Human Neuron Core | Services

Human neuron differentiation and phenotyping service

The Human Neuron Core provides human neurons derived from induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) lines, including excitatory cortical neurons, GABA neurons, motor neuron and sensory neurons. Our phenotyping services can compare key cellular characteristics across patient-derived and control-derived neurons. The Core can also identify and consent patients at Boston Children’s to create cell lines modeling specific diseases to support translational research collaborations.

Multi-electrode array (MEA)

MEA

The Maestro multielectrode array technology (Axion Biosystems) enables analysis of neural networks and electroactive tissue at unprecedented throughput and scale. This system is ideal for large-scale cellular analysis in drug screening applications and for phenotyping human neurons. The array has 768 stimulating and recording electrodes and accommodates 12-, 48- and 96-well assay formats.

Equipment may be rented hourly or hired for assisted use through trained core technicians.

Targeted RNA sequencing gene panels

Automated library preparation Ion Chef

ThermoFisher’s Ion S5™, Ion Chef™, and Ampliseq™ technologies enable targeted RNA sequencing of a single amplicon from every gene in the transcriptome from just 10 ng of RNA. Whole-transcriptome gene expression data can be obtained in triplicate samples for the same cost as a single replicate of RNA- seq data. In addition, the targeting of all sequencing reads to one amplicon per gene increases the read depth for each gene, thereby increasing sensitivity for detecting gene expression levels. Library preparation, templating and chip loading are all automated on Ion Chef, decreasing variability between samples. In addition to whole transcriptome analysis, custom human and mouse panels can be designed for your topic of interest, enabling gene expression analysis across hundreds or thousands of genes at a fraction of the cost of RNA-seq, and with much less reagent than needed for qPCR.

Assay development and screening facility

This high-throughput, high-content bioassay laboratory gives you the ability to explore disease-related cellular processes and molecules. Equipment is avail- able via hourly fee-for-usage. We can provide research assistants on an hourly basis to assist with assay development and drug screening, as well as access to a curated collection of bioactive compound libraries for screening.

screening facility 

ArrayScan™ XTI: High content screening with live cell imaging

The ArrayScan XTI (ThermoFisher Scientific) features a temperature- and CO2-controlled live cell chamber to assay cell biology over several days.

An integrated liquid handler administers compounds well by well, capturing real-time changes in fluorescence with speeds up to 10 Hz with an enhanced

CCD camera and seven-color LED light source, using 6-well to 384-well labware. The instrument is ideally suited for automated image analysis of many cell types, particularly heterogeneous cell preparations that may require detec- tion of co-expressed markers to identify subsets of cells.

Hamamatsu Functional Drug Screening System

The Hamamatsu FDSS7000EX can use fluorescence or luminescence to enable a multiplicity of dynamic cellular assays, including measurements of gene expression levels, changes in membrane potential or concentrations of intracellular ions, such as Ca++. Assays can be carried out in primary neurons, stem-cell-derived neurons, trans-differentiated neurons and cell lines in a fast, accurate, parallel fashion.

Robotics and liquid handlers

The Human Neuron Core has a wide range of small robotic dispensers and liquid handlers to automate preparation of samples in 96- and 384-well plates. Applications include tissue culture, preparation of compound plates and PCR plates and immunohistochemical staining of fixed cells.