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.
Also see our Integrative Research Centers.
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 basis in either segregated or non-segregated environments.
- Materials inventoried and identified using unique bar codes
- Product transportation in IATA-compliant cryogenic shipping containers and accessories
- Automated freezer alarm security system for continuous freezer monitoring
- Equipment monitoring and on-call staff members for after-hour alarms
- Full disaster recovery plans
- Emergency back-up generators
The core provides affordable monthly fees inclusive of operation and maintenance, and costs that are proportional to your storage needs.
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.
Paul Catalano, ScD
Rebecca Gelman, PhD
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.
- 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
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.
- Standard fluorescence
- Live-cell long term imaging
- Fluorescence spectral detection
- Calcium imaging
- Fluorescence lifetime imaging
- Yokogawa spinning disk confocal microscope (Andor)
- Leica SP5 laser scanning confocal with a white light laser
- Nikon inverted widefield fluorescence microscope
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.
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.
Director: Jerome Ritz, MD
Assistant Medical Director:
Sarah Nikiforow, MD, PhD
CyTOF Mass Cytometry Core
Mass Cytometry is a technology that couples highly sensitive ICP-TOF mass spectrometry with flow cytometry-like single cell analysis. The CyTOF-Helios Mass Cytometer allows for the simultaneous detection of metal-based antibodies without the limitations
of marker emission overlap.
The Longwood Medical Area (LMA) CyTOF Mass Cytometry Core provides high dimensional single cell analysis of up to 42 markers simultaneously. Staff is available for technical assistance as well as guidance in experimental design and implementation.
- Fluidigm CyTOF-Helios Mass Cytometers (2)
- Full assistance sample acquisition
- Experimental design consultation
- Data analysis software training
- FlowJo and Cytobank workstations
- 4+ years of experience and expertise
Director: Nicole Paul
Technologist: Eric Haas
Experimental Therapeutics Core
The Experimental Therapeutics (ETx) Core is a preclinical resource to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) researchers and collaborators for conducting in vivo pharmacological studies. Studies will be run at a 14,000-square-foot preclinical facility
shared with the Lurie Family Imaging Center (LFIC) that features bioluminescent imaging using the IVIS Spectrum system.
Our mission is to help DFCI investigators by providing high quality in vivo pharmacology studies that enable DFCI investigators’ translational research and chemistry and drug discovery/development efforts. These include studies that determine efficacy
of new therapies and new combinations, advance preclinical studies to initiate clinical trials, and target identification and validation.
The Experimental Therapeutics Core will provide expertise for in vivo pharmacology studies, including drug tolerability and efficacy studies; pharmacodynamic and mechanism-of-action studies, and tumor model development. Our capabilities include
both subcutaneous and orthotopic tumor implantations and animal dosing by all common routes of administration, e.g. intraperitoneal, intravenous, oral and subcutaneous, and in combination. Comprehensive tumor and tissue harvesting is available for
every study. Fresh samples can be sent to investigators or preserved by formalin fixation and/or flash freezing.
Director: Praful Gokhale, PhD
Flow Cytometry Core
The Flow Cytometry Core Facility offers state-of-the-art, fully equipped flow cytometry instrumentation in two locations on the Dana-Farber campus. Expert cytometry technicians are available to assist with any analysis or sorting experiments, with services
available to all researchers in the Longwood Area and beyond. The Flow Core provides cell sorting, including bulk enrichment, rare population, and single cell plate sorting, performed by the flow cytometry staff. For cell analysis, the core offers
one-on-one training for independent use. The staff are also available for assistance with experimental design and data analysis.
The Flow Core maintains and operates 14 flow cytometers including:
- 4 BD FACSAria cell sorters
- 6 BD LSRFortessa cell analyzers
- 2 BD Canto II cell analyzers
- 1 Sony SH800 cell sorter
- 1 Sony SA3800 cell analyzer
Hematologic Neoplasia Core: 617-632-4571
Jimmy Fund Core: 617-632-3179
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.
