The Centre for Microbial Chemical Biology (CMCB)

McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario
What the facility does

A state-of-the-art research centre providing support, training and services in protein and cell biology, high-throughput screening, chemical synthesis and purification, mass spectrometry, and NMR.

Area(s) of Expertise

The CMCB is a unique facility designed to serve academic and industrial researchers working in the disciplines of chemistry and biology. It is professionally managed by five full-time staff and features six integrated labs designed to cover a large scope of research activities. The high-throughput screening lab supports drug discovery activities and features a small molecule collection of 320 000 compounds;  the protein and cell biology lab assists with bacterial and mammalian cell culturing activities, protein purification and assay technologies; the bioanalyticallab offers proteomics and metabolomics services as well as high resolution mass confirmation; the chemical synthesis lab supports natural product isolation and purification, as well as chemical synthesis activities; the NMR lab offers a 700 MHz instrument with cryoprobeand the bioinformatics lab offers a range of computational services within the biological sciences. 

Research Services

High-throughput screening, in-vitro screening of custom compounds, cell growth and lysis, protein purification and analysis, chromatographic separations, proteomics, metabolomics, high resolution mass confirmation, biomolecular interactions, kinetic analysis, spectrometry, medicinal chemistry, natural-product isolation, structural determination of organic compounds

Sectors of Application
  • Agriculture, animal science and food
  • Chemical industries
  • Education
  • Environmental technologies and related services
  • Fisheries and aquaculture
  • Health care and social services
  • Life sciences, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment
  • Manufacturing and processing

Name of specialized lab

Name of equipment

Description of function

High-Throughput Screening Lab

Biomek® FXPautomated liquid handler

Dual multi-channel (96- and 384-) pipetting heads, plus reagent cooling, plate shaking and bar-code tracking capabilities

 

Biomek® FXPautomated liquid handler for Biosafety Level 2 screens

Fully enclosed in a HEPA-filter biological safety cabinet ideal for assays involving Biosafety Level 2 agents

 

Off-line Biomek® FXPautomated liquid handler

For plate replication, reformatting and Span-8 pod with eight individual probes for cherry picking

 

Cytomat™ 6001 incubators

Automated incubator that provides uniform and stable temperature, humidity and CO2 conditions; incubation temperatures range from 10ºC to 50ºC; integrated with the Biomek liquid handler

 

EnVision® 2104 multi-label reader

Microplate reader measures luminescence, fluorescence,and absorbance, with AlphaScreen capabilities; equipped with shaker and heater options; monochromator- and filter-based; integrated with Biomek platforms and an additional stand-alone instrument with stackers that can accommodateup to 50 assay plates

 

BioRAPTR™ Flying Reagent Dispenser™

An automated non-contact dispenser capable of dispensing up to eight reagents into a microplate without cross-contamination; volume ranges from 100 nL to 60 µL

 

Cytomat™ 24 automated microplate hotel

A large-capacity storage unit for assay plates, tip boxes and reservoirs; integrated with the Biomek liquid handler

 

SAMI® Workstation EX software

Facilitates graphical assay programming, schedules assays to optimize throughput and records data generated during system operation

 

Magnetic pin tools

96 or 384 floating pins offer a cost-effective way to transfer low-volume liquid accurately

 

ELx405microplate washer

Provides a wide range of washing capabilities, from gentle washing for cells to vigorous washing for ELISAs

Protein and Cell Biology Lab

Getinge autoclave

Performs steam sterilization of wrapped solids; features liquid cycles with pre-vacuum capabilities

 

Incubators

BSL1 and BSL2 stationary and shaker incubators allow for temperature-controlled incubation; dedicated incubators for bacterial and tissue culture work

 

BioFlo® 115 benchtop fermenter/bioreactor

Allows for large scale cell culturing and fermentation; Accommodates a wide range of cell types; Integrated control system with 1,3- and 7,5-litre vessels

 

Nikon Eclipse inverted microscope

For examination and quantification of tissue culture cells

 

Biological safety cabinets

Three Class II, Type A2 biosafety cabinets; two for bacterial work and one for tissue culture

 

AirClean hood

Provides laminar flow for sample protection

 

Constant Systems continuous-flow and one-shot head cell disrupters

Performs continuous-flow and single-pass cell disruption; large volumes of cell suspension can be processed quickly, or the one-shot head can process small sample volumes with minimal loss to lyse cell pellet, paste or suspension

 

Microson™ ultrasonic liquid processor (Sonicator)

Cell disruption by mechanical vibration; tunes automatically and allows for continuous or pulsed operation

 

