Research Core Facilities

The core facilities of the Medical Campus of the VUB can be used by researchers from outside the research cluster upon request.  Following core facilities are available:


Flow Cytometry

This core facility is located at two sites: at the Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular therapy (LMCT) located in building E (2nd level) and at the laboratory for Liver Cell Biology (LIVR), located in building D (level 0).

The LMCT has two flow cytometers and a cell sorter for both internal and external users (both inside and outside the cluster ORC).  The first device, a BD FACS Canto with two lasers (blue and red) and 6 fluorescent detectors is equipped with a fully automatic 40-tube carousel acquisition system. The second device is a BD LSR Fortessa. This device contains three lasers (violet, blue and red) and has 11 fluorescent detectors. In addition, this unit is equipped with a "high throughput sampler", which allows acquisition from a microtiter plate.  Finally, the LMCT also has at its disposal a high speed BD FACS AriaIII cell sorter. This machine contains three lasers but it has a more extensive detector capacity than the LSR Fortessa (13 fluorescent detectors). This device can sort cells in different containers, including 96-well plates and microscope slides. Sorts can be carried out on both animal and human material (whether or not genetically modified) in biosafety level 2.  Regular quality checks are carried out on all devices and this both daily by the central administrator and twice a year by the manufacturer. In addition to the provision of this "state-of-the-art" equipment, the LMCT also offers the necessary scientific support in setting up and running a range of flow cytometric assays. Data is stored on a secure server for 4 years and made available as a download to the user. Two dedicated PC's are available for data analysis.  The conditions and associated cost for the use of this equipment can be requested by e-mail to J. Aerts (

The LIVR laboratory has a BD FACSAria cell sorter (first generation) with 3 lasers: UV-laser (355nm), Blue laser (488nm) and Red laser (633nm) in 11 fluorescent detectors. Sorts are for the time being restricted to animal material, and fixed human cells. The following samples cannot be sorted: unfixed human cells, samples containing human viruses, genetically modified organisms or radio-actively labelled samples. Flowjo software is available for data analysis.  Collected data are saved on a dedicated PC linked to a backup system on the server of the laboratory. At any time, the user can obtain a copy of the data (FCS-files or Pdfs). The conditions and cost for the use of this unit, as well as the available filter combinations can be requested by e-mail to Jean-Marc Lazou (



Functional Cytomics Unit

The unit is a core facility of the international Center for Beta Cell Therapy in Diabetes, co-ordinated by the VUB research group Diabetes Pathology and Therapy (DIAB). It is located in building E (ground floor, and 1st floor). It comprises the following equipment:

FacsVantage SE: a 2-bench flow cytometer (Becton Dickinson) with Argon Enterprise II laser (Coherent) for excitation at 488 nm and an Innova 300 laser (Coherent) for MLUV excitation. The temperature of the sample can be controlled by means of a RC6 (Lauda) cooling/heating system.

FacsVantage SE: a 2-bench flow cytometer (Becton Dickinson) with an Argon Innova 90 laser (Coherent) and a 561 nm Excelsior laser (Spectra-Physics).

FacsAria2U: a compact high velocity flow cytometer (Becton Dickinson) with 3 laser lines (405-488-633 nm), that can simultaneously sort up to 4 cell populations on basis of light scatter and up to 17 different fluorescence channels. An automated XY table can collect the fractions in tubes or in multiwell plates (24, 96 or 384 wells). The configuration also comprises a HPz230 workstation and DiVa8 software.

Pathway 855 – BioImager: a high content screening microscope equipped with a pipetting station and a temperature- and CO2- controlled incubator (Becton Dickinson – Atto Biosciences). Integrated set-up with a double Hg lamp, double 8-positions excitation filter wheels, a double 8-positions dichroic filter wheel and one 8-positions emission filter wheel. Spinning disk-based confocal system (CARV), inverted microscope with binocular. Detection with Hamamatsu Orca ER camera. The Imager is suited for high content screening. A very stable system in which the 96 of 384 well plate is immobilized, while the optical part rests on a movable XYZ platform. This configuration allows for quasi-simultaneous detection and sensitive quantification – in space and time – of 8 fluorophores in living cells.

