As part of the University of Southern California—one of the top 10 private academic institutions in federally funded research—the USC School of Pharmacy offers a wide range of cutting-edge resources for scientists. The School maintains multiple core laboratories with state-of-the-art equipment suites and appropriate research staff support, providing facilities not typically maintained in individual labs. The School’s location on a major health sciences campus provides additional access to advanced facilities. And researchers throughout the university can take advantage of the High-Performance Computing and Communications center—the fifth fastest supercomputer in an academic setting in the United States and 18th fastest in the world.
The Translational Research Laboratory, on the Jane and Gale Bensussen Floor of the Pharmaceutical Sciences Center, promotes translational therapeutic discovery. This school-wide core laboratory is composed of two major units:
- Bioinformatics/Computational Chemistry Unit, equipped with graphic workstations and modeling programs that provide for computer-based virtual screening and rational drug design applications
- Therapeutic Screening Unit, which houses various state-of-the-art specialized instruments enabling a broad range of automated and multiplexed biological analyses in a throughput manner
Capabilities of the lab include:
- Fast gene expression profiling and genotyping using high-capacity (96 – 3,072 simultaneous reactions) real-time PCR systems
- Automated fluorescence imaging capabilities for multiwell samples & multilabel samples including fluorescence measurement, time-resolution, polarization, luminescence and absorbance
- Rapid analysis of cellular component dynamics by advanced spectrophotometry and high-content multiplex array systems
- Simultaneous multiwell measurement of oxygen-dependent and -independent metabolism in cultured cells or isolated mitochondria
- Optimization of fluorescence probes using scanning spectrophotometry.
- Measurement of hydrodynamic particle radii, including polymers, soluble proteins and suspended particles.
- Multiple instruments and techniques for gene transfer, expression, quantification and isolation.
The Histology Laboratory, located in the Pharmaceutical Sciences Center, is a core facility open to any USC researcher. This lab provides all facilities necessary to create microscope slides from tissue samples. Tissues may be paraffin-embedded, sectioned or stained in the laboratory. Sectioning can involve making microtome, vibratome or cryostat thin slices. Color photographs of microscopic images can be produced for publication. Expert advice is available concerning staining techniques and the interpretation of microscopic images.
The Lentiviral Laboratory, in the Pharmaceutical Sciences Center, provides resources for the production of small-scale lentiviral stocks containing a given gene of interest and lentiviral titrations, concentrations and transductions of cells of interest. Available services include:
- Lentiviral construction
- Backbone vectors for cDNA expression
- Small-scale virus production for gene transfer into cell lines
- High-titer virus production for gene transfer into primary cells and in vivo
- Production of stable cell lines
- Consultations for vector modalities
- Support documentation for grants
USC has the 5th fastest super computer cluster in the U.S., and Nouri Neamati is using it to advance his cancer and HIV/AIDS research.
A grant from Quintiles is helping the School build upon its leadership role in both health economic policy and regulatory science to promote more effective and efficient health care delivery and to make medical products faster, safer and better.
The School unites an interdisciplinary team of pharmacologists, toxicologists and pharmaceutical and regulatory scientists to explore new directions in identifying, designing and targeting new therapeutic advances. Complementing this are researchers working in the clinical arena and in health economics and policy. Centers and institutes, based at the School and throughout the University, offer a structure for collaborative pursuits.
Associate Professor Jason Doctor, PhD, received an $11.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health for a project to dissuade physicians from unnecessarily prescribing antibiotics for common acute respiratory infections.
Is comparative effectiveness research the best way to choose your next treatment?
A new study from a team at the USC School of Pharmacy details potential sources of bias that clinicians, pharmacy and therapeutic committees, health insurance companies, HMOs and government programs must be aware before using comparative effectiveness research based on retrospective data.
Roberta Diaz Brinton, PhD, is moving toward clinical trial of a therapy to prevent and treat early Alzheimer’s disease. Her work garnered a planning award from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) that could lead to a $20 million clinical trial grant.