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Office of Research Development

Resources and Scientific Environment

Facilities & Resources


Laboratory
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.

 Clinical

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:

Number of Licensed Beds
      plus 50 Neonatal Special Care
709
Average Daily Census Rate592
Annual Admissions35,538
Number of Births2,168
Number of Outpatient Visits941,271
Number of Inpatient Surgical Procedures17,251
Number of Outpatient Surgical Procedures7,249


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.

Compliance 

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.
Animal

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).

Computer

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

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.

Other Resources
Cores & Facilities

Antibody Facility
Biomedical Imaging
Biorepository & Tissue Analysis Shared Resource
Biostatistics & Epidemiology Collaborative Unit
Biostatistics Shared Resource (HCC)
Computational Biology Resource Center
Cell Evaluation & Therapy Shared Resource
Cell & Molecular Imaging Shared Resource
Cell Therapy Unit
Clinical Trials Office
Computational Biology Resource Center
Confocal & Multiphoton Microscopy Unit
Data Coordination Unit
Drug Design and Synthesis Core
Drug Discovery & Screening Shared Resource
Drug Metabolism and Clinical Pharmacology
Flow Cytometry Facility
Flow Cytometry & Cell Sorting Unit
Fluorescence Imaging Plate Reader Facility
Gene Targeting and Knockout Mouse Facility
Genomics Shared Resources
Gnotobiotic Animal Research Facility

Irradiator Facility
Laser Capture Microdissection Facility
Lipidomics Shared Resources
Mass Spectrometry Facility
Metabolomics Core Facility
Mineralized Tissue Facility
Molecular Morphology and Imaging
Nephrology Proteomics Laboratory
Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Facility
Nucleic Acid Analysis Facility
Oral Preclinical Research Facility
Protein Production Laboratory
ProteoGenomics Facility
Seahorse Bioscience Academic Core Facility
shRNA Shared Technology Resource
Small Animal Imaging Unit
State Office of Research and Statistics
Transgenic Mouse Core Facility
Translational Research Shared Resource
X-Ray Crystallography Resource
Xenograft Facility


Antibody Facility
The MUSC Antibody Facility provides monoclonal antibodies to proteins or peptide. Depending on the desire of the requester, the sera, cell line, cell culture supernatants, ascites, purified immunoglobulins or all of the above are provided. Monoclonal antibodies are derived from mice immunized with a particular immunogen or derived from autoimmune mice spontaneously producing antibodies to the antigen of interest. In specific instances of a polyclonal antibody that has been difficult to derive, the facility will aid in this process. Technical assistance in selecting the antigen for injection is also offered. We also provide services to generate phage display libraries for selection of antibodies.


Biomedical Imaging
The Center for Biomedical Imaging (CBI) provides state-of-the-art imaging resources to support clinical and research activities, provide opportunities to advance the imaging field, disseminate new technologies and approaches to the larger community, and train and mentor young investigators interested in developing and applying biomedical imaging to clinical and research problems. The mission of the CBI is to maximize the impact of imaging at MUSC by providing leadership and infrastructure that enables the university to address local and national priorities and developing regional and national collaborations that strengthen capabilities and enhance the university’s image. The CBI also provides opportunities for basic and clinical scientists to collaborate and discover new ways to study diseases and disease processes, to develop and apply this knowledge to clinically relevant research, and to translate advances to the community. The CBI includes approximately 4500 square feet of space at 30 Bee Street, as well as approximately 9000 square feet in the Bioengineering Building.

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.

Biorepository & Tissue Analysis Shared Resource
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.

Biostatistics & Epidemiology Collaborative Unit
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 Biostatistics Shared Resource provides biostatistical support to cancer center investigators. The primary mission includes study design and statistical analysis. Biostatistical support is essential for cancer researchers to develop rigorous study designs to efficiently manage data, and to make maximum use of data collected for informed conclusion. Early statistical input into the design of experiments increases the efficiency of investigations and improves the quality of research. The resource provides services that span all types of cancer research including cancer clinical trials, cancer prevention studies, epidemiologic studies, animal studies, and other laboratory studies. Hollings Cancer Center members are encouraged to utilize Biostatistics Core resources for development of cancer related grants and protocols (to be submitted to federal as well as private agencies), and help in answering the biostatistical related questions and suggestions of the external reviewers.


