Instruments in Service
Currently our core provides only four primary technologies with appropriate instruments: Surface Plasmon Resonance using a GE Biacore x100, a Titrating Calorimetery on a GE auto-iTC 200, mass spectrometry using a Maldi-TOF UltraFlex II (about 12 years old), and microarray printing using an Aushon Arrayer.
The number of users in the core has increase somewhat this year. We had 7 investigators using the auto-iTC, 11 using the Biacore, 12 users for MALDI, and 3 using the Aushon Arrayer. The Aushon Arrayer is primarily used by ECGC for fabricating glycan arrays for other clients, as well as Dr Stowell’s lab (Pathology) and Dr. Song’s lab (Biochemistry). Most of the instrument users are from 7 different departments at Emory coming from Biochemistry, Chemistry, Biomedical Engineering, Pathology, Pediatric, Pharmacology, and Radiation Oncology. We have two clients from Industry (Abeome, Athens and NovAb, Atlanta). The increase in numbers of users is partly due to our core providing initial consultation to discuss the feasibility of the projects. We also customize training protocols targeting their specific experimental aims; we think users find this approach efficient and useful.
ECGC staff maintains the instruments and we react quickly to error messages to minimize instrument down time. Repair service has been fast this year since we have purchased service contracts that include rapid service. We are aware that the service contracts are expensive and we are not generating revenue to meet costs; however, our instruments are not applicable to full time projects; i.e., none of these technologies are generally used as a sole method for a research group. Each is generally associated with addressing single questions; i.e., determination of affinity constants. The MALDI is not longer serviceable by the manufacturer, and we keep it running ourselves. Any repairs will require calling a generic repair service. Thus, this instrument is “self insured”.