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ARRA $4.38 million award supports integrated core research facilities

nrraNext year, OHSU investigators will be able to take advantage of new core research facilities thanks to a $4.38 million award from the National Center for Research Resources. This award, which was funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, will support the renovation of about 5,400 square feet in Richard Jones Hall and will integrate facilities for flow cytometry and genomic analysis. The goal of this renovation initiative is to improve campus resources for molecular and cellular characterization – and to reduce barriers for OHSU scientists. 

This project consolidates flow cytometry technologies available within the Flow Cytometry Shared Resource. The renovation will also create shared space for the Massively Parallel Sequencing Shared Resource that, together with the Microarray Shared Resource, will make up the new OHSU Integrated Genomics Laboratory. After the renovation, these two revamped core facilities – the Flow Cytometry Shared Resource and the Integrated Genomics Laboratory – will occupy contiguous space, allowing for administrative efficiencies and closer scientific collaboration. 

Headed by Phil Streeter, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, OHSU's Flow Cytometry Shared Resource was established in 1996. It provides consultation, training and teaching, technical expertise, and technical services. Instrumentation includes analytical flow cytometers and cell sorters. Currently, however, its resources are located in part on the OHSU campus and in part at the Portland VA Medical Center. 

"Consolidation of the flow cytometry technologies will make it easier to use the facilities and the new location in Richard Jones Hall will be closer to the vast majority of investigators," said Dr. Streeter. "We are excited about this opportunity to enhance flow cytometry services for our investigators."

The award also provides momentum for the new Integrated Genomics Laboratory, with Chris Harrington, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Molecular & Medical Genetics, and Senior Staff Scientist, as the Director, and Bob Searles, PhD, Senior Staff Scientist, as the Associate Director. Structural and functional genomic analysis resources at OHSU currently include a Gene Microarray Shared Resource and a Massively Parallel Sequencing Shared Resource. The Gene Microarray Shared Resource operates two microarray technology platforms – the Affymetrix GeneChip System and the Illumina BeadArray System. Last year, OHSU was awarded an Illumina Next-generation Sequencer, thanks to the generosity of the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust. This instrument, as well as the increased sample throughput and data management resources that accompany these technologies, requires expanded and renovated space. The renovation will relocate all these genomic technologies from the Center for Health & Healing to Richard Jones Hall, now newly adjacent to the Flow Cytometry Shared Resource.

"Besides better space and more convenient locations, we are all excited about the potential of the co-located facilities to enhance scientific collaborations," said Dr. Harrington. The proximity of these facilities will increase both the quality and efficiency of services provided to investigators. Bringing these resources together will enable co-development of methods and technologies to minimize the number of cells required for array or sequencing assays. Further, rapidly handing off purified cells from the Flow Cytometry Shared Resource to the Genomics Laboratory will minimize the chances of changes in gene expression profiles and will enhance the potential to isolate intact and high-quality RNA and DNA from smaller numbers of cells. 

The core renovation project is currently in the design completion phase. Construction is expected to begin later this year, and facilities will be completed in 2011. OHSU also received a $4 million award to construct new facilities at the Oregon National Primate Research Center. This project is nearing completion of its design phase as well.

Pictured (left to right): Drs. Harrington, Searles and Streeter.
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