Core Facilities

Core scientific facilities support innovative research by providing highly-specialized services, equipment and staff that would otherwise be too expensive for a single laboratory or department to provide. The Connecticut Convergence Institute is committed to increasing awareness of core facilities to help expedite research. While most cores are publicly available to members of the UConn community, some are required by their sponsors to limit access and to differentiate pricing. Policies regarding services, access, fees and prioritization vary by core and by institution.

To that end, we have created this listing of core facilities indexed by institution. The listing continues to grow as more core facilities are established and additional services are identified.  Please contact the core facility directly for more information by using the link for each listing.

UConn Health

Alcohol Research Center (ARC) program project grant has been continuously funded by NIAAA since 1976.  The P60 award totals $2 million per year (2007-2012).  ARC investigators come from psychiatry, neurology, neuroscience, pharmacology, and community medicine at UConn Health, psychology at Storrs, and cardiology at Hartford Hospital.  The ARC faculty holds a variety of grants totaling over $10 million per year (including a T-32 NRSA post-doctoral training grant from NIAAA) from NIH, foundations, and industry that encompass addiction-related issues, including genetic and familial risk of alcohol and drug dependence, social and behavioral processes in heavy drinking, cognitive and electrophysiological effects of substance abuse, and pharmacological and psychotherapeutic treatments for substance abuse and compulsive gambling.

Biodynamics Laboratory of the Ergonomics Technology Center at UConn Health has been relocated into 8,000 square feet of renovated laboratory space.  The facility includes two environmental chambers, a rail-mounted and freestanding opto-electronic motion capture system, crane-gantry systems for handling large equipment, including shaker suspension, and wet and dry laboratory facilities.  The facility also includes full electronics and machine shops for amplifier and equipment production.  Available equipment includes specialized amplifiers, wave form generators, and data acquisition systems.  Ten high-end computers and appropriate monitors with ample storage devices are available to the staff with the highest grade of computer being Pentium IV-based.  Also available are appropriate amplifiers and various force sensing electrodes and devices for force approximation.  In the past three years, the laboratory has produced several custom-designed devices, including data loggers, a biomonitoring backpack and force and accelerometry palm sensors.

Biomedical Media Communications Department provides a wide range of artwork, video, multimedia, and computer assisted communications programs, and video teleconferencing production services to health care and education professionals, primarily those associated with UConn Health, as well as other state agencies.  Services include design and production services in linear film and video; animation; satellite, microwave, and ISDN/IP teleconferencing; interactive video; computer assisted instruction; streaming video web services; and interactive graphics.  Video conferencing facilities are available on the UConn Health campus as well as UConn’s regional campuses.  This technology allows seamless communications between campuses as well as worldwide via a point-to-point or multi-site connection using ISDN or IP.

Biophysical Core, or formally named The Molecular Microbial and Structural Biology Biophysical Core, is a shared instrument facility equipped with advanced instrumentation for characterizing biological macromolecules.  The facility is in the L Wing on the 3rd floor of UConn Health.  The resources of the facility are available to UConn Health, other UConn and external academic investigators.  UConn Health also maintains a state-of-the-art NMR instrumentation for protein structure determination, stability and binding studies through the Gregory P. Mullen NMR Structural Biology Facility.

