Biological sciences and biomolecular interactions

The School of Biological Sciences and the Biomulecular Interactions Centre (BIC) are housed in a modern, custom-designed building and boasts research and teaching facilities to international standards. Our new research building Pūtaio koiora has state-of-the-art facilities.

External services

For details on the confocal microscope see the tab above under specialised equipment.

For all enquiries contact:

We offer a range of high-quality sequencing and genotyping services including Sanger sequencing, microsatellite genotyping, and AFLP genotyping using an Applied Biosystems 3130xl Genetic Analyzer.

External customers

Sequencing: We offer two options. 

  • Full service – you provide purified PCR products and PCR primers, we do the rest – $15 per sample.
  • Capillary separation only – you provided purified sequencing products, we do the rest – $10 per sample.

Genotyping

  • Capillary separation only - you supply the internal size standard, you prepare the plate, and we take care of the rest - $5 per sample.

There is a 16-sample minimum. If you submit fewer than 16 samples they will not be processed until we have obtained additional samples from other clients.

Email us on dnaseq@exchange.canterbury.ac.nz to make a booking. Once you have a booking, download the relevant request form and email it to us, as well as including a hard copy with your samples.  Turnaround time is usually 24 hours.

Sample preparation

For full sequencing service we require purified PCR products and PCR primers.

  • PCR products must be free of residual salts, chelating agents (eg, EDTA), proteins, solvents, and buffers. Several PCR purification methods are available. Please choose the product that best suits your needs.
  • PCR products must be quantified prior to shipment (by eye, Nanodrop, etc). Please provide concentrations in ng/µl.
  • Please provide PCR primer(s) at a concentration of 3.2 µM.

For capillary separation only service we require: purified sequencing products

  • Sequencing products must be free of unincorporated fluorescent nucleotides. Several sequencing purification methods are available. Please choose the product that best suits your needs.

Genotyping service

If you require an internal size standard, we offer GeneScan 500 LIZ for microsatellite genotyping and MapMarker 1000 ROX for AFLP genotyping.
Please contact us for advice regarding plate preparation.

Internal customers

Sequencing service

We offer two options:

  • Full service - you provide purified PCR products and PCR primers, we do the rest - $10 per sample.
  • Capillary separation only - you provided purified sequencing products, we do the rest - $3 per sample.

There is a 16-sample minimum. If you submit fewer than 16 samples they will not be processed until we have obtained additional samples from other clients.

Genotyping Service

We offer the following option:

  • Full service - you supply the internal size standard, you prepare the plate, and we take care of the rest - $3 per sample

There is a 16-sample minimum. If you submit fewer than 16 samples they will not be processed until we have obtained additional samples from other clients.

Email us on dnaseq@exchange.canterbury.ac.nz to make a booking. Once you have a booking, download the relevant request form and email it to us, as well as including a hard copy with your samples.  Turnaround time is usually 24 hours.

Results

Turnaround is usually 24 hours.  All results are emailed except for internal undergraduate and postgraduate students, who will receive their results on a flash drive.

We operate an archiving service. Past results can be requested, but there is a charge for this service.

For all enquiries please contact:

Tammy Steeves

Senior Lecturer
Chair, Academic Postgraduate Studies Committee
Biological Sciences 533
Internal Phone: 95378

Claire Galilee

Technical Officer
Molecular Genetics, DNA sequencer
Biological Sciences 517
Internal Phone: 95149

Specialist equipment

BIC recently purchased a Dionex ICS 5000: a high-performance anion exchange chromatography system. This analytical facility allows the high-resolution analysis and separation of anions. The detector system used is electrochemical (pulsed amperometric detection, PAD, sometimes also called pulsed electrochemical detection, PED), and is extremely sensitive; significantly more so than typical HPLC detectors.

A wide variety of different columns are available for use with the system, which allow a very broad range of analytical applications.

In addition to anions, as the eluent used is sodium hydroxide, weakly acidic organic compounds, such as reducing sugars are also very amenable to analysis. The ICS system is capable of mono-, oligo- and polysaccharide analysis and profiling, and finds applications in disciplines as disparate as Glycobiology and Food Science.

This instrument is accessible to outside organisations. It requires the purchase of specific columns and eluent. 

The New Zealand Analytical Ultracentrifugation Centre (NZAUC) is the only centre of its kind in New Zealand. The analytical ultracentrifuge allows researchers to probe the molecular mass of biomolecules in solution and to characterise interactions between different biomolecules (e.g. protein-DNA interactions).

Developments in instrumentation and data analysis have greatly increased the potential of the facility to deal with complicated systems, including inorganic crystalline nanoparticles and interactions within cell lysates and food, and to provide information complementary to other techniques, such as surface plasmon resonance (SPR).

