IBMC
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web del Instituto de Biología Molecular y Celular

Central services


1.- ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES

The team in charge of the administrative services of the IBMC consists of two administrative managers, María Amparo García Gutiérrez and Javier Casanova, supported by the Administrative Assistant to the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Carmen Fuster and reinforced with a contracted assistant from the CONSOLIDER – INGENIO (CSD2008-00005) project, Raquel Jorquera.

This experienced group of people (even prior to the establishment of this Research Center), is used to team working and is characterized by a high degree of commitment and involvement in the development of the IBMC project. However, only great experience, organizational capacity and prioritization of tasks are a means to overcome in some way this small team’s excessive workload. It is feared, however, that the constant increase of the complexity of the administrative management of the research projects that has been experienced in recent years, could make this voluntarism insufficient.

2.- TECHNICAL SERVICES AND INSTALLATIONS

All facilities and instrumentation of the Institute is supervised by Dr. Elena López Alonso, a Medium Level Technician belonging to the IBMC staff, who also deals attentively with the Culture Units. Likewise, the Units of Analysis and Chromatographic Fractionation, and Nucleic Acids Processing are also serviced by specialist technicians, Maite Garzón and Dr. Angeles Gómez, respectively. Regarding other facilities, except from the Unit for Development of High Performance Screening Methods, which is served by two technicians hired from research projects, the researchers themselves or co-workers have to personally operate the equipment.

3.- HIGH PERFORMANCE BIOLOGICAL SCREENING PLATFORM (HTS).

The biological screening platform emerged as a unit that brings together the capabilities of screening trial design collections of molecules and the experience of groups in these collections tracking and identification of compounds with biological activity. The platform's mission is to integrate the activities aimed at the identification of active compounds providing the skills, experience and infrastructure to ensure high performance. To do this, units are available with the necessary equipment to automate in a good degree of biological assays. An added value is automation platform for measuring the activity of ion channels, membrane proteins that are centrally involved in various human and animal pathologies. In addition, this platform is complemented with screening at the structural, thermodynamic and spectroscopic techniques involving NMR, ITC and steady-state fluorescence, and the unit of production of recombinant proteins. The synergy and complementarity of all the techniques yields a novel platform, multidisciplinary and unique in the country.

4.- EUKARYOTES AND PROCARYOTES CELLULAR CULTURES:

This unit is equipped with five laminar flow cabinets (one of high biological safety), four CO2 incubators for eukaryotes with automatic central distribution of CO2, two for eukaryotes and other two incubators/ agitators for prokaryotes. It has also an electroporator for eukaryotes and prokaryotes and accessory equipment for the preparation of culture media (baths thermostated with agitation, centrifuges), sterilization, waste treatment and manipulation and observation of cells.

5.- CELULAR ANALYSIS:

It is equipped with a Coulter Epics XL flow cytometer for analysis of cell populations, two Nikon and Leica fluorescence inverted microscopes equipped with lenses for Vis/UV and computer imaging, a Zeiss LSM5 Pascal confocal microscope, equipped with Argon and Helio-Neon laser, as well as small accessory equipment.

6.- DEVELOPMENT OF METHODS OF HIGH THROUGHPUT SCREENING:

It has an automatic 96-well plates reader of absorbance, fluorescence and luminescence, and automatic liquid dispensing robot. It also contains two "voltage clamp" systems of two electrodes for the measurement of ionic currents in Xenopus laevis oocytes as expression system of foreign proteins with ion channel activity, and three devices of electrophysiologic recording and ion flows ("patchclamp") with adapted optical microscopes. One of these devices is equipped with an inverted fluorescence microscope and HORCA software for intracellular calcium recording. It also has small accessory equipment for the mentioned devices (micromanipulators, pipette pullers, cooled cabinets for oocyte incubation, etc.).

7.- MICROCALORIMETRIC ANALYSIS:

It consists of a high sensitivity VP-DSC microcalorimeter, and a high sensitivity isothermal titration VP-ITC calorimeter. In addition, the Unit has a differential scanning MC-2 microcalorimeter and an isothermal titration Omega calorimeter, somewhat older and less sensitive. They are all from Microcal Inc. To these devices a differential scanning Perkin Elmer DSC-6 calorimeter should be added, very useful for measuring lipids, and accessory equipment for sample preparation.

8.- MOLECULAR SPECTROSCOPY:

Besides various spectrophotometers, this unit is equipped with a Jasco mod. 815 spectropolarimeter/dicrograph for circular dichroism measurements, and SLM 8000 spectrofluorimeter, with accessories for fluorescence polarization measurements, spectra recording, double wavelength of excitation and fast kinetics, and a steady state PTI fluorometer to excitación-emisión polarization spectra with software that allows temperature scanning and working with solid samples. This Unit also has a fast kinetics stopped-flow apparatus (Applied Photophysic) with three channels (absorbance, fluorescence and circular dichroism). It has also a Thermo Scientific "Nanodrop 1000" spectrophotometer which allows to get the emission spectrum between 220 and 750 nm from just 1-2 microlitres sample, with various preprogrammed application modules for nucleic acids, cell cultures and quantification of proteins, among others. A substantial part of this unit, purchased with funds from the IBMC and available to IBMC scientists, includes the following equipment:

  • NMR 500 MHz Bruker BB/HP Spectrometer with shielded magnet and digital console with 3 RF -channel broadband and NT Workstation with NMR Suites, and equipped with variable temperature unit.
  • Reverse probe for triple TBI resonance with deuterium lock for 1H/13C/BB broadband. Full HR-MAS accessory with high-speed probe for 1H/13C/lock 2H, pneumatic handling of samples in rotors and electronics control, and a current gradients high power GRASP II/P unit with 10 A amplifier and pre-emphasis.
  • PTI Spectrofluorimeter for temporal resolution measurements.
  • Jasco mod. 715 Spectropolarimeter/Dicrograph for circular dichroism measurements.
  • Nicolet 520P Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometer, with transmission accessories. DTGS Detector.
  • Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometer, IFS66s Bruker with accessories for transmission and attenuated total reflectance (ATR). MCT and DTGS Detectors.

9.- CENTRIFUGATION AND ULTRA CENTRIFUGATION:

The Unit is supplied with two Beckman ultracentrifuges, with an assortment of different rotors (fixed angle, swinging buckets, near vertical, etc.), two chilled Beckman centrifuges with fixed and tilted angle rotor, two desktop Beckman centrifuges with rotors and adapters (one of them refrigerated), several microfuges of different brands and two Savant Speed Vac with their rotors, one of them with chilled trap.

10.- ANALYSIS AND CHROMATOGRAPHIC FRACTIONATION:

The Unit is endowed with a high-performance Merck Hitachi liquid chromatography system (HPLC), with automatic sampler, photodiode detector, luminous evaporative dispersion detector and fluorescence detector; a device of semipreparative Merck-Knauer HPLC with double pump for separations gradient, and detector Vis/UV, a Agilent-Hewlett Packard series 1100 HPLC HPLC device with photodiode detector and auto sampler, mass spectrometry with ionization by electrospray (ESI) and ion trap mass in mode MS/MS spectrometry detectors (Bruker Esquire 3000 plus); a new generation Pharmacia FPLC with Vis/UV (215 y 280 nm) detector system, as well as an assortment of various analytical or semipreparative columns for the mentioned devices, and multiple collectors of different brand fractions.

11.- PROCESSING OF NUCLEIC ACIDS:

It has at its disposal a Gene Amp PCR System Applied Biosystems 2700 thermocycler with temperature control system for conventional PCR. Two devices of real time quantitative PCR from Applied biosystems; an Affymetrics DNA Microarray, which automates the production of microarrays by pin-and-ring technology, and a Affymetrics Array Scanner that allows to scan microarrays or any holder containing fluorescent molecules. The team has two lasers, 532 635 nM, and an optical system that captures the emission of fluorescence by confocal microscopy.

12.- IMAGE ACQUISITION AND TREATMENT:

It is equipped with a TDI acquisition and image processing device for agarose gels and/or polyacrylamide; a transilluminator and Polaroid photographic equipment, an automatically revealing autorradiography plates and two scanners.

13.- LABORATORY OF JUICES AND ACCOMPANYING PILOT PLANT (CAMPUS DE ORIHUELA):

This facility is endowed with a complete set of pilot machinery for semi-industrial production of juices, extraction of vegetable materials and filtration, separation and drying processes. Specifically, the installation consists of an experimental in line FMC citrus juice extractor, with capacity of up to 4000 kg/h, up to 5 pilot cup/crown with differentiated feeding, experimental fruit washing machine for various chemical and physical therapies, finisher pilot pallet (50 L/h) and an experimental pasteurizer. In addition, a descending plate pilot hub/concentrator with three effects (150 L/h) and a clarifier centrifuge for essential oils (350 L/h) are available. The extraction and drying plants are supplied with a supercritical fluid extraction system (capacity from 10 g to 10 kg and maximum pressure of 400 atmospheres), and a zeodratation device or experimental system of drying at high vacuum with molecular sieves and lyophilization (capacity 25 kg), a device of sudden fall of controlled pressure (swell-drying or DIC), stove drying plates and a semi-industrial rotary evaporator (20-50 L) extraction system. Also, the pilot plant has various auxiliary equipments such as generators of nitrogen, air, electric steam boiler and multiple filters of different types and capacities, highlighting a tangential filtration system.

14.- DEEP-FREEZING AND CRYOPRESERVATION OF BIOLOGICAL SAMPLES:

Comprising three -80ºC ultrafreezers and 500 litres each, two of them have security system and are connected to CO2 bullets, two -30°C freezers, two lyophilizers and several liquid nitrogen containers of variable dimensions (from 140 up to 25 litres capacity) for samples storage.

15.- BIOINFORMATICS:

It has at its disposal a SAI MGE comet extreme 12kVas unit with capacity for 6 workstations. Cluster Rocks 5.0 (Linux distribution for groups of high-performance computers) with X86_64 architecture, customized for biocomputation (Roll Bio and SGE) applications. The cluster is currently composed of a Frontend nItin with two 64-bit Xeon processors and three slave servers: a station with dual Quad processors and three dual CoreDuo ones, totaling 20 64bits-processors. Station nItin dual Quad 64-bit under Windows Server 2003 Enterprise for calculating with applications that require Windows; two FTP servers: one under Linux Debian 5.0 dual 32-bit and one dual 32-bit under Windows Server 2003 Enterprise. Station for Web ADAN database calculation with dual CoreDuo 64bits under Windows Server 2003 Enterprise. Station equipped with dual processors Xeon Quad 64-bit Linux Debian 5.0 and configured for students access to practical bioinformatics. Silicon Graphics (IRIX 6.5) station with molecular modeling software Insight II, and ftp server for data transfer.

16.- WATER, WASHING AND STERILIZATION:

It contains two water purification systems by reverse osmosis and two devices of water production grade MilliQ, as well the necessary equipment for washing, drying and autoclaving material.

16.- OTHERS:

In addition, the IBMC scientists benefit from other facilities that the UMH provides, available either in the campus of Elche or the campus of San Juan de Alicante (animal facilities, isotopes, electron microscopy, confocal microscopy, two FACS flow Cytometers, etc).