Richard D. Berlin Center for Cell Analysis and Modeling (CCAM) directed by Dr. Leslie M. Loew, hosts expertise in physics, chemistry, software engineering and experimental cell biology.  For the past 11 years, CCAM has been home to an NIH designated National Biotechnology Resource, the National Resource for Cell Analysis and Modeling (NRCAM), for its patented “Virtual Cell” computational modeling environment, a web-based computing environment that allows researchers to develop quantitative mathematical models of specific cellular processes mapped to the actual three-dimensional geometry of individual cells.  CCAM provides the general research community access to state of the art equipment for quantitative fluorescence imaging applications through a Fluorescence Microscopy User Facility.  Equipment includes three laser scanning confocal microscopes, two combination nonlinear optical (aka 2-photon)/ laser scanning confocal/ fluorescence correlation spectroscopy microscopes, one spinning disk confocal microscope, and two widefield (traditional) fluorescence microscopes.  The facility provides technical expertise in fluorescence microscopy techniques and quantitative image processing applications.  In addition, the facility houses analytical equipment including a Biacore surface plasmon resonance imaging system for analysis of in vitro binding kinetics, and a dual wavelength spectrofluoimeter for characterization of fluorescent probes.  CCAM hosts dedicated servers with 25 gbytes of storage per user group, and workstations for advanced two and three dimensional image analysis.  The facility provides both access to and technical assistance with state of the art instrumentation and software, and expertise in experimental design and data interpretation for fluorescence imaging applications.  It is open to both on site and off site researchers on a fee for service basis using online signup capabilities and reasonable hourly rates for the use of the microscopes and for training and staff assistance.  In addition to hourly user fees, collaborative arrangements are available to provide ongoing technical assistance for either use of the microscopes, or development of appropriate experimental and analysis strategies for advanced imaging uses.

Bone / Body Mass Research Store provides infrastructure for bone mineral density and body composition measurements.  Services are available to investigators interested in the analysis of bone and body composition.  Dual energy x-ray absorbtiometry (DEXA) scans can assess bone mineral content and density at multiple sites including forearm, hip, spine (including vertebral assessments for deformities of the vertebrae), and total body.  Total body DEXA is also used for assessment of body composition including lean and fat mass.  Measurements can be performed in adult and pediatric populations. Measurements are performed by a single bone densitometry technologist, thereby maximizing reproducibility.  The service center is located at UConn Health Building 7 on the lower campus.  If interested, please contact Linda Gregory at 860.679.2673.

Center on Aging (UCA) was established in 1986 and is led by Dr. George Kuchel, professor of medicine and Citicorp Chair in Geriatrics & Gerontology.  UCA represents a highly-successful model of interdisciplinary university-wide activities involving clinical care, teaching and research.  UCA core faculty are currently Prinicipal Investigators or funded co-investigators on an externally funded research portfolio totaling $30 million (NIH, CDC, USDA, Ellison Foundation, and the Donaghue Foundation).  Overall efforts are devoted to two highly integrated and complementary objectives: 1) to define the role of immune and endocrine factors in the pathogenesis of late-life frailty and disability; and 2) to test the ability of innovative interventions to enhance functional independence in older adults.  Thus, relevant research involves teams consisting of basic scientists, clinical investigators and health outcome researchers.  The center’s two-year geriatric medicine fellowship has consistently ranked among the top training programs in geriatrics in the U.S. and has been an important source of research trainees who have subsequently received nearly every career development award available in geriatric medicine.

Center for Biomaterials in the Department of Reconstructive Sciences provides an infrastructure for research on biomedical materials at UConn Health.  Most research programs are interdisciplinary with primary collaborations involving the Center for Regenerative Medicine and Skeletal Development, the Department of Reconstructive Sciences, the Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center, the New England Musculoskeletal Institute, the Clinical Research Center, and the Institute of Materials Science at the UConn Storrs campus.

The Central Electron Microscope Facility (CEMF) is a UConn Health-supported research facility providing electron microscopy research service for faculty, students and extramural users.  The CEMF occupies approximately 1,800 sq. ft of space on the B level of UConn Health’s main building (rooms AB027 and AB031). The CEMF has two transmission electron microscopes (TEMs), a Philips CM10 and a JEOL 100CX, and a JEOL 6320F high-resolution field emission scanning electron microscope (SEM).  Sample preparation instruments include ultramicrotomes, vacuum evaporator, sputter coater and ion beam coater.  The electron microscopes and other instruments also are available for use by experienced faculty or students.

