Laboratory Modules

Lila_Gierasch about IALSThe biotech community at UMass has an 8-year tradition that started as part of the Institute Cellular Engineering to teach laboratory modules on cutting edge research techniques.

These modules will continue under BTP and can be attended by industrial partners interested in learning new methods and using UMass facilities. Laboratory modules are held at various locations on the UMass campus during winter break, spring break and during the summer.

Fall 2019:

Live-cell quantitative Fluorescence microscopy:

This lab module will introduce fundamental concepts of fluorescence microscopy using living tissue culture cells. After learning about the principles, strengths, and weaknesses of different approaches, participants will apply and compare wide-field fluorescence imaging, spinning disk and point scanning confocal imaging, and structured illumination microscopy (SIM) super-resolution imaging – all on living samples. Participants will learn how to control multiple microscopy systems (hardware) using the NIS-Elements software platform. The training will also include quantitative image analysis of data acquired in the module.

Instructor(s): Tom Maresca, Biology Associate Professor and James Chambers, Director of Light Microscopy Core Facility

Dates/times: December 12th (9AM-4PM) and 13th: (9AM-4:30PM)

Location: Nikon Center of Excellence, S576A Life Science Laboratories

# of max capacity: 6-10

Sign up: email until max capacity

Introduction to 3D Printing:

3D bioprinting of cellularized constructs has enabled the reconstruction of organs, revascularization of blood vessels, and other tissue engineering applications that require complex geometries. Traditional FDM 3D printing is limited by the presence of support materials that restrict the design process. This BTP module will cover the limitations and solutions to FDM printing that enable bioprinting of complex structures not restricted to this degree of freedom. The training will introduce FDM 3D printing, via hands-on CAD and plastic printing, and culminate in bioprinting with alginate and collagen constructs, which will begin with a material preparations module.

Instructors: Katharine Bittner, Duy Nguyen, Hyuna Kim
Dates/Times: 11/6 – 11/7 (9:00am – 5:00pm)
Location: Life Science Laboratories N515 & N540
Max number of participants: 6
Sign up: email until max capacity

Summer 2019:

Designing & Building Fluidic Devices for Biomedical Research

Microfluidic devices have become popular commercial on-site medical diagnostic tests and in the research realm have played an important role in elucidating biological mechanisms. This module will use microfluidic devices to introduce participants to the basics of mechanotransduction in biology and medicine. this module will cover basic topics in vascular biology and fluid dynamics. Students will design and develop fluidic devices that can be used for flowing blood, growing cells in culture and expose them to fluid forces mimicking mechanical cues experienced in vivo.

Instructor: Dr. Juan Jimenez (Mechanical and Industrial Engineering)

Dates/Times: June 17-21, About 2 – 3 hours per day (see schedule)

Location: LSL N575, N560

Max number of participants: 5

Sign up: email; deadline: when max capacity is filled.

Molecular Modeling and Simulation Using Computational Approaches

Molecular modeling and simulation provide crucial insights into the structure, dynamics, and interactions of various systems at the molecular level, to both complement and enrich experimental measurements. This lab module training will introduce basic theories of popular modeling and simulation approaches, including molecular visualization, molecular dynamics simulation, quantum chemistry calculation, and molecular docking. The training also provides hands-on tutorials of widely-used software packages.

Instructor: Chungwen Liang (Director, IALS Computational Modeling Core)

Dates/Times: 8/2, 8/5  (9:00 am ~ 5:00 pm)

Location: Biology Computer Resource Center, 311 Morrill Science Center, Building III South

Max number of participants:  20

Sign up: email until max capacity

Introduction to Synthetic Biology

Synthetic biology involves the design and construction of biological parts and systems for useful proposes. This lab module will cover basic concepts as well as provide hands on experience using common techniques in the field. Students will learn how to assemble DNA, starting with how to design and create PRC products which will be used as parts ina type IIs assembly. Once DNA is assembled it will be introduced into E. coli and students will be shown how to use flow cytometry to analyze the fluorescent output of the modified cells.

Instructors: Dr. Lauren Andrews and Matthew Lebovich, PhD Candidate (Chemical Engineering)

Dates/Time: August 28-29 9:00am-5:pm

Place: LSL 320E

Max number of participants: 10

Sign up: email Matthew Lebovich at until max capacity

Summer 2018:

Fundamentals of AMNIS: Imaging Flow Cytometry

AMNIS yields quantitative population data in combination with fluorescent images of the cells.  The applications of AMNIS are endless and can be applied across disciplines including polymer delivery, autophagy, cell division, apoptosis, and protein colocalization.  This module will teach participants the basics of sample preparation, running samples, and data analysis.

August 21st and August 22nd from 9am to 2pm each day

Location: ISB Rm 427L

Class size maximum will be 10 due to size constraints in the flow facility.

To sign up, please email before August 15, 2018.

Modules that were offered in Summer 2017:

Introduction to Biomaterials and their Applications

This lab module will combine hands-on activities in chemical synthesis, hydrogel network polymerization, mechanical characterization, cell culture, and microscopy to create biomaterials for applications in cell culture. The module will define and familiarize students with the term “biomaterial,” discuss the application of biomaterials, and provide hands-on experience working with synthetic polymer hydrogels for tissue engineering. Instructors will teach methods for creating novel monomers to include in biomaterials, growing cells on these materials, and chemically and functionally characterizing them. The module is designed for those with little to no familiarity with biomaterials.

Instructors: Profs. Shelly Peyton (Chemical Engineering) and Todd Emrick (Polymer Science and Engineering)


Maximum Class Size: 4

Dates/Times: August 1-2, from 9a-12pm and 1-4pm each day

Location: Conte and LSL, rooms TBA

To sign up, please, contact Prof. Peyton at

Building a Microscope

This module will expose students to optics theory and experiment by building a transmitted light microscope. Lecture will include basic ray optics. Hands on work will include optics basics culminating in the construction of a light microscope, leading to the imaging of several specimens.


Instructor: Prof. Jennifer Ross (Physics)

Maximum Class Size: 7

Dates/Times: August 8-9, from 10 am – 4 pm

Location: R. 329 ISB

To sign up, please, e-mail at before August 2, 2017.

Lab Modules offered in Fall’17:

Topics on Fluorescence Spectroscopy: Fluorescence Lifetime Determinations 

The fluorescence lifetime is one of the most important characteristics of a fluorescent probe because it defines the time window of observation of dynamic phenomena (FRET, quenching, anisotropy). We will introduce the principles for pulse fluorometry and phase-modulation fluorometry, and learn to determine the lifetime of fluorophores in biological samples.

Instructor: Prof. Alejandro Heuck (BMB/MCB)

Maximum class size: 10

Dates/Times: Nov. 1 & 2, from 9 am – 12 pm (lecture),  and 1  – 5 pm (lab) each day

Location: Lecture – LGRT 1020, Lab – LGRT 1207

To sign up, please, e-mail at before October 25, 2017.

A list of prior laboratory modules can be found here.

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