Biocircits Core Facilities
Genuine collaboration between the experimentalists and the modelers is the most important aspect of the institute. We firmly believe that the degree of coupling between experiments and models is directly proportional our success. Among the first priorities of the BCI has been the establishment of several cores that provide hardware and software resources to encourage and enhance collaboration between experimentalists and computational modelers. While typical "cores" are fixed entities that provide a set of user services that are static over a period of time, our institute cores consist of a set of evolving state-of-the-art services that are updated and improved by the research that takes place within the institute.
The core is equipped for the fabrication of microfluidic chips and master molds based on designs that are developed by members of the institute. The core provides hands-on training in the skills required to conceive, and fabricate microdevices. In addition, the core assists users in the integration of microfluidic devices with optical microscopy in either the core microscopy facility or within the lab of the institute member. We supply easy access to a library of pre-designed and tested microfluidic devices fabricated in the core. Users also have access to information about the designs fabricated by other users and may obtain chips and/or master molds of the pre- designed chips.
The core is equipped with a microscopy system that allows for the capture of epifluorescent and brightfield/phase-contrast images. The system is fitted with filter wheels on both the fluorescence emission and excitation light paths to accommodate multispectral imaging. For large-area scanning and automated focus routines, we have equipped the system with motorized axis control (XYZ) with a hardware-based autofocus system. The system employs a high-end CCD camera with autofocus control for long-term experimental runs and automated multispectral imaging with specimen scanning.
The core provides both hardware and vetted software resources to biomedical researchers in a project-specific manner, and train researchers in their use and support in troubleshooting. We address educational and cultural barriers existing among biomedical research community on one side and physicists and mathematicians on the other by coordinating seminars and classes within existing biology and biochemistry courses, and by galvanizing modeling-interested researchers within journal clubs and workshops. Our computational resources include a set of workstations, a server equipped with 4 high-end GPUs, and a 24- node Linux cluster.