The Wise Laboratory of Environmental and Genetic Toxicology


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 for cells from species ranging from crustaceans to fish to mammals. It is 900 ftwith six UV-sterilized biological containment hoods, seven dual chamber incubators (five that monitor CO2 and two that monitor CO2, Oand low temperatures), a Coulter counter Multisizer II, a Zeiss inverted phase-contrast microscope, an Olympus fluorescent inverted phase-contrast microscope, an NPE analyzer, a tissue slicer, four refrigerated centrifuges, numerous water baths, two double door and one single door refrigerators, a -20°C freezer, a -80°C freezer, a controlled-rate freezer for freezing cell cultures, one nitrogen vapor freezer with 25,000 vial capacity, and five liquid nitrogen freezers. The tissue culture core 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. It contains a UV-sterilized biological containment hood, two humidity-controlled environmental chambers, a luminometer, two microplate readers, two centrifuges, a balance, a chemical hood, several microcentrifuges, numerous water baths, a pH meter, a refrigerator, -20 °C and -80 °C freezers, two HPLCs, numerous Comet assay electrophoresis apparati and power supplies, freeze drier, ultrasonicator, 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 Molecular Biology Core is equipped to conduct state-of-the-art polymorphism, gene expression and gene cloning studies. 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 (physically located in the Toxicology Core) 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, four Biometra PCR Express machines, each with a temperature gradient block and 96-well capacity, an Axon microarray scanner, a Stratagene quantitative PCR machine, a Syngene gel imaging system, a Packard Robotic arm, a Beckman STORM Phosphoimager, 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 Microscopy Core is equipped to conduct state-of-the-art microscopy with an Olympus confocal microscope, three Zeiss and seven Olympus light microscopes. The confocal microscope is equipped with four lasers, and corresponding filters to provide for four-color imaging, and a computer-controlled stage for precise, rapid re-location of specimens. Seven of the light microscopes are capable of light and fluorescence microscopy and are equipped for digital and fluorescent image analysis, each with a dedicated computer. Four microscopes are equipped with automatic stages and one has the ability to automatically scan 150 slides. The imaging systems are equipped with a variety of analysis software, including state-of-the-art software for image analysis, metaphase finding, chromosome scoring, karyotyping analysis and comet assay analysis. An Olympus BX-61 fluorescent microscope is 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, SKYView, Spectral FISH and Case Data Manager networkable software. Additional licenses allow for the use of four workstations for remote analysis after data acquisition.

  • The Computer Core supports all of the functions of the Wise Laboratory. Each laboratory staff member, full-time technician, post-doc or visiting scientist is provided with an up-to date computer, attached to printers, Wise Laboratory data storage servers and the campus-wide network. Undergraduate students and interns share computers. 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 14 terabyte storage server with redundant drives and automated backup server.

  • The Fish Core contains water supply and aquaria for 100 gallon capacity to support the laboratory's work with Medaka. The room light is regulated to a typical diurnal cycle and each tank is equipped with a heater and thermometer. It is stocked with its own supply of gloves, chemicals and fish food.