Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory Resources Available for Coronavirus Research

The Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory is working with users to perform research focused on understanding the fundamentals of COVID-19—so we, as the science community, can help stop the pandemic.
EMSL is accepting proposals focused on the basic biology and pathology of SARS-CoV-2. Light and electron microscopy, multi-omic, and computational studies are encouraged. Proposals may be submitted via the EMSL User Portal through the “Limited Scope” proposal type.

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Instruments acquired for COVID-19 research
Thermo Fisher Scientific Aquilos cryo-FIB/SEM provides high throughput preparation of frozen, thin lamella samples from biological specimens—such as human/mammalian cell lines relevant to COVID-19—for high-resolution tomographic imaging in a cryo-TEM. This capability helps decipher functional relationships and interactions within the cellular environment, like host-pathogen interactions. Post-COVID-19, this capability will continue to be used for plant and microbial metabolomics research.

Agilent LC-IMS-Q/TOF mass spectrometer allows for reference-free metabolomics using a next-generation workflow based on liquid chromatography, ion mobility spectrometry, tandem mass spectrometry, and prediction of molecular properties—such as collisional cross section—using advanced deep learning and quantum chemistry. This capability significantly increases throughput, capacity, and provides a dedicated instrument for COVID-19 metabolomic studies to uncover biomarkers predictive of disease progression or the response to therapy. Post-COVID-19, this capability will continue to be used for plant and microbial metabolomics research.

Thermo Fisher Scientific Orbitrap Eclipse Tribrid mass spectrometer is equipped with ion mobility, and intelligent data acquisition, to provide a dedicated platform for high throughput proteomic studies to better understand the biology of this novel virus, reveal biomarkers and/or potential drug targets. This advanced mass spectrometer will enable characterization of sequence variants and post-translational modifications for protein stoichiometry and dynamics analyses. For example, the highly glycosylated spike protein in coronaviruses are a key for host-cell attachment and a target for neutralizing antibodies elicited through infection. Uncovering the functional role of these spike protein glycans, and other PTMs, could be a key for structure-based vaccine design. Post-COVID-19, this capability will continue to be used for plant and microbial metabolomics research.

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