CTSC:MGHresources:Support Laboratories and Resources

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Biochemistry Laboratory

This laboratory contains two fume hoods, a refrigerator/freezer, a –80°C low temperature freezer, a fire safe solvent cabinet, centrifuges, a vacuum line, a lyophilizer, a table top surgical microscope, ultrafiltration apparatus, deionized water supply and laboratory bench space.

Animal Surgery Laboratory

The Martinos Center has three areas dedicated to animal surgery and preparation for scanning Room 137 is equipped with 3 workbenches, 2 independent inhalation anesthesia systems capable of using Halothane or Isoflurane, floor-standing Zeiss operating microscope, table-top operating microscope, Radionics bipolar coagulator, Ivy Systems physiologic monitor capable of monitoring blood pressure, temperature, and heart dynamics. This unit also has a built in pulse oximeter, Instrumentation Lab blood gas analyzer, and 2 temperature controlled water blankets. Room 94T is equipped with 1 workbench, 1 inhalation anesthesia system capable of using Halothane or Isoflurane, floor standing Zeiss operating microscope, temperature controlled water blanket. Room 1067 is dedicated to large animal surgery and prep and is equipped with 1 workbench, an operating table, an inhalation anesthesia system capable of using Halothane or Isoflurane and a temperature controlled water blanket.

Behavioral Testing Laboratory

The behavioral testing suite, located on the second floor of Building 149, provides a quiet and controlled environment for neuropsychological testing, developing and piloting behavioral paradigms, and running pre- and post-scan experiments with children and adults. It consists of two testing rooms with one-way mirrors (rooms 2236, 2234), separated by a control room (room 2235), which may also serve as an observation station or additional testing space. Each of these rooms is equipped with a PC, a MAC and a button-press response box (with millisecond accuracy), identical to those used in the MR research bays thereby allowing for portability of the paradigms developed in the behavioral setting. Auditory stimuli may be presented via speakers in sound-field or over headphones. A digital audio tape recorder, a microphone, a touch-screen monitor, a video projector and a projection screen will also be available for stimulus presentation and/or recording subject responses. Transfer of experimental paradigms and data backup may be accomplished with removable media.

Mock Magnet

The purpose of the mock magnet is to acclimate normal and clinical populations (children and adults) to the MRI environment in preparation for participation in MRI studies. The mock scanner is modeled after the Siemens 3T Allegra system in structure and dimensions. Its parts include an original Siemens patient table, funnel and head coil. Transducers and recordings of the scanner noise from the Siemens 1.5T (Sonata) and 3T are used to simulate the vibrations and pulse sequence noises associated with scanning. Stimuli will be presented using headphones or a rear projection system, with the mirror mounted on the head coil (as found in Bays 2, 3 and 4), along with a button box for responding. Potential subjects who are anxious about participating in MRI studies are gradually desensitized to the confined space of an MRI magnet tunnel through a series of training steps. A feedback system to help train subjects to stay still when in the scanner is being developed. The mock scanner is located near the Behavioral Testing Suite and in close proximity to the CRC Biomedical Imaging Core Facility and the 1.5T and 3T magnets.

Biomaterials Laboratory

This laboratory, physically integrated within the High Field Spectroscopy room, contains a Carver (Wabash, IN) 25 ton microprocessor controlled hydraulic press, a Spex Industries (Edison, NJ) cryogenic grinder, and a computer controlled Lindberg/Blue M (Watertown, WI) 1200 °C 3 inch tube furnace, which are used for preparation and analysis of biomaterial specimens and implants. A special MRI-compatible furnace, capable of 950 °C operation within the 4.7 T magnet, equipped with a quadrature birdcage RF coil, was engineered and fabricated in the Biomaterials Laboratory for in situ studies of high temperature materials processing.

Martinos Center Histological Analysis Lab

The laboratory is equipped with a Canon digital camera, camera stand and tripod for photographing of blockface images prior to sectioning. For tissue sectioning, we use a Leica 2000R microtome for cutting frozen sections. We have a histological staining area, immunocytochemical reagents, image analysis as well as stereology (MicroBrightField Bioscience, Inc.) equipment for quantitative analyses. Additional resources include a Nikon microscrope 80i (fluorescence and brightfield) (MVI, Inc, Avon MA) with motorized stage to complement the stereology software (MicroBrightField Bioscience, Inc.) and a Li-Cor Oydessy Infrared Imaging System (Licor Biosciences, Lincoln NE) in Brad Hyman˙s laboratory to digitize histological sections.

Electronics and Machine Shops

Instrumentation for design, construction and repair activities is distributed among three locations: (1) Bay 2/Bay 3/High Field Laboratory; (2) Bay 4/Bay 5/9.4 T Lab; and (3) Photon Migration Lab. The shops are equipped with tools for working with electronic circuitry, fiber optics and mechanical devices; equipment for fabrication of printed circuit boards; instrumentation for electronic testing and measurement of digital, analog, and RF circuitry (power supplies, voltmeters, R/L/C meter, RF power meter, oscilloscopes, gaussmeters, RF sweepers, an analog impedance meter, a digital impedance analyzer, and 5 HP RF network analyzers); and machine tools (drill presses, belt sander, grinder, band saw, 13 inch lathe, small milling machine). A stock of materials, hardware and electronic components is maintained. Machine tools are available to carry out complete computer-assisted design and fabrication of probes, animal carriers, gradient coils, etc. In addition to these capabilities, we have access to the MGH machine shop. Design and simulation tasks are supported within the Center with Windows 2000 based multiprocessor workstations running Remcom (State College, PA) BioPro 5.2 FDTD software for simulation of electromagnetic fields, Electronics Workbench Multisim 2001 (Toronto, Canada) for simulation of electrical networks, and IMSI TurboCad (Novato, CA) for mechanical design.

Computer Facilities

The Center’s IT infrastructure consists of over 200 Linux workstations and 150 Windows and Macintosh desktops on users desks owned by individual research groups. There are also a few Sun, SGI and HP workstations used at the center. There is a server farm of over 25 Linux servers handling central storage, email, web and other services. Overall storage capacity of the center exceeds 100 terabytes. There is also a 290 node computing cluster for batch analysis. 124 of the nodes are Dual Opterons (64 bit) and 18 of these nodes have 16 MB of RAM. The total CPU count is 450. The IT facilities are supported by a small IT staff of two full time PhD level network administrators and several additional full time professionals, including three full time programmers supporting in-house-developed software tools. Available commercial software includes AVS (Advanced Visual Systems, Waltham, MA), IDL (Research Systems), Mathematica (Wolfram Research, Champaign, IL), MATLAB (The MathWorks, Natick, MA) and MEDx (Sensor Systems, Sterling, VA) for general-purpose computation, simulation and image analysis; and XWIN-NMR (Bruker BioSpin), Origin (OriginLab Corp., Northampton, MA), Nuts (Acorn NMR, Livermore, CA) for analysis of NMR spectra and the Siemens IDEA development environment for pulse sequences and image reconstruction software (Siemens, Erlangen, Germany). A substantial level of internal software development for image and data analysis is ongoing, using HTML, C, C++, Java, FORTRAN, Pascal, Perl and TCL/TK.

Education Area

This area contains a conference room, audio visual laboratory (equipped with computers, TV monitors, VCRs, carousels, teaching files and tapes), staff offices and general desk space for graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty.

Administration Area

The Center’s administration area is located on the second floor of Building 149 in area 2301. Facilities located here include fax machine, Xerox, standard and color laser printers, and faculty and staff mailboxes. This area contains faculty and secretarial office space and a conference room.