Biomedical Research Core Facilities

Biomedical Research Core Facilities

Part of the University of Michigan Medical School Office of Research, the Biomedical Research Core Facilities (BRCF) is a group of centralized labs and resources that provide U-M researchers access to the latest technologies and equipment in biomedical research.

The Cores strive to meet increased expectations resulting from the accelerated changes happening throughout the scientific research community. It requires top-of-the-line resources for the Cores to maintain their status as elite, next-generation providers of expertise, platforms and materials.

With 11twelve11 Cores spanning nearly 25 locations around the University of Michigan Medical School (UMMS) campus, it’s no surprise that the locations of those facilities play a crucial role in the advancement of U-M research and projects.

Nearly half of the BRCF Cores are located at the NCRC, including:

  • Bioinformatics Core
  • Biomedical Research Store
  • DNA Sequencing Core
  • Flow Cytometry Core
  • Microscopy & Image Analysis Laboratory-North

BRCF Cores at NCRC

  • Founded in 2012, the Bioinformatics Core assists researchers with interpreting complex, high-throughput biological data, including DNA, RNA and Protein. This Core has developed software, databases, and visualization tools to meet these needs, including two new software applications, Epee and Jacquard, available nationally. The Bioinformatics Core has doubled the number of projects performed in the last year, including adding nine services to their portfolio and testing 127 pieces of software in their service selection.
  • The Biomedical Research Store’s NCRC location has grown right along with the North Campus Research Complex. Since opening the NCRC location in 2011, the Biomedical Research Store has more than tripled their stock on location. Since the launch of the NCRC delivery service in January 2015, the Biomedical Research Store has made more than 750 deliveries around the Complex. The Biomedical Research Store stocks more than 700 items from 12 vendors at five locations around campus, available for immediate purchase.
  • The DNA Sequencing Core is one of the largest facilities in the Midwest, processing more than 250,000 samples per year. The Core occupies approximately 10,000 square feet of laboratory space in the NCRC, with 26 highly trained individuals on staff. They operate a wide variety of instruments that perform DNA sequencing, genotyping, gene expression analysis, DNA quantification and quality control.
  • The Flow Cytometry Core NCRC location has upgraded the Astrios #3 to dual PMT EQ and is now able to resolve particles down to 100 nanometers in size. Analysis at the Flow Core can be scheduled within 24 hours. For cell sorting, appointments are made within 48 hours, reducing wait time from weeks to a day or two. Thanks to advancements in digital acquisition, sorting is now 3-10 times faster.
  • The Microscopy & Image Analysis Laboratory (MIL-North) is accessible to trained and authorized users 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The MIL-North offers expert consultation, training and experimental design and state-of-the-art equipment for microscopic imaging.


The co-location of the Cores is instrumental in fostering an environment of collaboration and partnership. “The spontaneous interactions between people using the Core Facilities, both at the customer and staff level, produce powerful synergies and processes for research,” says Cassandra Wong, Director of Biomedical Research Core Facilities. “In no situation is this more clear than with the Bioinformatics and DNA Sequencing Cores, which are at the forefront of collaboration in their fields.”

  • “at the forefront of collaboration in their fields”
    Cassandra Wong, BRCF Director
  • “at the forefront of collaboration in their fields”
    Cassandra Wong, BRCF Director


  • The Microscopy Imaging Laboratory (MIL-North) in Building 20 is sister facility to the Microscopy Imaging Laboratory located in the Biomedical Sciences Research Building on the Medical Campus. Accessible to trained and authorized users 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, it is managed by a staff member with over 30 years of research experience utilizing multiple imaging technologies.
  • The MIL-North offers expert consultation, training, experimental design and state-of-the-art equipment for microscopic imaging. The facility provides researchers with the latest imaging instrumentation equipment, including widefield fluorescent microscopy, laser scanning confocal microscopy, and high resolution stimulated emission depletion (STED) confocal microscopy. Also included are workstations loaded with software for digital image analysis, deconvolution, and 3D volume rendering. Between the MIL in BSRB and the MIL-North at NCRC, nearly all imaging and histological research needs can be serviced.
  • The location of the MIL-North has exposed the facility to a unique clientele. Users come from a variety of departments and colleges, including the Medical School and the College of Engineering. This unique population has challenged the MIL-North to expand expertise in imaging both biological and non-biological samples.
  • The future of the MIL-North includes continued upgrades of equipment to accommodate advances in imaging research technology, while ongoing evaluation of the current equipment in the facility is used to respond and adapt to the needs of researchers.
  • The MIL takes pride in its cooperative interactions with imaging industry leaders. These partnerships develop opportunities to provide state of the art microscopy and image analysis technology.
  • At the time of installation the Leica TCS SP8 gSTED Laser Scanning Confocal Microscope was the only system of its kind in the U.S. It is a state-of-the-art system that allows for direct imaging of structures down to 50 nm. The system is an adaptation of conventional confocal technology that allows use of standard imaging preparation protocol. In 2014 the Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to Stefan Hell for the development of the STED super-resolution fluorescent microscopy technology.
  • The MIL-North has served over 250 researchers since its doors opened in November 2011. At least 35 different labs have used the facility, including two commercial users.

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