Research Facilities

Research Facilities

Laboratories

The laboratories are housed in the MR4 research building and include:

  • A newly renovated state-of-the-art 500 sq. ft. sterile operating room for surgery on the chronic canine model.  This operating room is equipped with an ultrasound machine, a gamma camera and a fluoroscopy unit.
  • A newly renovated 500 sq. ft. nonsterile operating room for acute canine experiments using ultrasound.
  • A newly renovated 1,200 sq. ft. non-sterile operating room for nuclear imaging equipped with a 2-head gamma camera.
  • A 300 sq. ft. microscopy laboratory.
  • A 500 sq. ft. wet laboratory for chemistry, histology, and in-vitro studies.

 

The cardiovascular MR facilities include a dedicated research 1.5T Siemens Avanto scanner housed in the UVA Main Hospital for use with clinical and animal studies. Two additional research scanners (Siemens 1.5T Avanto and 3.0T Trio) are available for use in the Snyder Building at Fontaine Research Park, 1 mile from the main campus. Two CT scanners are available for use, a Siemens Definition 64-detector dual source scanner and a GE Lightspeed 64-detector scanner.

Tissue Culture Core provides media, stored cell line, training in tissue culture methods and transfection.

Advanced Microscopy Facility provides access to and instruction in tissue embedding, sectioning, staining, and operating transmission and scanning electron microscopes and confocal microscopes.

Lymphocyte Culture Center provides facilities for generating hybridomas and for isolating monoclonal antibodies.

Biomolecular Research Facility is divided into two program areas:

  1. Mass Spectrometry/Proteomics area supports experimentation in protein identification, post-translational modification analysis, binding partner/complex mixture analysis and quantitative mass spectrometry utilizing iTRAQ and SILAC approaches.
  2. DNA Sciences Laboratory offers gene expression profiling by Affymetrix platforms, genomic analysis using a Solexa analyzer and DNA sequencing.

 

Radioimmunoassay Core provides standardized assays for measurement of cAMP, cGMP, insulin, etc., as well as HPLC. It also provides instruction in the set-up, standardization, and validation of RIA and ELISA.

Flow Cytometry offers facilities for both cell sorting and FACS analysis.

Clinical

Except for CMR and CT, all other clinical studies are performed in the Heart Center, which is on the 2nd floor of the University of Virginia Hospital. There are 3 nuclear cardiology suites, 6 echocardiographic examination rooms, as well as preparation and exercise/other stress rooms.  All these facilities are adjoining the EKG and cardiac catheterization laboratories as well as the operating rooms.  The MRI and CT facilities are one floor below and are state-of-the-art facilities. The pediatric cardiology laboratories are also in the Heart Center.

Animals

We have a fully certified vivarium in the basement of MR4 with a fully qualified staff.  Animals for all experiments are transferred from there.  A full-time vivarium employee takes care of the animals that are also examined by the study team.

Computers

Imaging processing PCs and advanced systems (Sun, Silicon Graphics, Siemens)  that are used for automated data acquisition, data entry and analysis, graphics, word-processing, etc and administrative support are available in each major laboratory.

The Research Computing Support Group of the Computing Support Division of ITC provides technologically advanced computing support to facilitate research at the University of Virginia. This support encompasses in-depth consulting services as well as targeted training programs in response to research and instructional needs.

Claude Moore Health Sciences Library consists of more the 3,000,000 books and 10,000,000 manuscripts.  It also maintains and supports Ovid and PubMed for literature searches and offers courses in Excel, PowerPoint, and other software used in scientific training.

Offices

All of the prospective mentors have offices associated with the imaging laboratories. A dedicated office for imaging trainees is located in the Heart Center, 2nd floor of the Main Hospital.

Ultrasound

There are 5 dedicated state-of-the-art systems available for imaging of small and large animals.  These systems are from Philips (Sonos 5500), Acuson (Sequoia), ATL (HDI5000), Toshiba (PowerVision 700), and GE (Vivid 5).  These systems are permanently lodged in the experimental laboratories.  For clinical studies we have 3 systems dedicated to research:  2 Sonos 5500 (Philips) and 1 Sequoia (Acuson).

Nuclear Cardiology

A Siemens single head SPECT scanner is located in the experimental laboratory. This camera has been adapted to allow multi-pinhole imaging with high resolution and sensitivity.   A second dedicated high resolution microSPECT camera system is also located in the experimental laboratory.  The microSPECT camera has a 10cm field-of-view and is based on a solid-state detector consisting of a Hamamatsu position-sensitive photomultiplier tube bonded with a pixilated array of 1mm x 1mm square scintillator crystals.  High resolution parallel hole and 0.5, 1.0, and 2.0 mm single pinhole apertures are available.  The current spatial resolution of the camera is approximately 1-1.5 mm.  Three triple-head scanners are located in the clinical laboratory.  Each has its own computer.  In addition, all the quantitative analysis is performed off-line using custom-designed software.

Magnetic Resonance

Animal and clinical studies will be performed on the dedicated research 1.5T Siemens Avanto scanner housed in the UVA Main Hospital. This is an actively shielded super-conducting magnet (1 ppm homogeneity over a 50cm DSV, 60cm clear bore, 150 cm long); whole-body gradient system (45 mT/m peak gradient strength, 0.2ms minimum rise time from zero to full strength) with multiple coils and 32 independent receiver channels and complete cardiovascular software. A physiological monitoring and gating system (In Vivo Medical Systems, Orlando, FL) with ECG, blood pressure and pulse oximetry will be available in the MR suite and a Spectris (Medrad, Indianola PA) contrast power injector is available for use.  Two additional research scanners (Siemens 1.5T Avanto and 3.0T Trio) are available for use in the Snyder Building at Fontaine Research Park, 1 mile from the main campus.

Computed Tomography

Two CT scanners are available for use, a Siemens Definition 64-detector dual source scanner and a GE Lightspeed 64-detector scanner.

Microscopy

The microscopy laboratory has a state-of-the-art microscopy system Askioscp 2F (Zeiss) with multiple excitation/emission fluorescent filters, a high-resolution CCD video camera (C2400, Hammamatsu), a digital camera (Nikon), a photodiode coupled to a PC for microvascular velocity measurements, a video timer, 3-plane micromanipulation systems, stereoscopic dissection microscopes, vibration-free tables, video recorders, dissection platforms, a superfusion apparatus, and microsurgical instruments.

Biochemistry and Pathology Laboratory

This laboratory has sonication equipment, lyophilizers, a particle electrozone sensing/counting apparatus, a Coulter counter, a UV spectrophotometer, a spectro-flurometer, a gas chromatograph, an evaporative light scattering detector, a fluorescent microplate reader, gradient HPLC and LPLCs, centrifuges, water baths, refrigerators, scales, gamma counter, and chemicals.  There is also a histology station with several light and fluorescent microscopes.

Other Equipment

Blood gas analyzers, gamma well counters (for measurement of radiolabeled microspheres and tissue isotope activity), respirators, surgical equipment, infusion and withdrawal pumps, scales for tissue weight measurements, etc.  We also have Oxyspot (Harvard Instruments) for measuring in-vivo oxygen tension in the beating heart, and a rotating viscometer (Cole Parmer).