Grant makes lab equipment available to area researchers

hssa-logoSPOKANE, Wash. – A $1.965 million grant will help recruit faculty and purchase research equipment in the College of Pharmacy at Washington State University.

It is the second such grant awarded to the college and the WSU health sciences campus by the Health Sciences and Services Authority of Spokane County. As a condition of the funding, HSSA requires the equipment be available to public and private researchers in the region.

For more information about how to use the WSU core laboratory facilities in Spokane, visit

“HSSA’s commitment has had a tremendous return on its investment so far for them, for WSU and for this community, and we expect the same for this round of recruitments,” said Gary M. Pollack, dean of the College of Pharmacy.

Faculty focus on research

The grant will match WSU start-up recruitment packages for three research-active faculty and complete the build-out of laboratory infrastructure for the newly opened Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences Building.

In 2012, HSSA awarded $1.18 million to aid with start-up recruitment packages for two research-active faculty and to help the pharmacy and medical sciences programs purchase equipment to open a microscopy core laboratory and a mass spectrometry core laboratory.

HSSA requires that the researchers bring grant funding to Spokane and that they spend 75 percent of their time conducting research.

“HSSA’s role is to help grow the public and private health sciences research capacity that is so important to diversifying and growing our regional economy,” said Nancy Isserlis, HSSA board chair.

New equipment listed

Last year, HSSA contributed $243,363 toward purchase of a laser scanning confocal microscope with a four-year service contract and technical support. The capability of confocal microscopy is performing optical sectioning of thick biologic samples (tissues or cells) and three-dimensional reconstruction of images.

This year, HSSA is contributing another $705,000 to help complete the microscopy lab. The funds will help purchase a micro-CT scanner, intravital microscopy system, flow cytometry system, inverted fluorescence microscope, whole-animal image and nanoparticle measurement system.

Last year, HSSA contributed half the cost of the mass spectrometry equipment, or $243,500. The equipment is important for drug and metabolite analysis and can detect drugs/metabolites at very low concentrations. It can distinguish a specific drug/metabolite from other compounds in a biologic sample.

This year, HSSA is contributing another $360,000 to the pharmacogenomics core lab. The equipment to be added is Illumina MiSeq automated gene sequencing, QuantStudio Spectrometer 2000, microplate reader and real-time PCR, nanodrop, spectromax and bioanalyzer and robot.