Funded equipment and infrastructure information is intended to help facilitate widespread usage of the infrastructure and equipment. If you or your research group are interested in utilising this equipment, please contact the relevant equipment custodian.

Funded UQ Major Research Facility Fund grants 2016

Advanced ultra-high Field 900 MHz biomolecular NMR facility

Equipment Custodian: Professor Ian Brereton (Centre for Advanced Imaging)
Summary: Ultra-high field NMR spectroscopy is a key platform technology enabling detailed structural, functional and dynamic studies of biomolecules in solution, underpinning research in drug discovery and design, biodiscovery, systems biology and materials science. NMR structural biology enables elucidation of the 3D structure of proteins and nucleic acids and their interactions with other biomolecules, including drug candidates. NMR-based metabolic profiling of biological tissue is a powerful systems biology approach for analysing the response of living organisms to therapeutic treatments, environmental stresses and disease. Upgrade of UQ’s 900 MHz NMR spectrometer will provide enhanced capabilities and is essential to maintain our competitive advantage in these fields of research strength.\

Heron Island Research Station saltwater intake system upgrade

Equipment Custodian: Doctor Elizabeth Perkins (Science)
Summary: Heron Island Research Station (HIRS) is a state-of-the-art research facility on the Great Barrier Reef. HIRS currently operates a saltwater intake system to supply fresh, flow-through seawater for research and teaching purposes to all laboratories and aquaria decks as well as providing water for on site fire safety compliance. Approximately 75% of our research and education clients utilise this flow-through seawater system in their activities on the Station. The current system is in dire need of upgrade to meet the present and future seawater demands of our clients. Without upgrade, the current system will be inoperational by the end of 2016.

Next-generation multi-collector inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometer (MC-ICP-MS) with laser-ablation capability for in situ high-throughput and high-resolution isotope dating and characterization

Equipment Custodian: Professor Jian-xin Zhao (Science)
Summary: Building upon the RIF’s demonstrated success in serving multi-disciplinary research communities both on campus and nationally/internationally, the proposed next-generation MC-ICP-MS with laser-ablation capability will open unprecedented opportunities in the field of geological, geographical, environmental, biological, medical, archaeological, forensic, and nuclear sciences. This system enables in situ high-throughput analysis and highspatial-resolution imaging of most metal isotopes in solid materials without chemical preparation, obviating the need for dangerous time-consuming acid-digestion procedures. It will consolidate UQ’s world-leading position in earth/environmental/ecological/archaeological sciences (e.g. ERA-5 in FOR0402, 0501, 0502, 0602), provide a safer working environment, and serve as a scientific centrepiece for the Brisbane Geochronology Consortium.

Rapid analysis of protein stability and aggregation

Equipment Custodian: Christopher Munro (Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology)
Summary: Prometheus NT.48 offers label-free nanoDSF technology for fast and accurate analysis of protein stability and aggregation. Conventional differential scanning fluorimetry (DSF) quantifies the thermal stability of purified proteins with fluorescent dye addition. The new Prometheus NT.48 is label-free and allows analysis of 48 protein samples rapidly in any buffer conditions, even in the presence of detergents. It measures the thermal unfolding of proteins and detects protein aggregation using a very small sample volume. This technology supports protein engineering (e.g. thermally-stable industrial enzymes), formulation of biologics such as antibodies and vaccines, long-term storage stability, and protein-protein and/or protein-compound biomolecular interactions.

Upgrade to glasswork lathe

Equipment Custodian: Robin Berlyn (Science)
Summary: Lathe equipment is an important facilitator of the production of custom-made scientific glassware used by researchers in many organisational units in the University. One of the glassblowing workshop lathes is now more than 50 years old and needs replacement. UQ Glassblowing Services provides quality work to not only UQ researchers, but also to researchers at other universities and organisations in Queensland and interstate. The number of such workshops is declining and this specialist service is a valuable asset that UQ can be proud of maintaining at a professional level.

Funded UQ MEI and NHMRC equipment grants 2016

4D mass spectrometer

Equipment Custodian: Professor Rob Capon (Institute for Molecular Bioscience)

The 4D mass spectrometer uses ultra high-performance liquid chromatography to achieve high-throughput, high-sensitivity, and high-resolution separation of small molecules in complex mixtures, including those present in natural extracts, synthetic reactions and biological fluids (e.g. plasma, CSF, urine). Individual components in mixtures are analysed by an exceptionally sensitive and accurate mass spectrometer that, together with MS-MS fragmentation technology, supports sample characterisation and structure elucidation. All analyses can be performed in a quantitative mode, to document such parameters as biosynthetic and synthetic yields, reaction kinetics, chemical and biological stability, and various pharmacokinetic properties. The 4D mass spectrometer mission critical technology for the discovery, design and development of new small molecule drugs.

