Maine Medical Center Research Institute Core Facilities

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Supported in part by Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence Grants from the NIH IDeA Program

For there to be successful medical research, an institution must have top core lab resources. Maine Medical Center Research Institute (MMCRI) has a series of Core Facilities dedicated to providing the latest equipment and knowledge necessary to assist researchers in their work. Many of these shared resources and services are available to the outside community as well.


Collaborative Assets Biomedical Facilities and Infrastructure  Rodent models for biomedical research AAALAC accredited rodent housing imaging (MRI, microCT, Dexa, NMR, ultrasound) metabolic profiling transgenic mouse preparation and gene targeting  Molecular biology infrastructure genomic/DNA/RNA analysis and profiling proteomics/mass spectroscopy confocal microscopy histology and tissue microarrays cell culture and viral vector preparations flow cytometry and cell analysis  Research Specimen Collection and Analysis human tissue collection and banking human & animal specimen analysis: histology, cell phenotyping stress, inflammation, hematopoiesis, hormonal profiling and bone metabolism  Clinical & Translational Research Infrastructure clinical trials support: budgeting, contract negotiations, Medicare coverage analysis human research safety & compliance services: AAHRPP accredited. Institutional Review Board services


Intellectual Capital

Clinical research expertise: cancer, psychiatry (autism), cardiology, pulmonary (cystic fibrosis) & critical care, neurology & neurosurgery, gastrointestinal disease, renal disease, pediatrics, gynecology & fetal medicine, and others

Molecular biology expertise: vascular biology, stem cell & regenerative medicine, cancer biology, metabolism, bone biology

Health services research & public health expertise: research design, large database analysis, bioinformatics & biostatistics, predictive modeling, shared decision making, SAS, SPSS, other statistical and database programs

Research "catalyst" capabilities: technology transfer, foster multidisciplinary/multi-institutional research collaborations

Teaching & education: high school, undergraduates, graduate students, medical students, research fellowships, internships


Established Collaborations scientific - basic, clinical, health services

scientific - basic & translational

scientific - basic & translational

students scientific - basic, clinical, health services; medical & graduate students Tufts Clinical & Translational Science Institute scientific, graduate students

scientific, students

scientific, facilities, undergraduate & graduate students


BioBank at MMC Anne Breggia, PhD The Maine Medical Center BioBank collects and processes excess human tissue, blood and body fluids collected from surgical and nonsurgical procedures from consenting patients under an IRB approved protocol. The biospecimens and associated clinical data are deidentified and then distributed to scientific investigators at MMC, academic institutes, pharmaceutical companies and biotechnology companies. The inventory of banked specimens is housed in a database managed by Progeny software which will soon be available to investigators via a Web portal. Most of the BioBank operations take place within the MMC Pathology Department and are carried out by a trained staff that includes pathologists, pathology assistants and BioBank technicians. Tissue specimens may be provided as fresh, flash frozen, OCT frozen or Formalin Fixed Paraffin Embedded (FFPE) tissue. The current inventory includes more than 100,000 blocks of archival FFPE and approximately 12,000 samples of prospectively collected frozen and FFPE samples recovered primarily from cancer and inflammatory disease surgeries. Tissue Microarrays (TMA) are available upon request.. Fresh whole blood, frozen serum and plasma from a variety of disease states is also available.


Histopathology Core Volkhard Lindner, MD, PhD This core offers complete services for immunohistochemistry and immunocytochemistry, develops and provides customized protocols related to histology, histochemistry and immunohistochemistry. Within the research facility are a designated histology suite, several microscopy stations equipped with digital image acquisition, and a confocal microscopy suite. Services available:  Tissue fixation, processing, embedding, and sectioning of paraffinembedded and frozen specimens  Plastic embedding and sectioning  Routine histological stains (e.g., H&E, trichrome, and others);  Special stains (e.g., Sirius Red, PAS, reticular fiber stain, Voerhoff’s elastic stain, von Kossa, Orcein, van Gieson, and many others)  Immunohistochemistry, immunocytochemistry, histochemistry, etc.  Customized characterization of antibodies for immunohistochemistry  Special procedures (e.g., mammary gland whole mounts, en face preparations of arteries, etc.)  Custom tissue microarrays  Performs all histology related services for human specimens obtained through the BioBank at MMCRI Supported in part by COBRE P30GM103392 and COBRE P30GM103465


