The Institute for Immunology and Infectious Diseases is a state-of-the-art research Institute on the Murdoch University campus, comprising two floors covering 3600 SqM (38750 Square Feet). Designed to optimise interactions and productivity of the various teams, the ground floor is allocated to clinical facilities including a pharmacy and phlebotomy facility as well as consulting rooms, interview rooms and suitable accommodation for researchers and support staff.
The first floor has specimen reception with extensive purpose-designed biologic repository facilities and high throughput automation labs with pre- and post-PCR areas. The cellular immunology laboratory suite includes a PC3 laboratory, along with radioisotope laboratory facilities.
The Institute for Immunology and Infectious Diseases (IIID) is a translational research facility that aims to produce clinical practice-altering outcomes for patients with chronic diseases. Core capabilities of IIID are automated and configurable high-throughput nucleic acid sequencing, flow cytometry and automated ELISpot assays. This is combined with dry-lab capacity for bioinformatic and biostatistical analysis and a robust laboratory information management system that ensures complete sample and data integrity. The laboratory is accredited by the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA), Australia for compliance to the ISO/IEC 17025 standard for laboratory testing. Additionally our human HLA typing capabilities are accredited by the American Society for Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics (ASHI).
IIID has a total floor space of 3600 square meter (38,750 square feet) over two floors. The main laboratories are a 144 square meter (1,550 square foot) Pre- PCR laboratory, a 198 square meter (2,130 square foot) Post-PCR laboratory, two Cellular laboratories with a total area of 72 square meters (778 square feet) and an 72 square meter (775 square foot) general laboratory for work requiring PC2 level of containment. There is also general lab space set aside for flow cytometry, imaging, chemical storage and reagent preparation and liquid nitrogen storage. Automated work flows in the laboratories are provided by a total of nine Biomek robotic liquid handling systems (Beckman Coulter)
IIID cellular laboratories are equipped for peripheral blood separation and cryopreservation. The Cellular labs are equipped with a Biomek robotic liquid handling system, contained within a Class II biosafety hood to prevent contamination, for automated ELISpot assays. Flow cytometry capability is provided by a Beckman Coulter Gallios instrument equipped with 3 lasers and 10 color filters.
There is a separate PC2 laboratory which is used for both molecular and cellular activities that require PC2 containment. It is also used for activities that are incompatible with other laboratory areas (for example, culture of cell lines that have not been screened for mycoplasma infection).
All samples and biological specimens arriving at IIID are received exclusively by a dedicated specimen receptionist who is responsible for management of all samples arriving at IIID. This includes inspecting samples to ensure sample integrity had not been compromised during transit, comparing sample identifiers with the shipment manifest, entering sample details into IIID Registration software and assigning storage locations. Any discrepancies in the shipment are resolved with the sample owners before processing can begin. Registration software records all sample identifiers, storage location, date of receipt and other pertinent information. An internal identifier is assigned to each sample, which enables tracking of the sample.
Computing and Laboratory Information Management
IIID has developed highly customisable Laboratory Information and Management system, called eLab. This allows the Institute to perform high throughput laboratory work with excellent sample to data integrity, interfacing with automation and security systems. This software has been an evolution over 15 years with its initial roots being in viral immunology of HIV. As IIID has evolved, it has developed into an agile institute with constantly shifting needs. This requires that the system is configurable and encompass greater levels of quality control and reagents and sample management.
IIID operates its own computing infrastructure and networking ensuring we are at the cutting edge of technology in terms of both hardware and software and has enabled the development of several proprietary software applications to meet laboratory requirements (see below)
IIID has a dedicated computing team responsible for development of software applications required to implement new technology platforms and gives the Institute the flexibility required to rapidly respond to technological improvements. For instance, IIID software developers have developed Visual Genomic Analysis Studio (VGAS) an application that facilitates visualization of complex DNA sequence data generated through next generation sequencing into manageable datasets for analysis. It is also able to integrate other data for multidimensional data analysis. This has been used in single cell TCR sequencing to visualize frequency of TCR alpha and beta pairings. Software development and data analysis is carried out in consultation with specialist biostatisticians, who have developed analytical tools to ensure validity of analysis.
Please see our laboratory section for the different assays we are able to perform.