Facilities and Equipment
The Laboratory for Clinical Biochemistry Research (LCBR) has two main locations. The laboratory itself is located in the Colchester Research Facility approximately three miles from the main University of Vermont (UVM) campus. The LCBR includes ~ 3500 square feet for research divided into four areas: sample receipt and handling, general biomarker lab, DNA preparation and analysis lab, and a CLIA-certified clinical chemistry lab. In addition there is a 160 sq ft cold room, and ~1,000 sq ft of office, conference and workstation/computer space. At a second location, the Biological Sample Repository comprises ~10,000 sq ft of freezer storage space which is temperature-controlled, alarmed, and backed up with generator power.
The LCBR Biological Sample Repository currently houses ~4,000,000 samples in more than 160 -80C or –145C freezers. This is actually a family of individual repositories, each with specifically labeled and databased sample sets. Samples include serum, various types of plasma, urine, cryopreserved cells, and purified DNA. There is also LN2-based storage for specialized tissue samples. The facility has three separate power lines (ensuring that complete loss of power is exceedingly rare) and full generator backup. Freezer inspection, maintenance, and cleaning is performed frequently. The LCBR’s standard monitoring of the repository follows this schedule: Daily: temperature and status of freezers and LN2 storage units, visual inspection; Monthly: alarm testing, backup generator testing; Quarterly: preventive maintenance; Semiannually: HVAC system maintenance. All monitoring is documented, as is each occasion on which a sample is placed in or removed from a freezer or storage unit. For alarm monitoring, an autodialer (Sensaphone model 1108) is connected to all freezers and storage units to monitor unit temperature, power failure, and ambient temperature. The first number dialed is that of a beeper that is monitored by on-call staff 24/7. We have a certified freezer repair service on call 24/7. Access to the repository is limited, and it is equipped with intrusion alarms.
Storage and location of repository samples are maintained and tracked in computer databases. All new studies use barcode technology to enhance sample tracking capabilities. Inventory is maintained through the use of custom-designed SQL databases. Database fields for each sample will include key information such as: participant identifier, visit number, aliquot number, sample type, sample volume, and repository location. Specimen repository information will be stored in relational SQL databases residing on secured and maintained servers (currently using SQL 2012). Data input is primarily through C# front-end applications requiring MS Windows password security. Operation and maintenance of the repository is facilitated by our familiarity with, and in some cases participation in preparing documents and protocols such as: NHLBI Biological Samples: Recommendations for Standardized Storage Protocols; NCI Best Practices for Biospecimen Resources; the International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories (ISBER) Best Practices for Repositories: Collection, Storage, Retrieval, and Distribution of Biological Materials for Research; World Health Organization Good Clinical Laboratory Practice (GCLP) guidelines; and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) shipping and packing regulations.
The Larner College of Medicine Information System (LCOMIS) supports the LCBR computer system. Connectivity is through the UVM GB Ethernet backbone. All available Microsoft security patches are installed on the servers and clients. Virus protection includes Network Associates and McAfee Virus applications with DAT files updated as soon as new files are released. Full nightly backups are done to tape on a 14-day cycle soon to expand to a 30-day cycle. Full backups are done monthly and retained for 13 months. Available software includes the Microsoft Office package, Adobe Acrobat, SPSS, SAS, Stata, and SQL for large databases; in addition, many specialized database programs and instrument-interfacial software packages are implemented. Individual computers house other graphics and data analysis packages as needed. When collaboration with the Clinical Pathology Laboratories of UVM Medical Center is appropriate, the LCBR has a fully functional SunQuest-enable workstation for building worksheets at the LCBR prior to transporting samples to UVMMC, and for receiving finished data from the clinical labs.
Approximately 2200 square feet of office space is available. Two rooms provide space for 16 technicians and students and general-usecomputer workstations. Administration and Data Management consists of approximately 450 square feet. There is also separate office space for five investigators and up to five junior investigators, fellows and post-docs.
The LCBR employs the use of the following equipment:
- Stago Evolution Automated Coagulation analyzer for coagulation and immunoturbidmetric assays.
- Meso Scale Discovery Multi-Array System for electrochemliminescence detection of biomarkers in singleplex and multiplex formats.
- Dade Behring BNII Nephelometer
- BioTek Elx808 Ultra Microplate Reader for fluorescence and absorbance ELISA and Kinetic assays.
- Bio-Rad BioPlex Protein Array Systems for fluorescent bead-based Luminex technology to simultaneously analyze up to 100 targets in a single microplate well.
- Perkin Elmer Wizard2 gamma counter for RIA.
- Roche e411 for specialized chemistries using electrochemiluminescence tehcnology.
- Roche Cobas Integra 400 Plus for general chemistries.
- Beckman Coulter LH 500 cell counter
- Tosoh G8 hematology analyzer
- Miltenyi MACS Quant Analyzer 10 Flow Cytometer to facilitate rapid and simple cellular analysis.
- Thermo Scientifice NanoDrop spectrophotometer for quantification of DNA.
- Polarstar Optima filter-based multidetection microplate reader offering 5 detection modes including chemiluminescence and simultaneous dual emission detection used for quantification of DNA by pico green method.
- MJ Research Programmable thermocyclers (4) for PCR.
- Electrophoresis apparatuses for RFLP and protein analyses.
- ABI Prism 7900 DNA Sequence Detector for TaqMan-based SNP analysis.