Cell Evaluation & Therapy Shared Resource
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.

Cell and Molecular Imaging Shared Resource
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 staff has extensive experience in all aspects of cellular therapy and Good Manufacturing Practice, cGMP, Phase I/II manufacturing of autologous cellular products. These include cGMP handling of blood components; dendritic cells, mesenchymal stem cells, T-cell & immunotherapy expertise; and clinical experience in transplantation and cellular therapies.  In addition to technical expertise, extensive QA/QC and regulatory experience are available to ensure FDA compliance during the development of each specific cellular product. The Unit is dedicated to scaling up translational studies within the HCC and supporting investigator-initiated clinical trials involving cellular therapy. Support includes technology transfer from the research laboratory to the clinical setting as well as scale-up and validation studies.  Additional services are available for Immune Monitoring.

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
The Hollings Cancer Center (HCC) Clinical Trials Office (CTO) provides a centralized office for the conduct of cancer clinical trials at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). The purpose of the HCC CTO is to provide an effective and efficient clinical research infrastructure to support investigators and clinicians in developing and implementing clinical research studies.  This shared resources provides training and education relevant to all aspects of study management to clinical staff and new investigators. Other services include:

  • Assist HCC Principal Investigators in the activation and administration of studies
  • Centralized support for scientific, ethical, financial and operational reviews and ongoing management
  • Communicate the availability of clinical studies to HCC physicians, referring physicians and the public
  • Prepare records for internal and external quality and compliance audits
  • Assist clinicians in screening and enrolling patients for clinical research studies
  • Coordinate and ensure the completion of patient-specific study requirements
  • Provide data management support for clinical research studies
  • Provide multi-center management support services for investigator-initiated trials

For a full listing of current clinical trials, please search our Clinical Trials Database.


Computational Biology Resource Center
The Computational Biology Resource Center (CBRC) The 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.


Confocal & Multiphoton Microscopy Unit
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:

  • Zeiss LSM 510 NLO META multi-photon laser scanning confocal/multiphoton microscope
  • Zeiss LSM 510 META: Similar to the above microscope with the exception of the multiphoton capability
  • Olympus FluoView FV10i LIV
  • Olympus FV1200 MPE
  • Leica TCS SP2 AOBS
  • Fluorescence Plate Reader

Data Coordination Unit
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. 

Drug Design and Synthesis Core
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
The Drug Discovery & Screening Shared Resource at MUSC provides a mechanism for faculty, postdocs and students to discover chemical agents that affect targets that they hypothesize to be involved in human diseases. This Shared Resource provides the following resources: expertise for assay development; chemical libraries; instrumentation for high-throughput screening, including robotic liquid-handling and state-of-the-art cell imaging, and technical support for screening. The compounds can then be used as biochemical probes of the functions of the target proteins, and/or developed into new therapeutic agents. This provides opportunities for new research funding, patents and technology commercialization.

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 is equipped with the latest instrumentation and software necessary to support collaborative interactions between basic scientists and clinicians in the preclinical and clinical (Phase I and II) investigation of new drugs. The core offers broad, comprehensive pharmacology support in the areas of sample handling, pharmacokinetics, drug-drug interaction, pharmacodynamics, metabolite identification and human safety pharmacology.

The Drug Metabolism and Clinical Pharmacology Shared Resource offers the following services:

  • Preclinical / clinical trial design and analysis
  • Drug Metabolite identification: (in vivo, in vitro and ex vivo)
  • Quantify drug levels in serum/plasma, tissue or cell/media
  • Pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic studies
  • Evaluation of human safety pharmacology using normal target cells from dose-limiting tissues
The facility is equipped with the latest HPLC and UPLC-MS instrumentation and software necessary in Phase I and II clinical trials. Available capabilities include chromatography (HPLC), spectroscopy (UV, FL, electrochemical), and electrophoresis as well as LC/MS/MS. Our LC-MS/MS facilities include a 96-well plate automated liquid-handling system and a triple quad LC-MS/MS from Waters Corporation (Micromass Quattro Premier XE) with ES and APCI ionization. The Quatro Premier UPLC/MS/MS System is an enhanced high-performance triple quadrupole mass spectrometer system with applications in protein and peptide analysis, small molecule analysis in drug metabolism and pharmacokinetic studies. The entire system is controlled by MassLynx software. Hematologic and toxicology parameters can be assayed on an Abaxis VetScan and Beckman Coulter DU800 spectrophotometer.