4-dimensional multi-photon microscopy for understanding neural circuits and behaviour

Equipment Custodian: Luke Hammond (Queensland Brain Institute)

The Thorlabs' Bergamo II microscope offers a high-performance solution for whole-brain time-lapse imaging. The system allows imaging of the volume of a whole fly brain or equivalent tissue size (300 x 300 x 20011m) with cellular resolution (512 x 512 pixels in the XY axis and 51µm steps in Z axis) at> 1 Hz. An excellent signal to noise ratio and high-speed imaging (> 8000 Hz) also allows imaging of neuronal spiking patterns. Combining this technology with Drosophila genetic reagents, which allow targeting of specific cell types, will facilitate the functional mapping of neurons that are important for controlling behaviour.

A brain physiology laboratory for neuropsychological research in the new Queensland Neuropsychology Research Centre

Equipment Custodian: Doctor Gail Robinson (Health and Behavioural Science)

The location of the newly established Upland Road clinical precinct will enable in situ neuropsychological research of brain fimction (or dysfunction) using equipment that measures physiological responses (e.g., galvanic skin conductance, heart rate), emotional responses (facial EMG), eye movements (eye tracking) and electrical brain activity with electro-encephalography (EEG). Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), a method for stimulating brain activity, will also be used for rehabilitation and training purposes. The key is the co-location of this equipment, which will greatly improve access for individuals with brain disorders and older adults to participate in a broad range of neuropsychological research.

A state-of-the-art facility for simulataneous photo-stimulation, high speed imaging and electrophysiological recording of multiple neurons in brain tissue and living organisms

Equipment Custodian: Doctor Mark Bellingham (Medicine)

Advances in single cell imaging have provided unprecedented insights into cellular function and structure in biomedical research. This equipment will allow targeted photo-stimulation of single or multiple neurons or other cells via a state-of-the-art digital micromirror device, combined with high speed, high resolution video recording of fluorescent signals from single or multiple neurons and electrical signals from selected neurons. These multiple stimulation and recording modalities can be carried out in isolated tissue samples, such as cultured neurons or brain tissue slices, or in small organisms, such as worms, flies and fish.

Automatic plate pourer

Equipment Custodian: Clare Seaman (Queensland Brain Institute)

An automatic plate pourer is able to accurately and consistently dispense agar into petri dishes of varying sizes. The automation of this process eliminates significant ergonomic hazards, improves the consistency and quality of the agar plates produced, and increases the capacity and accuracy of the media making facility.

Dual inlet isotope ratio mass spectrometer (DI-IRMS) for earth sciences, hydrology, environmental and medical research

Equipment Custodian: Professor Sue Golding (Science)

The new dual inlet isotope ratio mass spectrometer (DI-IRMS) will enable high precision analysis of stable C, H and O isotopes in waters (e.g., surface waters, groundwater, biological fluids) and carbonates, which will serve cross-disciplinary research spanning the Schools of Earth Sciences, Geography, Planning and Environmental Planning, Civil Engineering, Chemical Engineering and the Geotechnical Engineering Centre and Children’s Nutrition Research Centre. The IRMS platform will allow much higher throughput and analysis of smaller samples than previously possible. This enhanced capability is essential to obtain the high spatial- and temporal-resolution datasets required for cutting edge earth sciences, hydrology, environmental and medical research.

Enhancing digital and data analytic capabilities for research in the humanities and social sciences

Equipment Custodian: Professor Joanne Tompkins (Humanities and Social Sciences)

HaSS's Research Strategy 2015-2019 identified the critical need for infrastructure to further develop and support large-scale research opportunities enhanced by advanced digital technology and computational capabilities. The infrastructure to facilitate cutting-edge humanities and social science research includes specific computer hardware, and equipment to facilitate access, management and analysis of a wide range of data to enhance research outcomes across the Faculty. These resources will contribute significantly to developing new methodological and analytical technologies and enable the creation of additional commercial products and data services for HASS research (similar to Leximancer, Discursis, Austlit, all products emerging from HaSS research).

Establishing a High-Throughput, Microwave-Assisted Automated Peptide Synthesis Facility at PACE

Equipment CustodianDoctor Peter Moyle (Health and Behavioural Sciences)

The CEM Liberty Blue microwave peptide synthesiser automatically, and rapidly produces peptides in significantly higher yield, and purity, than is possible with manual procedures, with minimal human input. The system consists of: i) a microwave, to safely heat reactions, which significantly reduces reaction times; ii) computer software, which simplifies the reaction setup; and iii) an automated reagent dispenser and washing apparatus. The synthesiser features optimised washing cycles, which greatly reduce the use of toxic solvents, reducing human exposure, OHS, and waste disposal issues. The system can produce > 2 peptides per day compared to one per fortnight with manual procedures.

