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Sponsored Research

The Core Grant for Vision Research supports five core research needs.

A National Eye Institute Core Grant for Vision Research provides the state-of-the-art research equipment and technical expertise that is essential for the rapid advancement of vision science research and its sophisticated demands. As the second-longest, continually funded NEI core grant in the nation – first awarded in 1978 – the Core Research Facilities are the cornerstone for vision science at UIC.

There are five cores in the Core Research Facilities housed within the Lions of Illinois Eye Research Institute (LIERI), the major site of vision research on the UIC campus. Together, the facilities of the five cores occupy over 5,400 sq. ft. and are readily accessible to vision scientists at UIC and neighboring institutions.

Imaging and Image Analysis Heading link

The Imaging and Image Analysis Core provides microscopy systems for optical imaging and software for image processing and analysis. Imaging technology and digital image analysis have become vital to advance research endeavors of our vision scientists. The availability of imaging equipment in the Core provides an indispensable resource to our researchers in a cost-effective manner. The Core incorporates dedicated space in the Lions of Illinois Eye Research Institute and personnel with technical expertise in the use of equipment and software.

Core Director | Dr. Deepak Shukla
Imaging Room Contact | Xiang Shen (, 312-355-1159, Room L218)

  • Confocal laser scanning microscope (LSM 710 Zeiss)
  • Confocal laser scanning microscope (DMIRE2 Leica)
  • Spinning disk live-cell imaging system (Zeiss):
  • Spectralis™ HRA+OCT
  • Inverted Zeiss Microscope Axiovert 100M (Hal)
  • Upright Zeiss Microscope Axioskop 2 Plus (Anne)
  • Imaging Workstation with extensive image analysis software (Pascal): Autoquant deconvolution 9 and X; Leica LCS image analysis software; MetaMorph offline image analysis software 7.0r4; Image J image analysis software; AxioVision Viewer; Voxx2 3D software; Photoshop CS2 image processing software; Xerox Phaser 6120 and 6250 printers.
  • Imaging Workstation with limited image analysis software (June): Photoshop image processing software; Leica Light image analysis software.
  • Imaging Workstation with scanning capability (Norman): Canon 9900F Flat-bed scanner; Nikon 3.1 Slide scanner; Leica Light image analysis software; Image J software; Axiovision viewer; Photoshop CS2 image processing; Epson Stylus 900 color printer.

Cellular and Molecular Biology Heading link

The Cellular and Molecular Biology Core provides the required facilities and expertise to provide tissue culture services, create inducible cell lines, and perform morphological studies of tissue specimens and cultured cells. In addition, the Core offers consultation and services related to molecular biological/biochemical techniques, such as DNA sequencing, total RNA and microRNA extraction, construct design and preparation, real-time PCR, and proteomics.

Core Director | Dr. Sandeep Jain
Associate Core Director | Dr. Joy Sarkar

  • Cell-Sorter (Sony Biotechnology SH800)
  • Real-Time PCR System (Applied Biosystems® QuantStudio™ 7 Flex)
  • Octet Red 96 system (ForteBio)
  • Digital imaging system (GE ImageQuant LAS 4000)
  • iCycler thermal cycler (Biorad); iblot (Invitrogen); Incubator (Boekel)
  • Table top centrifuges (Eppendorf 5415C, TOMY MTX-150)
  • Water baths (Fisher isotemp refrigerated circular 910, Labnet 6 liter)
  • Balances (Mettler AT250, Brainweight B300 01/0.01 mg sensitivity)
  • Microtomes (Leitz CI 249, lEC IM-179, American Optical 820); Ultramicrotome (Reichert-Jung)
  • Tissue processor (Citadel 2000)
  • Cryostats (Thermo Scientific CryoStar NX50, International equipment company Minotome, Reichert Histostat)
  • Amaxa Nucleofector II (BTX); Neon transfection system (Invitrogen)
  • Dual cell counter (Beckman-Coulter Z1); Incubators (SANYO)Laminar flow hoods (Baker; Thermo Forma biosafety level 2 for virology in room L229)
  • Microscopes (Zeiss Axiovert 25, Leitz wetzlar, Olympus BH2-RFCA)
  • Autoclaves (Consolidated MK II, Tuttnauer 3870 EA)
  • Water purification system (ELGA PURELAB Option)
  • High speed centrifuges (Beckman Avanti J20XP and J25), ultracentrifuge/rotors (Beckman L8-70M)
  • Spectrophotometers (Nanodrop, Varian Cary 300 UV-visible)
  • Fluorometer (Perkin Elmer LS 50B); Photodocumentation system (Bio-Rad Gel Doc 2000)
  • Microplate reader (Tecan GENios pro); Scintillation counter (Beckman LS3801)
  • Phosphorimager (Packard Cyclone); Image station (Kodak Digital Science 440CF)
  • Incubator shaker (New Brunswick Scientific)
  • Liquid nitrogen cryofreezer (Therma Scientific); Ultra-low temperature freezers (chest/upright models)
  • Transjector 5246 (Eppendorf) and microinjection unit (Injectman)

Animal Services Heading link

The Animal Services Core is structured to meet the evolving needs of our investigators for translational research resources. Central to the Core is the newly constructed Biological Eye Research Laboratory (BERL) that integrates dedicated rooms for animal surgery, experimental animal model development, and dark adaptation and electrophysiology studies.

