Translational Technologies and Resources (Core Labs)

Director: Ponnada A. Narayana, PhD; DABR

Contact person:  Nelly Arias  Nelly.Arias@uth.tmc.edu 713-500-7583 

The CCTS directly supports some core laboratories (listed below) and has arranged the use of others at competitive rates at UTHealth https://www.uth.edu/research/core-labs/ and  M. D. Anderson Cancer Center http://www.mdanderson.org/education-and-research/resources-for-professionals/scientific-resources/core-facilities-and-services/index.html and throughout Texas, through the Texas Regional CTSA Consortium (TRCC) http://www.utsystem.edu/offices/health-affairs/trcc-clinical-resources-and-facilities/. For more information or to use the laboratories, contact them directly or call or email Nelly Arias  Nelly.Arias@uth.tmc.edu 713-500-7583. 

DNA Sequencing and Genotyping Core

Director: Dianna M. Milewicz, MD, PhD Dianna.M.Milewicz@uth.tmc.edu 
Contact person: Dongchuan Guo, PhD Dongchuan.Guo@uth.tmc.edu 713-500-6849  

The core provides consultative expertise, mentoring, and technical support for studies involving genetic technologies, including DNA sequencing, genotyping techniques, data collection, and statistical analyses. The program is composed of four major components:

  1.  Consultative and mentor-based support services that provide individual investigators with guidance in the design, application, and interpretation of their genetic studies
  2. Expertise in issues relating to proper informed consent for genetic studies and genetic counseling for patients enrolled in the studies.
  3. Sanger DNA sequencing and microsatellite and SNP genotyping services that generate preliminary data supporting translational genetic research studies.
  4. Infrastructure for banking DNA and other samples from patient populations and management system for sample tracking. 

For more information, see the core's website https://www.uth.edu/dotAsset/654d1053-6fb9-474c-b62c-9131702cfea4.pdf

Quantitative Genomics & Microarray Core Lab

Director: David Loose, PhD David.S.Loose@uth.tmc.edu 713-500-7440
Contact person: Tuan Tran Tuan.M.Tran@uth.tmc.edu 713-500-7483 

The Quantitative Genomics & Microarray Core lab provides investigators access to state-of-the-art detection technologies, automation, and expertise for a variety of scientific methodologies. The facility can perform all techniques associated with a qPCR instrument, quantitative Meso Scale ELISAs, and microarrays utilizing Illumina and Agilent arrays. The core provides a range of services that include sample preparation, instrumentation (Illumina, Light Cycler, Mesoscale, Tecan), staff consultation, and analytic software services, including Ingenuity Pathway assistance.

For more information, see the core’s website  https://med.uth.edu/ibp/quantitative-genomics-microarray-facility/  

Clinical and Translational Proteomics/Biomarker Core

Director:  Hongyu Wang, PhD, MD Hongyu.Wang@uth.tmc.edu
Contact person:  Li Li Li.Li@uth.tmc.edu 713-500-2456

The Clinical and Translational Proteomics Service Center provides state-of-the-art instrumentation and services to all of UTHealth and the surrounding research community. This center offers both routine services for faculty who cannot purchase their own mass spectrometry instrumentation and collaborative research requiring advanced methods. The center works in a collaborative fashion between faculty, students, and staff to customize services to suit individual projects.

  • The core’s state-of-the-art instrumentation includes:
  • Thermo LTQ Orbitrap XL-ETD mass spectrometer
  • Agilent's 6538 Ultra High Definition Accurate-mass Q-TOF
  • Agilent's 6430 Triple Quadrupole LC/ MS 
  • Applied Biosystems/MDS SCIEX QSTAR Elite Mass Spectrometer

Services include:

  • Protein identification from 1-D gel bands, 2-D spots, and other matrices
  • Molecular weight determination, peptide and protein quality control
  • Targeted proteomics (SRM) for biomarker discovery as well as quantitation of selected proteins or peptides in a complex mixture
  • Biomarker discovery and verification
  • Pharmaceutical protein quality assurance and quality control
  • Characterization of immunoprecipitated or affinity-purified proteins and protein complexes
  • Global protein profiling with quantitative comparisons between samples (label-free, iTRAQ, SILAC, etc)
  • Enrichment and characterization of post-translationally modified proteins and peptides

For more information, see the core’s website https://www.uth.edu/imm/service-centers/clinical-translational-proteomics_copy/  

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Core

Director: Refaat Gabr, PhD, Refaat.E.Gabr@uth.tmc.edu  713-500-7660
Contact person: Nelly Arias Nelly.Arias@uth.tmc.edu  713-500-7583 

The main emphasis of the core is the development and application of advanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques, including selective tissue imaging, magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging, diffusion tensor imaging to neurological disorders, central nervous system trauma, and drug addiction both in humans and animal models.  Another major emphasis is the development of novel image processing techniques that are robust and automatic for handling a large number of images that are typically encountered in multi-center clinical trials.

