The NIH BMRC is located within the newly renovated state-of-the-art 80,000 sq. ft. research facility in Building 114 at MGH East in Charlestown, adjacent to the MGH's major research facility in Building 149 (1 million sq. ft.). Other functions on the first floor that are accessible by BMRC are a conference room for 400 people that can be partitioned into 3 smaller units (equipped with full spectrum of video and conference amenities), 3 meeting rooms, a kitchen, and a fully equipped animal facility. The building also houses Center for Aging, Genetics and Neurodegeneration; Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition; Mucosal Immunology; Pediatric Surgery; and Cardiovascular Research.
The BMRC occupies fully-equipped 5,000 sq. ft. space on the first floor, and an additional space of 2,000 sq. ft immediately above on the second floor. Office space includes principal investigator offices, administrative staff section, computer facility, and fellows' offices. Laboratory space is organized into four sections: (1) microsystems technology laboratory consisting of an 800 sq. ft. Class 1000 cleanroom with a complete set of MEMS equipment, 100 sq. ft. gowning area (Class 10,000), 400 sq. ft. soft lithography area, and 100 sq. ft. service chase; (2) tissue culture facility; (3) wet lab space including chemical fume hoods; (4) microscopy facility. An additional 6,600 sq. ft. of space in Building 149 is currently being renovated to provide a collaborative space to be shared between the BMRC and the MGH Cancer Center.
The Cleanroom Facility is one critical element of the laboratory space. The Cleanroom is integrated within a biological laboratory which includes tissue culture, microscopy, chemistry, and wet-lab facilities. The Cleanroom is divided into three rooms in increasing levels of cleanliness (class 100,000, class 10,000, and class 1,000) and is fully equipped to perform photolithography and microscale manufacturing and characterization. Key equipment include: a Neutronix-Quintel NXQ4006 Mask Aligner capable of processing 4" and 6" wafers, Quintel Q-2001CT Mask Aligner capable of processing 4" and 2" wafers, Olympus Metallurgical Microscope, Bruker Nano ContourGT-K1 Optical Profilometer, Vecco Dektak3 ST Surface Profilometer, Machine World 2 Step Spinner, Despatch 1CC1-11 Cleanroom Ovens, Blue M Vacuum Oven, Wet Station Caps, and March PX-2527 Plasma System. The functions performed by the Facility involve surface chemistry and engineering using self-assembled monolayers, microfluidic systems and networks, surface etching, photolithography and patterning techniques.
The BMRC houses five upright and five inverted microscopes, all equipped for state of the art fluorescence, bright field, and phase contrast microscopy. All include motorized stages, and most are fully automated. These microscopes are largely controlled by proprietary Nikon Elements software that enables one to take repeated images at multiple locations on multi-well plates. Images can be acquired both in brightfield and fluorescence using CCD digital (monochrome) cameras, and stored for subsequent analysis. Image acquisition is accomplished and image analysis and processing is performed using a variety of hardware and software packages, including Metamorph (Invitrogen), Elements (Nikon), Cell Profiler, and ImageJ. Additional archival storage up to 500Tb is available online through the MGH Information Systems services.
One inverted microscope, a Nikon TiE, includes an incubating housing that maintains proper conditions for cell growth (37C and 5% CO2) for multi-day experiments. An additional incubating enclosure can be used on multiple other microscopes for short-term experiments. Microscopic capabilities available include multi-slide scanning, DIC imaging, multi-color fluorescence imaging, high-speed imaging (up to 90,000 fps), and magnifications up to 100x. A variety of other microscopes with bright field and/or phase contrast capabilities are available for various tasks including microfluidic setup, cell culture manipulations, etc. Biological samples (in vivo, in vitro) can be processed for paraffin histology (fixation, embedding, sectioning, staining) and immunochemistry (peroxidase, fluorescence) using the following equipment: a VIP 2000 tissue processor, a Tissue-Tek embedding console, a Jung 820 rotary microtome and a Leica 3050S cryomicrotome. Specimen evaluation is accomplished using both basic and advanced microscopes.
Computational resources include a computational cluster consisting of a network of more than 30 computers, along with distributed and cloud processing capabilities. A Computational Cluster distributed network of more than 30 computers that perform a variety of tasks. We have 4-, 8-, and 32-core computers that are dedicated to computer simulation using COMSOL, Matlab, and similar tools. Various other computers are dedicated to technical drawing (AutoCAD, SolidWorks), image processing (NIS-Elements, MetaMorph, ImageJ), microscope control (NIS-Elements, Micro-Manager), and data acquisition (LabView). In addition, both local and remote servers store experimental data and enable distributed file sharing and editing.
Other facilities and equipment available to the investigators at the BioMEMS Resource Center include:
- A 1500 sq. ft. animal resource facility consisting of eight individual animal housing rooms, one cage wash and two survival surgery procedure rooms adjacent to the instrument prep/surgeon scrub facility. The facility is managed by the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Comparative Medicine. The facility houses rats and mice (regular, transgenic, and immunosuppressed).
- a 1000 sq. ft. glass washing facility equipped with two large steam sterilizers, one 3M gas sterilizer, one Hotpack P4000E glasswasher, and one Forma, large capacity glass dryer.
- An open laboratory space configuration with laboratory benches located around the perimeter of the building, constituting the bulk of the overall facility space. Four 5´ fume hoods in the open laboratory space are available and each sink is supplied with recirculating reverse osmosis deionized water.
- A tissue culture room which contains three biological safety cabinets, one fluorescence and phase contrast microscope, a refrigerated centrifuge, one Coulter counter, and six double upright CO2 incubators. The tissue culture room is approved for experimentation requiring BioLevel 2 containment. Two more biological safety cabinets and CO2 incubators are located in other areas of the building.