Core Facilities

The HWI laboratories are fully equipped for conducting research in structural biology.

Our laboratories include all the necessary instrumentation for cloning, expression and purification of biological samples. Most of that instrumentation is shared between individual investigators so that investment in any single instrument benefits the institute as a whole.

Protein expression and growth instrumentation working with yeast, E.coli, insect and mammalian cells are available. This includes dedicated rooms for each host with hoods, shakers, and incubators. A microfluidizer and three sonicators are available for cell disruption purposes. Additionally, a 10L Bioreactor/Fermentor is available for large-scale growths.

For purification a High-Pressure Liquid Chromotography (HPLC) and several Fast Protein Liquid Chromotography (FPLC) systems, and purifiers are available. These are supported with cold cabinets. A walk in column storage cold room, centrifuges and UV/Visible spectrophotometers are also available. A radiation facility houses a HPLC and liquid scintillation counter.

Characterization of samples takes place through a plate reading dynamic scattering apparatus and with differential scanning fluorimetry. A differential scanning fluorimeter is available together with surface plasmon resonance capability.

A core facility in the Institute is the High-Throughput Crystallization Screening Center for determining initial crystallization conditions.  This facility, is a unique resource that provides rapid screening of 1,536 chemical conditions using a small amount of sample and the microbatch-under-oil crystallization technique. Two Robbins Scientific Tango liquid-handling systems are employed.  Two custom constructed reader tables digitally record images of these experiments.  These are securely stored and available to investigators immediately after imaging.  Experiments are monitored using digital recordings of the results on three capture tables. One of these is in a thermally conditioned room able to operate above or below ambient.  Crystallization experiments are stored in one of multiple temperature-controlled incubators Full laboratory facilities are available for optimization of crystallization experiments.  Six stereomicroscopes are available, two of which are equipped with digital cameras.

The Center has implemented routine Second Order Non-linear Imaging of Chiral Crystals (SONICC) and UV Two Photon Emitted Fluorescence (UV-TPEF) imaging of crystallization screening. SONICC identifies crystals that may not be visible under the standard microscopic imaging techniques, detects microcrystals in the presence of other material, and can differentiate amorphous from crystalline precipitate. UV-TPEF serves to aid identification of macroscopic crystals confirming that they are biological and can help differentiate salt from biological for the cases identified by SONICC. Both imaging techniques are integrated with the analysis software supplied by the center to users improving the accuracy and efficiency of the process to the Center’s users. The Center is available to Institute staff, the academic community as a service, and industry through a commercial entity, HarkerBIO.

X-Ray diffraction facilities include a high-flux rotating anode generator with focusing optics and a CCD detector. A cryogenic cooling stream is available. The laboratory facilities are supplemented by the availability of time at National Laboratories including Brookhaven National Laboratories, Argonne National Laboratory, Stanford Linear Accelerator Center and the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source. Institute scientists use facilities at all these laboratories and the laboratory runs the IMCA beamline on the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory. Beamtime is available on the IMCA beamline through a subscription process. Scientists also collect SAXS data in Stanford and neutron data at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The individual laboratories within the institute are designed with two aisles and bench space with each investigator utilizing at least this basic unit and sometimes more. Some laboratories are self-contained while others operate in a co-located manner adjacent to each other

All standard items of laboratory equipment (balances, water baths, pH meters, etc.) are available. Multiple incubators and freezers support the laboratories.

Each investigator has an office and deskspace for staff. Computational resources are standard with secure on and offsite backup of data. The local computational network is connected to the outside world via NYSERNet through a gigabit link to the University at Buffalo which also connects the Institute to the computing resources of the Universities Center for Computational Resources. This connection is also physical in the form of a direct pedestrian bridge. The Institute houses full video conferencing capabilities for collaborative research work.

Located in the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus multiple services are available locally including mass spectroscopy and sequencing.