Establishing a gnotobiotic germ-free mouse facility

Equipment Custodian: Professor Ranjeny Thomas (Medicine)

The application seeks funding to establish a state-of-the-art Gnotobiotic Germ-Free Mouse (GFM) suite within an existing purpose-designed room in TRI animal house. GFM are an essential tool for studying host-microbiota relationship in health and disease. After installation, best-practice techniques and staff training will commence, then the facility will become operational. This facility will serve as a key focal resource leading to new partnerships being formed between UQ researchers at TRI and the wider UQ/Australian research community, and have a longterm impact on the ability of UQ researchers to remain at the forefront of basic research and innovative therapeutic development.

Exosome and bio/nanoparticle characterisation facility

Equipment Custodian: Doctor Darren Korbie (Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology)

We aim to establish a centralised facility for in-situ bio/nanoparticle analysis, providing insights into the physical characteristics as well as the molecular and genomic cargo of single biological nanoparticles (e.g., exosomes, viruses, VLPs, etc.). The facility will consist of several state-of-the-art platforms that are essential tools for novel bio/nanoparticle research and development. 

Malvern NanoSight NS300

  • Single nanoparticle tracking analysis and fluorescent label detection.

Malvern Mastersizer 3000

  • High-throughput, low-volume, analysis of complex samples.

CPS instruments disk centrifuge

  • Highest-resolution and dynamic range nanoparticle characterisation platform.

Bio-rad 96-well plate digital droplet PCR robot

  • Analysis of the molecular cargo of individual bio-nanoparticles.

Inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometer (ICP-MS): A new facility enhancing multi-metal measurement and nanoparticle characterisation in environmental health research

Equipment Custodian: Professor Jack Ng (Health and Behavioural Sciences)

Metals and metalloids are widely used in our daily life. Some are extremely toxic and can cause cancers. High levels are often found in disturbed environment and food chain resulting exposure and harm to humans. Metal implants and metal alloy medical devices are another potential exposure pathways. Their environmental impact and associated health risk need to be monitored and investigated in order to ensure sustainable environmental development We urgently need an ICP-MS that has higher sensitivity for simultaneous measurement of multimetal/loids with added new feature for nano- and micro-particle characterisation in enhancing our current and future research demands.

Instrumentation for the analysis of cellular and metabolic phenotypes

Equipment Custodian: Doctor Ulrike Kappler (Science)

This application will acquire three items of equipment that will collectively enable the phenotyping of cells. The Biolog OmniLog System can be used to assay cellular phenotypes and phenotypic responses to environmental stimuli. The Seahorse XFp Extracellular Flux Analyzer measures specific metabolic responses of mammalian cells in response to external effectors, stresses or infection is linked to a wide variety of metabolic changes especially in the area of energy metabolism. The CLARIOstar is a multimode, high-performance microplate reader that will be used to measure the growth and metabolism of bacteria and the effect of inhibitors, inducers and antibiotics.

Integrative blood coagulation research core facility

Equipment Custodian: Doctor Bryan Fry (Science)

This application aims to establish an integrative blood coagulation research core facility that will have the ability to test all aspects of the blood coagulation system including anticoagulants, procoagulants, fibrinolysis, inflammatory proteins, thrombin generation and platelet aggregation. This infrastructure would facilitate selective testing of compounds not only in human blood but also in diverse different animal bloodlines ranging from bats to sharks. This array will serve multiple major needs currently unmet, ranging from basic biology to disease investigation to drug design and development. The high-throughput, cutting-edge equipment requested in this application will establish UQ at the forefront of blood coagulation research.

Light-sheet microscope for high-speed 3D imaging of live organisms and fixed tissue

Equipment CustodianLuke Hammond (Queensland Brain Institute)

We will build a light-sheet or Selective Plane Illumination Microscope (SPIM) utilising two illumination objectives to create an even illumination sheet and a third objective for imaging. 405, 488, 561 and 640 nm laser diodes will be used for excitation with image acquisition occurring on a high-speed, high quantum efficiency sCMOS camera. A piezo stage will be utilised to ensure rapid focusing and adjustment. A high-end workstation will allow image reconstruction and analysis. This will allow extremely fast high-resolution acquisitions of large live or fixed specimens with minimal photo-toxicity.

Millimetre waves for imaging and sensing

Equipment Custodian: Doctor Amin Abbosh (Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology)

The School of lTEE currently hosts state of the art facilities for imaging and material characterization at microwave and terahertz frequencies. The equipment requested in this application will open up a new spectral region and will provide the capability to interrogate materials and create images at the millimeter-wave frequency range, which contains some of the most significant materials markers and molecular signatures. It will also enable the characterisation of materials and sources in the Terahertz (THz) region. This infrastructure will be a valuable addition to our existing facility, enabling state-of-the art research in biomedical imaging and non-destructive testing.

