Research Infrastructure

Research centers and equipment

Research centers

Interdisciplinary research centers promote cooperation across disciplines and accelerate the translation of basic research results into new treatment methods.

Photo: S. Krikava

Photo: S. Krikava

The Translational Research Center (TRC), opened in 2014, features an examplary concept and infrastructure. This research building enables phyisicnas and basic scientists for collaborate closely and develop novel approaches for diagnosing and treating diseases. Currently, experts from the fields of inflammation, tumor, kidney and circulation research work in this building. While some labs are assigned permanently, others are  others are made available to rotating clinical research groups.

Kussmaul Campus was established in 2009 in order to promote future-oriented biomedical research in Erlangen. The focus is on biomedicine, molecular biology and applied clinical research.

The center harbors the two Chairs of Experimental Medicine I and II (Molecular Pathogenesis Research and Molecular Tumor Research, respectively), a Division of Molecular Immunology as part of the Department of Medicine 3, a division of the Chair of Genetics of the Faculty of Sciences, as well as two junior research groups of the IZKF of the Faculty of Medicine. Additionally, lab space is provided to rotating clinical research groups. The intention of the research center is to strengthen biomedical research in the Faculty of Medicine by stimulating cooperations between basic and clinical researchers and by giving young clinicians the opportunity to carry out competitive biomedical research projects, benefitting from the infrastructure of a modern research center.

Core units

Core units are centralized technological platforms available to all researchers at the Faculty. Qualified staff support the researchers.

This core unit offers operator-supported cell sorting via a MoFlo-(Beckman Coulter), Astrios (Beckman Coulter) and a FACS AriaII-(Beckton Dickinson) cell-sorter, access to two associated analytical devices (LSR Fortessa and CantoII, Beckton Dickinson) and immunomonitoring services at three locations in Erlangen. It is open to all employees at FAU and Universitätsklinikum Erlangen.

Further information and contact cell sorting

The aim of Preclinical Imaging Platform Erlangen (PIPE) is to provide access to multimodal small animal imaging .The integration of several non-invasive imaging modalities is a precondition for  targeted imaging research. PIPE offers MRT (7 Tesla ClinScan, Bruker), CT, PET and SPECT (Hybridgerät Inveon, Siemens) modalitites for in vivo and ex vivo analyses.

Further information and contact PIPE

Scientific director: Prof. Dr. André Reis
Head of laboratory: Dr. Arif B. Ekici
The Next Generation Sequencing Core Unit (NGS-CU) is run by the Faculty of Medicine and operated by the Institute of Human Genetics. The aim of the CU is to provide cost-effective and time-efficient use of state-of-the-art technology for genomic analyses in combination with guidance on experimental design and support in data analysis.
What we offer
We provide NGS-technology for researchers from Erlangen University Hospital, Institutes and Departments of Friedrich-Alexander University (FAU), but also for external research collaborators. The service spectrum also includes guidance on experimental design and the subsequent (primary) data analysis. We cover a wide range of different genomic analyses, e.g. whole transcriptome, whole methylome, ChIP and ATAC sequencing. Recently we added single-cell transcriptome analyses (single cell RNASeq) on our Chromium platform (10xGenomics).
What are we doing exactly?
After receipt of biological materials to be analyzed we perform quality control, different enrichment and depletion methods, preparation of sequencing libraries and sequencing of these libraries, depending of the specific questions. We perform data analysis in close collaboration with users. Our experiments are run on a HiSeq-2500 platform (Illumina). We have extensive experience such in bioinformatic analyses and have developed a robust and reliable pipeline followed by project-specific analyses depending on the experimental requirements.

For reliable statistical analysis, at least three biological replicates should be planned. Past experience, however, suggests that at only four or more replicates ensure the redundancy necessary to compensate failure of individual samples (“outliers”). We request a net amount of 100-1000ng RNA material, but we prefer starting with amounts at the upper margin of the range. For quality control, e.g. on the BioAnalyzer, we need some extra material. That’s why we should receive volumes of at least 10-20 ul.
Most RNA handed to us are from Qiagen- or phenol-based extraction protocols. Pooling of biological replicates does not affect the laboratory processing, but during data analysis, one can only make a summary statement. Accordingly, this is done only when there is insufficient material, e.g. sorted cells, too few cells in laser capture microdissection etc..
For the total RNA samples given to us, we perform quality control (Agilent BioAnalyzer) and will report QC results back to users. When the quality is sufficient, we will create the sequencing libraries and perform the sequencing. Data analysis is carried out in close consultation with users and we are ready to accommodate most specific requests on graphical presentation of results.

