GlowLab – Laboratory for Regenerative Neuroscience

GlowLab – Laboratory for Regenerative Neuroscience is a new, multipurpose facility for preclinical brain research, established at the University of Zagreb School of Medicine within the scope of EU FP7 RegPot project Glowbrain (grant agreement 316120). The core of the facility is a multimodal imaging unit, applicable to various biomedical problems. With the support of University of Zagreb School of Medicine, which  funded the rennovation and adaptation of the laboratory space, the total investment in the high-tech laboratory space reached €2 million.

To enable longitudinal studies and streamline preclinical research, the imaging unit is complemented with a dedicated cell-culture lab and an adjacent animal facility equipped with a surgery for small rodents.

 

In vivo Imaging Laboratory

The key instruments in the imaging unit are the ultra-high field (7 Tesla, Bruker BioSpec) magnetic resonance imager which can deliver images at near-histological resolution, and the bioluminescence/fluorescence imager (IVIS Spectrum, Perkin Elmer). BLI and MRI are technologies at the opposite parts of the imaging spectrum. BLI offers the maximum sensitivity, while MRI has superior resolution. Together, they enable complex in vivo monitoring applications, such as observing the integration of stem cells in the brain of a mouse. The idea of GlowLab is to combine these two imaging modalities into multi-modal imaging, whereby the same animal is imaged with both instruments and the obtained images are combined to extract additional information that may not be possible to obtain by either one of the methods alone.

 

Cell Culture Laboratory

The cell culture laboratory is the second pillar of GlowLab. It is equipped with all necessary equipment for cell isolation and culturing, and includes a new automatized microscope with on-stage incubator (EVOS FL). The lab can also serve for the development and testing of biomaterials. The position of the laboratory adjacent to the surgery room of the animal facility, the two connected with a communication window, simplifies the workflow in complex experiments without reflecting negatively on bio-safety.

 

Micro-surgery Laboratory

The Micro-surgery unit completes the backbone of GlowLab, and revolves around a dedicated operating room for performing all necessary surgery for neurological experiments on mice and rats, such as medial cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO), isolation of stem cells, their transplantation via stereotaxic injection, and other procedures. Complementing the surgery unit is an animal facility which will serve to host all animals used in the experiments and is instrumental in minimizing animal stress during longitudinal experiments. The nominal capacity of the facility of up to 400 mice and 100 rats should provide sufficient hosting capacity to enable simultaneous longitudinal studies and one-off experiments. The animals will be kept in individually ventilated cages (IVC) to satisfy highest sanitary standards and allow experiments on various strains of animals without any risk of cross-contamination.