystallization facility contains two large incubators and a stereomicroscope for setting up and monitoring crystallization experiments. Another adjoining room contains four small-scale incubators to test a wide range of temperatures in crystallization.
Adjacent to the diffraction lab, the molecular graphics suite contains a cluster of Unix/Linux workstations for molecular graphics and crystallographic computing. One of these is configured for remote access to the SER-CAT beamline (see below) at the Advanced Photon Source (APS) of Argonne National Lab, allowing synchrotron data to be collected at the home lab. Cluster computing in the form of a 16 node dual-quad core system will be available in Fall 2007. Standard crystallography and modeling software are running on these systems including HKL2000, d*Trek, CCP4, CNS, O, Shake’n’Bake, SHARP, SOLVE, and SYBYL, as well as high-throughput phasing software. Data are stored on a 2.5 TB RAID system, which is backed weekly by tape. An additional 2.5TB of file storage is available on the University’s SAN.
The Xenograft Facility uses the strain, commonly referred to as SCID, NOD.CB17-Prkdcscid/J Mice homozygous for the severe combined immune deficiency spontaneous mutation. Prkdcscid are characterized by the absence of functional T cells and B cells, lymphopenia, hypogammaglobulinemia, and a normal hematopoietic microenvironment. Normal antigenpresenting cell, myeloid, and NK cell functions are strain dependent. SCID mice carry a DNA repair defect and a defect in the rearrangement of genes that code for antigen-specific receptors on lymphocytes. Most homozygotes have no detectable IgM, IgG1, IgG2a, IgG2b, IgG3, or IgA. Thymus, lymph nodes, and splenic follicles are virtually devoid of lymphocytes. SCID mice accept allogeneic and xenogeneic grafts making them an ideal model for cell transfer experiments. Some SCID mice will spontaneously develop partial immune reactivity. SCID mice that have serum Ig levels greater than 1 ug/ml are considered “leaky.” SCID leakiness is highly strain dependent, increases with age, and is higher in mice housed under non-pathogen-free conditions. In general, SCID leakiness is high on the C57BL/6J and BALB/cBy genetic backgrounds, low on the C3H/HeJ background, and even lower on the NOD/LtSz background. However, there is a high incidence of thymic lymphomas in this congenic stock limiting the mean lifespan to only 8.5 months under specific pathogen-free conditions. The strain used in this facility is of low leakiness and is widely used in tumor Xenograft experiments.