Research centers and equipment
Interdisciplinary research centers promote cooperation across disciplines and accelerate the translation of basic research results into new treatment methods.
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 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.
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.
Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) is a revolutionary technology which is based on massive-parallel sequencing of short DNA-fragments. Millions of DNA fragments are produced in parallel allowing for ultra deep sequencing, which following sophisticated bioinformatic analyses can be realigned to a reference sequence. The main application is genome or exome sequencing in humans and animal or plant models. Numerous methodological developments have been made allowing also other applications such as transcriptome and methylome profiling or chromatin-immunoprecipation sequencing, all of which were previously performed using microarray based experimental designs.
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).
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.
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.