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Biobehavioral research laboratory

From the blog

Laboratory staff

  • Theresa Swift-Scanlan, Ph.D., director of biobehavioral laboratory services
  • Jacob T. Graham, Lab Technician

Our biobehavioral research laboratory is a 3,800-square-foot laboratory suite that includes two bench laboratories, a tissue culture laboratory, a physiological monitoring laboratory and office space for laboratory personnel.

The lab performs assays and assists in acquisition, storage and manipulation of biological and behavioral data. We provide extensive services for biological measures including study design, grant preparation, and sample collection and processing.

We are one of the few labs in the country capable of conducting exhaled breath condensate (EBC) analysis and currently measure EBC pH (with oxygen gas normalization/low ionic strength pH probes), EBC nitric oxide/nitrate species (GE Sievers, NOA), and various inflammatory and oxidant stress measures. 

Our facility includes a “breath lab” with a private examination room housing equipment for exhaled breath condensate (EBC) sample collection (RTube), sputum induction (sputum hood), pulmonary function (KoKo spirometer) and hand-held point-of-care devices for exhaled volatiles including exhaled nitric oxide analysis (NIOX MINO), exhaled carbon monoxide.

Our physiological monitoring laboratory contains portable equipment for monitoring heart rate variability, vital signs (including pulse oximetry) and non-invasive/ambulatory blood pressure measurement. This facility is equipped for research participant enrollment and biobehavioral data collection, with private rooms for data collection, administering questionnaires, performing quantitative sensory testing (Medoc Pathway System), and collecting blood samples.

The lab is equipped with multiple computers for instrumentation and data acquisition and various software packages for data manipulation and reporting.

Major equipment:

  • Refrigerators, freezers (including a Forma controlled-rate freezer and multiple -80°C freezers, and two 3,000-vial capacity liquid nitrogen storage freezers)
  • Refrigerated microcentrifuges and benchtop centrifuges
  • Thermo Multiskan microplate reader and BioRad iMark ELISA Reader with washer
  • Bio-Rad Bioplex Pro with automated washer
  • Multiple CO2 incubators for tissue culture
  • Two microscopes (one with fluorescence and photographic capabilities)
  • Perkin-Elmer gamma counter
  • TopCount scintillation counter
  • Cellometer cell counter
  • Two six-foot and two four-foot laminar flow biological hoods
  • Class II chemical hood
  • BioRad CFX96 (Bio-Rad) RT-PCR instrument and a MagMAX Express magnetic particle processor for nucleic acid extractions in house
  • MSD Meso Quickplex SQ120 for high sensitivity multiplex analysis
  • NanoDrop for nucleic acid and protein quantification

For questions or to schedule a consultation, please email sonlab@vcu.edu.

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