Core Facilities

The William and Iffath Hoskins Center has 15,850 sq. ft. of space dedicated to laboratory based, basic science research.The research laboratory is equipped to conduct research in the following six broadly defined areas:

1. Protein Expression and Purification

2. Analytical Biochemistry

3. Molecular Biology

4. Tissue Culture

5. Cell Biology

6. Pathology/Immunohistochemistry

Protein Expression and Purification: This facility allows the principle investigators to grow bacterial or fungal cultures sufficient quantities of recombinant proteins to define relationships between structure and function.This will lead to a better understanding of diseases that are caused by errors in protein function that arise from errors in protein structure.The protein expression and purification facilities includes the following:

  • Three large shakers (two New Brunswick InnovaI126 shakers and one New Brunswick Innova 44 shaker), several smaller shakers
  • One 10 Litter Fermenter (Bram)
  • Two 40 sq. ft. cold rooms
  • Two superspeed centrifuges (Beckman J21 and Sorval RC6)
  • One preparative ultracentrifuge (BeckmanTL100 and Beckman Optima L-90K)
  • Two low pressure chromatography systems (Biorad)
  • Two AKTA FPLC systems.

Analytical Biochemistry: This facility allows the principle investigator to measure the quantity of a protein or measure the activity (function) of a protein/enzyme.The analytical biochemistry facilities includes the following.

  • Two UV/Vis spectrophotometers (Shimadzu UV-2501PC &Hitachi U3900)
  • One Fluorescence spectrophotometer (Hitachi F7000)
  • Two departmental microplate readers (1. GEN microanalysis system, &2. FlexStation 3 (MolecularDevices) five-mode (absorbance, fluorescence intensity, fluorescence polarization, luminescence and time-resolved fluorescence) reader with integrated fluid transfer)
  • One Circular Dichroism (CD) spectropolarimeter (JASCO 815, Japan) with a Stopped-flow titrater equipped with four syringes (New Biologic, France). 
  • One 140 Sq. ft. radioactive are that includes a Beckman 6500 Scintillation counter and two Beckman Gamma Counters.

Molecular Biology: The manipulation and analysis of DNA and RNA plays an important role in our understanding of how a protein or cell functions which in turn helps us study many diseases.Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) plays an important role in cloning (extracting a gene from the cell of an organism) and mutagenesis (changing part of that gene to make a new gene product).Real Time PCR (RT-PCR) can be used to measure how much message RNA is made within a cell under a specific set of conditions (genetic mutations or environmental stimuli).The molecular biology facilities includes the following:

  • Six departmental thermocyclers
  • Three nanodrop sepctrophotometers (Thermo)
  • Three RT-PCR thermocyclers {7500 Real-Time PCR system (Applied Biosystems), a 7900 Real-Time PCR system (Applied Biosystems), &a Mastercycler EP2 (eppendorf)}.

Tissue Culture Facilities: Many diseases can replicated within a human or mouse cell line, permitting the analysis of the disease on a cellular level.In addition, human proteins can be isolated from human cell lines.This tissue culture facility includes the following:

  • Two BSL1 level tissue culture room (with a total of five biological hoods)
  • Two BSL-2 tissue culture room each with a biological hoods.
  • Each tissue culture room is equipped with two incubators per hood

Analytical Cell Biology: Microcopy and flow cytometry permit the exploration of disease processes within a cellular context.Furthermore, flow cytometery permits the isolation of specific populations of cells.This facility includes the following:

  • Two Nikon TS100 light microscopes one of which is equipped with a Nikon DSFi1 digital camera. 
  • Three fluorescence microscopes
  • One confocal microscope equipped with four lasers and with the image processing software Elements that permits time lapse changes and FRET analysis.
  • One BD FACSAria II with three lasers and five different colors that allows identification and sorting of multiple cell types.
  • One FACScan flow cytometer for cellular analysis. 

Experimental Pathology/Immunohistochemistry: Principle investigators at Mercer University have access to tissue specimens collected from patients who have undergone surgery.These samples can be used to discover biomarkers (laboratory tests that can predict the presence or prognosis of a disease).Tissue samples from patients or from animals can be analyzed by a variety of staining techniques followed by microcopy.The experimental pathology facilities includes the following:

  • One Phosphorimager (GE, Storm 860) with multiple screens for screening high and low energy emitters,
  • One cryostat at room temperature and at -40°C
  • One PALM laser capture microdisection system (Zeiss)
  • One Nikon TE-2000U inverted epiflorescenct microscope with an HQ-214 bit digital camera supported by MetaMorph Premier Image Acquisition System software and workstation
  • One Guava EasyCyte multiparameter cytometer with built-in 96 well microplate sampling and with tube options.
  • One HypercenterXF (Thermo Shandon), Paraffin Embedding Center (Leica EG1160), Rotary Microtome (Leica RM2145), Automated Immunostainer (Leca ST5050), Automatic Slide Stainer (Thermo Shandon Varistain 24-4), and Cryostat (Leica CM3050S).