Cell and Molecular Biology Facility

Updated May 2, 2017

The Cell and Molecular Biology Core Facility is located in DV3092B and 3092K. The aim of this facility is to provide shared resources of equipment and services related to DNA, RNA and protein research for the UTM research community, including faculty, post-doctoral fellows, graduate students and undergraduate research students. We will be adding equipment to enhance the facility based on needs and demands.


The facility can be accessed via a key code – please contact the technician to obtain this code.
Xin Zhao will be available Monday to Friday, 8:45am to 5pm.

Contact Information:

Xin Zhao
Core Facility Technician
Department of Biology, Room DV4070
University of Toronto Mississauga
Tel: 905-569-4270
Email: xin.zhao@utoronto.ca

Facility Equipment and Consumables:

  • Bio-Rad Gel Doc XR+: Located in DV3092K, with Image Lab software. Applications include nucleic acid gels with stains of Ethidium bromide, SYBR gold, SYBR green, SYBR safe, Fast blue, Gel green and Gel red; protein gels with staining of Coomassie blue, Coomassie fluor orange, Copper stain, Flamingo fluorescent gel stain, Krypton, Oriole fluorescent gel stain, Silver stain, SYPRO ruby and Zinc stain; blots with stains of Alexa fluor488, Colorimetric reagent, Cy2, Dylight488, Fluorescein, Qdot 525, 565 and 625. Note: not for chemiluminescence blot. A digital monochrome thermal printer, P-95DW, is attached for printing images.
  • Stratagene qPCR machine Mx3005P: Located in DV3092K. The systems are fully integrated QPCR amplification, detection and data analysis systems. It provides a closed-tube PCR detection format that can be used with all fluorescence detection chemistries including SYBR® Green and EvaGreen® dyes as well as fluorogenic probe systems including TaqMan® probes, Molecular Beacons, and Scorpions. In addition, the systems support both real-time and plate-read experiments. Sample format is 96 well plate or single tube.
  • PCR machine Arktik thermal cycler: Located in DV3092K. Temperature range 4 to 99⁰C, 96 well plate format or individual tube. The integrated USB port enables protocol transfer.
  • Branson 250 Sonifier: Located in DV3092K. Suitable for a broad range of liquid processing including biological cell disruption/homogenization, emulsification, reaction acceleration, dispersion, fine mixing and degassing. It is equipped with a mirotip for 2mL to 15mL sample format, a 1/2" extensional horn for 50-250mL sample format.
  • Branson 1510- Ultrasonic cleaner: Located in DV3092B. It is used for cleaning materials and part. Tank capacity is 1.91L.
  • Nano drop 1000 Spectrophotometer: Located in DV3092B. There is no need for cuvettes, sample volume is as small as 1ul. It is ideally suited for measuring: the concentration and purity of  nucleic acid samples up to 3700 ng/ul (dsDNA) without dilution; fluorescent dye labeling density of nucleic acid microarray samples; purified protein analysis (A280) up to 100 mg/ml (BSA); expanded spectrum measurement and quantitation of fluorescent dye labeled proteins, conjugates, and metallo proteins; Bradford Assay analysis of protein; BCA Assay analysis of protein; Lowry Assay analysis of protein; Pierce Protein 660 nm Protein Assay; cell density measurements and  general UV-Vis spectrophotometry.
  • Savant Speed Vac concentrator: Located in room DV3092B, 64 sample spaces;  designed for rapid evaporation and solidification of biology solutions in 1.5 ml-2ml micro-tubes. The sample material does not settle on the sides of the tubes so that the smallest amount of diluent is required to recover the sample.
  • Christ Freeze Dryer: Model Epsilon 2-6LSC plus, located in DV3092K. The freeze dryer is a general-purpose, high-performance laboratory and pilot unit for drying solid or liquid products in vials, ampoules, tubes and other glass containers. The applications include the drying of plants, tissues, antibodies, and vaccines, etc. It is not used for drying highly corrosive substances such as hydrogen chloride (HCl), flammables and explosives, such as azide.
  • Eppendorf Vacufuge Plus: Located in room DV3092B. It is intended for sample preparation, designed for the evaporation of liquid or wet samples in 1.5 or 2ml micro-tubes, 48 tube places at maximum. It can be used as concentrator, desiccator and centrifuge; speed 1400rpm; optional temperature at 30/45/60⁰C or room temperature. Not for the use of aggressive chemicals, including strong and weak alkalis, strong acids, solutions with mercury, copper and other heavy metal ions, halogenated hydrocarbons, concentrated saline and phenol.

  • Micro-centrifuge HERMLE  Z233MK: Located in room DV3092K,  with refrigerator;  for  1.5-2ml Eppendorf tubes, 44 sample spaces;  maximum speed 15000rpm, 21380 x g.

  • Microcentrifuge Biofuge 13: Located in DV3092B, maximum speed 13,000rpm, maximum RCF 13,793, maximum capacity 18 x 2.0mL, operating temperature ambient, timer 1-99 min/Hold,
  • Eppendorf centrifuge 5810R: Located in DV3092K, with refrigerator, operating temperature range -9oC to 40oC, 4x750ml swing bucket rotor along with different adaptors for 15ml, 50 ml, 250ml tubes and multi-well plates, maximum speed 3,900rpm (3,214 x g). Rotor A-2-DWP for deep well plates is compatible with this model.

  • Bio-Rad Personal Molecular Imager (PMI) System:  Located in DV3092B.  PMI system detects a broad range of isotopes including ³²P, ³³P, ³⁵S, ᴵ⁴C and ³H. It uses storage phosphor screen technology that is at least ten times more sensitive to isotopic emission than X-ray film. The software Quantity One offers various features for quantitation of the data. The procedure for using the PMI system involves: exposing your dried gel to the Phosphorimager screen, scanning the screen, and analyzing data.

