Neuroscience investigators across both campuses reside in more than 20 different locations that comprise of over 200,000 square feet of space.

The Center for Molecular Imaging is one of the VCU School of Medicine Research Centers. It is established to foster and facilitate multidisciplinary molecular imaging and nanotechnology research using advanced imaging technologies. Together, such technologies provide real-time in vivo information, complimented with and validated by ex vivo data and molecular biology analysis on cells and tissue samples including tumors. The overall objective is to study, within the intact physiological and pathophysiological environment, biological pathways and interactions involved in disease progression, such as tumorgenesis, and therapeutic interventions.

The Center for Molecular Imaging houses imaging laboratories for Positron Emission Tomography, Computed Tomography, Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography, digital autoradiography, optical-fluorescence/bioluminescence techniques and nanotechnology imaging. The center also houses laboratories for radiochemistry, analytical chemistry, molecular biology, nanotechnology and animal imaging, as well as dedicated facilities for PET and CT clinical research. MRI is conducted through a partnership with the VCU Department of Radiology’s Division of Radiation Physics.

For more information, visit the VCU Center for Molecular Imaging website at http://www.molecularimaging.vcu.edu/.

Molecular Imaging
PET CT
LAB03
Radiochemistry
animal tissue

The Virginia Commonwealth University Collaborative Advanced Research Imaging (CARI) program is located at 203 East Cary Street in downtown Richmond and houses a new research dedicated 3T Philips Ingenia MRI scanner. CARI Program

The Ingenia uses Philips’ Direct Digital processing that improves the signal to noise ratio substantially. The radio frequency signal is totally digital at the source in order to reduce the noise. Other advantages of the Ingenia system include patient-specific B0 and B1 shimming, and large bore so that subjects feel less confined and less claustrophobic.

CARI floorplan

In addition to the Philips 3T research dedicated scanner, the CARI facility has over 6,000 square feet of research-dedicated space. As can be seen from the floor plan at left, the CARI facility also has a mock scanner, urine drug screen collection toilet, multiple interview rooms, sound attenuated testing chambers for human behavioral laboratory testing, a physical exam room with ECG, and a dispensary for medication storage and dispensing.

For more information, visit the VCU Collaborative Advanced Research Imaging (CARI) program website at http://www.cctr.vcu.edu/resources/cari.html.

 

This Lipidomics Core is a key focal point for development of a sustainable critical mass of expertise in lipid signaling and state of the art analytical techniques. The core is located in newly renovated space on the 2nd floor of Sanger Hall in room 2-012. The primary service is LC-MS/MS quantitation of known lipid species using established protocols defined as either published methods in peer-reviewed journals or previously developed methods within the lipidomics facility.

The facility is built around four tandem triple quadrupole/linear ion trap mass spectrometers, two high-end AB SCIEX 4000 QTRAPs, an AB SCIEX 5500 QTRAP, and the newest mass spectrometer, an AB SCIEX 6500 QTRAP, which us the greatest capability on the East coast in the quantitative analysis of small molecules. These instruments have the necessary resolution and sensitivity for a broad range of qualitative and quantitative lipid and metabolite analyses required for exhaustive characterization of lipid signaling molecules and metabolic pathways. The lipidomics facility provides both qualitative and quantitative analysis of lipid species utilizing high performance liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). The AB SCIEX 4000 QTRAPs are mainly utilized for the analysis of high level lipids (e.g. SM, S1P (in serum), ceramides, LPA, CL, etc...). The 5500 and 6500 QTRAPs are used for eicosanoids allowing us to analyze 152 of these lipids in a single run and for examining low abundant lipids and protein:lipid interactions due to their high sensitivity. This facility has led to 50 peer-reviewed publications including two Nature papers, a Science paper, and a paper in Cancer Cell. This facility has also aided VCU researchers in obtaining national awards as well as led to the funding of numerous extramural grant applications for VCU faculty. Overall, VCU has one of the most capable Lipidomics facilities in the country.