Pathway 435 – BioImager: a high content screening microscope with a spinning disk and laser autofocus (Becton Dickinson). Suited for fluorescence in multiwell plates and on glass slides. The software allows to visualise 1 cm2 surfaces in several fluorescence channels.

Both Pathway configurations comprise 5 computer systems with software for image analysis, all equipped with Attovision en IPLAB analysis software. The systems can analyse and archive digital photographs off-line. A 40TB Synology NAS (network attached storage) can centrally store a large number of digital pictures and make them accessible for analysis via internet.

Zeiss-axioplan II microscope: fluorescence microscope (Carl Zeiss) equipped with an ORCA-R2 camera (Hamamatsu) and Smartcapture software (Digital Scientific). Fluorescence microscopy of cell preparations fixed on glass slides, as well as brightfield RGB-images.

Inverted Zeiss-Axiovert 135M microscope: (Carl Zeiss) Application: fluorescence microscopy on living cell cultures. Equipped with filter cubes for DAPI, FITC and TRITC fluorescence.

Nikon Eclipse: inverted fluorescence microscope with C-HGFI excitation lamp, a motorized XYZ table and a DC-Ri1 color camera (Nikon). Can be used for multiparameter analyses on living cell preparations. Filters for Dapi, Cy2, Cy3, CY5, polarization and a triple cube are available.

The Functional Cytomics Unit benefits from access to fully equipped laboratories for immunocytochemistry: Cytospin-4 (Thermo Scientific), HM360 microtome with cool-cut and water flow-based section transfer system for systematically cutting and collecting paraffin sections (Thermo Scientific), a collection of primary and secondary antibodies, centrifuges, incubators, laminar flows, aso, and interacts with the Transmission Electron Microscope core facility (responsible:, which is also coordinated by the DIAB research group.

Conditions for use:

  • FACS- and bioimaging instrumentation is complex and hence only accessible to technically highly qualified personnel that oversees the relevance of the scientific questions. Trained staff members service and operate the instrumentation.
  • Open to peer-reviewed research programs that can co-finance cost in case of collaboration, or finance it in case of services to third parties.
  • Further information on conditions and associated costs for use can be requested by e-mail to Geert Stangé, co-ordinator of the Functional Cytomics Unit ( Access to the instrumentation is strictly restricted to trained personnel.



Preclinical Imaging on small animals

This core facility centralizes multiple small animal imaging modalities including MicroSPECT, MicroPET, MicroMRI, Optical imaging, MicroCT and Ultrasound together with a unit for probe development and a vivarium for the housing of animals in one laboratory.

The following equipment is available:

MicroSPECT: Siemens E.Cam 180

MicroCT: SkyScan 1178 High-Throughput MicroCT


MicroMRI: RS2D OPTImouse 1.5T MRI

Bioluminescence Imaging: Biospace Photo Imager

Fluorescence Imaging: Fluorescence Molecular Tomograph FMTTM2500 LX (Perkin Elmer) and Odyssey (Westburg/Li-Cor)

Fluorescence Camera: Fluoptics FluoBeam 800

Fluorescence Microscope: Thermofisher EVOS FL Fluorescence Microscope

PhosphorImager: GE Healthcare PhosphorImager Typhoon FLA 7000

Ultrasound Imaging: GE Healthcare Vivid 7 Pro and Philips iE33

Cryotome: Thermo Scientific Cryotome

FPLC: Bio-Rad NGC Quest Plus FPLC

Gamma Counter: Canberra Gamma Counter Cobra Inspector 5003

Neptis Module: ORA Neptis Module

For more information, please visit:

Basic expertise and hands-on help is provided by staff members of the research group. The conditions for the use of this equipment can be requested by e-mail to Nick Devoogdt (



