Office of Research Development
Resources and Scientific Environment
Facilities & Resources
Research buildings at MUSC include the Basic Sciences Building, a 7-story, 332,000 ft2 laboratory complex that houses MUSC’s basic science departments; Darby Children’s Research Institute, a 7-story, 122,000 ft2 building housing 14 multidisciplinary lab-based research programs, adjoining the Basic Science Building; the Thurmond Biomedical Research Building (STB), a 7-story, 180,000 ft2 building that contains the Gazes Cardiac Research Institute as well as MUSC and VA research labs and shared facilities; and Walton Research Building, an 8-story, 56,600 ft2 building housing research laboratories for Pathology, Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery and Pharmaceutical Sciences. 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 add 220,000 ft2 for translational research, research training and in vivo experimentation. Buildings that include significant research laboratory space as well as clinical facilities include the Institute of Psychiatry with 9 basic science laboratories for alcohol and substance abuse research and a behavioral animal model facility; the Storm Eye Institute with a 40,000 ft2 Vision Research Center; and the Hollings Cancer Center with a total of >200,000 ft2 including 98,000 ft2 dedicated to laboratory-based research. All laboratory investigators have well equipped modern laboratories with suitable space for students. Appropriate glassware and sterilization facilities are provided. All researchers at MUSC have access to shared equipment and standard resources such as ultra-low freezers, centrifuges, scintillation counters, and cold, warm, light-controlled and tissue culture rooms.
Darby Children's Research Institute
The Darby Children’s Research Institute (DCRI), the most comprehensive pediatric research facility in the Carolinas, provides 122,000 ft² of wet laboratory research space. The Institute is home to research teams in eleven multidisciplinary programs that represent cardiobiology, neurosciences, cancer biology, pharmacogenetics, addiction research, pulmonary biology, proteomics, vitamin D metabolism, osteoclast biology, autoimmune and rheumatic diseases, and renal biology.
Gazes Cardiac Research Institute
The Gazes Cardiac Research Institute (GCRI), one of the nation’s leading centers for heart failure research, is located in the Strom Thurmond Research Building. This Building provides 113,416 ft² of research space and includes the Ralph H. Johnson Veterans Administration Medical Center. The GCRI brings together a multidisciplinary group of investigators dedicated to understanding the biology of heart disease at the molecular level in order to promote the successful development of new therapies for heart disease. The shared facility houses a range of talented physician scientists and translational investigators conducting a wide spectrum of research that includes cellular and molecular investigation, physiological studies in model systems, investigator-initiated clinical research, population studies and large corporate and NIH multicenter clinical trials.
MUSC Medical Center
MUSC Medical Center is a 709-bed tertiary and quaternary academic medical center consisting of MUSC University Hospital Authority; Ashley River Tower, a cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, and cancer specialty hospital; the Institute of Psychiatry; the Storm Eye Institute; and Children’s Hospital. The Medical Center is supported by respected research-based medical and nursing schools, which deliver both routine inpatient care and highly specialized medical treatment and surgical procedures. Home to the region’s only Level 1 trauma center, the state’s most comprehensive neonatal intensive care unit, and the Transplant Center, MUSC serves as the principal referral center for physicians and patients of the region. The 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.
Medical Center data for the year ending June 30, 2015 include:
U.S. News & World Report ranked MUSC the top hospital in South Carolina for 2015 and among the best in the country when it comes to the treatment of ear, nose, and throat disorders. In addition to the national ranking for ENT, MUSC was categorized as a “high-performing” facility for the treatment of nephrology, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopedics, pulmonology and urology.
MUSC achieved Magnet Recognition by the American Nurses Credentialing Center in September 2015. Magnet Recognition, ultimate credential for high quality nursing, is a status held by only 7% of hospitals across the United States, and less than 1% of hospitals globally. The Magnet Recognition Program® recognizes healthcare organizations for quality patient care, nursing excellence and innovations in professional nursing practice.
MUSC Health Comprehensive Stroke and Cerebrovascular Center is the first stroke center in the state of South Carolina to achieve formal recognition as a Comprehensive Stroke Center by the Joint Commission. The certification recognizes those hospitals that have state-of-the-art infrastructure, staff and training to handle patients with the most complex forms of all strokes. It also recognizes the driving ambition of MUSC Health Stroke Program team leaders to relentlessly provide care that maximizes the chance for patients to make the best recovery possible. MUSC joins an elite group of about 100 hospitals nationwide.
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. The South Carolina Research Studies Directory, SCresearch.org, 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 an integrated electronic health record (EHR) system that aligns patient access, patient management, revenue cycle, clinical systems and research. Our integrated EHR optimizes process efficiency and improves quality at each step of the continuum of care across the entire health-care system. In addition to in-house applications, there is now an active patient portal and a new portal for referring physicians. 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
|Ashley River Tower s a 641,000 square-foot facility that opened in 2008. The 156-bed hospital houses the inpatient units for Hollings Cancer Center, the Digestive Disease Center and the Heart and Vascular Center service lines. The facility includes three intensive care units; laboratories; interventional radiology and endoscopy suites; a specialized chest pain center; and nine operating rooms with integrated IT systems and specialized equipment for vascular surgery.|
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 U.S. News & World Report rankings of America’s Best Children’s Hospitals place the MUSC Children’s Hospital heart program among the top 20 in the country, naming it a “best hospital” in that category. Here’s a look at all six of the MUSC Children’s Hospital divisions honored in the new rankings, based on information from about 180 pediatric centers across the country: Cardiology & Heart Surgery (#20), Nephrology (#22), Urology (#29), Cancer (#37), Pediatrics: Gastroenterology & GI Surgery (#39), & Pediatrics: Diabetes & Endocrinology (#47).
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.
Hollings Cancer Center
The Hollings Cancer Center at the Medial University of South Carolina is the largest academic cancer center in South Carolina. It is the state's only National Cancer Institute (NCI) - designated cancer center and one of fewer than 70 in the U.S. As the state’s foremost cancer treatment and research center, Hollings Cancer Center unites more than 200 experts in treatment, research, education, prevention and control, and outreach to address South Carolina’s significant cancer problem. The Center’s resources extend throughout South Carolina via partnerships with other healthcare organizations, ensuring that all patients in the state have access to our innovative and compassionate care. For the 27,000 South Carolinians who will be diagnosed with cancer this year, the Hollings Cancer Center is leading the way in changing what is possible in cancer care.
Ralph H. Johnson Veteran's Administration Medical Center
The Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center, opened in 1966, is a leading primary, secondary, and tertiary care facility located in Charleston, SC, serving over 55,000 Veterans along the coast of South Carolina and Georgia. The 117-bed medical center provides acute medical, surgical, and psychiatric inpatients care, as well as outpatient primary and mental health care to Lowcountry Veterans who require more than 659,000 outpatient visits and approximately 4,300 inpatient stays annually. The VAMC has six community based outpatient clinics providing primary, mental health and some specialty care. These clinics are located in South Carolina in Myrtle Beach, North Charleston, Beaufort, Goose Creek, and in Georgia in Hinesville and Savannah. The VAMC has an annual budget of over $500 million and research funding of more than $27 million.
The research program has also obtained and maintained accreditation of their animal program through the Association for the Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC), with re-accreditation accomplished in 2014.
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 07/21/2019), 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 (ORI) 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 04/30/20).
Each laboratory has several networked PC and Mac computers and laser printers. The MUSC campus offers network access (as appropriate and if needed) to computerized clinical data management systems, outpatient electronic medical records, Lanvision, Access Anywhere, IDX registration system, and the integrated laboratory system. Standard statistical software includes Epistat, SAS, SPSS, S-Plus, and M-Plus. DXCG and ACG software are available for patient case mix analysis. Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Powerpoint) is the standard suite of office tools. All data are locally backed up through password-protected Apple TimeMachine hard drives and/or a Novell server while institutional protocols ensure long-term data security and protection.
MUSC Information Services, a division of the Office of the Chief Information Officer, manages the campus-wide data and voice communication network as well as other core infrastructure systems and applications, with high-speed Ethernet network and Internet support with wireless access throughout the campus. Main infrastructure systems include Microsoft Exchange email, file storage, web servers, calendars, network identification and account maintenance, network time protocol, domain name system, and directory services. Core academic applications include the MUSC Library System, OVID, WebCT, SYBYL (molecular modeling), and GCG (gene sequence research). Core financial and administrative applications include GL, AP, financial reporting, purchasing, payroll, and human resources.