Core Director | Dr. Mark Rosenblatt
Research Specialist | Tara Nguyen (

Biologic Eye Research Laboratory

  • Phoenix Micron IV is a retinal and cornea imaging microscope that provides fundus images, fluorescent and OCT of retinal and cornea layers, and is equipped with image analysis software.
  • Zeiss AxioZoom V16 is a high performance fluorescence microscope for low magnification and large field imaging of the cornea in vivo
  • Zeiss OPMI VISU 210 Operating microscope dedicated to performing surgical procedures in animals with an assortment of surgical tools, instruments, supplies, and animal handling devices
  • Alcon Accurus Surgical System, a multifunctional surgical tool for anterior and posterior segment ophthalmic surgeries in animals
  • Z-Sciences, LGC-5201 humidity-controlled chambers for developing animal models of ocular surface diseases
  • Excimer laser system for generating controlled corneal injury in animals
  • LKC Electrodiagnostic system for electroretinography equipped with full-field and mini-ganzfeld stimulators, a recording unit, and a light-tight Faraday cage
  • Minolta LS-100 photometer and Photo Research PR650 spectrophotometer for LKC system calibration
  • Standard ocular examination equipment including fundus camera and slit lamp biomicroscope
  • Assortments of pumps, including, UltraMicroPump III system for intraocular injections, Syringe Pump for controlled and automated intravenous injections, and TP-500 Gaymar Heat Pump for maintaining animal’s body temperature
  • Assortment of equipment, including, Germinator-500 for decontaminating metal micro dissecting instruments, TonoLab Tonometer for IOP measurements in rodents, Dune Compact balance for weighing animals and samples, and EZ-7000 Classic Anesthesia System for anesthetizing and euthanizing of rodents

Instrument Shop Heading link

The Instrument Shop Core provides essential services to participating investigators for design, fabrication, and maintenance of specialized devices and common instruments. The Core maintains a well-equipped Instrument Design and Fabrication Laboratory (IDFL) in the Lions of Illinois Eye Research Institute.

Core Director | Dr. Xincheng Yao
Research Specialist | Marek Mori (

Instrument Design and Fabrication Laboratory (Instrument Services)

  • Objet 30 Prime 3D Printer is an advanced polyjet 3D printer that allows for rapid prototyping and construction of ophthalmic devices and equipment using a variety of biocompatible, transparent, rubber, or simulated polypropylene materials.
  • Clausing lathe with a 10-inch swing, 12-speed gearbox, 12 feeds ranging from 0.0005 inch to 0.024 inch per revolution, and variable wheels for metric and English threads
  • Milling machines including, Powermatic-Burke milling machine with an 8×36-inch table, 13-inch knee, and variable-speed precision lead screws on all axes, providing an overall accuracy greater than 0.001 inch and an 8×42-inch milling machine with digital readout
  • Gas-welding station for micro-scale work with a fume hood
  • Heavy-duty machines (drill press, band saw, and grinders), metal working tools (finger brake, hand-operated shears, turret punch), assortment of tools and supplies (cutting tools and gauges, drafting equipment, a stock of expendable metals, plastics, machine screws and nuts, wires, stainless steel tubing)

Biostatistics and Genetic Analysis Heading link

The Biostatistics and Genetic Analysis Core provides resources to assist investigators in research design, biostatistical analysis, genetic data analysis, as well as large-scale genomic data mining that requires advanced computing equipment.

Biostatistics and Genetic Analysis Laboratory

  • Access to computing hardware and software
  • A 64-bit Linux cluster with four large-memory nodes (88 cores, 1.2 TB memory), each containing recent dual Intel Xeon CPUs, for large-scale computation
  • Two Dell T7610 Precision workstations with dual eight core Intel Xeon Processor E5-2687W v2 (3.4GHz), 256 GB memory each
  • Two Dell T7600 Precision workstations with dual eight core Intel Xeon Processor E5-2687W (3.1GHz), 256GB memory each
  • Two Dell T7500 Precision workstation with dual six core Intel Xeon Processors x5690 (3.46 GHz) and x5680 (3.33 GHz), 96GB memory each
  • All nodes are under UPS power management
  • The Linux cluster is supported by a RAID array with 32TB storage space
  • Networking is through a Gigabit Ethernet backbone with direct connection to the UIC network
  • The Core also has access to the high-performance computing cluster (HPCC) at UIC.
  • Standard statistical software packages, including SAS, R, MATLAB, Stata, PASS, and Prism
  • Commercial software for analyzing human genetics data, including Illumina GenomeStudio, Golden Helix, Ingenuity and NextBio, and open-source software, e.g. PLINK, Eigensoft, Quanto power calculator, simpleM, PennCNV, MACH, IMPUTE, METAL, SKAT, Haploview, MAGENTA, INRICH and GRAIL

Other Sponsored Research Heading link