OHSU receives four new instrumentation grants to bolster research capacity

Photo courtesy of the National Institutes of Health

Four OHSU Shared Resources have recently been awarded grants supporting new instrumentation. The state-of-art equipment will be placed in core facilities, making the new technology available to all OHSU investigators and catalyzing research across the university.

The OHSU Knight Flow Cytometry Shared Resource has been awarded an NIH S10 grant for a BD FACSymphony S6 Cell Sorter. This instrument uses the highly performing fluidic and sorting capabilities of the BD FACSAria, with the improved optic and electronic capabilities of the FACSymphony (BD’s well established high-end analytical cytometer). The FACSymphony S6 cell sorter offers greater sensitivity and specificity, with reduced noise, when compared with the older technology of the FACSAria.  The NIH has awarded $600,000 and OHSU will contribute $88,000 for this new-generation instrument.

The Elemental Analysis Core has also been awarded an S10 grant from the NIH for a top-of-line Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer (ICPMS) with single particle capabilities. ICPMS is typically used to determine elemental concentration in specimens, such as copper concentration in livers of Wilson disease patients or the concentration of lead in blood. The new instrument offers greatly enhanced sensitivity: detection limits for most elements are in the parts per quadrillion (pico gram/L) range. The improved interference removal will enable measurement of “problem” elements like sulfur, silicon, or titanium with relative ease. The most striking new feature of this instrument, however, is the capability to determine elemental concentrations in single particles such as cells or nanoparticles. This technique was only recently developed and requires high detector speed and low sensitivity limits. The Elemental Analysis Core at OHSU will be the first shared resource in the Pacific Northwest to offer this type of single-cell analysis.  NIH awarded $335,000 to support this instrument.

The Multiscale Microscopy Core has been awarded a grant from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust for the purchase of a Helios Nanolab G5 UX Focused Ion Beam-Scanning Electron Microscope (FIB-SEM) equipped with Energy-Dispersive X-ray (EDX) Spectroscopy and a cryo-stage for cryogenic analysis of samples.  This new instrument will expand the services that the Multiscale Microscopy Core can provide the OHSU research community through the addition of room-temperature elemental analysis and the ability to analyze frozen hydrated samples by SEM (2D) or FIB-SEM (3D), with the possibility of preparing lamellae for high-throughput in-situ structural biology. OHSU researchers will be able to use this instrument to study and quantify biological structures across the Ångström to centimeter size range. The M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust awarded $550,ooo and OHSU will contribute approximately $800,000 toward to support this equipment.

Finally, the Proteomics Shared Resource has been awarded $1.1 million from NIH for the purchase of a Thermo Scientific Orbitrap Eclipse mass spectrometer. This is the newest version of the 7-year-old Orbitrap Fusion instrument now in the proteomics core. This instrument will have at least twice the sensitivity and speed of the older instrument and will be primarily used to support tandem mass tag (TMT) experiments. In these TMT experiments, up to 18 separate complex protein samples can be mixed and analyzed simultaneously. This capacity provides unequaled precision when measuring changes in protein abundance associated with disease in complex protein mixtures from cells, tissues, and bodily fluids. The new instrument will also support basic science research through improvements in the way it fragments and identifies modified peptides that play a role in cell regulation. The Orbitrap Eclipse will more than double the capacity of the proteomics core to keep pace with the increased need for proteomics support. Due to its high sensitivity, it will play an additional role in helping develop single-cell proteomics capabilities at OHSU–and it will have a broad user base across the entire OHSU campus