Access outside the MUSC firewall requires a VPN with two-factor verification. Free encryption service is provided for all laptops. Other data security elements include enterprise Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) service, advanced intrusion detection systems (IDS), Security Information and Event Management system (SIEM), and virtual machines (VMs) for research data management and analysis. Enterprise-wide process improvements include network access control, technical vulnerability management program and Data Center physical security. The MUSC Data Center is manned 24x7 by operations staff who monitor all servers, environmental conditions, and notify appropriate personnel as needed. The entire Data Center is protected by a card access system and 24-hr security cameras at each door entering and within the center. Weekly full-verified backup, daily differential verified backup and every-6-hr transaction log backup are captured by IBM® TSM system, Microsoft® Volume Shadow Copy service and Microsoft® SQL server, so that a new system can be restored using the backup tapes/files with minimal data loss in case of a catastrophic failure to a web or database server. The university system is backed up on a nightly basis, data files are written initially to disk and staged to tape. Copies of the tapes are rotated offsite to vital records (3 months of taped backups are available at any given time). In the event of hurricanes or other natural disasters, two forms of backups will be performed to ensure that data are not lost: 1) the OCIO-IS system will keep timely backups available at the remote site, and 2) project personnel will be instructed to bring updated copies of their data on external hard-drives if evacuated.
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.
The Medical University of South Carolina has more than 35 state-of-the-art shared research facilities physically housed in and administered by its departments, centers, and institutes. Clinical research faculty basic scientists, and students all benefit from the shared access to and cost of these research laboratories. Through these diverse resources, MUSC provides access to equipment and instrumentation, technical expertise and training and education all designed to support innovative, cutting edge research.
Cores & Facilities
Biorepository & Tissue Analysis Shared Resource
Biostatistics & Epidemiology Collaborative Unit
Biostatistics Shared Resource (HCC)
Cell Evaluation & Therapy Shared Resource
Cell & Molecular Imaging Shared Resource
Cell Growth & Therapy Unit
Clinical Trials Office
Computational Biology Resource Center
Confocal & Multiphoton Microscopy Unit
Data Coordination Unit
Flow Cytometry Facility
Flow Cytometry & Cell Sorting Unit
Fluorescence Imaging Plate Reader Facility
Mass Spectrometry Core
Mass Spectrometry Facility
Metabolomics Core Facility
Mineralized Tissue Facility
Molecular, Morphology and Imaging
Nephrology Proteomics Laboratory
Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Facility
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.
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 Collaborative Unit, housed within the Department of Public Health Sciences, is a university-wide resource facility providing expert consultation in biostatistics, bioinformatics, and epidemiology. Services include assistance in design of observational studies and experiments; selection of data collection instruments and data management systems; selection, application, interpretation, and reporting of epidemiological, bio-mathematical, environmental risk assessment, and statistical methods; graphical analysis of data; sample size estimation; and selection of statistical, graphical and database software packages. The unit assists in preparing the biostatistical and epidemiological narratives associated with grant proposals, and with presentations and publications following the research. The unit supports faculty across campus to develop competitive grant applications, and it also provides a training experience for DPHS trainees interested in developing skills in applying quantitative tools.
Biostatistics Shared Resource
Brain Stimulation Core (BSTIM) provides direct support to the investigators of the South Carolina Research Center for Recovery from Stroke COBRE. The Core supports a unique activity for SCRCRS, building on strengths at MUSC. BSTIM methods are used to measure brain function, excitability and plasticity as well as to induce brain changes to potentially treat damage caused by stroke. Thus, BSTIM tools may be used for quantitative measurement or as plasticity modifying agents, or both. The overall goal is to establish BSTIM as a signature resource to provide essential expertise for SCRCRS investigators and develop unique tools, methods and potential treatments to enhance their research.
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 consists of two synergistic and coordinated units – the Flow Cytometry and Cell Sorting Unit and the Cell Growth & 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.
Cell Growth & Therapy Unit
The 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), housed within the Department of Public Health Sciences 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.
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.
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)
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. The FLIPRTETRA® facility is located in room 519 Strom Thurmond Biomedical Research Center.