Sorvallsuperspeed centrifuge

Superspeed centrifuge with multiple rotors, including 6 x 1 000 mL and microplate adapters; maximum speed of 70 450 xg

 

Sorvall ultracentrifuge

Ultracentrifuge with a maximum g-force of 802 000 xg; fixed-angle and swinging-bucket rotors

 

ÄKTA purifiers and Explorers

Fast protein liquid chromatography systems used for separating proteins from complex mixtures; features include sample pump loading, buffer preparation, scouting function and a 3-D kit to allow for sequential column purification

 

Synergy™ plate reader

Monochromator- and filter-based microplate reader measures absorbance, luminescence and fluorescence; features an automatic injector for reagent dispensing and allows for fixed-temperature incubation during kinetic assays

 

Tecan ULTRA Evolution plate reader

1 536-well multi-read filter-based plate reader (absorbance, fluorescence, luminescence, polarization and time-gated fluorescence measures ps-ns lifetime via TCSPC)

 

Tecan Sunrise

96-well microplate reader with filter-based absorbance measurement; capable of performing growth curves

 

SpectraMax® Plus384 plate readers

Absorbance microplate reader capable of reading cuvettes and 96- and 384-well plates; monochromator provides a range of available wavelengths

 

Bio-Rad ProteOn™ SPR system

Detects the interaction between two unlabelled biomolecules in real time; assesses protein-protein, protein small molecule and protein DNA interactions; kinetic analysis (on/off rates)

 

Typhoon imaging system

Multi-mode scanner with capabilities for fluorescence, storage phosphor and luminescence

 

Electroporator

Permeabilizes cell membranes

 

Bio-Rad CFX96 real-time PCR detection system 

System has a gradient feature, allowing for optimization of multiple reactions in a single experiment and can discriminate up to five targets in a single reaction well

 

Bio-Rad Experion™ automated electrophoresis

Employs LabChip microfluidic separation technology to automate electrophoresis for nucleic acid and protein analysis; performs all the steps of gel electrophoresis, including sample separation, staining, destaining, imaging and data analysis in as little as 30 minutes

Bioanalytical Lab

Bruker micrOTOF II mass spectrometer integrated with an Agilent 1200 rapid resolution HPLC system

Medium-resolution (R = ~10k) time-of-flight mass spectrometer for high-sensitivity MS analysis of small molecules and large analytes; provides exact molecular masses for molecular formula determination; excellent for metabolomics analysis

 

LTQ Orbitrap XL mass spectrometer integrated with an Agilent 1290 UHPLC system

High-resolution multi-stage mass spectrometry of protein digests or small molecules separated by 2-D LC; can be used for protein or small molecule identification and proteomics

NMR Lab

Bruker AVIII 700 MHz NMR

Spectrometer that is outfitted with an automated sample changer (SampleJet) and CryoProbe for high-resolution experiments on proton, carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus nuclei with a very high degree of sensitivity

Chemical Synthesis Lab

Waters ZQ2000 LC/MS

Equipped with both analytical and preparative columns; mass determination up to 2 000 Da, with an accuracy to within 0,2 Da

 

Dionex™ 350 accelerated solvent extraction system

For the extraction of chemicals from dried plants, biota or environmental samples (sediments, air samples); programmable solvents, extraction times, temperatures and pressures; range of sizes of stainless steel cells available

 

Teledyne CombiFlash® Rf 200 automated flash chromatography system

Uses radio-frequency identification technology to allow for automated separations and fraction collection

 

Large and small BuchiRotavapor systems

Efficiently removes solvents from samples

 

CEM microwave synthesizer

A low-frequency energy source increases the efficiency, yield and purity of chemical synthesis reactions; significantly decreases reaction times; equipped with an autosampler

 

Genevac centrifugal solvent evaporator

High-performance and high-throughput evaporation

 

Chemspeed SLT100 parallel synthesizer platform

Allows full automation of liquid and solid reagent preparation, multi-step synthesis, workup, purification, analysis and product transfer to storage; can be used for chemical library synthesis, solubility, compatability and stability screening and sample preparation; features a liquid-handling unit, automated weighing station and workflow management software

 

Lyophilizer

Freeze-dries samples

Bioinformatics Lab

Bioinformatics services

Consultation, data collection, data retrieval, genome assembly, data analysis software and state-of-the-art processing platforms

 

Web design and hosting services

Design, develop and host basic websites to high-end database-driven websites for short- and long-term projects

 

Data analysis

Custom platforms to analyze high-throughput screening data; data visualization

  • Michael DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research
  • David Braley Human Stem Cell Screening Facility
  • Ontario Institute for Cancer Research