SBC Facility News and Events

November 4, 2016

SickKids SBC Facility personnel attended the Buffalo – Hamilton – Toronto Crystallographic Organization’s 25th symposium held at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario as a sponsoring member. This annual event is a one day meeting for macromolecular crystallographers in Western New York and Southern Ontario to discuss and learn about new and innovative crystallographic techniques and provide a venue for showcasing the achievements of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

The SBC was on hand to provide information to attendees about facility instrumentation and in-house techniques that can help in the protein crystallization and characterization process. Some of these include the use of the UNit, DSC and CD for optimal buffer and ligand / co-factor screening to promote stabilization, interaction characterization using the Auto-iTC and Octet Red96, oligomeric state determination using the the NanoSight NTA and Bio-HPLC-MALS-RI as well as having it’s own dedicated X-ray crystallography laboratory that includes a diffractometer, crystallization robots, incubation, visualization and other support equipment.

To learn more about chemical screening methods to identify ligands that promote protein stability, protein crystallization, and structure determination, please see PubMed ID: 17035505.

November 9, 2016

SickKids SBC Facility personnel attended the SickKids Industry Partnering Day at the Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning. This was an opportunity for SickKids researchers to meet local innovative companies, both formally and informally, in the hope of finding collaborative partners to advance specific research projects, creating new sponsorship’s for research projects and government grants as well as meeting representatives from the various SickKids core facilities such as the Structural & Biophysical Core Facility

April 12, 2017

As part of the Spotlight monthly seminar series, Greg Wasney, Manager of the SBC Facility, presented a describing of the available technologies and applicable techniques available to scientists in the SickKids Structural & Biophysical Core Facility.

The presentation was held held on April 12, 2017 from 12:00 – 1:00pm at the Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning in Event Room 3A/3B.

September 8, 2017

The SBC is pleased to announce that it will be adding Wyatt’s DynaPro Plate Reader II Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS) instrument to it’s growing portfolio of analytical instruments. The DynaPro Plate Reader II is a high-throughput DLS capable of analyzing samples in industry-standard multi-well microplates. Options include the use of 96, 384 or 1536-well plates, with a minimum sample volume of 4 µL, isocratic and temperature gradient control from 4°C to 85°C and on-board camera for sample quality control and data diagnostics. Some applications of this instrument include high-throughput protein, nanoparticle, biotherapeutics and polymer size and interaction characterization, as well as protein stability, aggregation and oligomerization determination.

More information about the DynaPro DLS Plate Reader II can be found here.

The DynaPro DLS Plate Reader II is expected to be installed at the SBC Facility in early October, 2017.

October 12, 2017

The SBC is pleased to announce that it will be adding BioTek’s Synergy Neo2 HTS hybrid multi-mode microplate reader to it’s growing portfolio of instruments. The Neo2 makes use of BioTek’s hybrid technology where the instrument has both quad monochromators (top and bottom) and filter-based (top) optics. Modes of detection include fluorescence (variable bandwidths from 3 nm to 50 nm in 1nm increments), fluorescence polarization, time-resolved fluorescence, UV-VIS absorbance, luminescence and alpha laser technologies. The instrument has the capability of using up to 1536-well microplates, controlling the sample temperature incubation up to 65°C, purging the sample environment with a compressed gas and taking advantage of the integrated dual injector module. The instrument can measure wells using end point, kinetic, spectral scanning and well area scanning modes along with linear, orbital or double orbital plate shaking. Users of the instrument will also have access to the Take3 micro-volume plate where up to 48 protein or nucleic acid samples can be quantified at one time using only 2uL / sample. In addition to fluorescence techniques using the monochromators, some of the filter-based assays available for use are AlphaScreen, AlphaLISA, AlphaPLEX, GeneBLAzer, Europium and Terbium LanthaScreen (FRET), LANCE TR-FRET, DELFIA-TRF, as well as several fluorescence polarization assays including FITC, BODIPY-TRM, TAMRA, Texas Red and Cy5.

More information about the Synergy Neo2 multi-mode microplate reader can be found here.

