Figure 1: LBRC research locations and facilities. The main research facilities are at MIT whereas the satellite sites are at MGH (Boston) John Hopkins University (Baltimore).

The Laser Biomedical Research Center and its facilties span over three institutions: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Wellman Center of Photomedicine, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), and John Hopkins University (JHU). These facilities are available on a time-shared basis, free-of-cost policy to qualified scientists, engineers and physicians throughout the United States. For additional information, please read the Guidelines for Use of LBRC Facilities.

Research facilities at MIT

The LBRC facilities at MIT comprise of the Core facility in building 6, and extends far beyond its core location since all the associated tenure track faculty investigators also have their independent laboratory spaces available for synergistic LBRC research:

Core LBRC facility

The core facility of the LBRC occupies 4000 ft2 of laboratory space in the MIT spectroscopy Laboratory, which itself occupies about 7000 ft2. In addition, the LBRC has about 1000 ft2 of office space for staff and administration. Under an extensive $4M renovation completed about a decade ago, LBRC features modern facilities that are specifically designed for biomedical spectroscopy and microscopy. The central research space features 9 laboratories for technology, collaborative, and service research projects, an optical probe fabrication facility, and wet laboratories for chemical synthesis, cell culture, and tissue processing. The probe fabrication facility is designed to have a near 'clean room' air quality, important for the assembly of optical probes used in many clinical diagnostic instruments. This facility houses custom-built confocal Raman microscopy system, 2D and 3D interferometric microscopes for label-free structural and functional imaging of live cells. The core LBRC facility also houses many different laser sources including cutting edge ones such as femtosecond regenerative amplifiers and oscillators. Furthermore, this facility has numerous spectrometers and microscopes for bioanalytical and bioimaging studies.

Fluorescence instrumentation facility

Beside LBRC, Dr. So also directs Bioinstrumentation Engineering Analysis and Microscopy (BEAM) Lab that consists of 1500 ft2 laboratory space in the Department of Biological Engineering, MIT. BEAM Lab houses custom designed five multiphoton microscopes, one fluorescence microscope, and a standing-wave total internal reflection microscope. In addition, this facilty has access to share biochemistry, tissue culture, and cold room spaces. The major research theme of BEAM Lab is to design and develop image informatics methods for understanding physiology and pathology with applications in pharmaceutical development. In addition, Dr. So also has a nonlinear microscopy facility within the Center of Biomedical Engineering at MIT, which consists of a 1000 ft2 laboratory space housing a two-photon microscope and a prototype two-photon endoscope. The goal of this center is to provide multiphoton imaging access to the biomedical research community.

Quantum Dot synthesis and applications facility

The Quantum Dot sysnthesis and applications facility is presently located in the basement and second floor of the chemistry building at MIT. It consists of:

  1. a > 200 square foot synthetic laboratory, recently built in 2014, equipped with 20 seven-foot fume hoods (each outfitted for airless chemistry), five inert-gas gloveboxes, a separate dedicated chemical storage room,
  2. a state of the art, renovated in 2015, >1500 square foot laser laboratory, with >200 square feet of optical table space, as well as two inert-gas gloveboxes for device fabrication and characterization, and
  3. a cell culture and bio-imaging facility with BL-2 status and approved protocols (0911-113-14) in place for the handling of live animal subjects.
The present synthetic laboratory is equipped for the air-free synthesis and processing of nanomaterials, including nanopolymeric particles and inorganic quantum dot materials. The laboratory is also equipped for the synthesis of organic ligands for quantum dots, both molecular and polymeric. There is also a substantial infrastructure for the synthesis and purification of biomolecules and for the conjugation chemistry for coupling biomolecules to polymeric and inorganic nanoparticles.

The laser laboratory is equipped for the optical study of quantum dot materials and other fluorophores, including single quantum dot and single molecule studies. It includes a Ti:Sapphire based ultrafast oscil- lator laser system with streak-camera detection, numerous CW laser systems, multiple spectrometers with CCD cameras, multiple home-built single molecule fluorescent confocal and wide field microscopes, a PCFS system that includes an interferometer and FCS capability, multiple avalanche photodiodes and two photon correlation systems.

