The overall research environment at UNC-Chapel Hill is superb. Numerous sophisticated core laboratory facilities are easily accessible and function very well, usually on a fee-for-service basis. Many of the facilities listed below are run by full-time Ph.D.-level individuals.
Core Recommendation Tool
The purpose of the Core Recommendation Tool is provide information on cores services and equipment that are available based on faculty usage of similar core facilities. This is in addition to the Core Facility Usage Search and Core Facility Searchable Database functions that are available to locate services and equipment across the more than 60 core facilities on campus. Data for the Core Recommendation Tool and Core Facility Usage Search are pulling data from ilabs so more data will be available as ilabs continues to collect more data over time.
Useful Cores for Pharmacology Research
The UNC Center for Structural Biology provides an integrated platform of expertise, infrastructure and education to foster a wider use of structural biology by the UNC community. The CSB combines 6 core facilities and their expertise to make structural biology available as a general tool to any researcher.
This provides resources and training for single crystal diffraction pattern data collection and processing; the center will also assist UNC researchers not trained in X-ray crystallography in carrying out crystallographic analyses of their biological molecules, including screening for crystallization conditions with a high-throughput, 96-well, robotic crystallization workstation.
This core has 600 MHz and 500 MHz NMR spectrometers available, with skilled assistance in operation and data interpretation.
This core, located within the Department of Pharmacology, provides Ph.D.-staffed, state-of-the-art facilities for structural analysis and modeling of macromolecules. The campus-wide UNC Center for Bioinformatics supports the use of computational tools for molecular biology, genetics, protein chemistry, and biochemistry research, and offers in-depth workshops on DNA, RNA, and protein sequence analysis, database searching, and genome-wide predictions.
This core, located within the Department of Pharmacology, specializes in the production of pure, functional proteins for structural, biophysical, and biochemical studies. It is specifically designed as a “front-end” interface to other components of the Center for Structural Biology. In addition, the services of this core are also applicable to other research areas, including antibody and antigen production and the manufacture of protein chips.
This facility provides instrumentation sed in the characterization and quantitation of interactions among proteins, DNA, and their cognate ligands. Equipment includes an analytical ultracentrifuge, a BIAcore 2000 surface plasmon resonance biosensor, an Aminco SLM 8100 steady state fluorescence spectrophotometer, and a Jasco J-600 circular dichroism spectrometer. There is a full-time Ph.D. scientist at the facility to train users and assist in experimental design.
The UNC HTPSA Facility provides researchers with high quality services for peptide synthesis, purification, and characterization of synthetic peptides and preparation of custom designed peptide arrays.
Other UNC Core Facilities
This core, located in the Department of Pharmacology, provides the technology for the UNC scientific community to perform cell based screens to define the contribution of each gene in the human genome to specific phenotypes. RNAi mediated inhibition of gene expression is a powerful method for identifying genes and their cognate phenotype, whose loss of expression alters the cell phenotype. The RNAi HTS Facility manages a human genomic siRNA library from Dharmacon.
A core of the adjoining UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, this facility provides a variety of services including frozen cell storage, a cell line repository, assistance in mycoplasma detection, and local purchase of serum, media, restriction enzymes, and other molecular biology reagents.
Sophisticated analysis and cell sorting performed by an expert technician using state-of-the-art cytometers is available, as well as more routine analysis on self-use machines.
This core is a full-service viral vector production organization with extensive experience in vector design, process development, as well as manufacturing of research and clinical grade vectors.
This UNC core laboratory provides state-of-the-art mass spectrometry analyses to identify proteins and assist in characterizing protein modification and differential expression.
Digital Video Microscopy Cores
This core provides access and user advice for confocal and conventional digitized imaging systems.
This core offers electron microscopy along with providing access and user advice for confocal and conventional digitized imaging systems.
Mouse Core Facilities
This core provides advice and technical support for the generation of transgenic and recombinant mice. Particular emphasis is placed on microinjection of vectors and establishment of the resultant transgenic embryos. This core also provides advice and technical support for gene “knockout” studies. Special emphasis is placed on the design of vectors for efficient homologous recombination, on blastocyst implantation, and on handling of animals for germ line transmission and successful breeding.
This facility offers support in performing blood chemistry, urinalysis, hematology, genotyping, and real-time PCR gene express ion studies in support of mouse model work.
This core, run by a board-certified veterinary pathologist, offers high-quality preparation and processing of frozen and fixed tissue sections, along with education regarding appropriate harvesting, fixation, and selection of histological procedures/stains.