The Synergy Neo2 is expected to be installed at the SBC Facility in early November, 2017.

October 13, 2017

The DynaPro dynamic light scattering plate reader has now been installed and is ready for use.

Please speak with Greg Wasney for more details.

November 15, 2017

The Synergy Neo2 multi-mode microplate reader has now been installed and is ready for use.

Please speak with Greg Wasney for more details.

March 19, 2018

The SBC Facility has recently moved into a new laboratory space located on the northwest corner of the 21st Floor, PGCRL. This new and large laboratory features more bench space for current and future instrumentation, space for wet-lab bench work as well as great views of the surrounding Toronto region. This new laboratory will help accommodate the growing needs of the facility and its users, provide a bright and pleasant space to conduct research, promote collaboration and training.

In addition to the analytical instruments available, we offer facility users access to SBC Facility-exclusive support equipment to assist with experimental set-up. This includes a full range of mechanical and electronic single and 12-channel pipettemen, refrigerated centrifuges, temperature controlled sonicators and stirring plates, vortexes and dry bath heating / cooling blocks. The facility provides dedicated computer and desk space, in both the laboratory and PGCRL administrative office areas, for user data analysis. All facility users also have included access to full-time technical and experimental support provided by experienced and dedicated personnel.

Our facility is open to all scientists from universities, academic research hospitals and private industry members. We offer all-access, yearly facility memberships as well as individual instrument day-use packages. We also accept sample submissions for various instrument-based characterization projects.

If you would like more information about the SBC Facility, or are interested in arranging a tour of the facility, please feel free to contact us anytime.

March 20, 2018

The SBC Facility is happy to announce the upgrade of Wyatt’s DynaPro II DLS Plate Reader to the DynaPro III DLS & SLS Plate Reader. The DynaPro III contains all the features of the previous DLS instrument but with the addition of static light scattering (SLS) detection capability plus improved software and hardware, including improved temperature control and enhanced front screen GUI.

In addition to it’s dynamic light scattering features and applications, static light scattering enables measurements of size, molecular weight, kD and A2 automatically and simultaneously using microplates. Simultaneous size and molecular weight assists with the understanding of protein unfolding versus aggregation versus time, temperature and solution conditions such as buffers and chemical denaturants. The DynaPro III Plate Reader now has the capability of heating clear tape seals to prevent condensation from forming under the tape, which can interfere with data collection from light scattering. This prevents evaporation that may occur during time and temperature experiments.

The DynaPro Plate Reader III is a high-throughput DLS & SLS instrument capable of analyzing samples in industry-standard multi-well microplates. Options include the use of 96, 384 or 1536-well plates, with a minimum sample volume of 4 µL, isocratic and temperature gradient control from 4°C to 85°C and on-board camera for sample quality control and data diagnostics. Some applications of this instrument include high-throughput protein, nanoparticle, biotherapeutics and polymer size and interaction characterization, as well as protein stability, aggregation and oligomerization determination.

More information about the DynaPro DLS & SLS Plate Reader III can be found here and here.

September 28, 2018
Wyatt Technology will be hosting a user meeting in Toronto on October 9, 2018.Wyatt’s regional user meetings are a great opportunity to meet and interact with other scientists who utilize Wyatt light scattering instruments. Learn how your colleagues approach biophysical characterization, pick up some tips and tricks on method development and spend some quality time with Wyatt staff. This is also a great opportunity for users of the SBC Facility’s DynaPro III plate reader and Bio-HPLC-MALS-QELS-RI (MiniDAWN TREOS and Optilab T-rEX) to interact with other SBC Facility users.
Registration is free for this event and continental breakfast and lunch are provided.Event information as well as the link to the registration page is as follows:
Date: October 9, 2018
Time: 8:30 AM
Location: Marriott Downtown at CF Toronto Eaton Centre
525 Bay Street
Toronto, Ontario M5G 2L2

SickKids SBC Facility personnel once again attended the Buffalo – Hamilton – Toronto Crystallographic Organization’s 27th symposium held at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario as a sponsoring member. This annual event is a one day meeting for protein crystallographers in Western New York and Ontario to discuss and learn about new and innovative crystallographic techniques and provide a venue for showcasing recent achievements of graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and research associates as well as introducing new academic principle investigators to the research community.

