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Research Facilities

The National Neuroscience Institute (NNI) has a purpose-built research facility. Established in November 2000, the NNI Neuroscience Research Laboratories cover a floor area of about 1500 square metres.

It is fully equipped with facilities including a Dextroscope for surgical planning and navigation, a FACSaria Cell Sorting System for high speed sorting and multicolour analysis, and a Specific Pathogen Free (SPF) animal room that houses disease models. Each is supported by a team of research-focus personnel. The entire infrastructure is conceived to enable our research teams to pursue cutting-edge scientific explorations and investigations.

The laboratories are supported by the following state-of-the-art core facilities:

Animal Vivarium

Principal Investigator In-charge: Dr Zeng Li (li_ZENG@nni.com.sg
Co-managed by NNI and Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH), the vivarium serves researchers at both institutes. Besides a set-up for both small and large animals, a Specific Pathogen Free (SPF) facility is also available for housing transgenic and knockout/in mice. Animal work at NNI and TTSH is overseen by the NNI-TTSH Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) to ensure compliance to ethical animal care and use.

Staff:

  • Bing He, Research Facility Executive
  • Nedumkulangara Anandappa Prasad, Senior Research Assistant
  • Anthony Alastair, Laboratory Attendant
  • Mohd Hazely, Laboratory Attendant

Animal Phenotyping Facility

Principal Investigator In-charge: Dr Zoë Bichler (Zoe_BICHLER@nni.com.sg)

The behavioural room located in the conventional part of the animal facility is equipped with several apparatus and a video tracking system. Mice can be tested on more than 20 different tests assessing general health and activity profile, motor abilities (horizontal and vertical activity, balance, coordination, strength, path), sensorial functions (vision, tactile, olfaction), anxiety and depression-like disorders, learning and memory as well as gastrointestinal functions. Protocols are determined according to the research, and specific experimental designs involving injections or stress protocols are routinely performed. All the projects conducted must be preliminary reviewed and approved by the TTSH-NNI Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC).

Confocal Microscopy

Principal Investigator In-charge: A/Prof Lim Kah Leong (Kah_Leong_Lim@nni.com.sg)

NNI research is equipped with an Olympus Fluoview FV1000 Confocal Laser Scanning Microscope for the acquisition of digital multi-channel fluorescence images. The system is configured for visible excitation on an upright research microscope platform (Olympus BX61; Objectives 4X, 10X, 20X, 40X Oil, 60X Oil and 100X Oil) and is currently outfitted to collect data from 3 laser channels (488nm, 543nm and 635 nm).

Stereology

Principal Investigator In-charge: Dr Zoë Bichler (Zoe_BICHLER@nni.com.sg)

A computerized stereology and image analysis system is available, built on the Axio-Imager A1 microscope (Zeiss) equipped with the common fluorescence filters and a three-axis (XYZ) motorized stage. Stereologer® is a simple, user friendly system designed, that offers the most popular features, including:

  • The Optical Fractionator and Optical Disector for total cell number and cell density
  • The Rotator and Nucleator for mean cell volume on IUR or VUR sections
  • Space Balls (isotropic sphere probes) for total length and length density
  • Cavalieri and point counting method for total region volume
  • Volume fraction and total object volume
  • Virtual cycloids for surface area and surface density
  • Rare Event Protocol

Drosophila Facility

Principal Investigator In-charge: Dr Ng Chee Hoe (chee_hoe_ng@nni.com.sg)

NNI maintains a small fly room that has been approved by NEA and GMAC. It houses a good number of transgenic and other genetically-modified flies that are relevant to neurodegeneration research and drug discovery.

Left: Wild-type control flies
Middle: Parkinsonian flies
Right: Parkinsonian flies with drug treatment

Flow Cytometry

Principal Investigator In-charge: Dr Carol Tang (carol_tang@nni.com.sg)

The NNI flow cytometry facility is open to all NNI investigators. Arrangements can be made to accommodate collaborators if time slots are available. We have two machines dedicated for this purpose: FACSCalibur™ for routine FACS analyses, and the FACSAria™ II SORP for flow sorting. If you plan to analyse or sort samples with infectious agents, you are required to demonstrate proof of relevant ethics protocol approvals, as well as inform the operator beforehand. You will also need to inform the operator of your experimental design and sort format where necessary. The operator will assist you in experimental design to best optimise the combination of fluorochromes. Our standard nozzle size is 100 μm, but other nozzles (70 and 130 μm) are available should that suit your cell type better. Users may self-operate the FACSCalibur™ provided they demonstrate competency. Training can be provided upon request. Offline flow analyses are possible with an institutional license to FlowJo software (Treestar). The facility is under the management of Dr Carol Tang.

FACSCalibur™ configuration:

 FACSAria™ II SORP configuration: