The laboratory houses a state-of-the-art infrastructure for conducting cellular and molecular biology experimentation to understand the genetic mechanisms of health and ageing, with a strong focus on neurological and cardiovascular disease.
The laboratory is structured to perform routine molecular and cellular biology experiments on a variety of in vitro human cellular models and in vivo C.elegans models, allowing gene engineering and generation of 2D and 3D advanced cell culture, electrophysiology, confocal microscopy and mass spectrometry measurements.
The Biomedicine lab covers almost 900 square meters and is structured in both general open spaces, plus isolated rooms for more specialized operations. Our researchers aim to understand the molecular events occurring in disease, identifying and modelling specific genetic mutations. To do this they first rely on statistical and bioinformatic approaches, including genome-wide linkage and association studies and next-generation sequencing techniques, to identify genes/mutations of interest. Once genetic changes that contribute to the development of disease have been identified, researchers then use cellular models to try to understand what is taking place in the cells as a result of those genetic variations. Many technologies in the laboratory support this work, from simple DNA and protein analysis up to more complicated molecular characterizations. Cell models range from simple 2D mono- or co-culture in primary or secondary cells, up to advanced 3D spheroid or organoids capable of mimicking certain aspects of human tissue or mini-organs. These cell models can be derived from reference cell lines, and edited with CRISPR/Cas9 technology, or can be drawn from our biobank of >13,000 individuals who have participated in our ongoing population health study. With the single cell electrophysiology, or MEA systems, we can study the electrical properties of all cell models we generate, and we can also perform static or live high-resolution imaging with our Leica confocal microscope with white-light laser. The Lab also has a Mass Spectrometry facility with which to perform metabolomic or proteomic characterization of our models as a way to look for new biomarkers for health and disease and study the efficiency of novel interventional strategies to treat disease. As well as using advanced human cell models, we can perform in vivo screening of the effects of certain mutations using the powerful genetics in the invertebrate C.elegans model system.