Flow Cytometry is a well-established technology that has been crucial for advancing the fields of Hematology and Immunology.  This technology permits the identification, characterization, and isolation of defined populations of hematopoietic cells based primarily on the differential expression of cell surface markers recognized by antibodies coupled to various fluorochromes.  During the past decade this technique has been adopted by many areas of biological research.   At present time its application is not limited to identification of cell surface markers, as it is also used to identify the expression of fluorescent reporter genes, to quantify the cytoplasmic production and the secretion of bioactive molecules, and to evaluate cellular metabolic activities, cell replication and cell survival.  The facility provides services to scientists with research interests spanning most disciplines in the institution, and provides clinicians and investigators with the ability to perform both multi-parameter analysis and sorting of cell populations into phenotypic, biochemical, and molecular subsets, based on a variety of characteristics including size and shape and fluorescence derived from antibody-tagging or expression of fluorescent molecules.  The facility is located on the 6th floor of the research wing (L building) just off the animal tower corridor in rooms L-6016 and L-6012.

The Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells and Chromosome Core (iPSCC) is a new cross-campus core which provides services, training and products related to pluripotent stem cells including iPS cell derivation and iPS cell vector production at the Cell and Genome Sciences Building in Farmington, Connecticut.

Lowell P. Weicker Clinical Research Center (CRC) was originally funded by the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) in December 1993.  The CRC is being fully supported by the University to ensure continuity of its core facilities and administrative structure.  The CRC is primarily an outpatient center, though on occasions it provides funding to support inpatient studies.  Many CRC projects represent the application of basic science discoveries to clinical problems.  The studies are conducted by faculty at the Schools of Medicine and Dental Medicine located at UConn Health and at UConn Storrs, as well as partnering hospitals.  The CRC includes a large outpatient nursing unit and separate dental clinical research unit and core laboratory for specialized biomarker and genetic analysis, as well as an innovative data management component that has been instrumental in allowing investigators to make use of interactive voice response data collection.  During the past year, the CRC supported 67 PIs and 138 subprojects.  To support investigators in their patient-oriented research, the CRC offers study related services through its internal cores.  Each has a director who is available to discuss available services and needs of specific studies.

Gene Targeting and Transgenic Facility (GTTF) provides a comprehensive service for the generation of genetically modified mice.  The services are available to faculty members of  UConn Health and external biomedical research communities on a fee-for-services basis.  The GTTF consists of a molecular biology lab, a tissue culture lab, a microinjection facility and a special pathogen-free (SPF) mouse facility.  The GTTF has the equipment and expertise and uses cutting edge technologies for the preparation of gene targeting vectors, manipulation of embryonic stem cells and early mouse embryos to generate “designer mouse strains” upon request. In addition, the GTTF also provides services for the rederivation and cryopreservation of all mouse strains.

The Health Disparities Institute (HDI) has a legislative charge to enhance research and the delivery of care to minority and medically underserved populations of the state. The mission is to establish UConn Health as a leader in health equity by creating a collaborative environment to examine root causes and potential solutions to health disparities. HDI’s work features community based participatory research methods, interdisciplinary collaboration models, and university-community partnership approaches with a translational impact on health outcomes. Core services include: Design and analysis of studies with multiple methods and sources of data including both claims and EMR quality indicators. Developing, utilizing and teaching health disparities (HD) methods: Providing consultation on the addition of HD dimensions to currently undergoing or completed studies/QI projects of HDI and its collaborators. Developing advanced HD methods: Estimating true HDs (unbiased) for Connecticut underserved populations. Designing and conducting community-based interventions that translate best-practices evidence to benefit underserved populations.

Lyman Maynard Stowe Library is located in the main building of UConn Health where it is easily accessible to all staff, students, and the public.  The library actively identifies, licenses, and supports the highest quality of knowledge-based resources to meet the needs of the educational, research, clinical and service programs. It is the only publicly-supported academic health sciences library in Connecticut.  The library’s consumer health program received national recognition in 2006 when it was named one of the top 10 programs in the country by the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science.  The library occupies 30,000 sq. ft.; houses a collection of 38,433 books and manuscripts, 5,519 journals, 1,753 current subscriptions, 1,414 audiovisuals, 423 software titles; and 150,000 bound journal volumes and provides numerous training services, access to internet databases and consumer health information.