Virus Production Unit

The Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Therapy (LMCT) possesses two P2 laboratories and one P2+ laboratory. These are designated for experiments with lentiviral particles and oncolytic viruses, respectively. The aforementioned laboratories are part of the LMCT’s clean room facility, which is a closed facility accessible for qualified personnel only and under strict reglementation. In this facility the pressure, temperature and air flow are constantly regulated according to the current guidelines. In addition, each laboratory has a self-closing door. The laboratories are equipped with a biosafety cabinet and with all of the equipment that is found in a standard cell culture laboratory, including a warm water bath, microscope, incubator at 37°C and 5% CO2, fridge, centrifuge, etcetera. In addition, the facility has a room equipped with a Beckman ultracentrifuge and its attributes (SW27 and SW28 rotor, and appropriate buckets). This centrifuge is used for the processing of viral particles yet is also available for other purposes, e.g., purification of exosomes. Besides these laboratories, the facility also encompasses a room in which contaminated materials are processed (autoclaved) before they are cleared for disposal and a central storage room in which all of the required materials are stored according to the needs in a storage rack, two fridges, two freezers at -20°C and one freezer at -80°C.

Basic expertise and hands-on help is provided by staff members of the research group. The conditions for the use of this equipment can be requested by e-mail to K. Breckpot (



Facility for (bio)analytical separation analyses

The following equipment is available:

  • Waters Acquity Ultra Performance Liquid Chromatography (UPLC) I class system coupled to a Xevo G2 quadrupole-time of flight mass spectrometer
  • Waters UPLC M-Class IonKey system coupled to Xevo TQ-XS triple quadrupole mass spectrometer

  • Waters NanoAcquityUPLC system coupled to Xevo TQ triple quadrupole mass spectrometer

  • Thermo Scientific Accela ultrahigh pressure liquid chromatography (UHPLC) system with diode array detection (DAD)

These instruments facilitate the determination of various kind of substances (drug substances, endogenous substances such as amino acids, neurotransmitters) in standard solutions, pharmaceutical formulations but also in biological samples such as urine, plasma, blood. (Partial) structural information of unknown substances can also be obtained with the quadrupole-time of flight mass spectrometer.

Examples of previously developed applications in the lab are the determination of opioids in human plasma, of neuropeptides in microdialysis samples, and of amino acids, glutamate and GABA in biological samples

The conditions for the use of this equipment can be obtained by sending an e-mail to Debby Mangelings ( or Ann Van Eeckhaut (



Laser scan microscopes

1. Confocal laser scan microscope Zeiss Axio Observer with LSM 710-6NLO configuration, Argon laser, Solid State laser and Helium-Neon laser, and Mai Tai AX DeepSee Titanium:Safier laser (excitation range between approximately 450 and 1000 nm).

Basic expertise and hands-on help is provided by staff members of the research group.  The conditions and associated cost for the use of this equipment can be requested by e-mail to L. Bouwens (


2. Confocal microscope LSM800, owned by research group REGE

  1. Lasers: 405, 488, 560, 640
  2. 3 detectors: 2 GaAsP PMTs, one Airyscan detector for superresolution and increased sensitivity (4-8x).
  3. Objectives:EC Plan Neofluar 10x/0.3 NA; EC Plan Neofluar 20x/0.5 NA; Plan Apochromat 20x/0.8 NA; LD C-Apochromat 40x/ 1.1 NA water immersion; Plan Apochromat 63x/1.4 oil 
  4. Axiocam 503 mono camera for widefield mode
  5. Tokai Hit incubator. Multiwell plates, Labtek, 35 and 50 mm dishes can be used, plus your special 4 well dishes.
  6. Motorized stage: multi position and tiles imaging possible.
  7. LED 780 nm excitation combined with proper filter set for imaging NIR fluorophores such as ICG.
  8. Software options: Multi channel fluorescence, z-stack, time lapse microscopy , superresolution microscopy via Airyscan, time lapse microscopy, Tiles and positions, Experiment designer for complex experiments, spectral imaging with linear unmixing, image analysis.