The SBC was on hand to provide information to attendees about facility biophysical instrumentation and in-house techniques that can help promote protein crystallization and characterization. The SBC Facility also houses a dedicated X-ray crystallography laboratory, including a diffractometer, crystallization robots, incubation, visualization and other support equipment, all available to the research community.

To learn more about chemical screening methods to identify ligands that promote protein stability, protein crystallization and structure determination, please see PubMed ID: 17035505.

For more information regarding the SBC Facility’s infrastructure, please visit The SBC Facility’s webpage.

Wyatt Technology

(https://www.wyatt.com/blogs/featured-customer-greg-wasney.html)

(https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6479045415810531329)

Featured Customer: Greg Wasney

With extensive experience supporting some of the top life science research in Canada, Greg Wasney has gotten to know more than a few scientific instruments and scientific instrument vendors. SEC-MALS and DLS are among the many biophysical techniques he applies to protein characterization. We are pleased that he agreed to go on the record to tell us what he does and the role played by Wyatt instruments in his work.

Please tell us about your background: where you grew up, studied and the field you chose.

I grew up in Winnipeg, Canada and studied at the University of Manitoba, specializing in protein biochemistry.

What led you to choose that field? What are the challenges that excite you?

At an early point in my career, I was interested in a field of study that gave me training in a wider range of scientific fields. A career path in biochemistry allowed me to study various subjects such as biology, microbiology, molecular biology, genetics, organic, inorganic and physical chemistry. This also gave me early exposure to a wider array of analytical techniques and applications.

What does your current position entail? How does it tie in to your previous experience, and where is it going?

In my current position as the Manager of the Structural & Biophysical Core Facility at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, I am responsible for a suite of approximately 25 analytical instruments and support equipment as well as all aspects of operating the facility. In addition to Wyatt’s miniDAWN® TREOS, Optilab® T-rEX and DynaPro® Plate Reader III, we have instruments used for protein structural denaturation characterization (Auto-DSC, DSLS, DSF, CD), molecular interactions (Auto-ITC, Octet), multi-mode detection used for enzymology and other assays (hybrid plate readers and supporting liquid handling robotics) and various other instruments such as a nanoparticle tracking analyzer, bio-inert HPLC, rheometer and fluorescence microscope. Additionally, the facility has a fully equipped laboratory housing a single protein crystal X-ray diffractometer, crystallization support equipment and an automated SAXS/WAXS with in-line FPLC.

My role as manager includes the care of all facility instruments and supporting infrastructure, training of scientists and student facility users and acting as a consultant to help guide and troubleshoot collaborator projects. I also lead several on-going contract research projects with internal and external academic scientists and industry partners. I am responsible for facility outreach as well as leading technique-based workshops for new scientists. The overall goal behind the SBC Facility is to be a central and fully maintained central resource for instrumentation and expertise while being a collaborative meeting point for the scientific community through an exchange of technologies, techniques and ideas.

In what context did you first learn about light scattering and Wyatt instruments?

I began working with Wyatt Technology instruments with the introduction of the first DLS plate reader during my research in high throughput protein characterization, crystallography and compound screening for drug discovery. DLS was routinely implemented during the protein characterization stage to determine optimal buffer conditions based on both protein stability, using a 384-well plate based thermo-denaturation technique (DSLS), and polydispersity (DLS).

How have MALS and DLS contributed to your research and development studies?