The Gregory P. Mullen NMR Structural Biology Facility maintains state-of-the-art instruments for solution NMR.  The instruments are used to identify and characterize organic and other molecules, and to investigate structure, stability, and dynamics of proteins. The facility currently houses Varian Inova instruments operating at 400, 500, and 600 MHz. The latter two instruments are equipped with state-of-the-art cryogenically cooled RF probes.  In 2009, an NIH High End Instrumentation grant of $2 million for the purchase of an 800 MHz NMR spectrometer was awarded to UConn Health and became operational in 2009.  The facility also operates a computational facility (L-3033), equipped with Apple Macintosh (40 cpu) and HP/Linux (100 cpu) computer clusters for data processing, as well as numerous 8-processor workstations for interactive data analysis.

Molecular Core Facility is designed to facilitate the molecular biologists experimental needs by supplying reagents and instrumentation used in cloning, cell culture, electrophoresis and PCR.  It stocks high-use biologicals, cell and bacterial culture and electrophoresis supplies used in recombinant DNA cloning as supplied by Invitrogen, Qiagen, New England Biolabs, Biorad, Clontech, Applied Biosystems, Fisher, Promega and Sigma.  These items are ordered through a web interface with the Core that allows the entire catalogs from these vendors to be special ordered at a less that catalog price and without a shipping charge.  Oligonucleotides can be purchased through the web portal from Sigma and Integrated DNA Technologies at an institutional price that does not include shipping.  Samples for DNA sequencing are collected for daily shipment to Agencourt where the results are returned to the user through the web portal.  All users receive an institutional price for the sequencing service.  The core also supports a BioRad iCycler for qPCR and recently obtained an ABI 9700 for standard qPCR as well as the company supplied low density PCR arrays.  The core has a SYNGENE G: Box for UV imaging and chemi illuminecense imaging, Nanodrop spectrophotometer and Maxwell nucleic acid extraction robot available for user’s samples.  All of these activities are coordinated through a web portal/database.  Grants are automatically billed and receipts are available for the PI’s records.  All past interactions can be queried through the web portal.  The core supports a number of product and technology seminars by the vendors. It does not promote any products, but encourages company representatives to meet with users to promote their products.

Research Histology Core Facility is a fee-for-service Histology Facility.   The facility is run by one full-time technician and has operated in recent years as a break-even operation with no request for support from the Health Center Research Advisory Council (HCRAC).   The facility provides instrumentation for self-serve Histology processing and analysis if tissues. Services include paraffin tissue embedding, sectioning, Hematoxylin and Eosin staining, special histology stains such as trichrome and PAS, and performing immunohistochemistry.  The facility also provides access to a cryostat, paraffin microtome and an upright microscope and digital imaging station for documentation of histological sections.  The current operations have a turn-around time of < 7 days for nearly all projects. High priority jobs due to grant deadlines and turn-around are handled on a case-by-case basis and typically are done in a few days.  The tissues analyzed range from zenopus eyes, C. elegans, murine embryos, rodent teeth and skeleton and experimental tumors.  The core facility serves most major departments for UConn Health and UConn Storrs faculty.  The equipment of this core includes PathCenter (Shandon Lipshaw) paraffin embedding machine, two shandon lishaw cryostats, two paraffin embedding stations, two leica microtomes, a Zeiss upright AxioPhot microscope with an Olympus high-resolution color camera, beecher tissue arrayer, two Dell desktop computers, one lab refrigerator and one lab freezer, assorted incubators, staining stations, chemical hood, student microscope, hot plates, orbital shakers and heat blocks.

Research Tissue Repository Core Facility consists of de-identified tissue and/or blood samples and patient data obtained from consented patients coupled with a database of clinical and laboratory data.  Identified samples are available to researchers with IRB approval.  The goal is to develop a comprehensive resource that will procure, characterize and distribute high quality human specimens according to rigid protocols and ethical guidelines.  Services include consenting of eligible patients, coordination for specimen collection, storage, data management and specimen distribution.