Single molecule probes facility

The single molecule probes facility at MIT consists of 2500 ft2 laboratory space containing two laser labs, a sample preparation lab, and student offices for Dr. Gabriela Schlau-Cohen's research activities. One of the laser labs is dedicated to single-molecule studies where single-molecule fluorescence spectroscopy is be performed. This laser lab contains two single-molecule confocal microscopes constructed from an XYZ piezo stage held within a custom-designed and precision machined platform, each with its own 80MHz excitation source tunable across the visible to near-IR. Single-molecule fluorescence intensity and lifetime measurements are performed using high-sensitivity, low dark count APDs (two per microscope) and a time-correlated single-photon counting module and router. The second laser lab is dedicated to perform ultra-broadband 2D electronic spectroscopy with high-sensitivity detection (< 8fs, ~150nm bandwidth, tunable from 450 - 1050nm, 5kHz) and lock-in detected transient absorption spectroscopy for quantitative kinetics on femto- to picosecond timescales (tunable from 450 - 1050nm, 5kHz). This facility also has a biochemistry lab that is configured for bacterial growth, protein over-expression, and purification, and includes 5 hoods, a shaker/incubator, a large centrifuge, fast protein liquid chromatography, lab benches, a UV-VIS spectrometer, fluorescence spectrophotometer, sonifier, gel imager, refrigerators and freezers.

Satellite research facilities

The LBRC facility further extends outside MIT to its satellite locations in MGH and JHU. Importantly, these satellite locations hold unique facilities that greatly enhance LBRC research capabilities.

Nano-structured probes facility (JHU, Baltimore)

Two BL-2 designated laboratories, located in the basement of Latrobe Hall and Krieger Hall, provide the research space for Dr. Barman and his group. The Latrobe Hall laboratory (500 ft2) serves as the main laser facility and is equipped for multi-modal microscopy and spectroscopy measurements including Raman, fluorescence, diffuse reflectance and quantitative phase contrast. The laser laboratory enables sensitive optical studies of biological materials ranging from the nanoscale to the tissue level by leveraging both endogenous and exogenous contrast. The Krieger Hall facility (600 ft2) serves as a wet laboratory space with a biosafety cabinet and a chemical fume hood. The lab contains all of the equipment necessary for nanoprobe synthesis, molecular biology, cell and tissue culture (CO2 incubators), and imaging (upright, inverted, and stereoscopic microscopes). The availability of core facilities at Johns Hopkins including the Integrated Imaging Center (IIC), genetics resource core facility, mass spectrometry and proteomics core, and biostatistics core enable access to major spectroscopy and imaging equipment to support TRD3 and TRD4 related research activities. The labs proximity to Johns Hopkins School of Medicine makes it a fertile environment for biomedical collaborations.

Advanced microscopy and ImmunoOncology facility (MGH, Boston)

As part of Wellman Center for Photomedicine, this 1600 ft2 facility provides the Lab space equipped with a range of commercial and home-built equipment for Dr. Evan and his team's research activities. An inverted Olympus FV1000 automated hyperspectral confocal microscope with multiple built-in laser lines is available for all imaging experiments that require both general purpose and advanced imaging hardware. This microscope is also equipped with an ultrafast pulsed laser and optics for coherent Raman scattering (CRS) imaging. The microscope is equipped with fluorescence and phosphorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM/PLIM) capability. A home-built optical coherent tomography (OCT) system based on an inverted microscope platform is used for large-scale, structural imaging of tissues. A custom-built, near-infrared optimized, photon counting confocal microscope exists for ultra-sensitive imaging of commercial and custom probes, in particular oxygen sensors, deep within tissue samples. A home-built video-rate laserscanning confocal microendoscopic imaging system in this laboratory space provides in vivo imaging capability. The laboratory is also equipped with fume hoods, a rotary evaporator, centrifuges, vacuum manifolds, refrigerators, and temperature controlled oil and water baths, shared UV-Vis spectrometers, a custom built fluorometer, and a Bruker mass spectrometer. Further, wet laboratories include four benches and a tissue culture hood for cell culture needs.