CSBWFU Facilities

X-Ray Diffraction Laboratory

The X-Ray Diffraction Laboratory consists of a Rigaku/MSC MicroMax-007 Microfocus rotating anode generator, Saturn-92 Digital CCD Camera system, and an R-AXIS IV imaging plate system, which was upgraded with an inverse phi axis. Both ports on the generator are outfitted with Varimax HR optics. The protein crystallization facilities are conveniently located adjacent to the X-Ray Diffraction Laboratory; these include a 100 ft2 cold room dedicated to crystallization, a Belle Technology Clear View Glove Box for preparing and cryo-cooling crystals in the absence of oxygen, and a Gryphon high throughput crystallization robot.

Grants from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center funded the purchase of the Gryphon robot, in addition to a 4DX Systems AB single-crystal microspectrophotometer and a Tecan Safire2 monochromator-based microplate reader.

Biomolecular Computing and Graphics Facility

The Biomolecular Computing and Graphics Facility (BCGF) includes 9 Linux workstations utilizing hardware stereo for structural biology applications. E-mail and web services are handled through an internally managed departmental server. Two additional servers function as the Computational Biology Resource for the Biomolecular Resource Facility and in file hosting operations, respectively. The BCGF also includes a 16-node computational Linux cluster with the latest software for high performance applications such as macromolecular structure determination, molecular modeling, and structure based drug design. In addition, the DEAC cluster, located and managed on the Reynolda Campus, is available to all CSBWFU investigators.

Protein NMR and Mass Spectrometry

A host of additional protein NMR and mass spectrometry facilities are available to CSBWFU investigators in laboratories on both the WFUSM Bowman Gray Campus and the Reynolda Campus. The Department of Biochemistry houses a Bruker Avance 600 MHz NMR spectrometer equipped with 3-channel + 2H amplifiers and triple-axis gradients. Available probes include an inverse-detect, triple-resonance CryoProbe with Z-axis gradients, an inverse-detect triple-resonance TXI probe with 3-axis gradients, an inverse-detect BBI probe with Z-axis gradients, a direct-detect 13C{1H} probe and a 1H{13C} HR-MAS probe. In addition, the Department of Chemistry houses Bruker Avance 500 and 300 MHz NMR spectrometers; the 500 MHz spectrometer is equipped with an inverse-detect triple-resonance TBI probe with Z-gradients and a broadband observe probe. The 300 MHz spectrometer is equipped with an automatic sample changer for high-throughput use.

In addition to the MALDI-TOF and ion-trap mass spectrometers at Biotech Place, the Mass Spectrometry Facility in the Department of Biochemistry (in the Piedmont Triad Research Park) houses a Waters/Micromass Q-TOF APcI US mass spectrometer with an Advion Nanomate Triversa source, a Finnigan Trace GC-MS, and a Quantum TSQ triple quad MS with ESI and nanospray sources.

Macromolecular Interactions Core Laboratory (MICL)

Biotech Place
Roy R. Hantgan, PhD, Director
Mary C. Stahle, Research Technician III

Contact: rhantgan@wfubmc.edu TEL: 336-716-4675

MICL provides instrumentation and expertise to enable investigators to detect and measure interactions between biological macromolecules using an array of biotechnologies: surface plasmon resonance spectroscopy (SPR), fluorescence spectroscopy, circular dichroism spectroscopy, light scattering, and analytical ultracentrifugation.


SPR: Measurements of the rate and extent of reversible complex formation between two macromolecules, one immobilized on a biosensor chip and the other delivered by microfluidics, can be performed with a Biacore T100 high-performance research instrument. This system integrates SPR biosensor technology with robotic control of coupling chemistry, analyte delivery, signal acquisition and data processing. The Biacore T100 also provides precise temperature control and powerful data reduction algorithms enabling the acquisition and analysis of real-time kinetic data. Typical applications include measuring the on- and off-rates and equilibrium constants for receptor:ligand, antigen:antibody, protein:nucleic acid, or protein:lipid interactions.

Fluorescence Spectroscopy: Excitation and emission scans, fluorescence lifetime, and anisotropy measurements can be performed on an ISS K2 Multifrequency Phase Modulation Fluorometer equipped with a Xenon-Hg arc lamp and an argon ion laser. Typical applications include fluorescence anisotropy measurements of the rate and extent of interactions between a fluorophore-tagged ligand or oligonucleotide and a receptor or DNA binding protein.

Circular Dichroism Spectroscopy: CD measurements of macromolecular secondary structure can be performed on a JASCO Model 720A Spectropolarimeter. Typical applications include comparing the solution conformation of a wild-type protein and a series of single-site mutants or measuring denaturant-induced unfolding of a macromolecule.

Light Scattering: Classical (static) and dynamic light scattering measurements can be performed with a Brookhaven Instruments system built around a BI-2030 AT digital correlator, a BI-200 SM motorized goniometer (for angular-dependent, photon-counting data collection). Light sources include both a 10W argon ion laser (Coherent INNOVA 300) and a 35 mW He-Ne laser (Spectra Physics Model 127). Typical applications include characterizing the oligomeric state of a macromolecule and determining the size distributions of lipid vesicle preparations.

Analytical Ultracentrifugation: Sedimentation velocity and equilibrium measurements can be performed with a Beckman XLA analytical ultracentrifuge housed in the WFU Center for Structural Biology, housed in the Bowman Gray Technical Center. Typical applications include characterizing the size, shape and oligomeric state of macromolecules.

MICL Policies: Investigators are encouraged to work with our staff to design, carry out, and interpret pilot experiments designed to test the feasibility of an in-depth investigation. Facility charges for instrument use and investigator training apply to subsequent studies. While limited information can be obtained on a fee-for-service basis, investigators are encouraged to consider collaborative arrangements as most studies will not be turn-key but require our expertise.