• Core Facilities

    two researchers in a lab

    Dana-Farber Cancer Institute maintains a variety of resources to support the research and educational activities of Dana-Farber faculty. These core facilities, shared resources, and integrative research centers offer research services to the Boston research community, including academic institutions and industry.




    Integrative Research Centers 

     

    Animal Resources Facility

    The facility provides services and resources for investigators looking to accomplish animal research objectives. This includes housing mice and rats, purchasing animals, training researchers regarding proper animal care and use, and monitoring the safety of all personnel with laboratory animal contact in conjunction with Dana-Farber’s Environmental Health and Safety and Occupational Health Services.

    Dana-Farber has established an Institutional Care and Use Committee (IACUC) to oversee the Institute’s animal program, facilities, and projects involving the use of animals. The IACUC serves as the approval body for all protocols involving animal research, and assists faculty, students and staff in upholding Dana-Farber’s commitment to providing the finest care and most humane utilization of laboratory animals.

    In addition to basic husbandry services, the ARF staff provides technical and veterinary services, mouse breeding management and mouse irradiation.

    Contact

    Director: Barbara Smith, DVM, PhD 
    Associate Director: Heather Manning, MBA
    Phone: 617-632-6200
    Website: research.dfci.harvard.edu/arfsite/ 

     

    Biocontainment Core Facility (BL2+)

    The Dana-Farber Biocontainment Core Facility supports researchers whose experiments require a Biosafety Level 2+ (BL2+) containment level. The Biocontainment core adheres to Biosafety Level 3 (BL3) practices. Protective apparel, equipment, and other materials are provided by the core. Two core facilities are available: one is located at the Jimmy Fund building at Dana Farber; the second at The Center for Life Science. Authorized core users may have access to both facilities.

    Use of the facility is limited to researchers who receive training in BL3 procedures and comply with authorized user requirements. Training is provided by the Biosafety Officer, Core Manager, and authorized users.

    Equipment includes:

    • Biosafety cabinets
    • CO2 incubators
    • Refrigerators
    • Benchtop centrifuges
    • Microfuges
    • Water baths
    • Microscopes
    • 2 x FACSCanto II
    • 3 x autoclaves
    • 3 x ultracentrifuges in Class 1 biosafety cabinets
    • 10 x minus 80 freezers
    • 2 x minus 140 freezers
    • 5 x liquid nitrogen freezers
    • 2 x luminometers
    • 2 x fluorescent microscopes with cameras
    • Nexcelom cell counter
    • Cell Harvestor
    • AutoMacs magnetic cell sorter
    Location

    Jimmy Fund 7 (JFB715-725) and Center for Life Science (CLS 1019B)

    Contact

    Core Manager: Denise Pearson
    Email: denise_pearson@dfci.harvard.edu
    Phone: 617-632-3377 

     

    Biospecimen Repository Core

    The Biospecimen Repository provides long-term storage of clinical and research material in -80º C and liquid nitrogen freezers. Transportation of samples to and from the repository is provided for an additional fee. Competitive prices are available on a per box or per freezer basis in either segregated or non-segregated environments.

    Services
    • Identification of material by bar coding.
    • Inventory by caLIMS for non-clinical samples and caTissue for clinical specimens.
    • Product transportation in IATA-compliant cryogenic shipping containers and accessories.
    • Equipment monitoring and on-call manpower for after hour alarms and full disaster recovery plans.
    • Emergency back-up gas generators
    • LN² optional backup for -80º C freezers
    • CAMS automated security system continuously monitoring the function of the storage equipment.

    The core provides affordable monthly fees inclusive of operation and maintenance, and costs that are proportional to your storage needs.

    Contact

    Manager: Evangeline Reynolds
    Phone: 617-582-7441
    Website: research4.dfci.harvard.edu/issues/DryDock 

     

    Biostatistics

    Biostatistics provides expertise for the planning, conduct, analysis, and reporting of clinical trials, epidemiologic and population based studies, studies in genetic susceptibility of cancer, and experiments in basic research in the biology of cancer. Services also include: advice and consultation in efficient and accurate database design and management of clinical research data; scientific computing for data analysis and scientific graphics; and education in the areas of study design, data collection, computerization, and statistical methods for laboratory, clinical, and population based studies.

