Functional and Molecular Bioassay Laboratory — Kearneysville, West Virginia

Science Center Objects

About the Laboratory

The Functional and Molecular Bioassay Laboratory applies and modifies microbial and eukaryotic reporter bioassays to detect the presence of bioactive chemicals from environmental water samples. These analyses compliment analytical chemistry and biological datasets. The laboratory adapts and applies cell isolation and culture methods to measure cellular responses of fish immune and liver tissues exposure to contaminants or other stressors. Analyses include functional endpoints and quantitative gene expression analysis. In the instance of insufficient genetic data for the non-model species of interest, the laboratory establishes in-house de novo sequence databases via high throughput sequencing methods.

Primary leukocytes have been isolated from experimental fish to evaluate functional immune responses

Primary leukocytes have been isolated from experimental fish to evaluate functional immune responses following in vitro stimulation.

(Credit: Luke R. Iwanowicz, USGS. Public domain.)

 

Key Analytical Capabilities

  • Bioassay screening for genotoxic, mutagenic and endocrine active compounds
  • In vitro screening and response profiling of primary leukocytes or hepatocytes
  • Image analysis-based flow cytometry
  • Quantitative gene expression analysis (quantitative polymerase chain reaction [qPCR] or digital, absolute copy measurements)
  • Identification of biomarker genes in non-model organisms
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientist preparing plates for yeast bioassay screening of surface water extracts

USGS scientist preparing plates for yeast bioassay screening of surface water extracts

(Credit: Luke R. Iwanowicz, USGS. Public domain.)

Screen capture of primary hepatocytes isolated from experimental smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu) visualized

Screen capture of primary hepatocytes isolated from experimental smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu) visualized following image-based flow cytometric analysis

(Credit: Luke R. Iwanowicz, USGS. Public domain.)

 

Key Instrumentation

  • Multimode plate reader for bioassay end-point measurements and ELISA
  • nCounter (Nanostring) for multiplex, digital, gene expression analysis
  • Image analysis-based flow cytometric analysis for functional cell assays
  • High throughput sequencing
  • Extraction equipment for solid phase extraction of water samples
The nCounter SPRINT† system simultaneously analyzes transcript abundance of hundreds of genes in a single sample

The nCounter SPRINT system simultaneously analyzes transcript abundance of hundreds of genes in a single sample

(Credit: Luke R. Iwanowicz, USGS. Public domain.)

Image-based flow cytometer for cell population analysis

Image-based flow cytometer for cell population analysis

(Credit: Luke R. Iwanowicz, USGS. Public domain.)

Multimode, microplate reader used for the measurement of optical density, fluorescence, and luminescence in biological screening

Multimode, microplate reader

(Credit: Luke R. Iwanowicz, USGS. Public domain.)