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National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)

Gene Array Technology Center (GATC) for Alcohol Research


The NIAAA is supporting a gene microarray technology resource center to assist investigators who are currently conducting, or who have an interest in initiating, gene expression studies that address alcohol-related disorders. The purpose of the Gene Expression Core facility is to provide microarray slides, and technical and bioinformatics services, to investigators for the collection and analysis of gene microarray expression data.

About the Gene Expression Core Facility

The  Gene Expression Core facility is located at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. The Core serves as a national resource for alcohol researchers in the area of microarray technology, assisting qualified investigators in the collection and analysis of microarray gene expression data. The Core provides such services as the preparation and distribution of standardized, uniform cDNA and oligonucleotide-based microarray slides, the processing and analysis of mRNA expression patterns obtained from Core-prepared microarray slides, and bioinformatics services for data collection and statistical analysis.

Scientific Goals of the Gene Expression Core Facility

The goals of the Gene Expression Core facility are to provide services and standardized technologies that enable alcohol research investigators to characterize and compare changes in gene expression patterns within various cells and tissues in response to ethanol, and to delineate the inherent differences in the gene expression profiles between animals (and humans) having different behavioral responses to ethanol consumption. The Core achieves these goals by:

  • Distributing a standardized set of human, mouse and rat gene microarray slides that can be used by qualified alcohol research investigators performing ethanol-induced gene expression discovery and profile studies.
  • Providing web access to gene microarray tools and resources.
  • Aiding gene expression analyses by assembling and collating gene microarray expression data obtained under normal baseline gene expression conditions, and data from alcohol-specific gene expression responses that occur in alcohol-treated tissues.
  • Providing technical support and assistance in experimental design, collection and characterization of gene expression profiles, and data analysis services when such resources are not available.

Gene Microarray Slides for Alcohol Research

The primary goal of the Gene Expression Core facility is to provide high quality, uniform cDNA and oligonucleotide glass slide gene arrays for alcohol research experimentation. The use of uniform slides for work in human, mouse and rat gene expression will facilitate cross-comparison and interpretation of gene expression data. The following microarray slides for gene expression studies are currently available for distribution from the Core.

Human gene arrays: The Gene Expression Core facility currently has available for distribution a 19,000 human cDNA gene set array. Contact the Core for the current status and description of the human genes being offered.

Mouse gene arrays: A 23,000 mouse cDNA gene set is currently available. This gene set will continue to be expanded as additional mouse genes become available.

Rat gene arrays: Rat cDNA gene sets for microarray experimentation are currently being developed by the Core.

Custom cDNA and oligonucleotide-based arrays: The Gene Expression Core facility has the capability to produce microarray slides of customized or directed cDNA (selected from the human, mouse or rat gene sets) or oligonucleotide-based gene microarrays to enable the alcohol-induced expression screening of specific genes. As an example of this service, the Core has produced and is making available from stock a human apoptosis gene array. This custom array consists of a total of 666 human cDNA genes that includes over 300 known apoptotic genes. Other directed-set oligonucleotide arrays to be produced will include arrays targeting signal transduction pathways and brain-specific proteins. Please contact the Core for further information concerning custom or directed-set arrays.

The  Gene Expression Core website also provides detailed protocols of methods that have been used to successfully obtain gene microarray expression data. These protocols include procedures for RNA isolation, PCR amplification of RNA, hybridization probe synthesis, and microarray glass slide hybridization and processing.

Requests for Microarray Slides and Other Services

All requests for gene microarray slides and services should be made directly with the Gene Expression Core facility. It is recommended that investigators visit the Gene Expression Core website for further information on the current availability of slides and services. There may be fees charged by the Gene Expression Core facility for the slides and services provided. All investigators who obtain microarray slides and services from the Core should acknowledge the contributions of the Gene Expression Core facility, supported by NIH Grant R01 AA13162 from the NIAAA, in any and all oral and written presentations, disclosures, and publications resulting from any and all analyses.

Further Information

General information about the Gene Expression Core facility and access to the services provided by the Core can be obtained by visiting the Gene Expression Core website.

  • For questions concerning the processing and analysis of commercial [AffymetrixTM GeneChip, Amersham Bioarray] gene microarray slides, please contact Bifeng Gao, Director, Affymetrix Core Lab.
  • For questions concerning custom arrays, please contact Brian Soriano , Director, Custom Array Lab.

NIAAA Coordinator

Antonio Noronha, Ph.D.
Director, Division of Neuroscience and Behavior


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