    Contact

    Director: Paul Catalano, ScD
    Co-Director:
    Rebecca Gelman, PhD
    Phone: 617-632-3014
    Website: www.dfhcc.harvard.edu/core-facilities/biostatistics/ 

     

    Clinical Research Laboratory

    The Clinical Research Laboratory (CRL) utilizes protocol-driven standard operating procedures for the processing of pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamic, and biomarker samples. This includes the processing, storage, and tracking of all research specimens to ensure the successful completion of clinical trials associated with patient treatment. The CRL is dedicated to the highest standards of specimen handling to maintain the integrity of data procurement and analysis for clinical trials.

    Services
    • Separation of plasma and serum from blood samples
    • Isolation of mononuclear cells
    • Mononuclear cell counting
    • DNA isolation
    • Cell counts and lysates
    • 24 hour urine volume and aliquot
    • Processing of other body fluids such as urine, cerebrospinal fluid, ductal lavage, oral mucosal washings etc.
    • Bone Marrow aspirate and blood fixation
    • Special processing as negotiated with sponsor
    • Short term storage of research specimens
    Contact

    Manager: Sujata Shah
    Phone: 617-632-6981

     

    Confocal and Light Microscopy Core

    The Confocal and Light Microscopy Core provides state-of-the-art imaging microscopy technology for fixed and live cells and tissues, along with scientific and technical expertise to assist in experimental design and optimal image collection. Imaging techniques available through the core are standard fluorescence, live-cell long term imaging, confocal, TIRF, FRET, and spectral imaging. Available equipment includes a spinning disk confocal microscope, a Leica SP5 laser scanning confocal with a white light laser, and an inverted widefield fluorescence microscope. Training on all equipment, consultation about various imaging techniques, and assistance with image analysis is also available. Core staff are also able to assist with troubleshooting microscope issues in individual research labs.

    Services
    • Standard fluorescence
    • Live-cell long term imaging
    • Confocal
    • Fluorescence spectral detection
    • TIRF
    • FRET
    • Calcium imaging
    • Multi-photon
    • Fluorescence lifetime imaging
    Equipment
    • Yokogawa spinning disk confocal microscope (Andor)
    • Leica SP5 laser scanning confocal with a white light laser
    • Zeiss 710 confocal/multi-photon
    • Nikon inverted widefield fluorescence microscope
    Contact

    Director: Lisa Cameron, PhD
    Phone: 617-582-8824
    Website: microscopy.dfci.harvard.edu 

     

    Connell and O'Reilly Families Cell Manipulation Core

    The Connell and O’Reilly Families Cell Manipulation Core Facility assists researchers in developing new cell-based therapies for cancer. All cell manufacturing procedures are performed in environmentally controlled conditions according to current Good Manufacturing Practices for cell and tissue processing. Services include the processing of hematopoietic stem cells for autologous or allogeneic transplantation, generation of tumor vaccines using genetic or culture mediated modification of tumor cells, and preparation of immune cell populations for adoptive cellular therapy.

    Services

    Cell processing for patients enrolled in clinical research protocols, including:

    • Processing of hematopoietic stem cells
    • Preparation of tumor vaccines
    • Generation of T cells for adoptive immunotherapy
    • At present, the cellular components produced by the CMCF fall into three categories:
    • Manipulated hematopoietic progenitor cell (HPC) components
    • Tumor cell vaccines
    • Tumor-specific immunotherapy components

    Since most cell manipulation procedures are distinct and developmental, the cost of each procedure is determined individually for each protocol. Charges to principal investigators are based on the laboratory costs determined for each protocol.

    Contact

    Director: Jerome Ritz, MD
    Assistant Medical Director: Grace Kao, MD
    Phone: 617-632-2251
    Website: www.dfhcc.harvard.edu/core-facilities/cell-manipulation/  

     

    Flow Cytometry Core

    The Flow Cytometry Core Facility provides sterile sorting and analysis of samples. The core houses three high-speed cell sorters with up to 9-color simultaneous detection utilizing multi-laser platforms. Sample populations can be sterile sorted into a variety of tubes or plates. Single cells can also be sterile sorted into individual wells for culturing. Additionally, the cell sorters can sort up to four populations simultaneously. For sample analysis, the lab houses six tabletop analyzers ranging from very simple 3-color detection systems to a high-end instrument with up to 12-color detection utilizing three lasers. It also has a 96-well plate loader for analyzing samples directly from plates. Staff assist researchers with their sorting and analysis needs, including data acquisition, analysis and interpretation, and experiment design, implementation, and troubleshooting. Training classes are offered for researchers who want to independently run a core flow cytometer.