For these analyses we need a lead time of 2-3 weeks. Accordingly, we make an appointment in advance for the handover of the fresh cell suspension, preferably on a Tuesday or Wednesday. Details of the required quantity and quality of the cells will be discussed with you in advance, as well as the required sequencing depth, as this varies considerably depending on the research question. Usually, we aim for a minimum number of 5,000 cells/group/analysis. If the sequencing libraries have been successfully created, we will contact you with the QC results. After sequencing, we provide the mapped-reads but also support users in data analysis.

  • The RNA samples should be total RNA samples to ensure reliable quality control. We need information on volume, quantity, concentration and other QC data, if available.
  • All RNA should be DNAse digested, reliably and thoroughly. Please list the method.
  • For all samples, you should give us further information such as species, tissue, for cell cultures also the cell type, in sorted cells, the approx. cell number.
  • Are transcripts from an additional organism to be expected, e.g. as a result of transfection?
  • All sample names should be as short as possible and identical in the supplied data forms and on the tube labels.
  • Is there a preferred reference or a preferred gene model? We use by default: hg19/38, mm38, Rnor5/6 and the most recent Ensembl gene model.
  • Which pair- or block-wise comparisons of samples make sense? Please define sample groups for data analysis!
  • Are certain genes with differential expression known as positive controls (e.g., tested by qPCR)?
  • Is a very high or very low number of expressed genes suspected?
  • Are batch effects known? If yes, which samples belong to which batches?
  • Sample-ID (as on the tubes)
  • Volume
  • Concentration
  • Extraction type (kit)

What do the analyses cost?
We charge costs for consumables and a contribution towards costs for project-related personnel. These prices only apply to projects from the University Hospital or FAU, as this is a service subsidized by the faculty. The cost varies depending on specific research questions. Frequently requested analyses and their costs are:

  • 10xGenomics Single Cell-RNA-Seq (5.000 Cells, 20,000 reads/cell): 3,950 €
  • RNA-Seq, bulk, 3‘-DGE, single end: 450 €
  • RNA-Seq, bulk, single read: 600 €
  • RNA-Seq, bulk, paired-end: 800 €
  • ChIP-Seq/ATAC-Seq (after enrichment by users): 400 €

These costs include the preparation and provision of the data in a suitable form for the user’s own further analysis. This service requires no formal cooperation, an acknowledgment would be appropriate. Further detailed specific data analyses on a collaborative basis are of course possible and, in fact, frequently used.
Billing and settlement take place via internal cost allocation. We will send you an appropriate form with the number of samples noted. You then return this form to us, signed and with your cost account specified. For projects from the University, we issue an invoice instead.

For projects from outside Erlangen, other prices apply, which will then also include VAT. Please contact us for further information:

Arif Bülent Ekici

The Franz Penzoldt Center (PETZ) at FAU is a cross-faculty institution where both fundamental and pre-clinical research with animals can be conducted. It is open to all of the University’s working groups. The Franz Penzoldt Center has two research centres, one on the Universitätsklinikum campus on Palmsanlage, and one which is part of the biotechnical development laboratory in the heart of the University’s southern campus (Südgelände). The animals at both centers are kept in state-of-the-art facilities and species-appropriate conditions. The main goal of Franz Penzoldt Center is to continuously reduce, replace, and refine any work involving animal experiments and to constantly optimize the conditions in which the animals are kept which benefits both, the animals and the quality of scientific results (responsibility).

Further information and contact PETZ

Device platforms

Apart from the core units, researchers can access cost-intensive methods and technologies via the following device platforms.

Genetic and genomic studies for complex traits and clinical studies require high quality DNA-samples of probands as well as a rigorous and reliable handling and tracking of large numbers of samples. Starting in 2009, the IZKF core facility Z4 “DNA-Extraktionsplattform (Biobank)” was established to offer quality controlled DNA-extraction from blood samples and other body fluids, their handling and aliquoting as well as their long-term archiving. The Core Unit has two large scale semi-automatic DNA-extraction platforms, a chemagic magnetic separation module I(Perkin Elmer) and an Autopure LS (Qiagen) and has a capacity of up to 10,000 samples/year. Both platforms yield high quality DNA samples suitable for all downstream applications such as PCR, SNP genotyping, microarray applications and next-generation sequencing. Part of the instrumentation was co-funded by FAU’s Comprehensive Cancer Center. After conclusion of the IZKF funding in 2013 the core facility continues to offer its services financed through user fees.

Further information and contact Biobank

The Affymetrix device platform conducts analyses using gene chips from the company Affymetrix. These gene chips are used for gene expression analysis using RNA both in humans and in mice and rats. They are also used for SNP (single nucleotide polymorphisms) genotyping using DNA samples and genomic DNA analysis of patients or tissue and tumors to determine the number of copies.

Further information and contact Affymetrix