Below is an extensive list of facilities available for research and student projects:

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanner

High quality imaging of the whole body, enabling comparison of anatomical features of different groups of people

Motion Analysis System

Tracks the movement of the body during gait and other activities, enabling identification of differences in movement patterns between different groups of people

Force platforms

Measures forces applied to the ground (ground reaction forces) during gait or while performing other activities, enabling us to understand how the body interacts with the environment

Instrumented Staircase

Staircase with embedded force platforms for assessing stair gait and understanding how we complete more demanding movement tasks

High Beam Walkway

Walking at height to simulate fear and assess the resulting gait alterations to help understand how we should support people who are afraid of falling (e.g. elderly)

Electromyographic (EMG) Activity Assessment

Sensors for measuring the activity within skeletal muscles during contraction to understand how the nervous systems co-ordinates movement

Ultrasound Imaging

Imaging of musculoskeletal structures at rest and during muscle contraction, revealing how muscles change shape and contract to produce forces required for movement

Dynamometer

Measuring strength of muscles groups throughout the body enabling us to compare strength in different groups of people or their responses to different training regimes

Treadmill

Assessment of walking and running, enabling us to collect a combination of other measurements over a long series of strides and compare responses to different gait demands (e.g. speed, incline) or between different groups of people

Dual X-ray Absorptiometry (DXA) Scanner

Scanning of bone density and assessment of body fat enabling comparison of anatomical features between different groups of people

Peripheral Quantitative Computed Tomography (pQCT)

Assessment of bone density enabling comparison between different groups of people

Breath-by-Breath Analyser

Assessment of expired air and measurement of oxygen uptake during walking and other activities, providing insight into how the body produces the energy required to complete the activity

Pressure sensitive insoles

Measure in-shoe foot pressures during gait and other activities enabling comparison of how the foot is loaded and functions in different groups of people

Microbiology

Atomic force Microscopy

Analysis of surface topography

White light profilometer

            Analysis of larger scale surface features

Confocal Microscopy

Fluorescent biofilm imaging

Epifluorescence Microscopy

Viability staining of cells and conditioning films

Microbiology Research Suite

Microbiological analysis of surface attachment, retention and adhesion of bacteria, antimicrobials, investigations into surface-interface interactions

Mycology Research

Fungi and yeast microbiology

CDFF (constant depth film fermenter)

Used to study biofilm communities

WASP spiral plater

Used to determine number of colony forming units in samples

Air sampler

Microbiological analysis of air

Dynamic contact angle machine/Goniometer

Determination of surface physicochemistry

Molecular Microbiology

Thermal cyclers (x3)

Capable of rapidly changing temperature used to amplify specific segments of DNA using polymerase chain reaction (PCR).

Microtiter Plate Reader

Used to detect biological, chemical or physical events in small volumes of samples in 96 well microtiter plates. Detection modes -  fluorescence, absorbance or luminescence.

Covaris Ultrasonicator

Precision shearing of DNA for Nextgen sequencing and other molecular biology applications.

Vascular Pathology

Synergy HT multimode plate reader with injector unit

An analytical technology platform used in drug discovery screening assays and life science research, permitting the simultaneous and highly sensitive detection of biological and chemical changes in samples and cell lysates, relating to molecular and cellular function and intracellular signalling. This instrument can measure absorbance at any wavelength between 200 to 999nm, fluorescence and luminescence on 6, 12, 24, 48, 96 and 384-well plates enabling a wide variety high throughput assays.

Ultracentrifuge suite

We have a bench-top and a floor-standing ultracentrifuge, with the capability of separating products at up to 200,000 × g, using a volume range from 1.5 mL to 200 mL over a range of swinging-bucket and fixed-angle rotors. These ultracentrifuges are used to perform general preparative applications such as whole cell separations, protein precipitation, tissue culture, subcellular isolation (i.e., Golgi bodies, ribosomes, microvesicles, exosomes and mitochondria), DNA/RNA separations and adenoviral and lentiviral vector purification. 

BD FACSVerse flow cytometry

This instrument uses lasers to simultaneously detect single particles, usually cells, whilst suspended in a stream of fluid. This allows for detection of multiple biomarkers on the surface of cells using fluorescently labelled antibodies, enabling full characterisation of various cell populations including, stem cells, peripheral blood and bone marrow and is sensitive enough to detect microvesicles (100nm-1µm).   

