Core Facilities, Research Facilities and Teaching Facilities

As a joint program of the Division of Engineering and the Division of Biology and Medicine, the Center for Biomedical Engineering (BME) integrates the engineering and physical sciences with the life sciences and clinical practice. BME faculty and students work in labs in the Division of Engineering, Departments of Physics, Chemistry, Computer Science, and several basic science and clinical Departments of the Division of Biology and Medicine. This multi-disciplinary, inter-divisional and inter-institutional community has access to a wide range of cutting edge tools, methodologies and technologies from both the engineering sciences and the life sciences and are using them in exciting and novel ways to answer critical questions at the interface of Biology, Medicine and Engineering. Listed below are descriptions and links to these rich and varied resources which are housed in labs across campus as well as our hospital partners. A searchable database, CoresRI, also exists for locating specific equipment contained in core facilities throughout the state of Rhode Island.

Depending on the facility and its activities/technology, the model by which BME faculty and students access these resources varies. Some facilities provide standard services for a flat fee, others provide open access along with training, others are restricted to collaborative research efforts only, while others are for teaching purposes only. Brown University provides an outstanding environment for state-of-the-art research and teaching in biomedical engineering.

Core Facilities and Research Facilities

Animal Care Facility

The Animal Care Facility (ACF) team is dedicated to supporting the education and research mission of Brown University while maintaining compliance with federal and state animal care principles, guidelines and regulations.  The veterinarians are directly responsible for the care and use of all animals, which are essential to meaningful research.

Core Research Laboratories, Rhode Island Hospital

Core Research Laboratories is a network of centralized facilities located at Rhode Island Hospital, Providence, Rhode Island.  The laboratories offer a broad spectrum of technical services to the research community, including digital imaging, flow cytometry, histology, and electron microscopy, on a fee-for-service basis.

Flow Cytometry and Sorting Facility

The purpose of this facility is to provide technical assistance to Brown researchers by performing flow cytometry based analysis and sorting. The facility has a 3-laser, 15-Parameter BD FACSAria for flow sorting applications.

Genomics and Proteomics Core

The Center for Genomics and Proteomics is located at the Laboratories for Molecular Medicine, 70 Ship Street, Providence, RI.  The facility has equipment for detection of nucleic acid sequences, flow cytometry, hybridization, scanning, microplate reading, as well as a nanodrop and bioanalyzer, all available for use with a nominal fee.

Leduc Bioimaging Facility

The Leduc Bioimaging Facility, open to all investigators, provides equipment and training dedicated to high-resolution imaging in the life sciences. The facility includes a transmission electron microscope, a scanning electron microscope, two fluorescence microscopes, a fluorescence stereomicroscope, three confocal laser scanning microscopes, and software for image analysis. The facility also maintains equipment for sample preparation, including a critical point dryer, sputter coater, and microtomes for ultrathin sectioning.

Microelectronics Facility

The Microelectronics Core Facility provides the necessary microfabrication resources for research into modern microelectronic devices. It contains the varied pieces of equipment required for a complete fabrication sequence of such devices as transistors and lasers, including tools for lithography, etching, metal and dielectric deposition, and various thermal treatments. Run on a user fee basis, it provides the primary fabrication support for faculty in Engineering and Physics studying nanostructures and advanced devices, as well as technological services to colleagues in other departments at Brown (such as Biology and Medicine, or Chemistry), to local industry and to researchers at other academic institutions. In addition, the Facility supports graduate and undergraduate instruction, including an undergraduate Design of Semiconductor Devices experimental course that is entirely run on Microelectronics Facility equipment.

Molecular Pathology Core: COBRE Center for Cancer Research and Development

The molecular pathology core laboratory provides instrumentation as well as specialty immuno-histochemical services for the department of pathology.  The facility is equipped with an Arcturus AutoPix automated laser capture microdissection instrument, Olympus BX41 with CoolSnap Camera from Media Cybernetics and Image Pro-Plus Software, Stratagene MX4000 quantitative Real Time PCR system, BioRad iCycler, Agilent BioAnalyser, Ventana Discovery automated immunohistochemistry processor, microtome and cryostat, Beecher tissue arrayer and 40 cubic feet of 80 degrees Celsius freezer space for the tumor bank.

Molecular Pathology Research Core: Superfund Basic Research Program

The Molecular Pathology Core provides both biomedical and engineering researchers the technical expertise and scientific equipment necessary to evaluate and diagnose pathological alterations from the nano to the organismal level.  The Core enables investigators to apply histopathological, immuno-histochemical and immuno-cytological methods in order to visualize morphology through various microscopic techniques, and also provides thin sectioning capability for electron and transmission.