3. Confocal microscope LSM800, owned by research group FOBI

  1. Lasers: 405, 488, 560, 640
  2. 2 detectors, 2 multi alkali (MA) PMTs.
  3. Objectives: EC Plan Neofluar 20x/0.5 NA; Plan Apochromat 40x/1.3 NA oil; Plan Apochromat 63x/1.4 oil
  4. Tokai Hit incubator. Multiwell plates, Labtek, 35 and 50 mm dishes can be used, plus your special 4 well dishes.
  5. Software options: Multi channel fluorescence, z-stack, time lapse microscopy, spectral imaging with linear unmixing, image analysis.


4. LSFM type Z1, owned by the Hercules grant Consortium

  1. Lasers: 405, 488, 560, 640
  2. 1 detector- PCO Edge very sensitive and fast CMOS camera
  3. Objectives: Illumination- 2 5x objectives and 2 10x objectives 
  4. Detection objectives: EC Plan Neofluar 5x/ 0.16, Water Plan Apochromat 10x/0.5 NA; Water, Plan -Apochromat 20x/ 1.0 NA for living samples; Water Plan Neofluar 20x/ 1.0 NA for cleared 1.45 refractive index samples
  5. Incubation: temperature control, CO2, and O2 control
  6. Software options: Multi channel fluorescence, z-stack, time lapse microscopy, Multiview imaging, and tiles imaging. Offline workstation with powerful Arivis for data processing, 36Tb capacity.


A workstation for data processing and deconvolution is available:

  1. HP Z 840 with ZEN software 2.6:
  2. Image processing - a plethora of image processing functions: Image analysis- segmentation, Airyscan processing, GPU based(NVIDIA QUADRO M6000- 24 Gb) - Fast deconvolution

A trained technician dedicated to the facility will assist you in the use of the instruments. If you are interested in using one of the above instruments, please contact Brecht Ghesquiere.




Transmission Electron Microscope

Equipment: Tecnai 10 (FEI) transmission electron microscope (TEM)

Location: Building D, level 0 (DIFF).
The conditions and cost for the use of this unit, as well as the available filter combinations can be requested by e-mail to Angelo Willems ( Basic expertise and hands-on help are provided.


High Content Fluorescence Microscope for automated scanning & screening of tissue slides or multi-well plates


  • Nikkon TiE inverted microscope
  • motorized Z drive with linear encoder for high precision
  • front display with status info
  • PFS (perfect focus system): real time hardware focus correction, ideal for efficient imaging for application such as large image stiching, high throughpunt screening and timelapse imaging
  • XY motorized table with joystick
  • objectives for 4x, 10x plan fluor, 20x ELWD plan fluor, 40x ELWD plan fluor, 60x plan apo VC NA 1.4
  • lightsource for fluorescence and transmission
  • DIC
  • fluorescence and brightfield camera
  • available filters:DAPI Bright (ex 377/50nm) DM409, FITC Ex482/35nm DM506 Em536/40nm, TRITC Ex543/22nm DM562 Em593/40nm, Cy5 tm Ex628/40nm DM 660 Em692/4nm


Contact and terms of use:

Basic expertise and hands-on help is provided by staff members of the research group. The conditions for the use of this equipment can be requested by e-mail to or 


Extended RNA Analysis (ERA) Platform

Available services (open to VUB and non-VUB) – for more info click here 

1. RNA In Situ Hybridization
RNAscope/BaseScope represents a major advancement in RNA In Situ Hybridization with a specific probe design that allows to amplify target-specific signals in (archival) tissue or cultured cells from any species with single-molecule detection sensitivity while simultaneously suppressing background noise. While RNAscope targets longer (>300 bp) RNA, BaseScope targets short (50-300 bp) RNA including highly homologous sequences, exon junctions, splice variants and point mutations. Since probe design accounts for partial RNA degradation within the sample and the workflow does not require RNase-free conditions, processing of archival tissue such as clinical samples is possible.