In general, I tend to gravitate towards instruments that are highly flexible and have the potential to be applied to a wide variety of research fields. The presence of MALS and DLS in the SBC Facility play a critical role in this due to their flexibility and applicability to address the questions being asked by a wide range of research programs. We are currently utilizing these instruments as quality control steps to characterize the size and polydispersity of antibodies and antigens to be used in downstream processes for developing new therapeutics. We also use these instruments to evaluate the oligomeric state and glycosylation of various proteins. Recently I have been developing DynaPro plate reader-based methodologies and workflow optimizations for medium to high-throughput screening of protein-ligand interactions in 384 and 1536-well plates incorporating robotics as well as compound displacement screening of protein-protein interactions for drug discovery. In addition, I am also working with chemical engineers in the Toronto community who are using the DynaPro plate reader to study the size and polydispersity of emulsions and polymers.

Any final thoughts for the readers?

Throughout my career I have focused on gaining knowledge and experience with new technologies while determining different ways these can be applied, thereby creating a “tool box” of techniques and approaches. As I love doing science in general, I am fortunate to have a career that has allowed me to work closely with scientists from a wide range of research backgrounds. Having this varied “tool box” of techniques and along with the wonderful support and infrastructure available at the Hospital for Sick Children, I have been in a position to offer several possible experimental paths to answer a particular project question or novel ways to approach a research program.

Publication list on PubMed

The SBC Facility is hiring!

The Structural & Biophysical Core Facility, located at The Hospital for Sick Children, is seeking a new research technologist.

Please follow the link (Technologist II – RI – 10421) in order to find out more information about this position as well as how to apply before the closing date of March 9, 2019.

The SBC Facility Welcomes Magnus Jorgensen to the Team!

We are very pleased to announce the addition of Magnus Jorgensen as research technologist to the facility team. Magnus will be involved in many aspects of facility operations including new user instrument training, ongoing user support, instrument maintenance and validation as well as special projects and outreach.

Magnus was born in Ottawa and grew up in Somerset, England before deciding to return to Canada in order to attend the University of Toronto and obtain a bachelor degree in biochemistry and physiology. Already being very well experienced and familiar to many SBC Facility users and collaborators, Magnus began volunteering in the SBC Facility in March 2018 before transitioning to the new role of research technologist.

Magnus can be contact at jamesmagnus.jorgensen@sickkids.ca

The SBC Facility Acquires the Jasco J-1500 CD Instrument!

We’re excited to unveil our new circular dichroism spectrophotometer, the Jasco J-1500! This new instrument will replace our now-retired Jasco J-810, after 30 years of excellent service. The J-1500 is the latest Circular Dichroism and UV / Visible absorbance research-grade spectrophotometer and comes with many new upgraded features that will make it faster and easier to optimize your experiments.

  • Spectral scans and multi-wavelength thermal ramps can be conducted on up to 6 samples using the automated 6-position sample changer.
  • An integrated sample Peltier system allows for a wide range of temperatures (-30 to 130°C) and magnetic stirrers are available for each cell to eliminate internal thermal gradients.
  • The new microsampling disk allows for sample volumes as low as 2µL
  • Simultaneous CD and absorbance measurements
  • Dual detectors measuring 163 nm to 1600 nm (PMT and InGaAs)

All these features and more make the J-1500 able to provide more versatility and higher sample throughput for your circular dichroism experiments.

More information about the J-1500 CD instrument can be found here and here.

The SBC Facility is excited to announce its participation in the upcoming inaugural Scientific Core Facility Expo on October 16th! We are just one of many specialized core facilities here at SickKids, and this expo will give us the opportunity to share information about the work we are doing and how you can benefit from working with us. We invite you to come explore what each core facility has to offer and ask us any questions you may have about what the SBC Facility and it’s team can do for you.

Date: October 16, 2019
Time: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Location: Gallery (2nd floor), Peter Gilgan Centre for Research & Learning, 686 Bay Street, Toronto

SickKids Core Facility Expo Poster 2019

The SBC Facility will be hosting Refeyn and Systems for Research Corp (SFR)’s Mass Photometry Seminar & Technology Workshop on December 3 – 5, 2019. This event will feature a seminar explaining the principles and applications of mass photometry as well as an instrument workshop giving you a chance to analyze your own samples. Please reserve your time slot for this free instrument demonstration and sample test. More information and event registration can be found at the following link…

https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/mass-photometry-seminar-technology-workshop-toronto-registration-82764427631