The Center is a fully equipped, stand-alone biomedical research facility that occupies the 7th (top) floor of the MultiStory Building in the West Complex of the University of Virginia Medical Center on Jefferson Park Avenue in Charlottesville. This building previously served as the University Hospital and was entirely renovated in the early 1990s. The corridors and laboratories are appointed with oak woodwork furniture and cabinets, using blue as the accent color. Large windows in the laboratories that run across the front of the building afford views overlooking of the Medical Center and hills in the nearby countryside, including Monticello, home of Thomas Jefferson.
The laboratories are connected together thereby facilitating shared use of equipment, and promoting interactions between various laboratory groups. On the interior of the floor plan are faculty offices, desk areas and equipment and tissue culture rooms. A wide public corridor provides access to the Center administrative offices, conference room, cold room, and shared equipment and instruments. Other laboratories on the rear side of the building have the same arrangement of labs along the outside walls, providing plenty of natural light to all the laboratories. The Center offers an outstanding working environment.
Overall, the Center has all the facilities and instrumentation to culture a variety of cells and to produce and purify many different natural or recombinant DNA, proteins and enzymes. The Center for Cell Signaling is well equipped for research involving biochemistry, molecular biology and cell biology. Incubators and sterile transfer hoods in multiple locations allow for the culture of mammalian cells or bacteria or yeast. Multiple PCR machines are available, including real-time q-PCR. A dishwashing and autoclave facility supports these activities. Harvesting of cells and initial fractionation employs a variety of superspeed and ultracentrifuges. Protein and enzyme purifications may use one of the multiple FPLC, HPLC, and traditional chromatography systems in two walk-in coldrooms plus reach-in cold cabinets. Gel electrophoresis and immunoblotting are available in every lab, and we have an Odyssey 2D fluorescent scanner for quantification of Westerns. Stained gels can be analyzed with a CCD camera imaging system, and those containing radiolabeled molecules with a PhosphorImager (Molecular Dynamics). Assays can produce colored or fluorescent products that are analyzed by a UV-visible spectrophotometer or microtiter plates readers with selectable filters, or radiolabeled products that are analyzed with a liquid scintillation counter (Beckman). There are three separate microscope systems for imaging cells, a Nikon upright microscope for fixed specimens and a Zeiss and a Nikon inverted microscopes for live specimens. These all have high-speed digital cameras and OpenLab software study the behavior of normal and cancer cells.
The Center shares these facilities with investigators in the Department of Radiation Oncology located on the same floor on the North wing of the building, forming a community of about 50 individual researchers. The main building is connected by two inside walkways to Pinn Hall, the home of other basic science departments and research core facilities.