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Harvard NeuroDiscovery Center - Advanced Tissue Resource Center (HMS)

Director: Vanderburg, Charles, Ph.D.

Location: Advanced Tissue Resources Center MGH, Charlestown Navy Yard, B114-2725D, 114 16th Street, Charlestown, MA 02129


The NeuroDiscovery Advanced Tissue Resource Center (ATRC) provides state-of-the-art molecular pathology resources to the Harvard community. Current resources include laser capture microscopy, DNA/RNA/miRNA quality/expression analysis, Luminex FlexMap 3D multiplex bead cytometry, and real-time PCR.

Users should use the ATRC online calendar to check instrument availability prior to booking time. All booking is done directly with ATRC staff.

The ATRC is a fee-for-use facility. For NeuroDiscovery members, the first 10 hours of training, consultation and instrument use is free. This initial period is intended to provide a first time user with preliminary data/proof of concept regarding their project, and is generally sufficient when investigators work under the aegis of ATRC staff. Thereafter, the base fee varies depending on activity and the extent of your proposed work. Project-based charge-back agreements for large projects can be negotiated with the ATRC Director, Dr. Charles Vanderburg.

Before using the facility, investigators are required to submit an ATRC user form including a brief research summary of their proposed project to the core director. For more information, or to schedule your initial visit, please contact the ATRC.

Although priority is given to NeuroDiscovery members investigating neurodegenerative diseases and the CNS, the facility is also available to any academic investigators within the Harvard medical community and the greater-Boston research community. Under special arrangements the facility may also be made available to the commercial sector. Please contact ATRC Director, Dr. Charles Vanderburg, for details.








  • ATRC Reagent Bank access ( Access service )

    As part of the Harvard NeuroDiscovery Center's commitment to furthering research within the Harvard neuroscience community, the ATRC makes certain reagents available to NeuroDiscovery members.

    The ATRC Reagent Bank contains a number of general utility bio-reagents that we have designed, produced and/or characterized in our laboratory for neuroscience research.

    Included is the ATRC Primer Panel which we use in conjunction with a set of Brain cDNAs in our BioRad qPCR assay.

    The ATRC reagent bank sometimes contains surplus tissue-derived reagents such as Brain RNAs, LCM dissected samples, and cryosections.

    The ATRC also hopes to garner new additions to our reagent bank coincident with projects carried out by NeuroDiscovery members.

    Collaboration-minded investigators interested in sharing research reagents that they have generated in their own laboratories are invited to contribute to our Reagent Bank.

    Please send a message containing germane details and your contact information to ATRC Director Dr. Charles Vanderburg, PhD and we will post it along with the appropriate recognition.

  • DNA/miRNA quality analysis ( Material analysis service )

    "A major problem in the use of banked tissue is the variability of recovery and quality of RNA. Experienced users of the various local brain banks report an approximate yield of less than 50% of the material they need. While the underlying biologic issues that explain this poor yield are complicated, it is extremely important to assess nucleic acid quality of a specimen before investing significant time and other resources in subsequent analysis.

    To provide this 'quality control', the ATRC has an Agilent 2100 Bioanalyzer for unbiased assessment of RNA/DNA quality of tissue samples. miRNA-sized small RNAs can also be visualized with the Agilent bioanalyzer.

    We have studied the relationship between total RNA stability and miRNA stability using a combination of Agilent bioanalysis, rtPCR and the FlexMiR assay.

    As such, we are able to reliably assess the quality of miRNA samples prior to expression analysis."

  • Laser capture microscopy service ( Material analysis service )

    "One of the consistent characteristics of neurodegenerative diseases is that they affect specific and stereotyped parts of the nervous system.

    Laser Capture Microscopy (LCM) enables researchers to precisely isolate material from these regions at the microscopic level. Investigators are able to isolate DNA, mtDNA, mRNA, miRNA and protein from precise populations of neurons. Proteins can then be used directly in experiments, while DNA and RNA samples can be expanded through appropriate amplification techniques."

  • miRNA expression analysis ( Material analysis service )

    "We have recently built upon the ATRC’s expertise by creating a miRNA core facility that allows investigators to examine the central nervous system miRNA profile and determine the relevance of miRNA species to AD and other neurodegenerative diseases.

    Leading edge technology and expert scientific support dedicated to the neurodegenerative diseases provides ATRC investigators with ready access to this emerging and increasingly relevant area of research.

    miRNA services include tissue and LCM-derived miRNA collections and amplifications, and Human/Rodent miRNA expression analyses based on the Luminex FlexMAP 3D/FlexMiR miRNA assay."

  • Tissue resource training service ( Training service )

    "A large part of the ATRC's role is to provide consultation, training, and experimental support for investigators interested in using the facility to its full capacity."

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Last updated: 2015-11-19T12:08:30.827-05:00

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