The University of Kansas Molecular Probes Core (KU-MPC) offers a wide range of services to investigators interested in chemical biology. A major focus is to assist investigators that wish to create and study fluorescent molecules in biological systems. We offer custom synthesis of fluorescent small molecules, peptides, and other molecular probes as well as imaging of these agents in optically transparent zebrafish (in vivo). Studies of small molecules in zebrafish can be used to bridge the gap between assays in cultured cells and lower-resolution / higher cost experiments in rodents.  

Fluorescence and brightfield imaging of Danio rerio (zebrafish)

Prof. Blake Peterson, the Leader of the KU-MPC, has a diverse scientific background working at the interface between chemistry and biology.  In collaboration with his research laboratory in the KU Dept. of Medicinal Chemistry, this core facility provides investigators access to a broad range of fluorescent compounds for use in biological assays.

Dr. Chamani Perera, the Director of the KU-MPC, is a talented organic/medicinal chemist and chemical biologist specializing in the synthesis and evaluation of molecular probes of biological systems. Staff of the KU-MPC work with investigators on probe design, synthesis, assay development, high content imaging and screening, data acquisition, and data analysis.

Phenotypic screening of Danio rerio (zebrafish) embryos

This core facility houses Danio rerio (zebrafish) for research in chemical biology and drug discovery. In contrast to more expensive rodent models, the optical transparency of these animals make them more amenable to a wide variety of fluorescence-based assays. The imaging equipment of the KU-MPC includes a Zeiss Axio Zoom.V16 stereomicroscope (11x-412x magnification) equipped with a Hamamatsu Orca Flash 4.0 CMOS camera and Sutter DG4 fast filter switching illumination system for ratiometric and other fluorescence-based assays. This system is combined with a sensitive and tunable microinjection platform that allows for delivery and imaging of virtually any fluorescent molecule in vivo. The KU-MPC further offers on-site housing of strains of adult zebrafish, mammalian cell culture services for drug screening and cancer biology studies, and cryopreservation of cell lines. By establishing robust breeding protocols, the KU-MPC can generate large numbers of zebrafish embryos for phenotypic screening and discovery toxicology projects.  Investigators are encouraged to contact us for free consultation.

CMADP Events
Special seminar by Dr. James P. Landers
Commonwealth Professor in Chemistry,
Mechanical Engineering & Pathology
University of Virginia

Wednesday, May 17, 2017 at 3:00pm
Simons Auditorium, HBC, West Campus

"Integrated Microfluidic Systems for Forensic DNA Analysis"
In 2006, we demonstrated that microfluidic technology could provide a ‘lab-on-a-chip’ solution for real-world genetic analysis. Sample-in/answer-out functionality was shown for the detection of bacteria in mouse blood and in a human nasal swab, with a sub-30 minute analytical time for DNA extraction, amplification, electrophoretic separation and detection. We extrapolated these technology developments to the analysis of short tandem repeats (STR) in human DNA; these clinically-insignificant (presumably) tetranucleotide sequences function effectively for statistically-relevant matching in human identification. Our efforts led to the development of a commercializable system designed for implementation in crime labs for STR profiling convicted felons or, in some states, profiling arrestees in booking stations. An intricate but functional microfluidic architecture allowed sample-to-profile to be achieved from a cheek swab in less than 80 minutes, using nanoliter flow control, infrared thermocycling and rapid electrophoretic separation of DNA with 5-color fluorescence detection. We have since demonstrated the fabrication of hybrid microdevices composed of inexpensive polymeric materials, many of these commercial-off-the-shelf. We have designed, built and functionalized fully-integrated DNA analysis chemistry/microfluidics on a rotationally-driven system the size of a compact disc. With this system, DNA can be extracted from a swab, PCR amplified to generate an abundance of DNA fragments of the STR loci, followed by resolution of those fragments in a separation in a 4 cm Leff channel that is complete in <300 sec with a 2-base resolution. The processes that allow for swab in–profile out microfluidics are carried out on an instrument that can be carried in one hand and weighs ~14 lbs, ultimately allowing for facile rapid human identification/screening in the field.