The UConn Stem Cell Core includes basic equipment for derivation and culture of both human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), and for cellular and molecular biology analysis.   The facility moved to the Cell and Genome Sciences Building near the UConn Health campus. This well-equipped center includes biosafety cabinets, cell incubators, cell spinning centrifuges, microcentrifuges, water baths, inverted microscopes (one of them with monitor and tri-nocular attachment for teaching), dissecting microscopes with enclosure for picking stem cell colonies, embryo manipulating microscopes, fluorescent microscopes, a CytoVision microscope (for karyotyping), thermocyclers for PCR, a PCR enclosure, a gel documentation system (Fuji Imager), a Guava EasyCyte System,–80°C freezers,–20° C freezers, refrigerators, liquid nitrogen tanks, a cell sonicator, a lab oven, a UV spectrometer, a luminometer, a bacterial shaker, a bacterial incubator, an osmometer, a Mili Q water system, and a pH meter.  This facility is available to all Connecticut scientists.  Sophisticated instrumentation is available to the translational research community though the state-of-the-art core research facilities for mouse transgenics and ES cell manipulation, microarray production and analysis, high throughput nucleic acid sequencing (Illumina Genome Analyzer), molecular core (real-time PCR and gel documentation), flow cytometry, electron microscopy, proteomics and biological mass spectrometry, nuclear magnetic resonance structural biology.  Multiple confocal microscopy and fluorescence imaging instruments are available through Center for Cell Analysis and Modeling shared resource.  There is also specialized equipment such as circular dichroism spectrometry and differential scanning calorimetry available in the biophysical core as well as a DEXA machine using a Lunar Prodigy (Lunar Radiation, Inc., Madison, Wisc.) available for measuring bone mineral density and body composition.  Access to sophisticated computational resources is available through the Computational Structural Biology Facility and the Center for Cell Analysis and Modeling.  Four conference rooms are fully equipped for video conferencing.  Other common shared equipment include ultracentrifuges, high-speed centrifuges, cold rooms and washrooms with dishwashing, autoclave, ice makers, systems for producing high-quality distilled water and X-Omat film processors.

Translational Genomics Core (TGCore) at UConn Health is a core facility dedicated to generating genomic data for researchers both at UConn Health, as well as outside of UConn Health.  Pertinent capabilities include: The TGCore contains all the equipment necessary to perform all Affymetrix, Illumina, Nimbelgen and Agilent microarrays for geneotyping and gene expression analysis.  In addition, the TGCore houses an Illumina Genome Analyzer II (GAII) which can generate billions of basepairs of DNA sequence.  The GAII will also be used for high resolution geneotyping and gene expression analyses.  In addition to these experimental resources, the TGCore contains an extensive collection of computational resources dedicated to the analysis of the genomics data.  This includes two Linux clusters dedicated to the processing of sequence data generated by the GAII, a 56 node XServe cluster for general bioinformatics analyses, a WikiLIMS system for tracking and analysis of data generated by the GAII at UConn Health and the 454 sequencer housed on the UConn Storrs campus, as well as several user computers for the analysis of microarray data.  The TGCore has a two person staff that can perform the microarray and sequencing experiments for researchers submitting samples.  Capacities: The TGCore can process approximately 18 microarray samples per week, as well as 16 samples per week for sequencing on the GAII. Relative Proximity: The microarray equipment and the GAII are housed at UConn Health.

UConn Storrs

Bioinformatics and Biocomputing Institute (BIBCI), operated under the auspices of the School of Engineering, was founded in early 2003, with partial support from the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of General Medical Sciences.  The BIBCI unites unique resources, world-class researchers and visionary leadership for the advancement of biomedical and biological research using advanced computing techniques.

Biotechnology-Bioservices Center (BBC) was established by the State as a Center of Excellence in 1986, and in 2003 was reorganized as a multidisciplinary center with a mission to facilitate research productivity in the biological sciences and related disciplines.

Center for Health, Intervention, and Prevention (CHIP) is directed by Jeffrey D. Fisher, Ph.D., is a multidisciplinary research center dedicated to the study of the dynamics of health risk behavior and processes of health behavioral change in individuals and targeted at-risk populations.  Since its founding, CHIP researchers have launched major new health behavior change initiatives at the University of Connecticut, including new work in the areas of HIV prevention, medical adherence, diabetes management, cancer prevention, nutrition, pharmacology, substance abuse, health information technology, and other health domains. In the past several years, CHIP’s work has become increasingly international in scope. CHIP investigators now have projects planned, or underway, in South Africa, China, Russia, Vietnam, Thailand, Romania, and Nepal.

