Ensuring access to the best, leading-edge laboratory services in the most cost effective manner
The Integrative Health Sciences Facility Core (IHSFC) is a ‘one-stop’ core that encompasses the services, instrumentation and seed-money necessary to facilitate state-of-the-art environmental health research. This includes: the instrumentation and technologies needed for basic and applied environmental health research including population-scale genomics, cell and molecular analytics, and environmental exposures and chemistry. The core supports translational research to improve exposure characterization, early detection of disease risk, biomarker discovery and development of preventive interventions for environmentally related diseases.
The main IHSFC activities are:
- Provides access to wide range of biological analysis facilities both in-house and extramural providers.
- Provides expert consultation (no fee): eg. data interpretation, biological plausibility, assessment of mechanistic pathways.
- Offers consultation on Facility Access Fund (FAF) applications
Biological Analysis Service
The Biological Analysis Service provides expert advice and instrumentation support for Center biological research projects that analyze animals, tissues, cells or molecules. The service offers access to and monetary support (in the form of Facility Access Funds) for both internal facilities and the many other important technologies available in the adjacent Harvard medical or Cambridge campus. The goal is to accelerate the productivity of NIEHS investigations using biological specimens and to facilitate use of new and powerful methodologies.
◊ Flow Cytometry & Imaging (HSPH, Room II-239) This laboratory houses a flow cytometer (BD Canto II analyzer), BD Pathway Scanning Cytometer, Tecan fluorescent plate reader, Molecular Devices Spectramax plate reader; access to SECTOR Imager 2400 reader for Meso-Scale System for multiplex assays is available.
◊ Molecular Analysis (HSPH, Room II-227) BioRad iCycler, Applied Biosysems 7300; Nanodrop for nucleic acid quantitation, and Alpha Innotech HD2 Chemiluminescence and Gel Imaging Station.
Contact: Bernardo Lemos, PhD
◊ Additional HSPH shared resources available to NIEHS investigators through institutional support at HSPH include: the SECTOR Imager 2400A (reader for Meso-Scale platform of multiplexed ELISA assays) and the HemavetTM 950FS Hematology Analyzer/CountessTM (rodent blood analysis in small volumes, SpectraMax M3 Multi-Mode Microplate Reader Workstations (available in Center for Population Health Research), and a Shared Qbiogene FastPrep FP120 Homogenizer (bead beater) for Cell Lysis. The Biological Analysis Service provides scheduling and training in use of these instruments.
◊ Off-Site Resources See our listing of external facilities for imaging and biological analysis in the Harvard Medical Area and throughout Harvard.
How to Access Services
To use any of the services listed above, contact the specified facility manager, and follow these general guidelines
- New users must be trained by the facility manager and be approved to use the equipment in the facility.
- All users must obtain the financial approval from their PI and financial manager, and submit a PO number or the Harvard billing code prior to using the facility.
- Approved users must sign up for equipment time with the facility manager.
For general information and to arrange consultation, contact:
Bioanalysis Service Director: Bernardo Lemos, PhD
Environmental Genomics Service
The Environmental Genomics Service provides genetic and epigenetic support for Center biomedical projects. Our goal is to accelerate the productivity of extant genomics efforts and to facilitate use of genomics in new studies.
- Consultation on feasibility, study design, technologies and techniques for gene-environment research
- Training for field researchers and lab members in use of instrumentation and in interpretation of results
- Assistance in obtaining genotyping and epigenetic services both in-house and through our partner organizations
- DNA and RNA collection, extraction and quality testing
- Sample preparation for RNA sequencing
- Choice of genotyping platforms
- Gene expression analyses
- Genome and epigenome-wide analyses
- Biorepository for DNA for genotyping and DNA methylation studies
- Harvard-MIT Broad Institute
- Partners Center for Personalized Genetic Medicine
- Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center Core labs for genotyping
How to Access Services
To obtain services from the Environmental Genomics Core or external facilities, contact Dr. David Christiani, Environmental Genomics Service Director.
Center investigators may apply for Facility Access Funds by completing a simple, single page application form that details the service, cost, and relevance to the NIEHS Center research mission.
Environmental Exposome and Microbiome Service
The transport, fate, exposure, and toxic effects of heavy metals is a primary focus of research at the Center. The Metals Service provides metals analytical capabilities to biomedical and non-biomedical researchers and serves as a source for study design consultation and sample QA/QC requirements.
◊ Consultation: Marc Weisskopf, the Service Director, and Aaron Specht, are available for advice on the types of analyses needed for an upcoming study or grant submission. They also work with Center Members on method development for new initiatives, and provide advice on sample collection, sample preservation, archiving, shipping, and customs issues.
◊ Portable X-ray Fluorescence
The laboratory uses a Thermo Fisher Niton XL3t GOLDD+ portable x-ray fluorescence device with an integrated Si drift detector and 2-watt x-ray tube up to 50 kV. Portable x-ray fluorescence is a technique for elemental analysis of bulk in-tact samples from the parts per million to percent level concentrations. The device is handheld and battery operated, which is ideal for field studies. The device can also be used for in vivo measurements of metal biomarkers in population studies with the primary example being bone metal measurements.
◊ Benchtop X-ray Fluorescence
The laboratory houses a 50 watt benchtop energy dispersive x-ray fluorescence device. The ARL Quant’X EDXRF Spectrometer allows for low level, non-destructive, multi-element detection in a multitude of different medias. Detection limits capable of the device can be as low as part per billion level for most elements. The non-destructive measurements allow for samples to be returned in-tact and allow for samples to be used in multiple forms of measurements easily.
◊ External Services: For specialized analyses not available at the HSPH laboratory, the Metals Service staff can provide guidance with locating services and through established partnerships with laboratories at other institutions, can often provide NIEHS Center researchers with discounted pricing.
How to Access Services
The Trace Metals Laboratory operates as a modified fee-for-service laboratory. Researchers have the option of having the samples run by the Service staff, or of receiving instruction (for themselves or a doctoral or post doctoral trainee) on how to operate the analytical equipment and analyze their own samples. Both options have associated fees and, as with other services, facility access funds can be requested internal or external services when individual grant support is not yet available.
For information on service fees, schedules and instruction, and for study consultation:
Metals Service Director, Marc Weisskopf
Trace Metals Lab, Aaron Specht
- Core Facilities available at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
- Shared Instrumentation Network (Harvard Key-protected): helps School community members in need of instrumentation typically used in the biological/lab sciences to connect with other investigators at the School who may be able to share their existing equipment.