Confocal microscopy

The Leica confocal SP5 confocal microscope is capable of high-resolution imaging with low background, large depth of field and the ability to generate images in 3D. The microscope currently has three lasers (405nm, 488nm, 633nm) enabling visualisation in the blue, green, red and far-red areas of the spectrum. This allows easy detection of fluorescent labels in order to localise the expression of a number of proteins simultaneously. We have the capability to use CFP with its tandem Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET) pair, YFP to study protein-protein and DNA-protein interactions in samples for determining cellular function and signalling pathways. The instrument can also image spatial and temporal signalling events in real time for example, single cell Ca2+ imaging to investigate global changes in intracellular Ca2+, as well as specific localised changes (Ca2+ Sparks) and measurement of intracellular Ca2+ in situ. The 405nm laser can also be used for region of interest (ROI) scanning /bleaching applications such as Fluorescence Recovery After Photobleaching (FRAP) and Fluorescence Loss In Photobleaching (FLIP) or photo activation. This yields information on the dynamic events in cells, whether the labelled proteins are mobile, if they can be regenerated by the cell and how they are transported.

Ibidi pump system

This system provides the conditions for the cultivation of cells under physiological flow, analogous to that found in blood vessels and is therefore, more relevant to the in vivo environment than culturing under static conditions. A continuous oscillating, or pulsatile flow with minimal use of media can be generated and, in conjunction with the confocal microscope, will allow i) live imaging and immunofluorescence to detect shear stress responses in real-time and ii) rolling, adhesion and transmigration of blood cells across endothelial cells or various protein surfaces. 

Digital imaging

Our Biorad ChemiDoc Touch is a highly sensitive system for producing superior quality TIFF images of Western Blot membranes, protein gels and DNA gels. The system incorporates a touch screen control panel, negating the need for a PC connection and images can be exported by either Ethernet or USB. The system can image chemiluminescence, coomassie & silver stains, ethidium bromide (or equivalent) and SYBR stain, in addition to a novel Biorad ‘stain free’ image collection that allows the quantitation of protein bands.

AGE reader

The AGE Reader yields a real-time and non-invasive assessment of tissue accumulation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) by measuring skin autofluorescence (AF) on the underside of the arm. The level of AF reflects vascular damage in diabetic patients and can be acquired and processed within a minute, followed by analysis by the AGE Reader software to generate an AGE score relative to the general population.

Histology Suite

A dedicated histology suite is available, for work with both snap frozen and wax embedded tissue samples. There is a Shandon Citadel 2000 tissue processor, alongside a wax embedding station and cold plate for preparation of formalin fixed wax embedded samples. A Thermo Micron HM355S automated microtome and a Leica RM215 manual microtome can be used for sectioning and preparing wax embedded sections. A Leica VT1200 S vibrotome is also available for preparing larger samples of greater thickness. A Leica CM3050 S automated cryostat and a Leica CM1800 manual cryostat, for the sectioning and preparation of snap frozen tissue biopsies for microscopy. A fume hood and oven are available, as well as bench space for performing immunohistochemistry, with a number of microscopes available for imaging and quantifying both fluorescent and stained slides.

A cryostat is used to sectioning of any frozen tissue for histological and histochemical analysis, with a cutting range from 0.5 µm to 0.3 mm. The advantage of a cryostat is the high precision with which the temperature and section thickness are controlled; the latter is particularly important for quantitative histochemistry.

Mammalian cell culture suite

The School has a number of dedicated tissue culture suites, for the culture of mammalian cell lines and primary cells. These are equipped with class 2 laminar hoods and CO2 incubators, with facilities for hypoxic culture. A Beckman coulter particle counter and BioRad TC10 automated cell counter are available for counting cells, and a Zeiss PrimoVert microscope fitted with an Axiocam Colour camera is available for imaging cells, with a dedicated PC running Zeiss Zen2 software for data analysis. A Leica DMI 6000 B microscope is available for live cell imaging – this is equipped with a CO2 temperature controlled chamber, so that changes in cell morphology can be imaged and analysed over time.

Ribolyser Sample Homogenizer

The ribolyser uses lysing beads and matrices for tissue sample disruption. This enables a high yield of nucleic acids and proteins in seconds. Sample lysis tubes can be purchased for different purposes and tissues, depending on requirements. 

The NextSeq Illumina

The next generation sequencer allows the department to perform transcriptomic analysis to identify genes and pathway expression changes from as little as 10ng of RNA. Amongst other uses the NextSeq allows the department to identify and quantify microRNA and long non coding RNA, identify genetic polymorphisms by targeted DNA sequencing and perform methylation analysis. 

Research