Histology and Molecular Biology Core Facilities move in to the Paterson

Histology arrive on the 4th floor

The Histology core facility relocated to the new Paterson Building this week.  This important service is accessed by the majority of research groups within the CRUK MI, offering both routine and advanced histological services for oncology research. The team operate high throughput, routine immunohistochemistry service, develop advanced methods and provide troubleshooting and antibody validation services.

Processing of tissue samples from cancer patients allows researchers to understand more about the origins of cancer, and to identify new avenues for treatment. Alongside highly sophisticated processes for preserving and imaging tissue samples, the unit’s advanced services include extraction of both RNA and DNA for genetic sequencing, including using laser capture microdissection to extract multiple small amounts of material from different parts of a tumour.  The equipment for all this work has been transported to the 4th floor lab spaces, and the team are hard at work setting it all up so that research can recommence very soon.

Instruments for the construction of tissue microarrays (TMAs) – where multiple samples are collected on one glass slide for high-throughput processing – have been relocated to the new building.  The team are also glad to be back together on one site, having had some of their facilities split between the OCRB in Withington and their main lab at Alderley Park.  The close proximity to the Christie Hospital – a bridge links the Paterson directly to the Christie - will also aid the collection and processing of Biobank samples from patients receiving their cancer care.

Molecular Biology Core Facility complete move

Alongside Histology, the Molecular Biology Core Facility (MBCF) have completed their move from Alderley Park to the Paterson.  This facility provides vital support across the Institute for the collection and processing of genetic material.  Their services include precision and high throughput analysis of DNA and RNA to assist in molecular biology projects, and the development of bespoke workflows for automated assay running.  They support scientists with the use of state-of-the-art analytical instrumentation, all of which has been carefully packed and transported to the new site. 

Researchers are increasingly using molecular biology tools to look at the heterogeneity of tumours in greater detail, to analyse the variety of different cell types within tumours and unpicking the variations between different cancer cells – all of which influence the response to therapy.  The Molecular Biology Core Facility team are highly skilled in techniques of single cell analysis, where each cell within a sample is barcoded in such a way that its individual genetic code can be determined.  The MBCF also provide support for cell culture through testing for contamination in cell lines and cell line authentication, services which are required for the integrity of research. 

As you might expect, complicated techniques such as this require highly specialised equipment (including a variety of robots to help automate complex processes) and specialist staff to run them.  The team therefore provide training and support for researchers who are developing new and exciting uses for this technology. 

Having these two teams located alongside the other core facilities on the 4th floor will support the development of more interdisciplinary techniques and make it even easier to share resources and knowledge between these specialists and researchers across the Institute.