Molecular Phenotyping Core

Leif Oxburgh, PhD The Molecular Phenotyping core provides instrumentation, training, and services for in vitro cell phenotyping. Specifically, we provide facilities and training for automated nucleic acids purification, microarray analysis, quantitative PCR, and automated immunofluorescence cell marker analysis and screening.  automated nucleic acids purification using the Qiacube and Qiasymphony SP instruments  microarray analysis using Genespring, X-Ray, and Dartmouth's Exploratory Visual Analysis tool  real-time PCR in both 96 and 384 well formats using Biorad instruments  96-well capillary electrophoresis using the Labchip Caliper GX instrument,  automated liquid handling using the Biomek 3000 liquid handler  4 color epifluorescence microscopy using Zeiss Axiovert 2 and Leica DMR inverted microscopes  fully automated 4 color epifluorescence live-cell microscopy using the Leica DMI6000B fitted with a BL-X culture chamber

Supported in part by COBRE P30GM103465


Mouse Transgenic and Small Animal Imaging Core Lucy Liaw, PhD

This core has two components. One is a mouse genetics component. The core facility has expertise in generating transgenic mice and gene targeted mice, and performs oocyte, morula, and blastocyst injections. The requesting investigator provides purified, prepared DNA constructs for injections. We also have a cryopreservation program for mouse embryos and sperm, and we perform in vitro fertilization or embryo transplantation to recover mouse strains. The second component is the imaging core. We have a Bruker 7T small animal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) facility, and can perform longitudinal imaging on experimental mouse strains. We additionally have microCT capacity for isolated tissues, and routinely run bone analysis with image acquisition and quantification. To discuss project needs for the MRI service, contact Ilka Pinz, PhD (

Supported in part by COBRE P30GM103392


Physiology Core Clifford Rosen, MD The Physiology Core provides "real" time data on metabolic phenotypes that fully complement biochemical studies. This output is coupled with dual energy X-ray absorptiometry or our minispec NMR that measures in vivo body composition cross-sectionally or longitudinally. A Seahorse XF24 analyzer that measures oxygen consumption, CO2 production and proton generation for cells or isolated mitochondria in a 24-well plate format is also available. XF24 provides bioenergetic data utilizing four agents in a mitochondrial stress test paradigm. Equipment includes:  Seahorse XF24 extracellular flux analyzer  Promethion metabolic monitoring cage system  PIXImus densitomer  Bruker minispec mq NMR  Idexx ProCyte Dx hematology analyzer

Supported in part by COBRE P30GM103465


Progenitor Cell Analysis Core Ed Jachimowicz, MS Pradeep Sathyanarayana, PhD This core provides instrumentation and expertise for cell analysis and isolation. Cell isolation (sterile) is via fluorescent-activated and/or magnetic technologies (FACS, MACS). The FACSAria-2 (BD) is a fixed optics alignment benchtop high-speed sorter. Digital electronics and variable flow pressures allow sorting with 8+ parameters/markers possible at up to 1,000 cells per second. The autoMACS (Miltenyi Biotec) utilizes immuno-tagging of cells with non-toxic iron oxide particles. Enrichments or purifications of cells of interest can be via either positive, or negative selection. MACS is scalable (and can be used a prior to FACS). Analyses of cell properties and parameters are supported by a BD FACSCalibur flow cytometer; Turner Biosystems fluorimeter & luminometer; and STEMVision system for imaging and analyzing cells cultured in 6-well plate formats. A tissue culture suite is also available, together with basic support for stem and progenitor cell culture. Services available include:  Flow Cytometry  Cell isolation / sorting (FACS, MACS)  Training in flow cytometry (and analysis)  Fluorimetric & luminometer assays (96-well format)  Tissue culture Supported in part by COBRE P30GM103465


