The RCF is located primarily on the 6th floor of the Biomedical Research Institute, offers instrumentation and technical support for many state-of-the-art technologies. Each major technology is operated by a Research Associate and is overseen by an LSUHSC faculty member, who is a member of the Faculty Oversight Group. Additional components of the RCF are located throughout both the Biomedical Research Institute and the Medical School . RCF and other common facilities at LSUHSC include the following :

1. Animal Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3) Containment Facility: The BSL-3 Containment Facility consists of suites of rooms within the Animal Resources Facility. The entire biocontainment suite is maintained at negative pressure. The air handling system provides 15 complete air changes per hour and exhaust are prefiltered by 95% before exhaustion to the outside. The Facility is operated in accordance with CDC/NIH guidelines for research at Biosafety Level.

2. Biocontainment BSL-3Plus Facility: This facility, located on the ninth floor of the Biomedical Research Institute (BRI) building, is divided into two research laboratories and a preparation/changing anteroom. One lab is devoted to molecular biology activities while the other is for research animal housing and virus preparation and manipulation.

3. Computerized Automated Cellular Imaging: This system offers color-based imaging and automated microscopy to perform quantitative image analysis of immuno-histochemically stained slides. The ACIS is capable of DNA ploidy analysis in cell cytospins and tissue sections, identifying immuno-stained cells, quantifying microvessel density, etc.

4. Biacore Optical Biosensor Facility: This instrumentation can measure real-time kinetics of protein-ligand, protein-protein, protein-nucleic acid, and nucleic acid-nucleic acid I interactions. The instrument is fully automated and the BiaEvaluation and CLAMP software enables the user to distinguish between different kinetic models.

5. Laser Confocal Microscopy Facility: Two laser confocal microscopes with optics for fluorescence, ATOF and imaging software, and support by a computer with MetaMorph V4 image analysis software are available for additional image analysis and manipulation.

6. DNA Array (Chip) Analysis Facility: The RCF offers an Affymetrix GeneChip Instrument and Bioinformatics Software that includes a GeneArray Scanner ® with workstation, a Model 400 GeneChip Fluidics Station, and a GeneChip Hybridization Oven 640. Gene expression studies use the Affymetrix GeneChip Probe Arrays available for analysis of full-length genes and EST clusters from human, mouse, rat, yeast, E. coli , C. elegans, etc.

7. Flow Cytometry Facility: The facility offers three instruments and associated workstations: The FACSVantage flow cytometer/cell sorter is capable of 8-parameter analysis and cell sorting. The FACSCalibur is an ultra sensitive flow cytometer, capable of 6-parameter analysis. The BD LSR cytometer is capable of 8-parameter analysis. All three cytometers use CellQuest for data acquisition and analysis.

8. Fluorescence Microscopy Facility: Several fluorescent microscopes are available, including two within the Department. Images are captured with a Photometrics Synsys digital camera and analyzed with Metamorph V4 image analysis software.

9. Histology and Tissue Resource and Electron Microscopy Facility: This Facility provides histological services for tissue processing, paraffin embedding and sectioning, frozen tissue embedding and sectioning, routine staining and immuno-histochemical detection of antigens. Two electron microscopes and associated equipment for sampler preparation are associated with this Facility. Two technicians operate the combined facility.

10. Laser Capture Microdissection (LCM) Facility: The LCM Facility offers technology to extract DNA or RNA from tissue biopsies and cytological smears for pinpoint molecular analysis. A single cell or groups of cells from paraffin blocks, frozen sections, or stained slides may be collected for subsequent molecular analysis using a simple aim-and-shoot extraction method. Images may be stored in an archiving workstation.

11. Mass Spectrometry-Proteomics Facility: A high resolution Voyager DE PRO mass spectrometer coupled to the Matrix- Assisted Laser Desorption Ionoziation - Time- Of- Flight (MALDI-TOF) unit is 2-GHz LeCroy computer for on-line database searching and a robotic device for spotting MALDI plates. Proteins excised from one- or two-dimensional denaturing polyacrylamide gels are digested with proteolytic enzymes and identified by matching peptide masses to the theoretical peptides derived from all proteins in databases such as SwissProt and NCBI. This automated system is capable of identifying up to 70 proteins per hour.

12. R eal-Time PCR Facility: Multiple real time PCR instrumentation for quantification of nucleic acids are available.

13. Vector Core Facility: This facility is dedicated to the construction and production of recombinant adenoviral and other vectors for LSUHSC investigators. Services include construction of adenoviral shuttle vectors, co-transfection of shuttle vectors with adenovirus helper DNA into viral producer cell lines, plaque purification of viral stocks, growth of high titer recombinant vector stocks and assay of recombinant and helper virus titers in stocks and small-scale production of viral gene vectors for preclinical studies in animals.

14. Small Animal Bioimaging Facility: Positron emission tomography (PET) computed assisted tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are powerful new imaging technologies that allow for anatomical or physiological imaging of tissues. Components include a Concorde Microsystems microPET, an ImTek inc. MicroCATII scanner for anatomical imaging of rodents, and the Xenogen IVIS Imaging System for bioluminescence & fluorescence imaging of small animals. The uPET and IVIS systems allow for physiological imaging while the CAT scanner is for anatomical imaging.

15. Animal Care Facilities: This AAALAC-accredited Facility is staffed by research veterinarians and numerous certified technicians. The 37,600 sq. ft. facility offers two BSL-3 laboratories, numerous specialized rooms for housing animals in isolation, and several special procedure rooms. The Facility can house a variety of species including monkeys, dogs, cats, pigs, mice, rats, guinea pigs, etc. The Animal Resources Department also maintains an off campus farm for housing large animals such as cows, sheep, goats, etc.

16. LSUHSC Library: These include the Medical Library that occupies 39,000 square feet over three floors and accommodates users at tables, carrels, and study rooms. The library also houses a state-of-art Computer Laboratory, small-group teaching rooms, teleconferencing facilities, photocopiers, a scanner, and a fax machine. The library offers subscriptions to more than 2,000 medical and biomedical journals and a variety of software programs for literature searchers.

17. Other Research Support Facilities: The institution offers a Safety office for radiation and chemical disposal, electronic and machine shops; a Medical Communications Department that provides graphic arts, desk-top publishing, video and television production, etc; a Computer Department that offers satellite conferencing capability, repair and installation of computers and access to licensed software; Internet I and Internet II service, etc; a printing department; and a variety of support services through the Physical Plant Department (equipment repair, carpentry, etc.).

Supported by a grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (8 P20 GM103433-10)