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The Cornell University Biotechnology Resource Center (BRC) (formerly called the Life Sciences Core Laboratories Center or the CLC) provides an array of genomics, proteomics, imaging and bioinformatics shared research resources and services to the university community and to outside investigators. The BRC includes fee‐for‐service research, technology testing and development, and educational components. The Center’s core facilities include genomics (DNA sequencing, genotyping and microarrays), proteomics and mass spectrometry, imaging, bioinformatics, bio‐IT (information technology), and advanced technology assessment. The mission of the BRC is to promote research in the life sciences with advanced technologies in a shared resource environment. The core center provides coordinated multidisciplinary support for research projects. Investigators are offered coordinated project consultations with the directors and staff of all relevant cores during the design, data production and analysis phases of their projects. The BRC supports many intercampus initiatives and multi-institutional collaborations. With a concentration of advanced instrumentation and expertise in their applications, the BRC is a key resource for life sciences research.
The BRC is part of the Cornell University Institute of Biotechnology, which is a New York State designated Center for Advanced Technology (CAT), one of fifteen sponsored by the Empire State Development Division of Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR). In association with NYSTAR, NY State companies receive a discount on BRC services.
Cornell University has a major commitment to maintaining state-of-the-art shared resources to support life sciences research. The BRC includes all the life sciences core facilities at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, that are supported by investment from the Provost. The mandate of the BRC is to provide core resources and services to the whole university. University funding is used to allow core facilities to provide a high level of biotechnology services and resources to the research community. The Center has an established review policy that allows for the addition of new core facilities by request of Cornell faculty. These can be existing cores that have a departmental focus but have the potential to be used on a university-wide level, or new cores established to provide new technologies. Facilities are brought under the umbrella of the BRC through a memorandum of understanding that establishes operating and administrative guidelines.
The resources and services of all the BRC facilities are open to all investigators at Cornell University. The Center supports research at all the University campuses, including the Cornell University campuses in Ithaca, NY, and Geneva, NY, and the Weill Cornell Medical College campuses in New York City, NY, and Doha, Qatar. The CLC also provides resources and services to outside investigators at academic institutions, not-for-profit enterprises, and commercial companies.
A major goal of the BRC is to build on the synergistic value gained from having a diverse array of core facilities in one Center. The BRC facilitates individual investigator research projects and collaborative inter-campus and multi-institutional research programs with coordinated multidisciplinary support.
The BRC facilitates open access and cost effective use of crucial research resources. The shared resources of the BRC are used for research and research training, to improve access to and to stimulate use of emerging technologies by researchers and students, and to facilitate the development and use of new methods, applications and technologies. The BRC supports research and discovery, promotes education and outreach, and facilitates the advance of knowledge and understanding in a wide range of life sciences research.
The BRC is administered by the Cornell University Institute of Biotechnology (also known as the Biotech Institute), under the overall supervision of Jocelyn Rose, the Director of the Biotech Institute. Tami Magnus, the Biotech Institute Executive Director, provides financial oversight. Each BRC facility has a Faculty Advisor and a Faculty Advisory Board that are responsible for scientific oversight of the core facility. Each BRC facility has a Facility Director that provides daily oversight of the facility.
The fee policies of the BRC are governed by federal regulations and university guidelines on core facilities.
The BRC is a member of the Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities (ABRF) and of the Academy for Medical Development and Collaboration (AMDeC).
The BRC Genomics Facility provides an array of shared research resources and services to the university community and to outside investigators. The facility provides a concentration of advanced instrumentation and expertise in their applications. Services include Sanger sequencing of plasmid and PCR products on the Life Technologies/ABI 3730xl capillary array sequencing platform, and a range of next generation sequencing instruments, including the Roche 454 GS FLX, Illumina MiSeq, Illumina HiSeq 2000, and Illumina HiSeq 2500 platforms. The facility also provides high throughput genotyping and gene expression services using a diverse set of technologies, including the Illumina, Affymetrix and Agilent microarray platforms and the Life Technologies/ABI Viia7 real-time PCR system. The goal of the facility is to provide rapid and accurate genomics services.
The BRC Proteomics and Mass Spectrometry Facility’s mission is to provide investigators with cutting edge technologies and high quality services to support life sciences research, training and education. The facility has mass spectrometers for both proteomics and metabolomics analyses. Services include 2D gel and 2D LC separation for macromolecules, robotic and manual sample preparation for proteomics samples, protein identification, quantitative proteomics by 2D DIGE analysis or shotgun-based iTRAQ, and characterization of post-translational modifications through both non-targeted and targeted discovery approaches. Services also include small molecule profiling, quantitation and MS data interpretation.
The mission of the BRC Imaging Facility (formerly called the Microscopy Imaging and Fluorometry Facility or MIF) is to provide for the advanced imaging needs of Cornell and its broader research community. Through this core, researchers have access to instrumentation for cell and tissue imaging, such as fluorescence light microscopy and confocal microscopy, as well as more macro imaging systems: molecular imaging (eg. whole mouse luminescence and fluorescence imaging), high-resolution ultrasound, and high resolution X-ray computed tomography (CT). Peripheral prototyping and analysis tools such as stereo microscopes, spectrofluorometry and image processing software are also available. The core provides training on these tools and expert advice on image analysis and presentation, live cell microscopy, tissue and animal imaging, and fluorescence and other imaging techniques and measurements.
The core has several locations on the Cornell Ithaca campus. Multiple locations are required because live systems are sensitive to climate and are not very transportable. Locations include a vibration-free section of the basement in Weill Hall, and both before and behind animal barriers in various buildings of the College of Veterinary Medicine.
The BRC Bioinformatics Facility (formerly called the Computational Biology Service Unit or the CBSU) was founded in 2001 as a computational biology resource for the Tri‐institutional collaboration among Cornell University campus in Ithaca, NY, and the Weill Cornell Medical College, Rockefeller University, and Memorial Sloan‐Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, NY, to support the biological research investigators of the Tri‐I institutions with advanced computational infrastructure and bioinformatics tools and techniques. The core became part of the BRC in 2004. The Bioinformatics Facility offers resources and services in computational biology and bioinformatics by collaborative research and consultation and by providing easily accessible advanced computational solutions.
The BRC Bio-IT Facility supports the activities of the BRC core facilities with enterprise-level information technology (IT) infrastructure, laboratory information management systems, data management and analysis services. The facility also provides desktop and network support, software license management, and custom bio-IT services to a diverse array of investigators in the Cornell University life sciences research community.
The mission of the BRC Advanced Technology Assessment Facility is to evaluate, implement and optimize newly emerging biotechnologies, in close coordination with the other BRC cores. Once robust high throughput production pipelines are established, the new technologies are transferred to the appropriate BRC core. The core provides the support that is essential for the successful implementation of newly available, high-end technologies that require extended evaluation, validation, development and optimization. This core also provides a nexus for the coordinated effort to all of the BRC core facilities, to facilitate effective implementation of new technologies that are enabling novel approaches with the potential for breakthrough discoveries in the life sciences.