    Services
    • Cell Sorting and Analysis
    • Sterile sorting into tubes or plates
    • 4 populations sorted simultaneously
    • Automated 96-well plate loader for analysis
    • Online Scheduler Reservation System
    • Self-run training classes for: FACScan, Luminex (Bio-Plex 200), LSRII, MoFLO-FACSAria-Sorting
    Contact

    Senior Director: John Daley
    Email: john_daley@dfci.harvard.edu
    Phone: 617-632-3179
    Website: flowlab.dfci.harvard.edu 

     

    Health Communication Core

    The Health Communication Core provides professional creative services to researchers and clinicians from Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and other medical and research institutions. The core provides everything from writing, editing, and graphic design to web site development, high-end print production, and audience research. Evidence-based practices with creative expertise are combined to develop materials and communication strategies that help researchers successfully reach their audience.

    Services 

    The core provides creative expertise in the areas of:

    • writing and editing
    • visual information and graphic design
    • Web
    • print production,
    • marketing and promotion
    • intervention development
    • communication and research testing
    Contacts

    Director: Vish Viswanath, PhD
    Assistant Director: Catherine Coleman
    Phone: 617-632-5078
    Email: health_communication@dfci.harvard.edu
    Website: www.healthcommcore.org  

     

    Medical Arts

    The Medical Arts Facility Core offers computer and custom graphics and photography services, including single prints, lamination, full posters and titles, brochures, flyers, plasma ads, and special events photography. The core also offers Adobe Photoshop training.

    Equipment
    • Digital printer for small- and large-format posters on high-quality paper and backlit films  
    • Plasma displays
    • Mac and PC computers
    • Laminator
    • Scanner
    • Brochure printer
    • Digital camera
    • 35 mm Nikon cameras
    Contact

    Manager: Minou Modabber
    Phone: 617-632-3198


     

    Microarray Core Facility

    The Microarray Core Facility offers Gene Expression Profiling, SNP, miRNA, and CNV analysis using array technologies from Affymetrix. The Microarray Core specializes in processing RNA extracted from Formalin-Fixed Parafin embedded tissue. The core is well integrated into the Genomics core which provides additional next generation sequencing services. In this way your project lands up on the right platform.

    Contact

    Director:  Paul Morrison
    Phone: 617-632-3082
    Website: mbcf.dfci.harvard.edu 

     

    Molecular Biology Core Facilities

    The Molecular Biology Core Facilities offer a full suite of molecular biology services, including automated DNA sequencing, genotyping, peptide synthesis, protein sequencing, amino acid analysis, BIA core protein ligand assays, and mass spectrometry. DNA sequencing and genotyping services include synthesis and tracking of oligonucleotides, contig building, and publication to appropriate databases. Various mass spectrometry services are also available, including LTQ Orbitrap and 4800 TOF/TOF.

    Services
    • Automated DNA sequencing, contig construction, genotyping and more.
    • Peptide synthesis, conjugation, HPLC purification, modifications (biotin, phosphorylation), and more.
    • DNA synthesis, reverse phase purification, modifications, and more.
    • Protein sequencing, tryptic mapping and more.
    • Mass analysis, tryptic mapping. identification of post
      translational modifications and more.
    • BIAcore protein ligand assays, DNA ligand assays and more.
    Contact

    Director: Paul Morrison
    Phone: 617-632-3082
    Website: mbcf.dfci.harvard.edu 

     

    Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory

    The Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory provides microRNA expression profiling, human cell line identity verification, mutation detection for clinical research studies, and specimen processing for clinical research studies. Consultation on experimental design and assistance with data analysis is also available.

