Research instrumentation core facility

The Research Instrumentation core provides CRUK CI scientists with support and access to a range of state-of-the-art equipment and specialised technologies.

Our lab offers technical/scientific advice, troubleshooting support and appropriate training for all the facility’s equipment. We routinely test the capabilities of our equipment, optimise current or new techniques for our instruments, and horizon scan to maximise the quality of data generated by our instruments.

Protein gel electrophoresis

We provide access to a wide range of gel electrophoresis equipment for analysis of protein samples, including a fully automated Western blotting instrument (ProteinSimple Wes). We have the capability for both 1- and 2-dimensional separation of proteins which together with our range of digital camera and scanner imaging systems digitise images improving the accuracy of quantification.


The Biacore T100 (T200 sensitivity enhanced) is capable of measuring molecular interactions in real-time. It can provide label-free measurements of the affinity and kinetics of interactions, as well as the thermodynamic properties underlying association and dissociation rates. This instrument has proved pivotal in a number of on-going research studies at the Institute investigating the kinetics of protein:protein interactions, protein:DNA interactions and peptide:liposome interactions.

Plate readers and spectrophotometers

The Research Instrumentation core provides access to three high-specification plate readers (a BMG PHERAstar FS with plate stacker, a BMG CLARIOstar and a Tecan Infinite 200). These are used extensively by most research groups in the Institute for a wide range of absorbance, fluorescence and/or luminescence assays. Our final absorbance spectrophotometer is a Direct Detect spectrophotometer for accurate quantification of small volume protein samples.

Imaging systems

The core houses five imaging systems that produce digital images from a wide range of different samples. The Amersham Typhoon 5 produces images of radioactive, visible/near infra-red fluorescent or chemiluminescent samples, while the Li-Cor Odyssey CLx images fluorescence specifically in the infra-red region. ImageScanner III is a high-resolution flatbed scanner for imaging non-fluorescent samples. The facility also has a high resolution camera system, the Amersham Imager, capable of capturing both fluorescent and chemiluminescent images, and a GelCount colony counter. Dedicated analysis software packages can accurately quantify protein/DNA bands, colonies or spots captured by any of these imaging systems.

Figure 1. Typical images generated from our imaging systems; (a) IR-800/IR-680 multiplexed Western blot, (b) GFP or (c) tdTomato-stained cells in a dish/multi-well plate, (d) IR800-stained tissue sections, (e) Cy3/Cy5 microarray, (f) 2D-DiGE gel, and (g) AF-488/Cy3-stained primary cells.

Molecular biology applications

Research Instrumentation houses an 8-channel NanoDrop, a DeNovix DS-11 fluorimeter and several Qubit instruments for quantification of small volume nucleic acid (and protein) samples. We also have a Blue Pippin for resolving and collecting DNA, a CHEF III pulsed-field gel electrophoresis system for separation of large DNA molecules, a real-time PCR instrument, and a number of E-Gel iBases/MotherBases for fast separation of DNA and RNA.

Group members