CBI trainees have access to specialized research facilities and equipment necessary to carry out scientific inquiry at the chemistry-biology interface.
CBI TP faculty labs — located for the most part in interconnected buildings including Roger Adams Laboratory, Noyes Laboratory, and the Chemical and Life Sciences Laboratory — house some of this equipment.
Several research facility clusters open to the campus community that are key to experimental endeavors at Illinois are particularly relevant to the CBI trianing program. Those include:
The School of Chemical Sciences
The School of Chemical Sciences maintains extensive facilities specializing in molecular characterization as well as shops for fabrication, instrument design, and computing support. Among these are the:
- 3M Materials Science Lab and George L. Clark X-Ray Facility with a staff that includes a PhD-level expert in biocrystallization and a technician who manages the diffractometers. For CBI-related projects, an important function of this lab is the characterization of single crystals to support small molecule studies (synthetic intermediates, biomimetic agents, etc). The facility also maintains two cold-rooms for crystallization of macromolecules.
- NMR Laboratory is one of the finest academic NMR labs in the US in terms of the availability and types of services offered. A 750 MHz spectrometer provides ultra high sensitivity and dispersion, ideally suited for biomolecular studies. Identically configured 600 and 500 MHz spectrometers are available for multi-field studies. Spectrometers at 400 and 500 MHz are available for short-to-medium length experiments, and 500 and 300 MHz wide-bore spectrometers with specialty probes and solids accessories are used to perform multinuclear and solid state NMR experiments. All of the NMR spectrometers are equipped for variable temperature operation and field gradients and can be used with multipulse sequences to generate 2D, 3D, and 4D data sets.
- Mass Spectrometry Laboratory is currently supervised by CBI faculty member Wilfred van der Donk. With a staff of four, including two PhD-level experts, it maintains capabilities in all modern methods of organic and biological mass spectrometry. Methods and ionization techniques available are: low and high resolution electron impact, low and high resolution chemical ionization, low resolution field ionization (FI), low resolution field desorption (FD), low and high resolution fast atom bombardment (FAB), low and high resolution electrospray (ESI), low resolution matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI), MS/MS (ESIand MALDI), isotope ratio (FI), GC/MS (EI, CI, and FI), and LC/MS (ESI). Mass spectrometers available are Micromass 70-VSE (three), 70-SE-4F, Quattro, and Q-Tof Ultima instruments, an Applied Biosystems Voyager-DE STR instrument, and a ThermoFinnigan LCQ Deca XP instrument. There are three Hewlett Packard capillary gas chromatographs. Finally, there are HPLC systems on the LCQ and Q-Tof and a capillary LC on the Q-Tof.
- 3D-Visualization Laboratory (VizLab) provides the hardware, software, and personnel resources to train and support students, professors, and staff in state-of-the-art techniques in modeling of complex chemical and biological systems. It offers a wide selection of scientific software and databases for molecular modeling and analysis and is a popular site for research groups focusing on the structure and mechanism for biologically inspired research. CBI faculty member Zan Luthey-Schulten is faculty advisor to the VizLab.
- Cell Media Facility which provides materials required to work with bacteria, yeast, insect cells, and animal cells. Stocks of LB or LB + ampicillin plates and transformation competent E. coli cells are maintained. The facility also prepares media required to grow vertebrate cells and offers custom services to users who lack the equipment and/or expertise required to grow and maintain cells.
Roy J. Carver Biotechnology Center
Roy J. Carver Biotechnology Center, a special unit of the Graduate College that coordinates biotechnology-related activities across campus units, maintains four facilities specializing in protein and DNA/RNA analysis/synthesis that are of interest to the CBI program:
- W. M. Keck Center for Comparative and Functional Genomics performs high-throughput sequencing and genotyping, oligonucleotide synthesis, and bioinformatics.
- Protein Sciences Facility performs protein sequence analysis, peptide synthesis and purification, mass spectrometry, and 2-D gel electrophoresis.
- Flow Cytometry Facility performs fluorescence-based cell sorting, magnetic bead cell sorting, cytometry, kinetic measurements, and cell counting.
- Metabolomics Center measures and identifies metabolites and small molecules by using multiple complementary analytical methods.
The Beckman Institute
The Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology also maintains facilities, like the Biomedical Imaging Center, primarily associated with visualization and imaging and that are available to CBI faculty and trainees who find imaging capabilities to be integral to their research.
Institute for Genomic Biology
The Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology (IGB) is a $75 million, 18,600 sqft, facility completed in November 2006. The building design facilitates collaboration between researchers and provides space to advance technology transfer, education, and engagement with partners in genomic biology. Each research area is housed in a Thematic Lab Module, which includes facilities for biology, bioengineering or chemistry, and bioinformatics.