Available options:
Singleplex (1 target) with chromogenic or fluorescent detection
Multiplex (up to 4 targets) or HiPlex (up to 12 targets) with fluorescent detection
Can be combined with protein (antibody) staining
Full service from sample processing to image acquisition and quantitative analysis possible

For more information and a personalized free quote, contact: 


2. Automated RNA In Situ Hybridization and/or Immunostaining
For automated processing of up to 30 slides
Price: assay-dependent


3. Digital Image Acquisition & Quantitative Analysis

EVOS M7000 Imaging System (ThermoFisher Scientific)
The EVOS M7000 Imaging System is a high-performance, fully automated, inverted, multi-channel fluorescence (DAPI/GFP/RFP/Cy5/Cy7) and transmitted light imaging system (4-10-20-40x). The powerful and time-saving acquisition tools with enhanced autofocus algorithms and automated routines for microwell plate assays, time-lapse live cell imaging, area scanning in time lapse and Z-stacks in scan mode, and a superb optomechanical design enable the generation of publication-quality images and data with just a few clicks.

Price: training 50€/hr, use 5€/hr
Location: E021 (entrance via E015)


IncuCyte ZOOM
This core facility is located at at the Laboratory of Medical and Molecular Oncology (LMMO) located in building E (level 0, ROOM E0.20).
The IncuCyte ZOOM® system is a live-cell imaging and analysis platform that enables automated quantification of cell behavior over time (from hours to weeks) by automatically gathering and analyzing images around the clock. The system provides insight into active biological processes in real-time which is not possible using single-point and end-point measurements. The system resides within the controlled environment of a standard cell incubator. All imaging is completely non-invasive and non-perturbing to cell health. The system can process up to 6 plates in parallel and does not depend on shuttling plates into and out of the incubator.
The IncuCyte ZOOM® System supports High Definition phase-contrast (4x and 10x objectives are available) and 2-color (green and red) fluorescence automated imaging modes.
Basic training will be provided by LMMO staff. Further information can be acquired upon request with 
Contact: or



Indica Labs HALO Image Analysis Platform
For automated quantitative analysis of brightfield and fluorescent images
Location: E021 (entrance via E015)
Price: training 50€/hr, use 5€/hr




CryoStar NX50 (ThermoFisher Scientific)
Price: free
Location: E006
Basic training is provided by staff members of the research group



Real Time PCR

Equipment: QuantStudio 12K Flex Real-Time PCR System (ThermoFisher Scientific)

Quantitative analysis of transcript expression using TaqMan or SYBR chemistry in 96/384- well plates.
SNP genotyping with TaqMan OpenArray Genotyping Plates.
Digital PCR-ready.

Price: 30€/run (consumables to be provided by the users)

Location: D215
Contact for technical support: 
Reservation via Outlook calendar: 



Paraffin tissue embedding and sectioning

Equipment: Paraffin embedding station and rotating paraffin microtome

Embedding cassettes, knives and microscope slides are to be provided by the users

Location: D032

Contact person: Emmy De Blay (tel. 4488)




The BRussels Interuniversity Genomics High Throughput core (BRIGHTcoreBRIGHTcore) is an interuniversity (ULB/VUB) platform in which genomic equipment is centralized and IT infrastructure is made available to perform a multitude of massive parallel sequencing, array and digital counting tests with standard bioinformatics analyses. In addition, BRIGHTcore supports and assists research groups in starting up relevant experiments both at the wet lab level and dry lab level. Bioinformatics support is offered in collaboration with Interuniversity Institute of Bioinformatics in Brussels (IB)². BRIGHTcore is located at the UZ Brussel (Centre for Medical Genetics), main building A, floor -1, route 1102.


