Research

Infrastructure

The Nottingham Biodiscovery Institute includes a £100M suite of buildings housing nearly 850 researchers, clinicians and support staff. This collaborative environment allows innovation across six diverse research themes.

Our exceptional facilities include mammalian cell culture suites with capacity that exceeds almost any academic facility in the world, with over 120 class 2 microbiological safety cabinets. This is supported by major strengths in molecular and cell analysis, particularly around imaging and super-resolution microscopy. Our super resolution microscope facility comprises a Zeiss 780 confocal microscope combined with an Elyra PS1 Super resolution system with full environmental control. With HTA licensed laboratories, we hold a significant number of tissue samples including the world’s largest tissue microarray for breast cancer.

Three robotics suites in the BDI span stem cell culture & differentiation, to recombinant protein production in yeast and through to plating of our bespoke 83,000 compound library, which represents a diversity of chemical structures. The Synthetic Biology Research Centre (SBRC) fermentation unit is designed to facilitate industrial and academic research towards the development of new fermentation technologies and products. These large-scale fermenters allow novel re-engineered bacterial strains to covert greenhouse gas, through carbon capture, into protein for animal feed, tackling climate change. These suites can be repurposed, as shown by the stem cell robot being deployed to provide high throughput asymptomatic testing for COVID-19 across the university and NHS during 2020 and 2021.

Capabilities in cell, tissue and material engineering and bioprinting in 2D and 3D require next level analytical platforms. These span the length-scales of macro- (cell behaviours, physical attributes) to micro- and nano-scale. The latter includes protein crystallisation and high field NMR optimised for challenging systems (proteins / RNA / lipids etc). Our systems have capabilities such as high sensitivity cryogenically cooled probes, solid-state magic angle spinning (Ultrafast spinning upto 65 KHz), reaction monitoring and automaton for screening.

 

SBRC Fermentation Unit 

The SBRC fermentation unit is designed to facilitate industrial and academic research towards the development of new fermentation technologies and products.

The unit is equipped with Biolector/Robolector system, capable of performing up to 48 fermentation in parallel under controlled conditions. Making the screening of strains and optimisation of media or growth conditions faster, cheaper and efficient. The unit is also equipped with bench-top reactors of various sizes, each with well calibrated MFCs and micro-GCs for precise gas flow and in process off-gas characterisation and quantification. We are also among the very few laboratories in Europe equipped with state-of-the-art gas fermentation units for cell growth under various gas compositions including hydrogen and methane.The facility also has the expertise and equipment for the downstream processing of various bioproducts. Quantification and analytical characterisation of biomolecules is also possible within the facility and in collaboration with the SBRC analytical suite.

Our facility is open to external users and is involved in assisting industries and academia develop efficient bioprocesses for the production of biomolecules and other bioproducts.

For a full range of our laboratory capabilities please contact Nigel Minton nigel.minton@nottingham.ac.uk

Find out more about the unit

NMR High Field facility

The high field NMR facility supports researchers across the physical and life sciences, providing capability both within the university and to wider collaborations in industry and other academic institutions.  

NMR is an essential and versatile technique that provides insight to molecular structure, interaction, and chemical identity. With multi-dimensional experiments and modern pulse programs NMR is able to operate across a range of molecular scales from small metabolites to membrane bound proteins. The facility collaborates across a wide range of disciplines including: food and nutrition, looking at the interaction and distribution of sodium in the diet; industrial biotechnology, understanding whole cell process by following the production of small metabolites; structural biology, understanding the Mac-1 domain in blood coagulation; catalysis, understanding surface sites in alumina; new peptides antibiotics, synthesis and biological evaluation of analogues of plantazolicin A and goadsporin. In addition to the technical and specialist research expertise and provision of training within the facility, these collaborations provide a rich source of specialist knowledge.  

The facility includes a Bruker 600 MHz Avance III and a newly upgraded (EPSRC) state-of-the-art Bruker 800 MHz NEO 5 channel instrument. Both systems are capable of running the range of complex NMR experiments with capabilities such as high sensitivity cryogenically cooled probes, solid-state magic angle spinning (Ultrafast spinning upto 65 KHz), reaction monitoring and automaton for screening. The systems are supported with training and collaborations available. 

Contact NMR facilities manager Dr. Huw Williams huw.williams@notitngham.ac.uk 

Find out more about the facility

Nottingham Managed Compound Collection 

The University of Nottingham Managed Chemical Compound Collection is an affordable and automated compound management facility used, with success by drug discovery groups within the University of Nottingham. The custom facility, housed in the Biodiscovery Institute supports High and Medium Throughput Screening and contains more than 85,000 Lipinski “rule of 5” compliant and structurally diverse drug-like molecules. Samples are stored as 10mM DMSO stock solutions with dedicated infrastructure for quality control and sample transfer into screening plates.

We actively seek collaborative projects and can offer medicinal & computation chemistry support to projects

For further information, please contact Professor Michael Stocks, michael.stocks@nottingham.ac.uk 

Find out more about the facility

Imaging (SLIM) Super Resolution Facility 

The School of Life Sciences Imaging Facility (SLIM) has an established Super Resolution Microscope facility within the BDI, comprising a Zeiss 780 confocal microscope combined with an Elyra PS1 Super resolution system with full environmental control. The system integrates high quality confocal microscopy with Structured Illumination (SIM), Single Molecule (PALM and STORM) super resolution microscopy having the capability to move seamlessly through low resolution wide field (micron resolution) fluorescence through confocal to super resolution microscopy (50nm resolution) on one platform. The system can acquire as fast as 20 msecs per frame to long time lapse experiments over hours. It supports a wide range of research projects across the University and externally such as, biofilm studies, infection models, sub resolution localization within a multitude of cell types, drug delivery, nanotechnology, tissue engineering, biotech and food science. The microscope is an integral part of the state-of-the-art imaging facilities (SLIM) within the School of Life Sciences. The system is managed by Tim Self who leads the SLIM imaging team and Robert Markus a Senior Imaging Technician dedicated to developing super resolution at the University of Nottingham. 

For more information and access to the facility please contact Tim.self@nottingham.ac.uk or Robert.markus@nottingham.ac.uk 

Find out more about SLIM

 

 

World-class research at the University of Nottingham

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Nottingham
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research@nottingham.ac.uk
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