Flow Cytometry Facility
Flow Cytometry Facility serves to provide information and encourage individual researchers to bring their expertise in cell proliferation, extracellular signaling, intracellular signaling, cell adhesion, cell migration, or gene regulation to bear on studying the biological properties of stem cells. This facility offers technical information and training to guide investigators in using stem cells to enhance their individual research interests or scientific expertise. Through this facility, investigators can arrange training and tutorials in procedures to isolate, clone, store, and culture stem cells from adult bone marrow, cord blood, or established cell lines.

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:

  • Becton Dickinson FACSVerse
  • Becton Dickinson FACSCalibur Analytical Flow Cytometer
  • Becton Dickinson LSRFortessa Analytical Flow Cytometer
  • Becton Dickinson FACSAria IIU Cell Sorter
  • Beckman Coulter MoFlo XDP High-Speed Cell Sorter


Fluorescence Imaging Plate Reader Facility - (FLIPRTETRA®, Molecular Devices)
The FLIPRTETRA® purchased through a shared instrumentation award obtained from NIH under the American recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (NCRR 1S10RR027777-01) is an industry-renowned instrument for monitoring GPCRs and ion channels. The system provides a reliable and flexible high throughput screening solution for identifying early leads in the drug discovery process. FLIPRTETRA®, features 96, 384 and optional 1536 well configurations, multi-wavelength kinetic readings, LED modules and user configurable excitation and emission filters, and enhanced luminescence sensitivity with the aequorin luminescence camera. With the user configurable LED excitation modules, the FLIPRTETRA® has been used for the following assays: membrane potential, intracellular pH, sodium and calcium, reactive oxygen species, nitric oxide, c-AMP (utilizing GLO-sensor cells; Promega, Inc) and others. The FLIPRTETRA® is optimized for use with both fluorescent and luminescent assays, including aequorin and Molecular Devices' no- wash FLIPR® calcium and ion channel assays.

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 Gene Targeting Knockout Mouse Facility consists of four facilities: Transgenic, Gene Targeting and Knockout, Xenograft, and Carcinogenesis. Transgenic and Gene Targeting facilities are essential genetic tools for studying mammalian gene functions in vivo, by testing the over-expression and loss-of-function mutations in animal development and in tumor susceptibility, respectively. In addition, transgenic technology can be used in generating tissue-specific expression vehicles that can be utilized in creating conditional knockouts, either by Cre recombinase or by siRNA expression. Xenograft of human cancer cells or tissues into immune deficient mice is an indispensable step in correlating in vitro cell biology studies of cancer biology with tumorigenicity  in vivo. The tumor grown in mice can also serve as a realistic test model for new therapeutics. For studying specific cancer types, the Carcinogenesis facility is able to generate several organ-specific cancers in rodents; they are invaluable tools for testing the function and therapeutic values of specific genes and therapies. The Cancer Animal Model Shared Resource combines the existing expertise of these four facilities to form a comprehensive service to assist cancer researchers at HCC.

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.



  
Genomics Shared Resource
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:

  • Illumina HiScanSQ micro-array scanner and HiSeq sequencerIllumina cBot Cluster Generation System
  • Ion Torrent PGM sequencer
  • Ion One Touch System
  • Agilent ® 2200 TapeStation
  • Sage Science Pippin Prep
  • Diagenode Bioruptor UCD-600 TS 
  • QuBit Fluorometer
  • IBM compute analysis, storage cluster

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).

