Biosafety Laboratory Facilities:
Director: Professor Sunny Jiang
Director: Professor Michael Buchmeier
Two laboratories are available to support work at the BSL2+ and BSL3 levels. These labs are fully equipped for tissue culture and virology manipulation, and personnel are available to train new investigators whose work requires access to high containment suites. The 1800-square-foot BSL3 suite contains two wet-lab rooms in addition to adjacent access corridors and dressing rooms, and is equipped for multiple workers. Four laminar flow hoods are available for tissue culture and viral work, and CO2 incubators can accommodate bacterial and animal cell cultures. High-speed and ultra-centrifuges and rotors, light microscopy, and a microplate assay reader are also present.
Within the BSL2+ facility, the following services are offered: water quality testing for viruses and other infectious agents, microbial pollution source identification and rapid virus monitoring for water supplies.
UCI Genomics High Throughput Facility
Director: Dr. Suzanne Sandmeyer
UCI Computational Biology Research Laboratory (CBRL)
Directors: Dr. G. Wesley Hatfield and Dr. Rick Lathrop
Many research programs at UCI and around the world would be advanced by the ability to produce a synthetic gene rapidly that encodes a protein of interest and is optimized for desirable sequence properties, such as optimal translation kinetics for folding and expression in a chosen target organism. However, since most genes are hundreds to thousands of nucleotides long and it is not possible accurately to synthesize DNA molecules longer than fifty to eighty nucleotides, the rapid synthesis of tailored genes has not been possible. Now, Rick Lathrop of the UCI School of Information and Computer Science, and Wes Hatfield, Professor Emeritus of the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics in the UCI College of Medicine, have developed and secured UC patent protection on methods to accomplish this very task. This method involves the computational optimization of DNA sequences to allow the correct self-assembly of many overlapping short synthetic DNA oligonucleotides into a complete gene of any desired nucleic acid or amino acid sequence. More specifically, scores of short overlapping synthetic nucleotides, each around fifty nucleotides long, are designed so that complementary, overlapping, regions on alternating strands will hybridize with great efficiency at a high temperature that precludes all nonproductive hybridization events. The thermal stability of these self-assembled genes allows them to be hybridized into any plasmid expression vector and transformed into cells, or used directly as DNA templates to produce proteins in coupled in vitro transcription-translation systems. Since this method is rapid (no more than a few hours) and demands no more than mixing, heating, and cooling, computationally designed oligonucleotides in solution with no purification steps, it is imminently suited for automation for such applications as rapidly producing the entire proteomes or genomes of organisms.