Research Resources and Facilities
Biosafety and Animal BioSafety Level 2, 3, and 4 laboratory facilities. Renovated in 1995, the laboratory space available to UTMB investigators involved in biodefense projects includes 49 standard BSL2 laboratories (total space approximately 95,000 sq ft), plus special BSL3 laboratories (3,412 sq ft) for work with hazardous viral agents. The BSL3 laboratories have been inspected by HHS/CDC and USDA/APHIS and are registered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Select Agent Program. Core facilities include 6,550 sq ft animal biosafety level 2 and 3 labs; a 750 sq ft level 2 arthropod containment insectary; a fully equipped electron microscopy laboratory; and a darkroom equipped to develop X-ray film.
Core Facilities. UTMB has several core facilities that provide essential interdisciplinary coordination of efforts in research activities. These fully staffed core laboratories supply oligonucleotides, synthetic peptides, HPLC separation and analysis, proteomics and microarray analyses, monoclonal antibodies, and transgenic mouse models. For example, the Infectious Diseases and Toxicology Optical Imaging Core (OIC) provides high-resolution imaging and analysis of specimens, including those exposed to BSL2 infectious agents and/or treated with toxic substances. The OIC is equipped with a Zeiss LSM 510 UV META laser scanning confocal microscope, a large format fluorescence microscope (Zeiss Axiophot 2) with attached high-resolution digital camera, and a SLM 4800S life-time spectrofluorometer. An experienced instrumentation specialist guides operation of the confocal microscope and assists in image analysis and presentation.
Electron Microscopy.The electron microscopy laboratory of the Department of Pathology has three transmission electron microscopes (TEM) and a scanning electron microscope (SEM) with an energy-dispersive x-ray microanalysis (EDAX) system to determine elemental composition of samples. The lab is equipped with ultramicrotomes and has all necessary facilities to prepare biological samples for EM examination and producing high quality EM prints. The staff of the lab also has expertise in immunoelectron microscopy and is well published in peer-reviewed journals.
The W. M. Keck Center for Virus Imaging was established through a $1.7M gift from the W. M. Keck Foundation and matching funds from a HRSA grant and the Kleburg Foundation. The specialized research center is designed for high containment virus imaging. The center includes two major instruments for studying the structure, replication, and pathogenesis of viruses: 1) An Olympus FV1000 Spectral Confocal microscope system and 2) a JEOL JEM-2200FS high voltage (200 kV), high resolution transmission cryoelectron microscope with energy filtering, including a cryotransfer system, cooling control unit, CCD camera, remote control operating system and operation computer. Dr. Michael Sherman, recruited from Purdue University, manages the virus imaging facility. He is highly experienced in operating and maintaining cryoelectron microscopes, as well as in software development and other technical and theoretical aspects of electron microscopy.