Equipment:

  • 6500 QTrap
    • Coupled with a quaternary pump Shimadzu Nexera UHPLC system, the Applied Biosystems 6500 quadrupole linear ion trap mass spectrometer is the newest addition to our core and has the highest sensitivity of any QTrap currently on the market. The 6500 enables quantitation of more difficult eicosanoids while also pushing the core towards systems-level capabilities.

  • 5500 QTrap
    • The Applied Biosystems 5500 quadrupole linear ion trap mass spectrometer has lead to the development of LC-MS/MS methodologies which allow the analysis of “x” eicosanoids in a single run and methods for 58 sphingolipids in a single run. The sensitivity of the 5500 has allowed for the quantitation of lipids bound to immunoprecipitated proteins for publications in both Science and Nature.


  • 4000 QTraps
    • The Lipidomics core currently has two Applied Biosystems 4000 quadrupole linear ion trap mass spectrometers. One connected to a traditional HPLC and the other to a Shimadzu Nexera UHPLC. While we consider these to be our daily workhorse instruments, they still allow sub-fmol limits of quantitation on sphingolipids and cardiolipins!

For more information, visit The Lipidomics Metabolotics website at http://www.biochemistry.vcu.edu/Research/lipidomics_core.html

6500 QTraps

6500 QTraps

5500 QTraps

5500 QTraps

4000 QTraps - Image 1

4000 QTraps

4000 QTraps - Image 2

4000 QTraps

4000 QTraps - Image 3

4000 QTraps

The VCU Microscopy Facility has been created through resources provided by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) as well as support from the School of Medicine and the university. The Microscopy Facility is housed within the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology and is directed by a senior faculty member, who is an acknowledged expert in multiple aspects of modern imaging. The facility provides researchers with the equipment and expertise required to examine subcellular details at high resolution by both light and electron microscopy and to perform quantitative image analysis.

Available microscopy systems include:

  • Electron microscopy (both TEM and SEM)
  • Confocal laser scanning microscopy
  • Spinning disc confocal microscopy
  • Multi-photon laser scanning microscopy
  • Structured Illumination microscopy (SIM) (“super-resolution” microscopy)
  • Fluorescence microscopy
  • Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence microscopy (TIRF)
  • brighfield microscopy

For more information, visit The VCU Microscopy Facility website at http://www.anatomy.vcu.edu/microscopy/

TEM

TEM

SEM

SEM

Confocal

Confocal

Multi-photon

Multi-photon

SIM

SIM

Flourescence - Image 1

Flourescence

Flourescence - Image 2

Flourescence

TIRF

TIRF

Computational Facilities:

High Performance Computing Cluster

VIPBG maintains a Linux cluster with 472 processors configured as dual 6-core or dual quad core nodes. Each node has 128-256 GB RAM and Intel Xeon 3.6GHz processors. All nodes are connected via 20Gb/second Infiniband switch to a centralized network storage with 600 TB capacity with mirroring and backup. The cluster is regularly upgraded to increase the number and performance of its compute nodes and disk space.

University Computing Center:

VCU’s Center for High Performance Computing offers additional campus-wide computing resources:

  • teal.vcu.edu with ~2480 64 bit AMD compute cores, each with 2-4 GB RAM/core and 20 GB/second Infiniband architecture.
  • bach.vcu.edu with ~764 AMD 64 bit cores, each with a minimum of 2 GB RAM/core; 1 TB total RAM and 2 TB of /home space with local space of 50-164 GB per node.
  • godel.vcu.edu iwith ~244 Opteron 64 bit cores, each with 2 GB RAM/core; 6 TB of /home space and /tmp space of 180 GB/node with 10 GB Ethernet networking.

For more information, visit the VIPBG website at http://www.vipbg.vcu.edu/

The Institute for Drug and Alcohol Studies (IDAS) was established at VCU in 1993 to promote excellence in research and education on substance abuse. The Institute’s research and training agenda spans the continuum from basic, laboratory research to community-based treatment effectiveness studies and policy analyses., Over 50 faculty members from 11 different departments within the university comprise the Institute, enabling a multidisciplinary approach to addressing the complex problems associated with alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.

