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The Life Sciences Research Institute (LSRI) houses several state-of-the-art core research facilities, established through more than $22 million in federal equipment funding secured by a team of Brain Repair Centre-affiliated researchers. These facilities are integrated with Dalhousie Medical School's core research facilities and are open to faculty researchers, biotech companies and researchers from other institutions. Facilities located in the LSRI include:

Proteomics facility: The proteomics facility on the ground floor of the LSRI houses sophisticated mass spectrometry equipment that allows researchers to understand the chemicals, proteins, enzymes, lipids, metabolites and small molecules at work in tissue samples. This capability sheds light on crucial information, including the pathways of disease, targets for treatment, and the actions and side effects of drugs.

FACS Aria III flow cytometry facility: This fluorescent-activated flow cytometer allows researchers to tag and sort as many as eight different cell types from a single sample. This enables them to isolate particular cell types they wish to study further, such as motor neurons. It also allows them to identify which cells are dying and which are proliferating, as well as what genes are turned on and what proteins they’re producing. This is a vital piece of equipment for fundamental neuroscience and clinical studies.

Laser confocal microscopy facility: The laser confocal microscope illuminates single focal planes as thin as 0.4 microns and reveals this layer of tissue in ultra-sharp, high-resolution images. The microscope allows researchers to rotate tissue samples 360 degrees on any axis and visually penetrate the tissues, layer-by-layer, in fractions of microns. Through this, researchers are able to gain precise and detailed information about the structure, function and activity of neurons and synaptic connections within the brain and spinal cord.

Laser micro-dissection microscopy facility: This facility enables researchers to excise and extract live cells from tissues, without touching the cells in any way. The equipment uses laser pressure to catapult the desired cells out of the original sample and into a sterile chamber for further molecular analysis.

Zebrafish core facility: The zebrafish lab provides researchers with access to a highly efficient and adaptable means of studying nervous system development and to testing potential therapeutics in zebrafish models of disease.

 

Learn more about CORES (Centralized Operations of Research Equipment and Supports) at Dalhousie Medical School.

 

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