The laboratory facilities include a 7-Tesla, state-of-the-art MRI scanner dedicated to animal studies with a fully equipped animal surgical suite, a research-dedicated 3-Tesla whole-body scanner, and an image processing laboratory with a high-performance computing cluster and GPU processing.

For more information, see the core's website https://med.uth.edu/radiology/research/mr-research-group/uthealth-magnetic-resonance-imaging-core/

Atomic Force Microscopy Core

Director: David Volk, PhD David.Volk@uth.tmc.edu 
Contact person: Ana Maria Zaske, PhD Ana.M.Zaske@uth.tmc.edu 713-486-5418  

Atomic force microscopy (AFM) is a technique for characterizing surfaces and can reproduce topological images under physiological-like conditions. AFM is a noninvasive technique base on bio-sensing. Scanning can be performed in air or in a liquid environment, and a range of samples, from living cells down to single molecules, can be imaged. AFM is also an attractive tool for studying the endocytosis of nano vectors and the systemic response to biological processes. An area of major interest is determining the stiffness of a sample (elastic modulus). The elasticity of the cell membrane can vary between cell types as a function of growth, differentiation, disease, or treatment. Non-cellular structures can also be imaged. The core uses a Bioscope II Scanning Probe Microscope specifically designed to address the needs of biological and medical investigations. It has unprecedented compatibility with optical microscopy. All three axes of the instrument are equipped with high-resolution capacitive sensors; this allows imaging at the nanoscale level and in liquids. The microscope requires minimal sample preparation.

For more information, see the flyer.  

Pre-Clinical Computed Tomography (CT) Core Facility

Director/Contact person: Delia Danila, PhD  Delia.Danila@uth.tmc.edu 713- 486-6531 

The core lab has a specialized CT system for rapid high-resolution imaging of objects up to the size of large rabbits. The facility utilizes a GE eXplore Ultra Pre-Clinical CT Scanner (GE Healthcare, London, ON) for high-resolution (150-micrometer isotropic voxel size) cone-beam CT engineered for small-animal imaging (maximum 14-cm diameter field of view).  The system permits up to 1-second gantry rotation times, and X-rays are produced by a variable voltage X-ray tube capable of energies from 70 to 140 kVp.  This provides high-quality images with contrast-to-noise, resolution, and dose performance optimized for pre-clinical imaging. This imaging modality can facilitate studies in many disciplines, including orthopedics, pulmonary, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, genitourinary, oncology, and others.

For more information, please see the following.
 

Bioinformatics and High-Performance Computing Service Center

Director/Contact person: W. Jim Zheng, PhD  Wenjin.J.Zheng@uth.tmc.edu 713- 500-3641

The UTHealth Bioinformatics Service Center provides expertise to process and analyze biological data. Center faculty focus on gene expression, genotyping, proteomics, metabonomics, and next-generation sequencing data and can also perform custom or other complex analyses. Additional services available include experiment design and assistance in developing grant applications and manuscripts. For more information, see the Biomedical Informatics component website https://www.uth.edu/bioinformatics/ 

Nanochemistry Service Center

Director/Contact person: David Volk, PhD David.Volk@uth.tmc.edu 713-500-3672

The Nanochemistry Service Center provides custom synthesis, labeling, and chemical coupling of DNA thioaptamers and nanoparticles. The Director and Lab Manager are both PhD chemists with years of experience in DNA synthesis, especially the more difficult monothioated and dithioated DNA. In addition, they have conjugated numerous dyes, chelators, chemical linkers, and DNA spacers onto DNA. They have conjugated such DNA aptamers to liposomes, gold nanoparticles and mesoporous silicon particles for multi-stage vectors.

For more information, see the core’s website  https://www.uth.edu/imm/service-centers/nano-chemistry-service-center/  

Texas Therapeutics Institute (TTI)

Director/Contact person: Zhiqiang An, PhD  Zhiqiang.An@uth.tmc.edu  713-500-3011

TTI is a research consortium of investigators from UTHealth, UT MDACC, and The University of Texas at Austin that promotes translational research collaborations with the pharmaceutical industry on drug discovery and drug development. TTI provides the follow-on technology and expertise to develop and optimize promising results in therapeutics research.  

For more information, see the TTI website https://www.uth.edu/imm/service-centers/antibody-engineering-and-expression-service-center/