Molecular characterization of complex biological polymers

Equipment Custodian: Bernadine Flanagan (Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation)

This is for a multi-detector size-exclusion chromatography set-up, to give multi-faceted molecular structural characterization of complex polymers, especially polysaccharides and glycoproteins of importance to human nutrition, health and materials from renewable resources. The resulting data can reveal the relations between genetics, (bio)synthesis, (bio)degradation, molecular structure and functional properties. Such properties range from the mouth-feel of a food, plants and manufacturing methods producing foods with improved nutritional value, how glycogen is involved in the abnormal blood-sugar control in diabetes, better biomaterials and many other areas. This will be the work-horse for a range of research teams in these fields.

Novel pain therapeutics discovery: probing moleuclar mechanisms

Equipment Custodian: Doctor Nemat Khan (Medicine)

The requested equipment/infrastructure (Leica TCS SP8 point scanning laser confocal microscope and a QuantStudio 6 Flex Real-time PCR system) will greatly facilitate ex vivo investigations of the cellular and molecular mechanisms through which novel compounds identified from pain therapeutics discovery programs at UQ, produce pain relief. This interdisciplinary research will utilize tissues collected from Professor Smith's unique portfolio of rodent pain models that closely mimic individual human pain conditions treated either with new molecules shown to be analgesic in these models (venom peptides and small molecules) produced by her UQ collaborators (Cis King, Lewis and Williams respectively) or vehicle.

Patch-clamp electrophysiology platform for drug and insecticide discovery

Equipment Custodian: Jennifer Smith (Institute for Molecular Bioscience)

Numerous UQ groups have active drug and insecticide discovery programs targeted against ligand- and voltage-gated ion channels, and many of these programs receive high levels of external support form both competitive grants and direct industry funding. The gold-standard approach for studying ion channels is patch-clamp electrophysiology, but at present the number of groups wanting to perform electrophysiology measurements far exceeds the number of patch-clamp rigs available on the St Lucia campus. The requested equipment would enhance UQ's strength in basic and translational research on ion channels and enhance our ability to attract industry collaborators focused on drug and insecticide discovery.

Single cell transcriptomic laboratory

Equipment Custodian: Doctor Joseph Powell (Institute for Molecular Bioscience)

This application relates to the purchase of major equipment to set up a single-cell transcriptomic-sequencing laboratory. In particular, we are requesting a Fluidigm C1 Single-cell Auto Prep system, which in conjunction with existing sequencing facilities, will enable high-throughput sequencing of whole transcriptomes from single cells. The C1 is a fully automated single-cell isolation and preparation system for genomic analyses that provides a gene-expression workflow to process either 96 or 800 mRNA targets in a single run.

Specialised odour component analysis to support development and optimisation of odour treatment technologies

Equipment Custodian: Doctor Beatrice Keller-Lehmann (Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology)

Odour control is a major environmental and health concern in many sectors, including urban, agri-industry and solid waste management, and is reflected in environmental protection legislation of all Australian states and territories. However, technologies that mitigate odour have been poorly understood and developed due to a lack of direct measurements of odour components of concern. A proposed state of the art GC with advanced volatile gas sampling capabilities for canisters and gas bags will be essential to maintain a leading role in odour mitigation technology development for current and future project partners and stake holders.

The Australian human microbiota project-microbe isolation facility

Equipment Custodian: Professor Mark Morrison (Medicine)

Aside from infections, host-microbe interactions also contribute to the onset and progression of many noncommunicable diseases as well as cancer. However, because many of these microbes remain elusive to culture it remains difficult to conceptualize and modulate their roles in disease course and prevention. We seek to acquire 4 items of equipment to create a nationally unique facility dedicated to improving the throughput and efficiency of isolating, propagating and archiving "most-wanted" microbes from clinical samples and animal models of disease. The infrastructure will enable new research opportunities across UQ to better define host-microbe interactions and advance our translation of "microbiomes to medicine".

UQ Business School research laboratory

Equipment CustodianDoctor Gabrielle Walters (Business, Economics and Law)

The equipment requested in this application includes a collection of technological devices that will enable researchers from a range of disciplines to assess physiological and psychological responses to a broad array of stimuli. The equipment will provide academics and research students within the UQ Business School with access to innovative methodological techniques that will enhance the overall research performance of the school. Specific techniques include but are not limited to: the physiological measurement of emotion; the study of consumer/user behaviour using eye-tracking technology: the use of virtual reality technology for effective experience design and student learning.