Confocal Microscopy

The Carl Zeiss LSM-710 live cell imaging system is equipped with 34 spectral detection channels, five laser lines (458, 488, 514, 561, and 633 nm), a 405-nm laser kit, Axio observer Z1, various fluorescence equipment, X-Cite with computer control, motorized scanning stage, five optical lenses (10x, 20x, 40x, 63x, and 100x), Axiocam MRc-5, a stage-top incubation system with temperature, pH, humidity control components, anti-vibration table, ZEN 2010 software, a PC, additional memory (6-GB DDR3-1333 MHz ECC RAM), and a 30" monitor. An additional Bitplane Imaris 7.3 F1 software package is also available. This package includes each of the following modules: MeasurementPro, ImarisTracking, ImarisColoc, ImarisXT, FilamentTracer, and InPress.


Flow Cytometry

flow cytometer

The BD FACS Aria III flow cytometer includes two solid-state lasers: a 488-nm blue laser (20mW) and a 633-nm red laser (18mW). The system has the ability to detect five colors from the blue laser and two colors from the red laser, for a total of seven simultaneous fluorescent colors. The BD DIVA V6.1.3 software is also included.

High performance panel positron emission tomography (PET) scanner

The PET is currently installed at USU in the USTAR building on a movable cart that can be wheeled in and out of the BSL3 facility. It employs two HRRT (HighResolution Research Tomograph) large-area panel detectors, which have a detection sensitive area of about 25 cm x 17 cm, in a stationary, parallel-plane geometry against the imaging objective. In comparison with current commercial preclinical PET systems, this scanner has the following distinct properties. First, its field-of-view (FOV) is large enough (about 25 cm x 17 cm x 5 cm) for imaging an entire rodent or major organs of large animals. As a result, the scanner is useful for monitoring the temporal change, and its response to an external stimulus, of the whole-body distribution of a tracer. Second, its sensitivity to the center of the FOV is measured to be as high as ~28% when using a 200-750 keV energy window, which is significantly higher when compared with the typically <5% of other preclinical systems. In combination with the large FOV, this scanner is an order of magnitude more sensitive than other preclinical PET systems within the typical radioactivity ranges been currently employed in rodent FDG imaging. Third, by employing a model-based image reconstruction method, the spatial resolution of this scanner is on par with current commercial preclinical PET systems (~1.2 mm). The much higher sensitivity of our scanner can lead to more accurate image-derived results for measuring gene activation responses or progressive onset of a disease, and a higher temporal resolution in dynamic imaging to yield more accurate pharmacodynamic analysis.

Plethysmography System

This procedure measures respiratory function of rodents by measuring volume changes and rate of volume changes. Certain viral diseases directly affect the lung function, or indirectly affect neurological lung function. As in human plethysmography, the characteristics of breathing curves are characterized by mathematical algorithms. Some of the values obtained from these analyses are tidal volume, minute volume, end expiratory pause, peak expiratory flow, peak inspiratory flow, frequency, and Penh. We have whole body chambers (6 each) (#PLY3213 emka Technologies) and dual-chambers (2 each) (#PLY5551 emka Technologies) for obtaining plethysmography data.


Studies can be and have been done for the IAR by personnel at the Utah State Diagnostic Laboratory (Logan, Utah). Tissues are routinely processed using Sakura TissueTek VIP 5 processor, then embedded in paraffin using Leica EG1160 embedding station, sectioned (5 micron thick standard sectioning) using Leica RM2145 microtome and stained with hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) using Jung autostainer XL. They have full capacity for special staining and to develop manual immunohistochemical (IHC) procedures using any commercially available antibodies. They can also adapt any manual IHC procedure to high throughput using Nexes Ventana system IHC autostainer system. The histotechnologist is certified through the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) and the DVM pathologists are board certified. The lab is near the end of the process of accreditation (certification) with the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (AAVLD) and expects accreditation early next year.

The USU Biotechnology Center

Provides services such as mass spectrometry for analyzing the purity of test compounds should their purity be in doubt (i.e., unexpected toxicity), sequencing (i.e., drug resistant viruses), and various DNA, RNA, and protein analyses (i.e., array analyses for virus-cell interactions and mechanism of action studies).

Quansys Biosciences (Logan, Utah)

Provides and has done cytokine array analyses and data mining for us in the past to evaluate the effects of drugs and/ or viruses on serum and lung cytokines. They also provide cytokine array kits for in house cytokine analyses.

cytokine array kit