The core provides creative expertise in the areas of:
- writing and editing
- visual information and graphic design
- print production
- marketing and promotion
- intervention development
- communication and research testing
Director: Vish Viswanath, PhD
Assistant Director: Catherine Coleman
The Medicinal Chemistry Core collaborates with researchers to accelerate the development of novel therapeutic agents. The Core is comprised of experienced medicinal and synthetic chemists with lab space located in Dana-Farber's Harbor Campus. The labs
are fully equipped to perform synthetic organic chemistry on a small to multi-gram scale, with LCMS, reverse phase chromatography, and access to the NMR facilities at Dana-Farber and Harvard Medical School.
- Provision of tool compounds for in vitro testing or animal studies: If required compound is not commercially available, the Core can arrange for its custom synthesis.
- Medicinal chemistry consulting/advice: Input for grant applications, literature searching, and assistance with the collection of selectivity, pharmacokinetic, and safety data.
- Drug discovery: For researchers pursuing novel therapeutics, or wishing to develop chemical tools for new targets, the Core can assist with hit identification strategies, HTS analysis, and the optimization of lead molecules. With appropriate funding,
the Core can more fully collaborate with researchers, designing and synthesizing compounds, either in its own labs or through a chemistry CRO.
Nathanael Gray, PhD
David Scott, PhD
Molecular Biology Core Facilities
The Molecular Biology Core Facilities offers expertise and instrumentation for cutting-edge genomic and proteomic research. High throughput projects are processed by automated liquid handling systems and low throughput projects and development work are
handled by experienced staff scientists.
- Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS)
- Short Read Tech: Illumina NovaSeq, NextSeq, MiniSeq, and MiSeq
- Long Read Tech: PacBio and Oxford Nanopore
- NGS Applications: RNASeq, ChlPseq, ATACseq, Single Cell, FFPE, CRISPR screening and edit site characterization, Exome, Whole Genome, copy number analysis, miRNAseq, 16S rRNA surveys, Methylation profiling, more ...
- Pipelines: RNAseq, ChlPseq, Variant Calling, Copy Number, more ...
- Intact Mass Analysis
- Tryptic mapping
- Identification of post-translational modifications
- BIAcore protein and DNA ligand assays
Associate Director: Zach Herbert
Molecular Cancer Imaging Facility (MCIF)
The MCIF mission is to advance therapeutic and diagnostic research through radiotracer development for research investigators. MCIF helps investigators quickly move discovery-stage concepts to in-vivo models, generating data to support grant applications,
publications, and drug development efforts.
- Radiolabeling consultation
- Small molecule radiolabeling
- Biomolecule radiolabeling
- Nanoparticle radiolabeling
- Radiosynthesis automation and optimization
- Quality control method development
Scientific Director: Anthony P. Belanger, PhD
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.
Director: Sigitas Verselis, PhD
Molecular Pathology Core Laboratory
The Molecular Pathology Core Laboratory (MPCL) works to advance molecular pathology-based cancer research. The group addresses significant scientific and clinical research needs, and has created a central hub where researchers can interact, collaborate,
and utilize novel molecular pathology technologies to translate basic science discoveries into patient care applications for cancer. Our mission comprises comprehensive pathology annotation to encompass clinical, morphological, and molecular
characteristics, genetic discovery in primary human tumors, with limited material and in real time, novel biomarker identification and pre-clinical trials, and transitioning assays to the clinical setting.
- General Histology: Paraffin tissue processing and embedding; frozen/FFPE tissue sectioning; H&E staining; cell pellet block preparation.
- Immunohistochemistry (IHC): Chromogenic IHC (single/dual); multiplex fluorescence IHC (up to 6 markers/slide).
- TUNEL (Chromogenic/fluorescence).
- In Situ Hybridization (ISH)
- Laser Capture Microdissection (LCM): LCM training and core operated services available, plus LCM instrument use.
- Multispectral Imaging Analysis: Whole slide scanning – bright-field, fluorescence (10X, 20X, 40X); ROI image analysis – multispectral composite, segmentation, phenotyping, scoring TMA scanning and analysis.