Mouse Transgenic and Knockout Facility

The function of the Transgenic Facility is to support investigators both through generation of transgenic and mutant mice to facilitate access to mouse models of human diseases. We are part of the Center for Genetics and Genomics. 

MRI Research Facility

The MRI Research Facility (MRF) is located in the Sidney Frank Hall for Life Sciences and is affiliated with the University’s Institute for Brain Science.  The centerpiece of the Facility is a state-of-the-art research dedicated Siemens 3 Tesla TIM Trio. The scanner is equipped with 32 receiver channels for significant gains in signal-to-noise ratio and acquisition speed. Ongoing research includes studies of brain structure and function in normal and clinical populations as well as studies of other body systems, non-invasive animal imaging and materials science.

NSF/EPSCoR Proteomics Facility

This facility is sponsored by a recently awarded NSF/EPSCoR grant, a Rhode Island Science and Technology Advisory Council grant, and an NIH NCRR grant and is dedicated to understanding protein structure and function.  The facility has equipment for circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy, differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC) surface plasmon resonance, and mass spectrometry.

Polymer Characterization Facility

The Polymer Characterization Facility at Brown University was established in 2009 under the auspices of the Bioengineering Core Facility.  Operating at the interface between polymer science and biology, their experts can develop and fully characterize novel polymeric drug delivery systems for controlled release and tissue engineering applications. The facility houses specialized instrumentation for the physical characterization of polymers and biomaterials and provides services for Brown, the BME community and industry.

Proteomics Core: COBRE Center for Cancer Research and Development

The Core seeks to make state-of-the-art protein analysis/purification instrumentation and techniques available for specific research projects and assist investigators in choosing appropriate methods and techniques for specific research objectives. The Core has equipment for biomarker discovery, mass spectrometry, gel preparation and analysis, chromatography, and peptide synthesis, as well as a hybridoma facility.

Rhode Island BioBank

The Rhode Island BioBank (RIBB) collects, processes, stores and distributes biological samples for research purposes.  The samples can be linked to medical and lifestyle information about the participant. The most commonly stored biological samples are blood products and DNA, as well as urine, saliva and tumor samples. Biobanking often includes occasional contact with the research participant, in order to get up to date information on their health.

Rhode Island Genomics and Sequencing Center

The Rhode Island Genomics and Sequencing Center (RIGSC) was established to provide technical and analytical support for molecular biology and genomics research at the University of Rhode Island and all RI EPSCoR institutions including Brown University. The mission of the RIGSC is to facilitate interdisciplinary genomics research and undergraduate and graduate student training opportunities by providing researchers access to cutting-edge technologies in the field of genomics.  The RIGSC offers services in robotic sample preparation, DNA sequencing, fragment analysis , real-time quantitative PCR and the identification of microbial species and phenotypes, as well asimaging services using transmitted light, epifluorescence, and laser scanning confocal microscopy.

RI-INBRE Centralized Research Core Facility

The RI-INBRE Centralized Research Core Facility is located in Room 222 of Fogarty Hall, the home of the College of Pharmacy at the University of Rhode Island’s Kingston campus. The facility provides research and training support to RI-INBRE participants and to the Rhode Island biomedical research community. It is equipped with instrumentation for biomedical, pharmaceutical, and biotechnological research.

Water Flume

Located within the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, the variable-speed water flume was acquired through a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant, not only suitable for fresh water and marine organisms, but for use in motion studies as conducted in orthopedics.

X-Ray Reconstruction of Moving Morphology

X-Ray Reconsruction of Moving Morphology (XROMM) is a 3D imaging technology for visualizing rapid skeletal movement in vivo.  XROMM combines 3D models of bone morphology with movement data from biplanar x-ray video to create highly accurate (±0.1 mm) re-animations of the 3D bones moving in 3D space. Rapid bone motion, such as during bird flight, frog jumping, and human running, can be visualized and quantified with XROMM. The use of high-resolution 3D bone models in XROMM means that motion can be studied in the context of detailed skeletal morphology.

Teaching Facilities

Engineering Instructional Computer Facility

The Computer Lab, located in Barus & Holley, provides each authorized user disk storage space and printing services.  Computers provide an array of software for computational, analytical, and graphical purposes.

Multidisciplinary Laboratory

The Multidisciplinary Laboratory (MDL) is located in the Biomedical Center, occupying space on the basement, first floor and second floor levels. It oversees the teaching labs and it provides technical laboratory support and audiovisual support for the Division of Biology and Medicine.