Irradiator Facility
The Irradiator Facility serves as a shared resource for the MUSC and the Hollings Cancer Center. The facility contains a JL Shepherd Model 143 137 Cesium irradiator. This equipment is designed to irradiate biological samples at variable doses. Adapters allow exposure for both tissue culture samples and small rodents. As of October 3rd, 2007, the irradiator produces an unshielded exposure rate of 235 rads/min (2.35Gy/min).


Laser Capture Microdissection Facility
The state-of-the-art technology of Laser Capture Microdissection (LCM) Facility provides researchers with the ability to accurately analyze DNA, RNA and protein from pure populations of cells, such as tumor cells that are captured from complex heterogeneous tissue samples. Protocols have been developed and optimized for acquisition of high-quality RNA and DNA from both frozen and formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue. Care is taken to preserve the integrity of the samples at all times, ensuring high quality retrieval of molecular targets. Services provided in the LCM facility include:

  • Laser Capture Microdissection of pure populations of cells
  • DNA/RNA/protein extraction and QA/QC from microdissected samples
  • RNA/cDNA Amplification from microdissected, frozen, and FFPE tissues
  • Support for grant applications by providing LCM budgets and support letters

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 represents a novel scientific service that is unique to the Medical University of South Carolina and the Hollings Cancer Center. The Lipidomics Shared Resource builds on unique expertise at MUSC in sphingolipid biology, chemistry and analysis and their role in signal transduction and cell regulation. Sphingolipid metabolism assumes a key role in the complex mechanisms regulating cellular stress responses to environmental changes. Several sphingolipid metabolites act as bioactive molecules, and their individual contribution to the regulatory pathways that govern cell growth are being established. This offers promises for new molecular insights into tumor growth and metastasis and emphasizes the needs to analyze sphingolipid components, examine sphingolipid chemistry and regulation of sphingolipid metabolic pathways. Monitoring changes in sphingolipid composition in normal and cancer environments will provide one of the missing links in the search for a novel and effective therapy.

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:

  • Three ThermoFisher TSQ Quantum triple-stage quadrupole mass spectrometers with super high pressure HPLC system, ESI and APCI probes came online to assist with increase in demand
  • 1100HP/ThermoFinnigan TSQ 7000TM triple-stage quadrupole mass spectrometer LC/MS system, ESI and APCI probes.
  • 1100HP/SCIEX 2000 Q-Trap triple-stage quadrupole/ion trap combination mass spectrometer LC/MS combo, ESI and APCI probes.
  • Berger FCM 1200 Supercritical Fluid Chromatograph (SCF)


Mass Spectrometry Facility
The Mass Spectrometry Facility is housed within the Department of Pharmacology and directed by Pharmacology faculty. It serves as a university research resource facility and as a component of the MUSC Proteomics Center. The aim of the Mass Spectrometry Facility is to provide expertise, services, education, and training to faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and students at MUSC to enhance biomedical research endeavors through proteomics.

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:

  • Bruker Solarix 7T Dual Source MALDI/ESI FT-ICR MS (CID and ECD Fragmentation)
    MALDI Tissue Imaging, Top-Down Protein Characterization
  • Thermo Orbitrap Elite with VelosPro Ion Trap MS (CID, HCD, ETD Fragmentation)
    LC-MS/MS for identification, characterization of modifications, quantitation of differential protein expression or posttranslational modification using SILAC, iTRAQ®, TMT® , or label free approaches. Top-Down Protein Characterization.
  • Thermo LTQ XL Linear Ion Trap MS (CID, PQD, ETD fragmentation)
    LC-MS/MS for protein identification and characterization of fragile modifications.
  • Thermo LTQ Linear Ion Trap MS
    LC-MS/MS analysis for protein identification and characterization.
  • Applied Biosystems 4800 MALDI-TOF-TOF Proteomics Analyzer
    LC-MALDI-MS/MS for protein identification and quantitation of differentially expressed protein class="bodytext"using iTRAQ®, or TMT®  reagents.
  • Bruker Autoflex III MALDI-TOF-TOF MS
    MALDI Tissue Imaging
  • Bruker Autoflex III MALDI-TOF MS
    Molecular weight determination of intact proteins and peptides


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
The Mineralized Tissue Facility (MTF) within the Center for Oral Health Research is dedicated to providing MUSC researchers with the equipment, techniques, and technical expertise necessary to study mineralized tissues. MTF services are available to researchers investigating mineralized tissue biology and function at MUSC and other institutions. The facility is equipped with state of the art equipment and experienced staff to assist both new and experienced researchers.

