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Shannon McCormack Advanced Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory (DFCI)

Director: Morrison, Paul T.

Location: DFCI North Campus 4th floor, 21-27 Burlington Avenue, Boston, MA 02215


The Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory provides such research services as microRNA expression profiling, human cell line identity verification, mutation detection for clinical research studies, and specimen processing for clinical research studies to investigators at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, as well as to investigators at other institutions. Consultation on experimental design and assistance with data analysis are also available.






  • Human cell line identity verification ( Material analysis service )

    "Cultured cells used in research can become altered in culture, either by contamination from other cell lines or by spontaneous genetic changes after a high number of subcultures. The American Type Culture Collection (ATCC) recommends using low passage cell lines and authentication of cell lines used in research to assure reliable and reproducible results.

    The Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory has adopted the Promega PowerPlex 1.2 system to authenticate human cell lines as a service to investigators. The PowerPlex 1.2 system uses a multiplex PCR approach to coamplify 8 highly polymorphic STRs and the Amelogenin gene in the human genome. The amplified DNA fragments of each sample are resolved on the Applied Biosystems 3100 Genetic Analyzer with Applied Biosystems Genotyper 2.0 software and the Promega PowerTyper TM 1.2 Macro file to determine cell line genotypes.

    Please note that this genotyping method assays 9 (for female) or 10 (for male) locations in the genome. Changes that may have arisen at other loci during cell culture will not be detected by this method."

  • miRNA expression profiling ( Material analysis service )

    "Total RNA or low molecular weight-enriched RNA is converted into cDNA using a single 'megaplex' reverse transcriptase reaction. The megaplex reaction contains a specific stem-loop primer for each of the mature target microRNA's (Each stem-loop primer is designed to hybridize to only the fully mature microRNA, and not to precursor forms of its target.). The cDNA is subjected to a 'pre-amplification' PCR. The diluted pre-amplification products serve as substrates for TaqMan quantitative PCR reactions. The assays that comprise this process are manufactured by Applied Biosystems."

  • Mutation detection for clinical research studies ( Material analysis service )

    "The Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory provides mutation detection services for larger clinical research studies.

    Contact the lab director by email for details, or to set up an appointment to discuss your project."

  • Specimen processing and banking for clinical research studies ( Material production service )

    "The Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory (MDL) can process clinical samples such as whole blood or bone marrow aspirate for larger clinical studies.

    Processing services may include the extraction of genomic DNA, total RNA, isolation of mononuclear cells, and sample banking. All samples and derived components are tracked within the Specimen Tracking Information Program (STIP), which is used extensively throughout the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The samples and derived products are stored appropriately for long term banking within the MDL.

    Contact the lab director by email for details, or to set up an appointment to discuss your project.

    Note: MDL is not a CLIA certified lab."

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Last updated: 2019-09-05T13:55:01.864-04:00

Copyright © 2016 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College
The eagle-i Consortium is supported by NIH Grant #5U24RR029825-02 / Copyright 2016