Shared Resources

Support of COVID-19 Research and Grant Applications by Einstein Shared Scientific Resources

Some of our Shared Scientific Resources have created short summaries of how their services can support COVID-related research. Please see the files linked below and contact the Shared Resource Director directly for further information. The contact information for all of the Einstein Shared Scientific Resources is located on the web site for the Office of Shared Scientific Resources located here. In addition, in order to enable investigators to more rapidly insert the relevant information into grant applications, the Office of Shared Scientific Resources maintains a website of documents with language for describing cores/resources that is suitable for inclusion in grant applications. Investigators are strongly encouraged to review iLab for current core service fees when creating budgets and to talk with core directors about including salary support for core staff on grants for projects where a large volume of work by Shared Scientific Resources is anticipated.

Cell Analysis

  • Analytical Imaging Facility - Electron microscopy is the ideal technique to investigate the morphological features of COVID-19 and digital slide scanning can be used to rapidly screen various different tissue types for presence or absence of COVID-19 virus over large areas by using RNA FISH probes against viral RNA.
  • Flow Cytometry Core Facility - To enable the isolation of specific cell types from unfixed blood samples of recovered COVID-19 patients, the facility has developed procedures to safely carry out high speed cell sorting of these specimens using a BD FACSAria cell sorter with enhanced biohazard containment. This approach is currently being applied for isolation of SARS-CoV-2 specific memory B cells for production of monoclonal antibodies as potential COVID-19 therapeutics. The facility has also developed protocols for performing analytical FACS on potentially SARS-CoV-2 infected samples using fixation steps to ensure virus inactivation. These methods will enable investigators to carry out cell sorting and analysis with necessary biosafety precautions to characterize immune responses and other biological processes in COVID-19 patients. The facility staff provide guidance on selection of reagents and fluorescent panel design for complex multiparameter analysis using Cytek Aurora and BD LSRII analyzers, enabling detailed immunophenotyping and functional assessment of immune responses of COVID-19 patients.
  • Neural Cell Engineering and Imaging Core - The Core provides cell culture facilities including a BSL2 facility for COVID-19 research, as well as high-resolution fluorescence imaging with super-resolution capability for marker detection that does not require specialized reporters, allowing for rapid turnaround times. Sophisticated image analysis software and extensive assistance is also provided.
  • Pluripotent Stem Cell Core - The core can make iPSCs for COVID19 research.
  • Stable Isotope and Metabolomics Core - Widely targeted mass spectrometry assay modules can determine biomarker which could be correlated with severity of COVID-19 infection.

Molecular Structure Analysis

  • Chemical Synthesis Core - The core can help with providing reference compounds as well as aiding with the design of small molecules with potential therapeutic benefit for COVID-19 patients. Selected novel compounds (or small libraries) can be synthesized and characterized.
  • Hybridoma Facility - The core can produce mouse monoclonal antibodies to peptide, protein, glycoprotein and nucleic acid antigens from SARS-CoV2 that are provided by investigators.
  • Macromolecular Therapeutics Development Facility - The facility is currently producing significant quantities of COVID-19 proteins (e.g., spike protein) in bacterial and mammalian expression systems as well as large quantities of antibodies. These services are available for a wide range of COVID-19 target proteins.
  • Proteomics Shared Resource - The core can provide state-of-the-art mass spectrometry and nano-liquid chromatography for large-scale proteome characterization of COVID-19 samples.
  • Structural NMR Resource – Support for COVID-related research using small molecule analysis, studies of macro-molecular structure, dynamics, interactions and function and drug screening from standard libraries.
  • X-Ray Crystallography Core – The core is currently engaged in the cryo-EM structural characterization of COVID-19 antigen-antibody complexes in collaboration with the New York Structural Biology Center. These capabilities and high resolution crystallographic approaches are available for a wide range of COVID-19 related programs.

Clinical and Translational Research

  • Biorepository - The Department of Pathology, the ICTR Biorepository, and the IRB are actively working together with our virologists and other faculty to organize the safe collection and storage of a variety of biosamples of interest to many groups (blood and serum, eventually other biospecimens) as well as a regulatory-compliant process for distributing de-identified specimens. Under IRB-approved protocols, the ICTR is targeting specimens from adult and pediatric patients with COVID-19.
  • Biostatistics, Epidemiology & Research Design Core - Statistical consultation and collaboration, including support for study design, analytic strategies, protocol development, grant development, and preparation of manuscripts, is available for COVID-19 research projects.
  • Gruss Magnetic Resonance Research Center - Covid-19 patients are likely to develop acute micro- and macro-vascular disease that may have long term consequences. The Gruss MRRC can provide outpatient longitudinal imaging of ANY ORGAN in the human body. The Gruss MRRC can also provide interface with the Department of Radiology, and support image analysis of data accessed through PACS.

Genetic Analysis

  • Epigenomic Shared Facility - Sequencing-based surveillance plays an important critical role in the fight against COVID-19 and can help facilitate understanding of transmission routes, determining the rate of viral evolution, and understanding if the virus is changing in ways that impact therapeutic effectiveness.
  • Molecular Cytogenetic Shared Facility - Provides sample processing and storage of routine DNA or RNA isolation from model samples or primary tissues/blood obtained from SARS-CoV-2 positive or COVID-19 patients, including cryopreservation and long-term storage, and single molecule RNA FISH visualization of ACE2 and TMPRESS as well as SARS-CoV-2 mRNA in cells or frozen/FFPE tissue sections.

Tissue Analysis

  • Analytical Imaging Facility - see Cell Analysis section above.
  • Flow Cytometry Core Facility - see Cell Analysis section above.
  • Histology and Comparative Pathology Shared Resource - The core can provide tissue processing, embedding, sectioning and staining of paraffin and frozen samples along with histopathologic evaluation and scoring of tissues from animal models of SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, and/or SARS-CoV2.
  • Neural Cell Engineering and Imaging Core - For COVID-19 research, this core provides facilities for preparation of tissue sections, both frozen and not frozen, and includes a freezing microtome for cutting larger-dimension specimens such as human post-mortem or NHP organs/tissues. Also available are: high-resolution confocal and multiphoton imaging of specimens; high-throughput whole slide scanning for imaging multiple histochemical and fluorescent stained sections; automated imaging from 1536-well multiwell plates for higher-throughput drug screening; and a biolistics system for cell or tissue delivery of naked RNA/DNA in non-infectious form.

Animal Research

  • Gene Targeting and Transgenic Mouse Facility – The facility can generate transgenic and gene targeted mice for investigators that are useful for COVID-19 studies, and provides comprehensive reproductive services for storing or re-deriving these mice.
  • Gruss Magnetic Resonance Research Center - While no animal models of Covid19 yet exist, development of models may be possible – and other models may be appropriate (Malaria, Flavivirus, etc.).
  • Institute for Animal Studies - Provides research animal housing, care and services that are critical to infectious disease and immunological research.
  • Zebrafish Core - The core will work with investigators interested in developing a zebrafish model to study COVID-19 infection and immunity.

Analysis & Data Management

  • Biostatistics, Epidemiology & Research Design Core - see Clinical and Translational Research section above.
  • Research Informatics Core - A big-data platform has been developed to help Montefiore-Einstein clinicians and researchers maximize the value of clinical information, particularly in the case of the COVID-19 pandemic. The platform will be widely accessible with minimal training that will also be available.