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
The Molecular Morphology & Imaging facility provides investigators with skilled personnel able to perform highly specialized techniques, such as echocardiography, in situ hybridization, and cell kinetics assays.  Services includes are: to assist the research projects perform state-of-the-art image and data analyses; to help design and perform in situ hybridization analyses; and to implement and maintain an online database of the data generated in this project.  MUSC investigators have access to core facilities to run their own experiments and are assisted by core staff concerning experimental design; data interpretation and technical information to best utilize facilities and instrumentation. The MUSC facility falls into eight basic components: (1) basic microscopy (light, electron, and video); (2) confocal microscopy; (3) echocardiography; (4) histology (in situ hybridization, and immunohistology); (5) special techniques (laser capture; apoptosis and proliferation assays; optical mapping); (6) morphology, image analysis and statistics; (7) presentation graphics; and (8) data sharing technology.


Nephrology Proteomics Laboratory
The Nephrology Proteomics Laboratory is a state-of-the-art facility capable of separation and identification of proteins in tissue, cells and body fluids. The major interest of our laboratory is biomarker discovery and pathophysiology of renal diseases. To support this interest we perform liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry, 2D gel electrophoresis and other protein separation techniques. The facility is located in the Strom Thurmond Building at MUSC. The laboratory is a sample repository and analytical lab for the Southern Acute Kidney Injury Network (SAKInet) and the Southeastern Kidney Disease Consortium (SEKDC).
The MUSC nephrology proteomics lab has purchased a state-of-the-art mass spectrometer. The ABSciex 5600 Triple ToF mass spectrometer has brought exciting new capabilities to the lab for biomarker identification because of its extremely high mass accuracy and sensitivity. The instrument was purchased with a combination of funds from a VA grant and MUSC contributions. The mass spectrometer has been used to identify novel biomarkers that predict the development and progression of both diabetic nephropathy and acute kidney injury.


Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Facility
The Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Facility (NMR magnet space total square footage 1,428 ft²) in the Drug Discovery building is designed to the strict stability criteria required for the very highest quality environment for NMR instruments.  NMR spectroscopy is a powerful technique that can provide detailed information on the three-dimensional structure of biological molecules in solution.

Instrumentation

  • Bruker 400: A NanoBay Avance III 400, equipped with a 5 mm dual resonance, broadband inverse probe with an actively shielded single-axis gradient. A complementary Multinuclear Broadband Fluorine Observe (BBFO) probe exists for exotic X-nuclei observation. The current configuration allows operation in a two-channel setup.
  • Bruker 600: The Avance II 600 is currently equipped with a Quadruple Resonance (QCI)-Cryoprobe (H/C, N, P) purchased with support from NSF’s Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) Program (Award #1126230). Additional room temperature 5mm triple (H/C, N) and a quadruple (H,F/C,P) resonance inverse probe with actively shielded single- and triple-axis gradients exist as backups. The 600 spectrometer facilitates operations in a four-channel setup and is equipped with a CASE sample changer for automated analysis of up to 24 samples. 1H and 19F can be pulsed independently using two separate, high-band RF-channels.
  • Bruker 850: The high-field magnet 850 MHz is equipped with a TCI-cryoprobe triple resonance inverse probe. A room temperature Quadruple Resonance (QXI)-RT probe (H,F/C,N,) is available as a backup. The 850 spectrometer facilitates operations in a five-channel setup and is equipped with a CASE sample changer for automated analysis of up to 24 samples. 1H and 19F can be pulsed independently using two separate, high-band RF-channels.

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.

In addition, researchers at MUSC have access to NMR instrumentation located at the Hollings Marine Laboratory (HML), a unique collaboration of governmental and academic agencies including NOAA, NIST, SC DNR, CofC and MUSC.  Access is based on the scientific merit of a project and relevance to the mission of the NMR facility as determined by the HML NMR council.  Potential users are welcome to discuss use of the 700 and 800 MHz spectrometers at HML with the MUSC NMR senior scientist.