    Contacts

    Director: Paul Morrison 
    Phone: 617-632-3082
    Financial Coordinator: Geraldine Kassirer, MPH
    Phone: 617-632-2294
    Website: moleculardiagnosticscore.dana-farber.org 

     

    Monoclonal Antibody Core

    The Monoclonal Antibody Core produces novel monoclonal antibodies for use in basic research, drug discovery, and clinical applications including diagnosis, surrogate markers for disease status, response to therapy, and drug toxicity. Services include cloning and scale-up of immunization antigens to purification of the resulting antibodies. Researchers can choose to have all phases of antibody production conducted by the core or perform particular steps in their own lab.

    Services
    • Consultation on design of antigens and screening strategies
    • Production of vectors and protein with appropriate tags for immunization and screening
    • Immunization of animals including mice, rats and hamsters
    • Generation of monoclonal antibodies
    • Customized screening by WB, ELISA, flow cytometry
    • Antibody isotyping, titering, and specificity evaluation
    • Small, medium, and large-scale antibody production
    • Purification of antibodies
    • Antibody productivity assessment
    • Cryopreservation and recovery of hybridomas from liquid nitrogen
    • Hybridoma banking
    • Adaptation of hybridomas to serum-free media
    • Mycoplasma testing for hybridomas and other cell lines
    Contact

    Core Director: Ed Greenfield, PhD
    Phone: 617-632-2209
    Scientific Advisor: James Decaprio, MD
    Phone: 617-632-6266

     

    RNA Interference (RNAi) Screening Facility

    The RNAi Screening Facility provides investigators with access to RNAi reagents and high-throughput screening technology. Lentiviral-based RNAi constructs against the human and mouse genomes are provided by the RNAi Consortium of the Broad Institute, and can be used to transduce a wide range of target cells, including primary and non-dividing cells. The Facility provides reagents, equipment, and technical expertise to design, optimize, and perform cell-based, arrayed lentiviral RNAi screens. Additionally, lentiviral RNAi constructs against individual genes can be requested.

    Contact

    Request access to iLab Solutions
    Director: William Hahn, MD, PhD
    Co-Director: Anna Schinzel, PhD 
    Phone: 617-582-7649

     

    Tumor Imaging Metrics Core

    The Tumor Imaging Metrics Core provides standardized, consistent, longitudinal radiological measurements to evaluate therapeutic response for DF/HCC clinical trials. Services include accurate, consistent, and timely analysis of CT, MR, and PET/CT imaging studies. Measurements available include linear (RECIST, WHO, Cheson), volumetric measures for CT or MR scans, and Standardized Uptake Value (SUV) for PET scans. Results of analyses are offered on a password-protected secure web-based report. This core also provides an independent service with verifiable measurement of treatment response for patients enrolled in trials, and serves as a centralized, computerized resource to facilitate efficient internal or external auditing.

    The TIMC:

    • Makes reliable, quantitative, longitudinal measurements (such as linear dimension, RECIST, volume, function, etc.) of lesions from serial MRI, CT, and PET scan images
    • Presents results of analyses on a password protected secure web-based report
    • Provides an independent service, with verifiable measurement of treatment response for patients enrolled in cancer center trials
    • Serves as a centralized, computerized resource to facilitate efficient internal or external auditing

    Reliable tracking of changes in lesion size or function is essential for clinical trials that use radiological measurements as surrogate endpoints. The Tumor Metrics Core provides a service for managing these images, making measurements in a routine, reliable, and centralized way, and making results available to investigators efficiently.

    Services

    The Tumor Metrics Core provides four primary services to DF/HCC investigators:

    • Consultation services for image-based protocol and image analysis design
    • Image aggregation and management of scans from all DF/HCC institutions
    • Image measurement of lesions from scans of patients on clinical trials
    • Reporting and database management of radiological data for clinical trials

    The Tumor Imaging Metrics Core will maintain a database of longitudinal radiological and clinical data that will link to the Quality Assurance for Clinical Trials (QACT) Core to provide an auditable record of quantitative measurements for clinical trials conducted through the DF/HCC.