The AUC is accessible to outside organisations on a contract or collaborative basis. For more information contact biomolecular@canterbury.ac.nz.

A confocal microscope detects the fluorescence emitted when the specimen is scanned by a laser, resulting in high-resolution images and the ability to directly observe dynamic processes in live cells. Cell components can be precisely localised, and accurate three-dimensional information is easily obtained. The behaviour and interactions of molecules can be studied.

Our inverted Leica TCS SP5 confocal microscope is equipped with a full range of lasers from 405nm to 633nm, as well as incubation and heating/cooling chambers.

The confocal microscope is accessible to outside organisations on a contract or collaborative basis.

For more information see Leica's website.

The NanoLab contains facilities for semiconductor material processing, nanofabrication, and sensor and microfluidic device development.

The equipment covers most aspects of semiconductor device fabrication, from materials growth and characterisation to device packaging. The principal tools are:

  • Electron Beam Lithography (Raith 150)
  • Reactive Ion Etching (Oxford PlasmaLab 80Plus)
  • Optical Microscopy (Olympus BX30 with digital image capture)
  • Atomic Force Microscope (Digital Instruments Dimension 3100)
  • Plasma Ashing
  • Optical Lithography (Suss MA-6)
  • Nanoimprint Lithography (EVG)
  • Interference Lithography
  • Thin Film Deposition (Edwards AUTO 500)
  • Semiconductor Device Characterisation (HP 4155A Parameter Analyser)
  • Surface Profilometer (DEKTAK 150)
  • Wire Bonding
  • Micromilling (CNC Mini- Mill/GX)

The facility is accessible to outside organisations on a contract or collaborative basis.

An automated analysis used for size and quantitation analysis of protiens, DNA and RNA. It works through microfluidic separation that produces size and electropherogram results for quantitative analysis from pure samples to cell lysates.

Within the BIC we have a range of biomolecule purification equipment, including various AKTA systems (Pure, Basic and Express systems) and associated columns and media for any type of purification.  We also have detection systems for absorbance and fluorescence.

Circular Dichroism allows the determination of protein secondary and tertiary structure.  It can also be used to evaluate DNA quadruplex structure.  It is often used to determine the chemical or temperature stability of biomolecules.

Determine protein folding, domain structure and the effect of solution conditions of mutations, ligand binding and chemical labelling on protein conformation.

A dynamic light scattering system for particle and molecular weight measurements. Analysing protein charge and iso-electric point through pH titration, interactions of protein aggregation and oligomerisation state and protein-protein binding in a range of solvents, measurements of colloid and emulsion solutions.

The interaction between molecules often accompanies a change in thermal energy.  ITC quantifies this change allowing the precise determination of the thermodynamics of a biomolecular interaction. It is useful for protein-protein, protein-peptide, protein-ligand and protein-small molecule interactions.

The BIC has a Mosquito protein crystallography robot that allows us to setup crystallisation trials easily and effectively.  The drop sizes are usually 200-400 nL and the usual setup is a 96 well plate.

Determines protein folding, domain structure and the effect of solution conditions of mutations, ligand binding and chemical labelling on protein conformation.

Equipped with a Fluorescence and Florescence anisotropy detector and heating to 60 degrees.

Purchased in 2016, this instrument supports the growing number of structural biology projects within BIC. In addition to real-time polymerase chain reactions (PCR), the instrument also offers rapid and simple protein stability screens by thermal melts.

It combines a thermal cycler and optical reaction module for singleplex and multiplex detection of fluorophores. The system features thermal gradient functionality and automation capabilities.

Scattering of visible light can be used to determine the size and overall dimensions of macromolecules in solution. Absolute molecular weight can then be calculated directly from the light scatter, but this requires accurate measurement of protein concentration. To achieve this the Viscotek has detectors for refractive index and UV. Additionally, the Viscotek has a viscometer, which allows determination of molecular size, conformation, and structure.

Determines the size and structural characterisation of molecules in solution. Detector functions include low angle light scattering, right angle light scattering, viscometer and refractive index.

Uses an optical detection process called surface plasmon resonance which can analyse up to 36 different protein, peptide, DNA and small molecule interactions in a single run. Measures different experimental conditions including kinetics.

Utilised to monitor the speed of biomolecular reactions. Equipped with multicell block and temperature control.

This system is able to measure the presence of his-tagged protein or analyse binding kinetics. Results are very quick. You can view binding events in real time, measure kinetic rates for association, dissociation and affinity. Assays require only 4 ul of sample, and can be performed in complex mixtures, or even crude solutions.

For more information about biology equioment see the School of Biological Sciences facilities page and the BIC equipment and services page.