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
The Oral Preclinical Research Facility provides services to investigators who studying oral related diseases. We offer several animal models, including a xenograft tumor model, 4NQO oral cancer model, periodontitis model, and oral mucositis model. Services include injection of tumor cells, 4NQO delivery, animal health monitoring, and imaging of tumor progression (in vivo), oral injections, animal irradiation, and animal dissection and tissue collection.


Protein Production Laboratory
Protein Production Laboratory, which is located in the Basic Sciences Building, has been set up as part of the Center for Structural Biology and the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology. It exists as a service to investigators at MUSC to produce proteins of interest on a large scale and, if desired, to characterize their biophysical properties by circular dichroism and dynamic light scattering.

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.


ProteoGenomics Facility
The MUSC ProteoGenomics Facility offers a range of proteomics and genomics services to the MUSC research community as well as to outside academic and corporate researchers. The proteomics component provides investigators with technical assistance and instrumentation resources to use conventional and cutting edge protein biochemistry-based technologies to address questions of protein function.

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.

Small Animal Imaging Unit
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:

  • Bruker 7T Small-Bore MRI
  • PerkinElmer Maestro 2 In Vivo Fluorescence Imaging System
  • PerkinElmer Xenogen IVIS 200 In Vivo Bioluminescence Imaging System
  • Siemens Inveon Micro-PET/CT
  • Small Animal Imaging Suites


State Office of Research and Statistics
In South Carolina the State Budget and Control Board (SBCB), Office of Research and Statistics manages multiple health-related databases. Databases contain information from both the public and private sector. In the databases personal identifiers are used only for creating unique tracking numbers so that an episode may be followed statistically across settings over time; street address are used only for translating to geographic codes for mapping; identifiers and addresses are never stored on the statistical database. Many summary statistics from the state database are available through the office. While data from the website can provide a useful vehicle for developing an understanding of data sources available through the SBCB and for generation of health-related hypotheses, a researcher generally needs access to individual patient data to pursue a research project.

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 Hollings Cancer Center of Medical University of South Carolina established the Translational Research Shared Resource in 2008. The need for this resource was made evident by both clinicians participating in early phase drug development clinical trials, as well as basic scientists with an interest in exploring the clinical relevance of their research projects.

The Translational Research Shared Resource offers the following services:

  • Consultation services including experimental and clinical protocol design, tissue procurement, assay development and IRB issues in conjunction with the Hollings Cancer Center Clinical Trials Office.
  • Generation of preclinical data to support the development of phase I or phase II clinical trials.
  • Drug mechanism of action and target validation studies
  • Biomarker analyses in tumors and blood
  • Laser capture micro-dissection of tumors
  • Immuno-magnetic cell isolation
  • Solid tumor dissaggregation and nucleic acids isolation
  • Western blotting
  • Reverse transcriptase PCR and real time PCR
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Liquid nitrogen storage of cells and tissue specimens


X-Ray Crystallography Resource
MUSC has excellent facilities for X-Ray Crystallography to enable researchers at MUSC to engage in high-resolution structural studies of biological macromolecules. The facility, which operates as a University Shared Research Resource, is located in the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology in the Basic Sciences Building. The facility is supported by an X-ray Manager, who is responsible for maintaining the diffraction equipment and assisting users with X-ray data collection and structure determinations, and a Systems Manager for the computing resources.

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.


Xenograft Facility
Xenograft of human cancer cells or tissues into immune deficient mice is an indispensable step in correlating in vitro cancer cell biology studies with tumorigenicity in vivo. The Xenograft component of the Cancer Animal Models Shared Resource:

  • Offers immunodeficient SCID mice at reduced rates to MUSC investigators and provides pathogen-free working area for in vivo experiments.
  • Provides appropriate housing and maintenance for these animals, as well as technical expertise to facilitate in vivo experiments.
  • Provides technical personnel to instruct or assist investigators with their mouse experiments, and perform optional services such as engrafting tumor samples or survival surgery.

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.


 

 
 
 

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