    Contacts

    Director: Gordon Harris, PhD
    Director: Annick Van den Abbeele, MD
    Phone: 617-632-2595
    Website: www.tumormetrics.org 

     

    Center for Cancer Computational Biology (CCCB)

    The Center for Cancer Computational Biology (CCCB) provides broad-based support for the analysis and interpretation of 'omic data. The center has two primary elements:

    • Collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of large-scale data with a focus on data generated using 'omic technologies. In addition, the CCCB offers software, services, and training designed to assist investigators in advancing their research.
    • Development of new methods for improving analysis and interpretation of genomic data through integration of diverse data types with the goal of creating open-source software tools to be made freely-available to the research community.
    Services
    Analytical Services

    The CCCB provides investigators with the opportunity to work with experienced bioinformatics professionals to address the computational and analytic challenges of their research. The CCCB offers state-of-the-art tools, equipment, and expertise necessary to evaluate the large, complex datasets associated with ‘omic studies and technologies and move beyond the data to a biological interpretation.

    A wide range of analytical services for genomic and other 'omic data are available, including: gene expression, copy number variation, ChIP-chip/ ChIP-seq, SNP, and next generation DNA sequencing data. Examples of the type of projects the CCCB can provide assistance with are:

    • Identification and validation of novel gene signatures
    • Discovery of promoters or regulators of gene expression
    • Building network models of gene expression, protein-protein interaction and literature data to uncover new biological connections
    • Identification of patterns of chromosomal abnormalities
    • Integration of high-dimensional clinical and demographic information with 'omic data
    • Multi-platform analysis e.g. Affymetrix, Illumina, and DASL data
    General Computing Services

    The CCCB and our associated Computational Biology and Functional Genomics Laboratory are composed of a diverse mix of individuals with skills across the scientific/computational spectrum, including biologists, programmers, bioinformaticians, and database and systems administrators. The CCCB maintains an extensive scientific computing infrastructure that includes a high performance compute cluster, large capacity data storage arrays, and high availability clustered Oracle database systems.

    Drawing from this varied expertise and infrastructure, the CCCB offers limited support for more general scientific computing needs. Services the CCCB may provide are:

    • Web development and hosting
    • Clinical data modeling and warehousing
    • Relational database design, implementation, and support
    • Custom software development
    • Systems administration and support
    Work with us

    The goal of the CCCB is to leverage member expertise and resources to assist scientists in making the most of their experiments and the data they generate. The analytical and general computing services of the CCCB are available to all researchers at Dana-Farber, as well as external academic and medical institutions, private researchers, and corporations.

    Projects at the CCCB follow a collaborative model, and typically begin with an initial consultation where an investigator will meet with an analyst to outline the scientific and technical objectives of the project. Following the initial consultation, our analysts will prepare a detailed analysis plan that includes complete cost and time estimates as well as delivery milestones. Project execution begins once a consensus has been reached on the course of action.

    From the beginning of a project to the end, clients will be provided with the following:

    • An assigned point of contact who will be responsible for seeing the analysis through to its conclusion
    • Access to a secure, password-protected collaboration portal through which information and data can be exchanged between the client and CCCB staff
    • Periodic updates on the status of the project, including any changes in time or cost estimates

    All work performed by the CCCB, from analysis plan development to the delivery of final results, undergoes a thorough scientific review to insure the highest standard of quality.

    Contact

    Director: John Quackenbush, PhD
    Email: cccb@jimmy.harvard.edu
    Phone: 617-582-9083
    Website: cccb.dfci.harvard.edu 

     

    Survey and Data Management Core

    The Survey and Data Management Core provides efficient, high-quality data collection, management services, and consultation. The core provides expertise and technical support in the areas of development and implementation of data collection protocols from study participants, quality control of data collection processes, and data management. Capabilities include the development and implementation of survey research projects, the development of complex databases, project evaluation, cognitive interviewing, focus groups, in-depth interviews, and other similar processes.

    Services
    • Database design and data management
    • Protocol development and consulting
    • Questionnaire design
    • Cognitive testing
    • On-line survey design and implementation
    • Implementation of mail and in-person survey methodologies
    • Qualitative data collection and analysis
    • Participant tracking
    • Data entry
    • Data analysis
    Contact

    Director: Wendy London, PhD
    Assistant Director: Carol Lowenstein, MBA
    Phone: 617-582-9063
    Website: surveycore.org 

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