The following equipment is available (more info herehere):

For Massive Parallel Sequencing Massive Parallel Sequencing (MPS / NGS): click here for available equipment and applications  

For microarraymicroarray: click here for available equipment and applications 

For digital counting:

The NanoString nCounter SPRINT allows for a streamlined workflow with minimal hands-on time (ca. 10 minutes for mainstream analyses) to quantify biomolecules absolutely (either DNA, RNA or proteins). Up to 800 targets can be assessed per assay (per biological sample), with a sensitivity of 1,5-2 fold change.

The instrument can analyze up to 12 samples per run, with a run taking approximately 6h.

A multitude of out-of-the box assays are available, however, custom assays can be designed by your needs.


Accessory equipment:

Qiagen Tissuelyser II: mechanical disruption of tissue blocks or cell pellets to improve DNA/RNA yields

Covaris M220: mechanical fragmentation of high molecular weight DNA to fragments in a range of 150-5000 bp

Life Technologies Qubit 2.0: fluorometric quantification of RNA, DNA and proteins in a single tube assay format

Perkin Elmer Victor Nivo: fluorometric or spectrophotometric (filter based) quantification of DNA, RNA and protein in a multititerplate (96 or 384 well) format

AATI Fragment Analyzer: DNA and RNA sizing, qualification and quantification by automated gel electrophoresis

Sage Science Pippin Prep: automated DNA size selection (range: 100-5000 bp) on an agarosis gel, removing the need to cut bands from gels & manually extract the DNA

Formulatrix Mantis v3: dispensing of precious liquids in microtiterplates (96-1536 well); the instrument can facilitate the setup of complex experiments where multiple dilutions/conditions are needed


A list of currently offered applications can be found on our websitewebsite. Please note that BRIGHTcore is not limited to only performing those tests: contact BRIGHTcore for alternative applications and specific projects.





The Interuniversity Institute of Bioinformatics Interuniversity Institute of Bioinformatics in Brussels (IB)2 is an interdisciplinary research initiative supported by both the VUB and ULB. (IB)2 is an interuniversity and cross-faculty institute that brings together (VUB/ULB) research groups specialized in bioinformatics analysis of large scale omics data. Moreover, (IB)2 facilitates Technology Transfer through training, education, innovation and collaborations.

Bioinformatics tools that are currently supported in collaboration with the BRussels Interuniversity Genomics High Throughput core (BRIGHTcore) are, for instance, machine learning approaches and feature selection methods, and data simulations (of NGS data). Software published and maintained by (IB)2 comprises Deogen Deogen (variant-effect predictor that aims at the multi-level contextualization of both the target variant and the affected protein), DynaMine DynaMine (fast predictor of protein backbone dynamics using only sequence information as input) and Sephiroth Sephiroth (unsupervised method for disulfide connectivity prediction) and many moremany more.

BRIGHTcore will guide you in collaboration with (IB)2 in your exploration of possibilities for bioinformatics joint research projects, collaborations, sharing expertise and support.

Researchers at the Brussels health campus Jette can contact (IB)2 at


Hypoxia research facility

This facility is located at the Laboratory of Translational Radiation Oncology and Palliative Care (TROP) located in building D (level 1, Room D1.18).

We offer oxygen-related equipment to facilitate research performed under controlled oxygen conditions.
1) The Whitley H35 Hypoxystation creates hypoxic and anoxic conditions within a controlled and sustained workstation environment. It is ideal for cell and tissue cultures under specific and controlled oxygen conditions. Oxygen levels can be controlled starting from 0.1% O2 and relative humidity can reach up to 80%. The H35 is also used as an incubator to reach ideal cell culture conditions. Cells can easily be manipulated under these controlled conditions.
2) The OxyLite (Oxford Optronix) is an oxygen/temperature sensor for in vitro and in vivo applications which makes use of optical/fluorescence oxygen technology.
Basic training will be provided by TROP staff. Further information and conditions of use can be acquired upon request with