Nanotechnology Resources at the CREN
The development, application and testing of new nanomaterials and devices based on nanotechnology requires the use of highly sophisticated equipment and methods. At the CREN, we offer faculty members, students and postdocs access to the latest instruments for measurement and characterization on a nanoscale level. A trained staff maintains the equipment and is available for experiment planning and user assistance.
College of Medicine
Center for Research and Education in Nanobioengineering Core
The research staff at the CREN facility provides essential guidance in MEMS fabrication techniques, electrochemical detection methods and chemical modifications of nanomaterials for faculty, staff and students.
Equipment includes a custom designed high voltage spin-coater capable of producing a wide range of nanoscale scaffolds for tissue engineering, regenerative medicine and specialized cell culture. The bioengineering lab has BSL2 safety cabinets for working safely and aseptically with cultured human cells, 3D epithelial tissue models and nanoengineered scaffolds. CO2incubators for growing cells in culture and a fluorescent inverted microscope are provided for characterizing them.
In 2010, the facility will have installed a laser confocal microscope workstation with spinning-disk technology and ProSync laser controller (Perkin-Elmer UltraView Volocity) for time studies of live cells. This cutting-edge instrument and its associated software will provide the CREN researchers with a tool to dissect out and analyze the inner workings of cells at the molecular level. Videos of molecular interactions and temporal changes can show heretofore-unseen processes, while 3-dimensional interactive images allow the researcher to view molecular structures from all angles.
There is a wet chemistry lab with fully exhausted fume hood, areas for working with toxic or flammable materials, MilliQ reagent grade water system, and equipment including rotary evaporator, UV-visible spectrophotometer, FTIR spectrometer and microbalance.
The development of laser-activated devices for cell sorting and detection of specific biomarkers is one of the great advances of this century and has become an indispensable tool for biomedical research. Members of the CREN have access to a formidable array of multi-color flow cytometers and cell sorters including the BD Canto II, the BD LSR II and the BD Aria. With these instruments, researchers can obtain simultaneous quantitative measurements of cell numbers with multiple specific characteristics. The cell sorter can be used to obtain homogeneous populations of specific cell types for experiments focusing on a certain cell population. The facility has a trained staff to teach researchers the use of the equipment and to advise them on optimizing experiment conditions.
This new imaging lab was created in 2008 with a generous donation from Pam and Les Muma. Equipment relevant to nanotech research includes a JEOL transmission electron microscope for high-resolution ultrastructural analysis and tomography, and a JEOL JSM6490 scanning electron microscope for 3D imaging combined with secondary and backscatter detectors, low vacuum mode as well as an EDAX Genesis energy-dispersive x-ray analysis system for elemental analysis.
Also available is an Olympus FV1000 MPE multiphoton laser scanning microscope able to image relatively thick sections in 3D with time-lapse video at 16 fps. The light source and optics also permit the use of infrared fluors for deep penetration and low background. This advanced microscope has the capability for FRAP (fluorescent recovery after photobleaching and FRET (fluorescent resonance energy transfer).
The imaging lab has a dedicated staff available for instructing users in the instruments, providing assistance in experiment design and help in data analysis and statistical validation.
College of Engineering
Nanomaterials and Nanomanufacturing Research Center (NNRC)
The NNRC is located in the College of Engineering and its resources are available to all qualified researchers at the University of South Florida. There is a clean-room with areas for gowning, entering and working under conditions necessary for fabricating parts for ultrasensitive devices. The Metrology Suite offers a transmission electron microscope, an X-ray diffraction analyzer and an atomic force microscope for imaging, measuring and characterizing nanoscale materials. There is a Wet Chemistry Lab for preparations requiring standard weighing, solution handling and fume-hood work. The Thin-Films Lab has equipment for sputtering, vapor deposition and e-beam and thermal deposition of thin metallic films. For probing and testing circuits and devices, there is a Testing & Packaging Lab that offers Class 10,000 clean-room space. Skilled staff and researchers are available for assistance in using the equipment and labs.
TransGenex Nanobiotech, Inc. (TGN)
TGN is a USF-Connect company located on the campus in the Tampa Bay Technology Incubator on the USF campus. The facility houses a research and testing lab for the development of customized nanomaterials and novel medical devices based on nanotech platforms. TGN staffers are available for consultation with the CREN members and the equipment can be utilized for theranostic product development and validation.