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New Equipment Expands Research Capabilities
by Lianne Carr

When the Governor’s Venture Technology funds became available earlier this year, Dr. James Zachary, then-interim head of the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, envisioned using the money to elevate the department’s resources.

The result is the new Molecular Pathobiology Core Research Facility. Housed in this one room are many important pieces of equipment the department purchased to increase its research infrastructure.
[Laura Salto, a graduate student, uses an HPLC workstation]
Laura Salto, a graduate student working with Dr. Roberto Docampo, uses an HPLC workstation to analyze the structure of carbohydrates in the acido-calcisome, a structure found in the parasite that causes Chagas’ disease.

“What we tried to do with this facility is provide cutting-edge technology and equipment that allows faculty to both enhance their existing research programs as well as explore new ones,” says Dr. Mark Kuhlenschmidt, professor and assistant department head.

Among the new items are:

• A laser capture microdissection scope—the only one in the whole university. This scope uses a laser to cut individual cells out of a sample; the cells can then undergo further molecular DNA analysis.

• A real-time PCR (polymerase chain reaction) machine that can determine the amount of a particular gene present in a given sample.

• A microarray reader that uses a gene chip to perform advanced gene expression analyses.

• A carbohydrate workstation using HPLC (high pressure liquid chromatography) to give fine structure analyses, determination of sugar composition, and sequence and linkage of a cell’s surface carbohydrates.

After adding these new tools to the existing facilities, the department can now provide researchers access to virtually any piece of equipment needed for their research. Across the hall from the core facility, an imaging laboratory contains agarose gel electrophoresis for DNA and RNA analysis. The nearby Satellite Biotechnology Center houses a flow cytometer.

“We have some of the best facilities on campus, and this is just another example of that,” comments Dr. Kuhlenschmidt.

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