Protein, Nucleic Acid Analysis & Cell Imaging Core Calvin Vary, PhD The function of this core is to provide protein structural and functional analysis. The facility contains a QSTAR Pulsar quadrupole TOF tandem mass spectrometer (qTOF, ABSciex) equipped with a nanospray ion source (Protana), quadrupole linear ion trap mass spectrometer (4000QTRAP, ABSciex) fitted with a Turbo V and Nanospray III sources (Protana). Mass spectrometers share Instrumentation includes a U_3000 RSLC nano liquid chromatographic system (Dionex/ThermoFischer) to enhance qTOF- and QTRAP based analyses, and a nitrogen gas generator, as well as a complete suite of software applications, including: ProteinPilotTm, MarkerViewTm, MultiQuantTm, and LipidViewTm software application licenses. Additional equipment includes two model 310 DNA sequencers. The Core also houses the Confocal Microscope Facility, which is located on the ground floor. This facility contains the Leica confocal microscope TCS-SP5. The system includes an upright and an inverted microscope for observation of fixed and living cells. The inverted microscope has an attachment chamber to allow for regulation of temperature and CO2 level. The microscope was upgraded with an addition of a unique 442 nm laser.

Supported in part by COBRE P30GM103392


Recombinant Viral Vector Core Jeong Yoon, PhD This core provides production service for recombinant adenovirus, retrovirus, and lentivirus for in vitro and animal studies. We also provide consulting services for virus use projects. For recombinant adenovirus, we will package and produce the high titer adenovirus using the user-provided viral vector DNA. If the user provides the aliquot of recombinant adenovirus, we will amplify them. Routinely we provide adenovirus with a titer of 1x1012 virus particles/ ml or higher. For lentivirus and retrovirus, the user will submit viral vector DNA and the Core will provide the packaging DNAs and cell lines. Ecotropic, amphotropic and pseudotyped viruses can be produced upon user’s request. We normally produce the lentivirus with 1 x107 TU/ml titer in a conditioned medium format or up to 1 x109 TU/ml titer after concentration. The scale of production can be easily customized based on the user’s need. Please contact Nancy Chandler-Conrey ( for service inquiry and pricing.

Supported in part by COBRE P30GM103392


Research Laboratory Services (RLS) Anne Breggia, PhD This core offers enzyme-linked immunoassays (ELISA), colorimetric and radioimmunoassays (RIA) for measurement of a comprehensive array of metabolic biomarkers in both human and murine specimens. The laboratory is equipped with high throughput instrumentation for analysis of autoimmune disease, bone metabolism, cardiovascular disease, infectious disease, inflammation, metabolic syndrome, obesity, diabetes, renal function, reproductive endocrinology and thyroid function. Instrumentation includes:  UniCel DxC600 chemistry analyzer  Titertek 28062 Gamma Counter  Dynex Laboratories MRX Revelation Plate Reader  Sector Imager 2400 Multiplex Immunoassay  Luminex 200 Multiplex Immunoassay  iSYS Multiplex Immunoassay (Immunodiagnostic Systems): human IGF-1, IGFBP-3, bone-specific alkaline phosphatase, PTH, growth hormone, P1NP, CTX, osteocalcin and 25-OH Vitamin D In addition to testing services, the laboratory also provides sample collection, processing, storage and shipment services and has expertise in assay development, design and validation. 13

Maine Medical Center Research Institute 81 Research Drive|Scarborough, Maine|04074

Research is a tradition at Maine Medical Center Since the mid 1950’s, federally-funded research has taken place at Maine Medical Center and set the stage for early lifesaving innovations such as open-heart surgery and dialysis. Today, MMCRI’s world-class scientists are moving closer to solving some of our community’s most pressing medical issues, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, pediatric conditions, psychiatric disorders and osteoporosis to name a few. The hospital’s long term commitment to research has helped make us one of the finest hospitals in the nation.