The research laboratories occupied by the faculty members participating in the MD/PhD training program are exceptionally well equipped with the most up-to-date research equipment. This has been made possible by funds provided by the Comprehensive Cancer Center, Arthritis Center, Center for AIDS Research and other centers (listed above), the University, and various Federal and non-Federal granting agencies which have awarded numerous grants to the participating faculty. It would be difficult to enumerate all of the equipment items available for use by trainees participating in this program, but it is worthwhile to mention some of the major items.
Biological Containment - In response to the potential need for containment facilities for studies on oncogenic and pathogenic viruses, the Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB constructed a 19,000 square foot building that was completed in 1983. This building contains 14,000 net square feet of high containment space, including research laboratories, darkrooms, coldrooms, and facilities to house animals and to process contaminated waste. A portion of this building is being renovated to house a small cGMP facility for nucleic acid production. To facilitate experimentation in areas of animal virology and molecular biology that require specific physical containment facilities, several laboratories have been constructed, or are being constructed, which qualify as specialized P2 and P3 containment facilities. With an increased emphasis on research with the causative agent of AIDS, UAB renovated approximately 2,000 square feet of space within the Lyons Harrison Research Building that qualifies as containment space and contains seven cell culture modules for the propagation and handling of HIV-related viruses. An additional 3,000 square feet of BSL1/BSL2 research space has been made available from this renovation project.
Fermentation Facility - The Departments of Microbiology and Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics constructed a Fermentation Facility for the large scale production of microorganisms. The facility includes two fermentors with a capacity of 16 liters, one with a capacity of 28 liter and one with a capacity of 500 liters. All four fermentors are sterilizable in place and are equipped to monitor and control pH, dissolved oxygen, temperature and foaming. All fermentors can be equipped with computer-controlled pumps for nutrient feeding. Two continuous-flow centrifuges (2 - 45 rpm), three tangential flow filtration units; two batch centrifuges, a continuous-flow french press for cell rupture, and a lyophilizer are also available for cell harvesting and protein concentration.
Hybridoma Core Facility - The Hybridoma Core Facility (HCF) was established in 1980 as part of the Division of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology. The facility is directed by Dr. Mary Ann Accavitti, a research assistant professor in the Department of Medicine, with 23 years of experience in hybridoma production. The facility also employs two full-time technicians. The services of the HCF include all aspects of hybridoma production including: immunization of rodents, performance of fusions, development and execution of screening assays, cloning of hybridoma lines, production of ascites fluids, and cryopreservation of cell lines. The fees charged by the HCF cover the cost of supplies consumed during the performance of the various services offered by the laboratory.
Nuclear Magnetic Resonance - A number of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) systems are available on the UAB campus for spectroscopic investigations. The NMR Core Facility, headed by Dr. Rama Krishna, is a major NMR instrumentation laboratory on the campus and is one of the core facilities of the Comprehensive Cancer Center. This facility has Bruker Superconducting NMR Spectrometers operating at 600 MHz (AM-600), 400 MHz (WH-400) and 200 MHz (CXP). The 600 MHz NMR System is ideally suited for multidimensional NMR investigation of macromolecular structures. In February of 2009, UAB received a grant of $2 million from the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) to purchase a 800 MHz nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) system for this facility.
Mass Spectrometry Facilities - The Mass Spectrometry Center is a Shared Facility within the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center and utilizes two Mass Spectrometry Instruments, a PE-Sciex API III triple quadruple mass spectrometer, equipped with several inlet systems, and a MALDI-TOF (matrix assisted, laser desorption ionization, time-of-flight) instrument. The Facility is under the direction of Stephen Barnes.