The Wise Laboratory of Environmental and Genetic Toxicology

Headquarters

The Wise Laboratory of Environmental and Genetic Toxicology is located in the Maine Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health at the University of Southern Maine.

lab members using a microscope
lab member at work
lab member at work
lab members at work
  • The Tissue Culture Core is equipped to conduct state-of-the-art cell culture. The main tissue culture room is where established cell lines are studied. It contains 5 UV-sterilized biological containment hoods, 6 dual chamber incubators that monitor CO2, a Coulter Counter Multisizer IV, a Nexcelom Cellometer, an Olympus fluorescent, inverted phase microscope with imaging system and a firewire digital camera, a Neon Transfection System, a rotary cell culture system, 3 refrigerated centrifuges, numerous water baths, 3 refrigerators, a -20°C freezer, 2 -80°C freezer, a controlled rate freezer for freezing cell cultures, 1 nitrogen vapor freezer with 25,000 vial capacity, -140°C cryogenic freezer, and 2 liquid nitrogen freezers. The wildlife tissue culture room is for establishing new primary cell lines from tissues. This separation ensures that established cell lines are not exposed to potential contaminants that may come in with new tissue. It contains 4 UV-sterilized biological containment hoods, 6 dual chamber incubators (5 that monitor CO2 and 1 that monitors CO2, O2, and low temperatures), a Coulter Counter Multisizer III, an Olympus inverted phase-contrast microscope, an NPE analyzer, a tissue slicer, 3 refrigerated centrifuges, numerous water baths, 2 refrigerators, a -20°C freezer, and a -80°C freezer. Each tissue culture room is stocked with its own supply of pipettors, test tubes, pipette tips, gloves, and cell culture reagents.

  • The Toxicology Core is equipped to conduct state-of-the-art toxicology studies. The main room contains a PerkinElmer PinAAcle 900Z graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrophotometer with Zeeman background correction, a UV-sterilized biological containment hood, a humidity-controlled environmental drying chamber, a cytocentrifuge, an Olympus inverted phase microscope, a luminometer, 2 microplate readers, 2 centrifuges, a balance, a chemical hood, several microcentrifuges, numerous water baths, a pH meter, a refrigerator, a -20°C, and a -80°C freezer, 2 HPLCs, freeze drier, ambient air samplers, rotators, and ovens. It is stocked with a wide variety of stains and its own supply of pipettors, test tubes, pipette tips, gloves, buffers, and chemicals. The comet assay room contains a double door refrigerator, -20°C freezer, numerous Comet assay electrophoresis apparati and power supplies, a humidity-controlled environmental drying chamber, a microwave, 5 waterbaths, a PCR machine, and a centrifuge. It is also stocked with its own supply of pipettors, test tubes, pipette tips, gloves, buffers, and chemicals.

  • The Molecular Biology Core is equipped to conduct state-of-the-art gene expression studies and gene cloning. It is divided into low and high DNA rooms for processing samples before and after amplification by PCR and further separated into RNA and protein only areas. The Pre-PCR room contains a UV-sterilized biosafety hood, microcentrifuges, refrigerator, -20°C, and -80°C freezers. It is stocked with its own supply of pipettors, test tubes, pipette tips, gloves, buffers, and chemicals. The Post-PCR room contains a chemical hood, 4 Biometra PCR Express machines, each with a temperature gradient block and 96-well capacity, an Axon microarray scanner, a Stratagene quantitative PCR (QPCR) machine, a Syngene gel imaging system, a UVP MultiSpectral Imaging System, a Li-COR Odyssey Infrared Imaging System, a fluorescence spectrophotometer, an Agilent bioanalyzer, a LiCor Gel Imaging System, a refrigerator, -20°C, and -80°C freezers, a Sorvall refrigerated centrifuge, gel electrophoresis apparati including high-throughput (400 sample) capacity gels, DNA sequencing gel apparati, microcentrifuges, pH meter, balance, and power supplies. It is also stocked with its own supply of pipettors, test tubes, pipette tips, gloves, buffers, and chemicals. The gene cloning room contains an Eppendorf centrifuge, a refrigerator, -20°C freezer, an orbital shaker, a refrigerated incubator shaker, and a dual chamber incubator. It is also stocked with its own supply of pipettors, pipette tips, test tubes, and gloves. 

  • The Microscopy Core is equipped to conduct state-of-the-art microscopy with 1 Zeiss, 1 Nikon A1 confocal/Elements widefield microscope imaging system, 1 Olympus confocal microscope, and 8 Olympus light microscopes, 6 of which are capable of light and fluorescence microscopy and are equipped for digital and fluorescent image analysis. Each has a dedicated computer. Four microscopes are equipped with automatic stages and two have the ability to automatically scan 9 slides. The imaging systems are equipped with a variety of analysis software, including state-of-the-art software for image analysis, live cell time-lapse capture, metaphase finding, chromosomal scoring, karyotyping analysis, and comet assay analysis. Three Olympus BX-61 fluorescent microscopes are the platform for an automated karyotyping system from Applied Spectral Imaging. This system uses EXPO Version 4 in a complete suite of features including BandView, FishView, Karyotype, SKYView, Spectral FISH, and Case Data Manager networkable software. Additional licenses allow for the use of three workstations for remote analysis after data acquisition. The Nikon A1 confocal/Elements widefield microscope imaging system is equipped with a high resolution digital monochrome camera and incubation system mounted on the microscope to control temperature, humidity, and CO2. The Nikon microscope system allows for acquisition of live cell time-lapse videos and acquisition and analysis of confocal images using the NIS Elements software platform. An additional workstation with software license is dedicated to review and analyze time-lapse and confocal data and a 15 terabyte server is available for file storage. The Olympus confocal microscope has recently been upgraded and is equipped with 4 lasers and corresponding filters to provide for 4-color imaging and a computer-controlled stage for precise, rapid re-location of specimens. 

  • The Computer Core supports all of the functions of the Wise Laboratory. Each laboratory utilizes an up-to date computer, attached to printers, Wise Laboratory data storage servers and the campus-wide network. Analytical instruments are connected to computers dedicated to their use and configured to access the Wise Laboratory shared data network. All microscopes in the microscopy suite are connected to digital cameras and imaging software. Two of the microscopes are part of automated systems to scan specimens for metaphase spreads and "comets" for measuring genetic damage. These systems are capable of unattended operation and processing large numbers of slides without user intervention. Computers are fully equipped with a suite of software including office and data software, e-mail, internet access and connection to a central data server. The central data server is located on an adjacent floor and is accessed across the building-wide network. A full-time IT staff monitors the operation of the network and provides computer and software support to users. The Wise Laboratory network contains a 30 terabyte storage server with redundant drives and automated backup server.