Faculty of Science launches bioanalytical core facility for research community

On March 6, the Faculty of Science will officially launch a new cutting-edge facility named YSciCore, which will provide bioanalytical support to scientists at York University and beyond.

Based in the Life Sciences Building on the Keele Campus, YSciCore will offer rapid, high-quality analyses to internal and external clients using state-of-the-art microscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance and mass spectrometry platforms. Technical experts, who can supply critical support from the earliest stages of project design to specialized sample preparation and data analysis, will manage each platform.

Ray Jayawardhana

“The frontline instruments in YSciCore are already being used by researchers in the Faculty of Science to conduct a wide variety of investigations, ranging from environmental analysis to clinical proteomics,” says Ray Jayawardhana, dean of the Faculty of Science. “As a more integrated facility with enhanced support, YSciCore will now open up its equipment and expertise to the broader community and enable research intensification at York on an unprecedented scale.”

The development of YSciCore involved extensive consultations with researchers as well as technical staff led by Professor Derek Wilson in the Department of Chemistry, and key investments by the Faculty of Science to upgrade critical facility equipment.

In addition to current and prospective users across York University, YSciCore has already attracted interest from local industrial clients including Apotex, Sanofi, Dalton Pharmaceuticals and ImmunoBiochem, among others.

To learn more, visit the YSciCore website, or RSVP to attend the official launch at the next Science Unplugged event on March 6.

Microscopy at YSciCore

An image of stained bovine pulmonary artery endothelial cells taken by the Zeiss Confocal Spinning Disk Microscope in YSciCore
An image of stained bovine pulmonary artery endothelial cells taken by the Zeiss Confocal Spinning Disk Microscope in YSciCore

With microscopy, you can view and capture images of samples that cannot be seen by the unaided eye. Scientists use microscopy to view biological samples like viruses and cells, a variety of large molecules, the characteristics of various surfaces, and more. The microscopy platform of YSciCore includes an FEI Quanta 3D dual beam microscope, a Zeiss Spinning Disk Confocal Microscope and a Zeiss Laser Scanning Confocal Microscope. The FEI Quanta 3D dual beam microscope provides high resolution imaging performance that can deliver full dynamic characterizations of samples. The Zeiss Spinning Disk Confocal Microscope is used for fast live cell imaging, while the Zeiss Laser Scanning Confocal Microscope is used for high resolution optical sectioning and 3D imaging. More details at http://science.yorku.ca/imaging.

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance at YSciCore

An image of stained bovine pulmonary artery endothelial cells taken by the Zeiss Confocal Spinning Disk Microscope in YSciCore
Specialist Howard Hunter standing next to the NMR spectrometer at YSciCore

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy is a widely used and essential technique for identifying chemical and biochemical structure, reactivity and molecular behaviour in solution. Similar to the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) spectrometers commonly used in the healthcare system, NMR combines a magnetic field and low energy radio frequency to investigate samples. The NMR platform at YSciCore includes a 700 MHz NMR spectrometer that allows researchers to investigate the nature of complex biochemical and chemical systems on a molecular level. The instrument is uniquely equipped with enhanced sensitivity to enable the study of very small amounts of material, and it implements the newest methods for data collection. More details at http://science.yorku.ca/nmr.

Mass spectrometry at YSciCore

Specialist Peter Liuni workng with the mass spectrometer at YSciCore

Mass Spectrometers measure the mass of objects, particularly atoms and molecules. They have enabled scientists to decipher the innermost workings of the cell, identify diagnostic blood markers in disease, and develop immunotherapies to combat our deadliest pathogens. The mass spectrometry platform of YSciCore houses some of the most advanced instrumentation available that is helping researchers answer their most complex questions. It includes the high-resolution Orbitrap Elite, which provides clients access to state-of-the-art identification and characterization workflows in proteomics, lipidiomics and metabolomics with unparalleled mass accuracy and specificity. More details at http://science.yorku.ca/mass-spec.