We strive to provide the necessary research infrastructure in combination with an optimal research environment to ensure the research success of CIMUS. Most of our labs are set up in spaces without boundaries to foster collaborations among all the researchers. All of them are supported by in-house facilities as well as some in partnership with our University including the nearby University Clinical Hospital of Santiago de Compostela. We also have access to some located in other places through specific consortium agreements. In practical terms, these include:
Kitchen equipped for cleaning and autoclaving of material that provides service to the entire building.
Includes all facilities for human and animal cell cultures up to Biosafety Level 2 (BS2). It is distributed in 12 different culture rooms spread throughout the building. All rooms are equipped with the necessary material for the maintenance and proliferation of primary cultures and stabilised cell lines. One of them is a high throughput cell culture laboratory in keeping with the needs of the drug screening platform.
CiMUS has three free-use laboratories aimed at providing technical infrastructures to researchers of different disciplines. These laboratories are located in communal areas of the building and under the direct supervision of a team of CiMUS technicians. The laboratory equipment available includes several chemical fume hoods (equipped with argon and nitrogen, gases necessary to perform chemical reactions in a controlled atmosphere), freezers (-20º to -80ºC), refrigerators, centrifuges, platform shakers, thermoblocks, thermomixers, incubators, ovens, water baths, water purification types of equipment, UV-tip cleaner, etc.).
This service provides storage and maintenance of nitrogen canisters for the groups in the building.
Pharmacogenetics service to meet the demand generated by the pharmaceutical industry and research centres in this field. Its portfolio of services includes various pharmacogenetic tests designed on the basis of the recommendations issued by the regulatory agencies, EMA and FDA. In addition, it offers the possibility of ad hoc pharmacogenetics services aimed at providing customised services to meet the specific needs of the pharmaceutical industry and research institutes.
This facility aims to provide a range of imaging systems, including technical support, to many groups that do not have them in their laboratories. These include two flow cytometry systems and a suite of 14 imaging systems including FRET, confocal microscopy, time-lapse microscopy, 3D-clearing immunofluorescence microscopy or laser nanosurgery. This service is completed with a Zeiss Celldicoverer 7 automated microscope funded by MCIU-AEI, the European Regional Development Fund and the Consellería de Educación, Universidade e Formación Profesional.
The following ones will become available to our researcher over the coming period (2023 to 2025):
- Cryoelectron microscopy. This is a joint venture between USC and the Iberian Lab of Nanotechnology (Braga) where the facility will be located. This is crucial for some of our researchers working on topics such as prions.
- A similar arrangement was made with the Hospital in Santiago which will incorporate a Multiphoton microscopy in vivo. will be used by more than 10 researchers at CIMUS.
- Incorporation of proton therapy as a supraregional clinical service in Santiago de Compostela. This facility funded by the Amancio Ortega Foundation is due to be operational in 2024 to treat patients derived from the regions of Galicia, Asturias, Castilla y Leon and North Portugal. We plan to develop an experimental proton therapy facility in parallel in partnership with the University Clinical Hospital of Santiago de Compostela and USC. Of note, some of our researchers are also active in this area and are using a similar facility.
This laboratory is well-equipped and complies with quality, hygiene and occupational health regulations. Modern equipment allows us to develop our maximum capacity with the guarantee of optimal results. The following equipment stands out: an automatic biopsy processor for inclusion in paraffin, a workstation for the manufacture of paraffin blocks, a cryostat for performing sections by freezing, and antigenic recovery for immunohistochemistry with PT Link. This facility offers a library including more than two hundred antibodies for tissue immunostaining. Our technicians also offer training/advice about experimental protocols, sample preparation, sectioning, immunostaining ad image acquisition/data analysis.
Laboratory adapted for the manipulation of radioisotope-labelled molecules, with optimal safety and radioprotection measures, supervised by the USC radiological protection service. Equipped with two liquid scintillation detectors, Geiger counter, air extraction cabinets, heater incubators, and refrigerators.
The Research Infrastructures Area, located in the CACTUS Building, integrates the instrumental infrastructures of common use that provide research support services at the USC and constitutes a highly valuable resource for CiMUS research groups:
The CiMUS store service centralises orders of material from different commercial companies, guaranteeing the supply of material to all the groups.
The staff of AVET is in charge of assisting our Transfer manager with the following:
- Filling patents and protecting our Intellectual property rights
- Licensing technologies and helping our researchers set up spin-off companies.
- All the legal issues related to research contracts, collaborations, material transfer agreements, etc.
The clean room type ISO 7 with positive pressure is dedicated to the preparation of samples for proteomics and protein processing. A clean room environment is very important in proteomics because it prevents sample contamination with keratins (from hair, dust, skin), which would negatively influence the analysis decreasing its efficiency.
The clean room is equipped with all the necessary equipment for protein isolation and separation including centrifuges, sonicator, spectrophotometers, shakers, transilluminators, 1D and 2-D gel electrophoresis equipment, etc. Two dimensional-differential in-gel electrophoresis (2D-DIGE) analyses can also be done.
This platform is dedicated to the characterization and separation of particles by their size and charge, based on electrophoretic mobility; as well as the determination of the Zetapotential of the investigated analytes. Being necessary for the investigation of new functional biomaterials and development of nanomedicine platforms to support new therapies. The Advanced Flow FFF platform is a partner of the AETRIS EU platform.
We are in the privileged position to be wall-to-wall with CEBEGA the animal facility of the USC, which was opened in 2020. It offers daily care, the provision of veterinary care, health surveillance and preventive care. It has a large capacity; over 25,000 mice and over 3,000 rats. It also provides with equipment which allows to the assessment of biological functions and disease progression in living animals. They include:
- IVIS Spectrum Optical Imaging System: Highly sensitive in vivo 2D optical imaging for fluorescence and bioluminescence.
- MicroPET/CT Albira Bruker: allows for PET metabolic and CT anatomical studies.
- MicroCT SkyScan 1278 Bruker: allows multiple images captures to be performed on the same animal for longitudinal studies.
- Bruker Minispec Body Composition Analyzer: allows an accurate method for measuring values of fat, free body fluid, and lean tissue.
This equipment allows us to greatly reduce the number of animals needed because we manage to obtain more biological information from each animal in a longitudinal way.
This platform, led by one of our PIs Ángel Carracedo, was developed in 2003 as part of the National Center for Genotyping thanks to the impulse of Genoma España and becoming later on as a Stable Cooperative Research Structure/ Platform to support research in health sciences and technologies of the Spanish Medical Res Council (ISCIII). At present, the facility has eight technological platforms to carry out large-scale genotyping studies that allow a complete genome analysis, giving services to all the Spanish community. The sequencing services are located at the nearby hospital while at the CiMUS are located the Bioinformatics Unit and the Pharmacogenomics platform which synergizes with the INNOPHARMA platform.
Innopharma has modern and continuously updated laboratories, well equipped for the pharmacological screening of molecules, including a cell culture facility; an assay development laboratory; a High Content Screening unit and an HTS unit; a chemical separation and analysis unit; a temperature controlled sample/chemical storage unit and a chemical library. These infrastructures have allowed Innopharma to be a partner site and one of the High-Capacity Screening Centers of ERIC EU-OPENSCREEN (European Infrastructure for Open Screening Platforms for Chemical Biology).
We are lucky to hold one of the best European metabolic phenotyping platforms, which is being used by scientists from different Spanish centres (CNIC, CIC BIOGUNE, IDIBAPS, Univ Barcelona, CIC-Salamanca, etc) as well as non-Spanish groups (Univ Oxford, Univ Lille, Univ Bergen, etc).
We have a multi-modular platform that allows to carry out metabolic, behavioural and physiological studies by monitoring mice in an automated and synchronized manner at different temperatures. Our system consists of 24 cages measuring individually rodents metabolic performance, activity, plus feeding and drinking behaviour.
This system is complemented by:
- Assessment of heat production by thermography in freely-moving living animals
- Assessment of glucose homeostasis by glucose clamps.
- Assessment of lipid metabolism using radioactive precursors.