The Gene Function Core (GFC) mission is to support investigators in the application of genetically modified mice or rats by providing the following services: (1) Expertise and technology required to generate DNA constructs for the production of genetically modified mice or rats; (2) Generation of genetically modified mice/rats by both “typical” transgenic and ES approaches, or CRISPR/Cas; (3) Sperm cryopreservation and strain rescue; and (4) Xenograft experiments for cancer researchers. This Core integrates two existing state-of-the-art intramural core facilities, the Transgenic Facility and the Gene Targeting Facility, with mentoring and training to facilitate the application of mouse models. The Gene Function Core generates genetically modified mice by pronuclear injection of the fertilized zygotes and offers gene “knockout”, Cre-conditional knockout mice, and production of genetically mutant mice containing site-specific mutations (ranging in size from 1bp to over 100 Kbp). The Core now offers the possibility of making genetically modified mice in the C57BL/6 strain to eliminate the time-consuming process of genetic backcrosses and to facilitate assessment of genetic modifier effects.
The Hollings Cancer Center Genomics Shared Resource 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 provides 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, Center for Oral Health Research (COHR), 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.
The Lipidomics Shared Resource has five functional chromatography/MS units that all use dual ionization modes: electrospray ionization (ESI) and atmospheric pressure chemical ionization (APCI).
Mass Spectrometry Facility
The Orbitrap Elite Mass Spectrometer provides services to couple quantitative approaches to modification-specific experiments. Investigators are developing methodology to analyze alterations in posttranslational regulation that impact signal transduction, epigenetic modulation, and the response to therapeutics with the goal of enabling investigators to discover molecular mechanisms underlying disease progression and therapeutic responses that may not be revealed through genomic studies.
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. Sites of modification are verified by manual inspection of the data. Please consult facility staff for feasibility and pricing of quantitative proteomic experiments, the implementation of specialized approaches with quantitative 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
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:
A number of molecular modeling software packages are available to MUSC researchers via the Computational Biology Resource Center, which operates a 30 node 244 CPU Linux cluster. These include applications for homology modeling, ligand or protein-protein docking, molecular mechanics or dynamics simulations, electrostatics and in silico drug design.
Molecular Morphology and Imaging
Nephrology Proteomics Laboratory
Neuroimaging Core (NI) provides direct support to the investigators of the South Carolina Research Center for Recovery from Stroke COBRE. The Core supports the quantitative measurement of plasticity and structural and functional connectivity; The Neuroimaging Core leverages resources within the Center for Biomedical Imaging (CBI), a designated University Center with the mission of advancing biomedical imaging at MUSC.
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.
Oral Preclinical Research Facility
Protein Science Translation Core
The Protein Science Translation Core provides direct support to investigators of the COBRE in Lipidomics and Pathology program, as well as other investigators at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), in the production of recombinant proteins via prokaryotic and eukaryotic expression systems and in the structural and functional characterizations of proteins. The Core also supports translational research by producing active proteins that are needed for high-throughput screening assays and for determining the mechanisms and efficacy of various synthetic compounds. In addition to service, an important commitment of the Core is to mentor and assist investigators in solving technical problems concerning protein expression, purification, and characterization.
The Core also provides a wide range of protein-related specialty services to suit the needs of the investigator. This includes the determination of the physical state of the protein by circular dichroism (CD), dynamic light scattering (DLS) and protein crystallization. In addition, the Core will assist to investigate protein-protein interactions by immunoprecipitation and Western blotting. Furthermore we will assist to investigate protein-lipid interactions by fat western and HPLC-based enzyme assays.
The Proteogenomics and Bioinformatics Core mission, component of the South Carolina COBRE for Cardiovascular Disease, is to provide COBRE trainees with a resource for expert consultation, technical training/services, and state-of-the-art instrumentation to enable advancement of their research efforts through the application of DNA microarray analysis and protein based ('proteomic') approaches. The DNA microarray analysis component permits investigators to use DNA microarray screening technology to perform comprehensive gene expression profiling through application of both commercial and custom microarray screening and advanced computational/statistical analysis methods. 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.
Quantitative Behavioral Assessment and Rehabilitation Core (QBAR) provides direct support to the investigators of the South Carolina Research Center for Recovery from Stroke COBRE. The Core supports a standardized experience and quantitative measurement of behavior and function; core services include motion capture and electromyography for precise measures of motion and muscle activity, energetics as measured by oxygen consumption, accelerometer-based devices for measuring activities such as walking and hemi paretic arm use, neuromuscular measures of strength and power of individual joints, clinical measures, and animal behavioral assay equipment. QBAR is located in the CHP research building.
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.
The shRNA Shared Technology Resource (short hairpin shRNA) 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:
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.