University of BristolAutoimmune Inflammation Research

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Equipment and techniques

Here are pictures of some of the equipment that we use in the laboratory.

picture of a PCR machine

PCR Machine

The PCR machine, or thermocycler, is a cornerstone of most biology labs. In it, we run polymerase chain reactions. This technique requires repeated cycles at multiple different temperatures. When PCR was developed, researchers used to use several water baths and move their samples between them. You can see if you have to do this 30 times, over a couple of hours, how that might get boring. This machine can be programmed to carry out repeated heating and cooling. You can even set it up and leave it overnight, if aren't excited enough by the experiments to want to see the result immediately.

picture of a PCR machine

Bench top FACS machine

We use flow cytometry to ask which cells from a tissue, such as the blood or spleen, are expressing specific molecules. We tag these molecules with antibodies that also have a fluorochrome attached. The cells are streamed in front of a laser (or lasers) and if antibody is binding we can detect the fluorochrome using this piece of equipment. The machine shown here can detect 4 different colours (and therefore 4 different proteins) simultaneously. Our new cytometer, the LSR II, can detect 9 colours simultaneously.

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