Molecular Biomarker Core

The Molecular Biomarker Core is a 2,000-square-foot wet lab facility that provides School of Nursing researchers, as well as the greater Case Western Reserve University research community, with services and shared resources to successfully carry out translational biomarker investigations targeting a wide range of DNA, RNA, and protein analytes in human biofluids.

  • A Thermo Scientific Sorvall Legend XTR refrigerated benchtop centrifuge and an Esco class II biosafety cabinet for processing of blood products. 
  • Multiple Thermo Scientific XLT -80°C ultralow temperature freezers equipped with remote monitoring and electronic inventory management for storage and tracking of biological specimens.
  • Two Opentrons OT-2 liquid handling robots for automated specimen processing, nucleic acid isolation, and assay set up as part of high-throughput biomarker workflows.
  • Small equipment for microcentrifugation, western blot, ELISA, nucleic acid isolation, conventional PCR, and gel electrophoresis.
  • A Thermo Scientific NanoDrop photospectrometer for nucleic acid quantification.
  • An Applied Biosystems Step-One thermal cycling system system for quantitative gene expression analysis and genotyping assays. 
  • A MesoScale Discovery QuickPlex SQ120 system for multiplexed chemiluminescence immunoassays, as well as a Fisher Scientific Multiskan microplate reader for colormetric immunoassays.
  • An Invitrogen E-Gel Imaging system and a LI-COR cDigit scanner for documentation of gels and blots.

The laboratory is directed by Dr. Grant O’Connell, a PhD-trained biomedical scientist and board certificated Molecular Biology technologist by the American Society for Clinical Pathology; he has an extensive background in both molecular diagnostics and clinical biomarker research, including prior experience managing research and development programs in the diagnostics industry.

The lab is managed by Jing Wang, a Master’s trained biomedical engineer with nearly a decade of bench experience. These expertise can be leveraged by researchers for pre or post award consultation regarding project design and implementation; the staff can provide guidance regarding the development of clinical workflows for biospecimen collection, laboratory workflows for both small and large-scale biomarker discovery screens, including those involving automation, and even the development of prototype point-of-care or laboratory-based diagnostic tests.

Projects can be carried out by the laboratory staff on a fee-for-service basis, or by investigators through the use of shared equipment with proper training. There are currently no fees for School of Nursing investigators for the use of shared equipment, however investigators external to the School of Nursing are billed on an hourly or per-use basis where applicable.