- LCM – Arcturus XT Laser Capture Microdissection
- Cryostat – Leica CM3050 S
Lead Scientist: Ying Huang, MD, PhD
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.
- 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
Ed Greenfield, PhD
Scientific Advisor: James Decaprio, MD
Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Core (EQNMR)
The Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Core, jointly operated by Harvard Medical School and Dana-Farber, provides expert support and instrumentation for a broad range of chemical, biochemical, and structural biology research problems. We work with
collaborators to design and implement time-efficient and cost-effective NMR approaches to chemical problem solving, biochemical interaction studies, ligand and fragment screening, ligand-target binding studies, metabolomics, and macromolecular
structure determination. We are available to provide technical and scientific training in NMR methods as well as hands-on instrument training.
- Standard 1H/13C NMR for chemical analysis (1D/2D)
- Advanced 2D NMR for natural products structure elucidation
- Multi-nuclear NMR analysis (19F, 31P, 15N, other)
- Multiple-sample walk-up automation
- NMR fragment screening and analysis
- Fluorine NMR binding experiments
- Double/triple-labeled protein analysis (3D)
- Validation of ligand binding
- Design of competitive binding screens
- Technical and scientific NMR training
- 500 MHz Avance III Spectrometer with multi-nuclear Smart probe (DFCI)
- 600 MHz Avance II Spectrometer with Prodigy HCN cryoprobe (HMS)
- 700 MHz DDR2 Spectrometer with HCN helium coldprobe (HMS)
- 500 MHz Inova Spectrometer with HCN helium coldprobe (HMS)
- 400 MHz Varian Spectrometer with multi-nuclear OneProbe (HMS)
- Gilson 215 for preparation of samples for screening campaigns (HMS)
Dana-Farber Lab Manager:
John Alberta, PhD
Location: Longwood Center, 3rd floor, Room 3301
Structural and Chemical Biology Center (Longwood Center for Structural and Chemical Biology)
Protein Expression, Purification, and Crystallization
Through collaborations with Dana-Farber and Longwood-area laboratories, the Structural and Chemical Biology Center (Longwood Center for Structural and Chemical Biology) helps solve chemical and structural biology problems in the field of cancer research. The team performs and contributes to mechanism of action
studies and structural biology by generating high quality proteins and executing biophysical characterization assays and screens. We conduct large-scale (1-10 liters) bacterial and baculovirus expression and perform FPLC-based affinity, size-exclusion, and ion-exchange chromatography. Notably,
the team conducts X-ray crystallography (crystal screening, optimization, data collection, and structure determination) for use in a wide variety of studies, including structure-guided drug discovery.
Director: Sirano Dhe-Paganon, PhD
Tumor Imaging Metrics Core
The Tumor Imaging Metrics Core (TIMC) 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
- 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.
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.
Director: Gordon Harris, PhD
Annick Van den Abbeele, MD
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.
- 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
Director: Wendy London, PhD
Carol Lowenstein, MBA
The Translab is dedicated to supporting clinical research and offers a comprehensive battery of services, leveraging multiple technologies and methods, and can assist with routine processes as well as complex laboratory-developed tests. The Translab
places a special emphasis on assay development for use in clinical trials.
Scope of Services
- Cellular assays: proliferation, differentiation, cytotoxicity, apoptosis, CFU ...
- Immunophenotyping (panel development, whole blood, purified cells ...
- RNA- and DNA-based molecular assays: PCR, qPCR, cloning, Southern blot, spectratyping (sorted CD4/CD8) ...
- Immunoassays: standard ELISA, multiplex (LuminexMAGPIX®, MSD, Western blot
- Cell isolation and culture: Ficoll, cell selection, EBV transformation, viral transduction ...
- Process and product development for cell-based therapies (FDA compliant)
Center for Life Science (CLS 3068)
Core Director: Myriam Armant
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 Vivarium staff provides technical and veterinary services, mouse breeding management and mouse irradiation.
Barbara Smith, DVM, PhD
Heather Manning, MBA