Advancing Research Capabilities: A Look into the Newly Renovated Sepsis and Critical Illness Research Center (SCIRC) – Research & Innovation Service Core (RISC) Laboratory

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In the realm of medical research, the pursuit of knowledge is often intricately linked with the capabilities of the laboratory space available. The newly renovated Research & Innovation Service Core (RISC) Laboratory within the Sepsis & Critical Illness Research Center (SCIRC) is likewise committed to cutting-edge research and innovation. With state-of-the-art equipment and a broad spectrum of capabilities, the laboratory is poised to catalyze breakthroughs in various fields of study involving clinical trials to animal basic science research.

The RISC houses an array of equipment tailored to diverse research needs. Included is a new BioRad ZE5 flow cytometer with 24-color capability to precisely analyze cellular characteristics. Also present is the BD FACS Melody cell sorter, recently purchased with an NIH supplementary instrument award. It is equipped with a 9-color sort capability that facilitates the isolation and purification of specific cell populations for a myriad of research applications.  The RISC also contains a BioRad cell sorter with 4-color capability to enhance the flexibility of cell sorting procedures and augment the versatility of research endeavors.  Nikon Eclipse Ti2 BioStation and IM-Q BioStation microfluidics cell tracking systems are included to enable real-time observation and analysis of cellular processes. A Luminex MagPix multiplex analyzer is also within to provide simultaneous detection and quantification of multiple analytes within a single sample.

collageAdditionally stored in the RISC is a Beckman Coulter DxH900 hematology analyzer that streamlines the analysis of blood samples for comprehensive hematological research and an Immunospot® ELISpot S6 Entry M2 analyzer to quantify antigen-specific cytokine-production of antibody-secreting immune cells. Along with five ultra-low temperature freezers dedicated to long-term sample storage, the lab ensures the preservation of valuable specimens under optimal conditions, safeguarding the integrity of research materials.

 “The new open laboratory design will allow us to be more proficient with our time and efforts and will create a more efficient workflow within the SCIRC labs and with other collaborators. This space, along with future expansion plans for the SCIRC facility, will allow us to efficiently and cost-effectively analyze samples from specimen collection to genomic sequencing analysis.” – Ricardo Ungaro, SCIRC Laboratory Manager

The renovated RISC laboratory is not merely a collection of advanced equipment; it represents a hub of scientific exploration and discovery across various domains. Serving as a sample processing center for human clinical trials and pediatric research, the laboratory plays a pivotal role in advancing medical knowledge and improving patient care. The new lab offers a dedicated space for investigating novel therapeutic approaches and treatment modalities.

With a full surgery suite and sample processing capabilities, the laboratory provides a conducive environment for conducting animal studies, which is essential for fundamental biological mechanisms and exploring potential interventions. The expansion and renovation of the SCIRC RISC laboratory signify a strategic investment in the future of medical research. By fostering collaboration, innovation, and efficiency, the laboratory empowers scientists to push the boundaries of knowledge and translate discoveries into tangible clinical applications.

SCIRC Director, Dr. Philip Efron recently expressed, “Our renovated laboratory space marks a leap forward in our research capabilities. With streamlined workflows and cutting-edge equipment, we are situated to make significant strides in understanding critical illness and advancing patient care. Our team is excited about the potential for groundbreaking discoveries and collaborative opportunities that lie ahead.”

With a dedicated team of Principal Investigators and Biological Scientists and a forward-thinking approach to research, the RISC laboratory is positioned to shape the landscape of scientific inquiry and drive transformative advancements in healthcare. As research endeavors continue to evolve, the SCIRC-RISC lab remains steadfast in its commitment to innovation, discovery, collaboration, and the pursuit of a healthier future for all.

Dr. Lyle Moldawer, former SCIRC Director commented, “The evolution of SCIRC as a unique resource in the all-inclusive study of sepsis and critical illness has reached a critical mass where future research is now limited only by the creativity of its investigators.  The opening of the RISC laboratory represents the culmination of many efforts to visualize the needs of future research directions.”

 We would like to express our sincere appreciation to the University of Florida College of Medicine (UF COM), the UF COM Department of Surgery, the chair of Surgery (Dr. Upchurch), the UF COM Laboratory Space Committee, the Senior Associate Dean for Research Affairs (Dr. Bihorac) and UF Health/Shands for their invaluable support and for this space and its restoration. Their unwavering commitment to our mission is instrumental in advancing healthcare and research initiatives. Thank you for your continued support and dedication to our shared goals!