Center for the Study of Culture, Health, and Human Development was established in 1998 by Chancellor Fred Maryanski, following approval by the UConn Graduate Council and Board of Trustees, in order to promote interdisciplinary scientific collaboration, training, and outreach related to human development and health in cultural context.

Institute of Materials Science has occupied an approximately 80,000 sq. ft. building on the UConn Storrs campus since it was completed in 1970.  In 2001, IMS was expanded with a 15,000 sq. ft. addition. Approximately 40,000 sq. ft. are in use as advanced materials research laboratories. General purpose laboratories, which are freely accessible to all IMS members, contain common instrumentation for materials characterization such as electron microscopy, mechanical testing, x-ray diffraction, surface analysis, rheology, thermal analysis and magnetic resonance.  Most of these laboratories have direct assigned staff support.  Special purpose laboratories with specialized research instrumentation are also fully available to IMS members after they receive the appropriate training.  Additional research support facilities include an electronics shop and an instrument and machine shop.

The Office of Technology Commercialization (OTC) brings university innovations to market by providing expertise in patenting and licensing, creating and supporting viable start-up entities, and assisting industry in their interactions with the university.  The office also works with companies and entrepreneurs seeking to develop relationships with UConn researchers and utilize UConn’s technological resources.

Roper Center for Public Opinion Research was founded in 1947 to preserve data from surveys of public opinion.  Since that time, the Roper Center has continued to acquire and archive public opinion data, now standing as one of four major academic archives in the nation.  Its collection now includes 17,000 datasets and continues to grow by hundreds of datasets per year.  In total, it includes responses from millions of individuals on a vast range of topics including health care, prescription drugs, medical research, education, and social policy.  Since its beginning, the Roper Center has focused on surveys conducted by the news media and commercial polling firms.  However, it also holds many academic surveys, including important historical collections from the National Opinion Research Corporation and Princeton University’s Office of Public Opinion Research.

Stem Cell Institute UConn’s stem cell program is a cross-campus enterprise, involving researchers and laboratories at the Center for Regenerative Biology on the Storrs campus, and at UConn Health in Farmington.  On both campuses, research teams are unlocking the secrets of stem cells in modern, state-of-the-art facilities.

University of Connecticut Libraries form the largest public research collection in the state.  The collection contains some 3.6 million volumes; 51,000 currently received print and electronic periodicals; 4.3 million units of microform; 15,000 reference sources; 232,000 maps; sound and video recordings; musical scores; and a growing array of electronic resources, including eBooks, eSound recordings, and image databases.  The University’s main library, the Homer Babbidge Library, is located at the center of the Storrs academic core, and serves both graduate and undergraduate programs.  The Babbidge Library also houses a Map and Geographic Information Center (MAGIC), which is the largest public map collection in New England and a nationally acclaimed resource for geospatial data.

Connecticut Children’s Medical Center

Pediatric Research Investigators from Connecticut Children’s Medical Center and UConn Health are forging new partnerships for purposes of discovery and evaluation of biological mechanisms and agents for treatment of disease, improvement of health, and related fields of application as they affect children and youth.  Advances in pediatric research from the investigators at both institutions benefit children in the state and the larger pediatric community.   This site describes these shared facilities and labs occupied by faculty investigators.

Hartford Hospital

Clinical Research Center (CRC) at Hartford Hospital, a division of Research Administration, provides administrative and research coordinator support for the research activities of the institution’s medical staff.  Services include marketing of services to potential study sponsors and referrals to our physician investigators, clinical trial placement with physician investigators, marketing of trial opportunities to potential subjects, study coordinator support, and data management.

Research Program at Hartford Hospital is your source of one stop shopping information about the research enterprise at Hartford Hospital including the grants and contracts office, IRB, and research administration.