At the Institute for Drug and Alcohol Studies, we seek to explore the complex problems of drugs through multidisciplinary research and training, with a focus on the neuroscience of addictions and related neurobehavioral disorders.

The institute is led by F. Gerard Moeller, M.D., a preeminent researcher with a focus on brain imaging in addiction medicine. Moeller’s addiction research has been funded since 1996 by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. His work is published in more than 110 peer-reviewed publications.

Moeller is also director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Center for Clinical and Translational Research and the university’s associate vice president for clinical research.

MRI Scans

MRI

X-Rays

X-Rays

Opportunities for Research

Researcher

The Harold F. Young Neurosurgical Center is committed to providing exceptional and compassionate patient care. Within the VCU Health System, the Neurosurgical Center will be a recognized provider of comprehensive services whose mission is to integrate clinical research with patient services while training future clinicians and scientists.

Beginning with C.C. Coleman’s arrival in Richmond in the late 1910s, the Department of Neurosurgery at Virginia Commonwealth University has held a commitment to research and developing innovative treatment. Dr. Donald Becker carried neurosurgery at the VCU Medical Center into the modern era, emphasizing the systematic study and treatment of head injuries. Since 1985, Dr. Harold Young, Chair of the Department of Neurosurgery, has continued the tradition of clinical and basic scientific investigation in traumatic brain injury while reinforcing the department’s original dedication to clinical excellence and resident education.

Since the beginning of his career in 1968, Dr. Young has been a role model for providing compassionate patient care. As Chair of Neurosurgery at VCU, Dr. Young has created one of the nation's leading head-trauma programs and under his leadership, the neurosurgery department has generated more than $25 million in sponsored research from the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Young’s commitment to providing compassionate patient care through a team of experienced professionals and innovative technology are what sets this program apart from any other.

MRI Scans

MRI

X-Rays

X-Rays

The VCU Center for Rehabilitation Science and Engineering (CERSE) brings together researchers, clinicians, rehabilitation specialists, and academicians from the VCU Schools of Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Education, Engineering, Medicine, and Social Work, to promote research, education, physical medicine and rehabilitation services, and clinical care for America's veterans, children and adults with disabilities.

CERSE research covers the gambit of disability and rehabilitation research from a multitude of scientific disciplines and orientations around one central theme: Improving the state of the science and services available to support persons with disabilities and their families.

CERSE is currently composed of eight Research Cores:

  • The Defense and Veterans Rehabilitation Core
  • The Employment and Economic Outcomes Core
  • The Health Disparities Core
  • The Health and Human Performance Core
  • The Musculoskeletal and Pain Rehabilitation Core
  • The Neurorehabilitation Core
  • The Pediatric Rehabilitation Core
  • The Rehabilitation Engineering and Technology Core

The Virginia Commonwealth University Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Center combines research, clinical evaluation and treatment; and education and outreach to provide a coordinated approach for developing strategies that combat movement disorders and neurodegenerative disorders.

The Center was conceptualized by the Movers and Shakers, a local advocacy group that raised the funds necessary to launch the Center. The highly integrated, multidisciplinary Center moves ground breaking research from novel approaches in the laboratory to clinical trials, translating discoveries into real-world treatments.

Programs:

  • The Translational Laboratory-based Research Program
  • The Clinical-Translational Research Program
  • The Clinical Multidisciplinary Diagnostic and Therapeutic Program
  • The Education and Outreach Program

The Mission of the MS Treatment Center is to provide comprehensive care, research, and education for patients with Multiple Sclerosis. Through cutting edge research, discoveries in translational medicine and coupled with patient centered care, patients suffering from MS can take advantage of the most important scientific advancesin the treatment of MS.

Visit the MS Treatment and Research Center website at http://ms.vcu.edu/.