  • Beckman Ultracentrifuge Model L8-70MR: Located in DV3092K. Model L8M is a microprocessor –controlled preparative ultracentrifuge, can be used with any of Backman’s family of ultracentrifuge rotors (except the type 15 rotor and type 35 and type 42.1 rotors with serial numbers 1299 or lower); set speed 1000-70000 rpm depending on the rotors being used (Important note: Currently, the centrifuge speed can only be set up to 80% of a rotor’s maximum speed due to rotor’s aging); set temperature 0-45⁰C; set time up to 99h59min. The rotors are available at the core facility: 70T1, 70.1T1, 42.1 with serial number 1433, SW40T1, SW32T1 (belongs to Dr. Steven Short, contact Steven for use), SW40 and SW50.1.

  • Beckman Ultracentrifuge Model L7-55: Located in DV3092K. The model L7 can be used with all Beckman fixed angle (except the type15), vertical tube and swinging bucket rotors. The mode is not equipped for zonal or continuous-flow operation. Set speed 1000-55000rpm, set temperature 0-29⁰C, set time up to 9 hours 59min (Important note: Currently the centrifuge speed can only be set up to 80% of a rotor’s maximum speed due to rotor’s aging). The rotors are available at the core facility: 70T1, 70.1T1, 42.1 with serial number 1433, SW40T1, SW32T1 (belongs to Dr. Steven Short, contact Steven for use), SW40 and SW50.1.

  • RAININ E4XLS electronic multi-channel pipette: 0.5-10ul capacity; 12 channels; Raining tips with part number  17002930 (in removable –cover racks) , 17002928 ( in removable –cover racks, filter tip) and 17001128 (in bulk) can be used, other models of  Rainin 10ul tips can be used as well ( tip information is available on the Mettler –Toledo Inc. website).

  • Precision mechanic convection incubator: Located in DV3092k, temperature range up to 70 ⁰C.

  • Precision THELCO incubator oven:  Located in DV3092K, temperature range up to 225⁰C

  • Microzone horizontal Laminar flow hoods model H4-MW-99-C35 and C30:  Located in DV3092B, provide a clean work station by preventing extraneous air-bone particulates from entering the work area to protect samples from contamination; not being used for toxic and biohazard materials.

  • New Brunswick GYROTORY water bath shaker:  Located in DV3092B, orbital shaking Motion 40 to 400rpm, bath temperatures 5⁰C above ambient to 100⁰C.

  • Mandel Incubator Shaker: Located in room DV3092B. Chamber volume 53L, temperature range 5oC above ambient to 60⁰C, speed 10-300rpm, optional reciprocating motion. Maximum operating time is 99 hours, capacity is 4L. It can be used for bacterial culture.

  • Forma Scientific Orbital Shaker: Located in DV1012 and set in a 4oC cold room. Can be used for low temperature bacterial incubation at 13-18oC. Speed 25-525 rpm, can fit a maximum of 49 x 25mL flasks up to 6 x 2L flasks.

  • Spectronic 20: Located in DV3092B. Designed to operate in the visible spectrum across a wavelength range of 340nm to 950nm, with a spectral bandpass of 20nm. It is designed for quantitative absorption measurement at single wavelengths. It can be used for testing bacterial culture density at OD600.
  • Mettler Balance: Located in DV3092B, having two weighing ranges; 40 gram range, readability 0.01mg; 200 gram range, readability 0.1mg.

  • CL-1000 Ultraviolet crosslinker:  Located in DV3092B. Applications include: Crosslinking of DNA or RNA to nitrocellulose, nylon or reinforced nitrocellulose; PCR sample contamination control; photoniking of DNA;  testing RecA function; Rapid site mapping; UV sterilization and sanitization; UV curing.

  • Kenmore and Woods -20°C chest freezers: Located in DV3092B and 1074 equipment room, manual defrost.

  • CAN-TROL -20°C walk in freezer rooms: Located in DV3028 and DV1012.

  • REVCO -80°C chest and upright freezers: Located in DV3028.

  • GE 4°C fridge: Located in DV3092K.

  • CAN-TROL 4°C walk in cold rooms: Located in DV3028 and DV1012.

  • Microwave oven: Located in DV3092B.

  • The Qubit 3.0 Fluorometer: Located in DV3092B, portable. It can be used for the quantitation of DNA, RNA, microRNA, and protein using fluorescence-based Qubit quantitation assays. Applications also include ion sphere assay and fluorometer mode. The advantage of its accuracy and sensitivity makes the Qubit 3.0 ideal for quantitation of precious samples or the samples for delicate applications. To use Qubit 3.0, a Qubit Assay Kit appropriate for quantifying your samples and 0.5mL assay tubes (can be 0.5mL clear-wall PCR tubes) are needed. Order information for the assay kits can be found at www.lifetechnologies.com.

  • Thermofisher OWL A2 Large Gel System: Located in DV3092B, portable. It has a large gel running chamber and an external casting tray for high throughput and detailed DNA and RNA analysis by agarose gel electrophoresis. The system comes with a VWR power source 300V, one comb of 24 wells and three combs of 36 wells.

Facility Services:

A number of customized services and technical supports are available by contacting the core facility technician, such as basic molecular biology technique training, DNA/RNA extraction, PCR, RT-PCR, qPCR, subcloning and protein purification, etc. Fees will be associated with some services, the time commitment for such services will be discussed and will be based on a cost of $30/hour (plus the cost of materials) for internal researchers. Please contact Xin Zhao to get a quote.