The Faculty of Life Sciences maintains a wide range of analytical research facilities. These facilities are available to all staff and students, are maintained by dedicated, fulltime, expert staff, support state-of-the-art equipment and are invariably located in custom built laboratories.

BioAFM ¦ Bioimaging ¦ Bioinformatics ¦ Biomolecular Analysis ¦ DNA Sequencing ¦ Electron Microscopy ¦ Fast Reaction ¦ Flow Cytometry ¦ Fly Facility ¦ Genomic Technologies ¦ Histology ¦ Macromolecular Crystallography ¦ Manchester Surgical Skills and Simulation Centre ¦ NMR Facility ¦ Protein Expression

Read more about our Analytical Research Facilities (PDF).


High resolution AFM imaging

The BioAFM Facility offers Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) imaging and micro/nano-mechanical characterisation capabilities to The University of Manchester and the wider scientific community. The Facility, which currently houses 3 atomic force microscopes, specializes in analysing soft, biological-related materials, although staff have experience of a wide-range of specimen types.

You can find more information about this facility on the BioAFM Facility webpages.

Enquiries: Dr Nigel Hodson ¦ Email: nigel.hodson@manchester.ac.uk ¦ Tel: +44 (0)161 275 5443 / 7054

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A mitotic HeLa cell following deconvolution on the delta vision microscope with its chromasomes labeled in blue, spindle microtubules in green and its kinetochores in red. Image supplied by Mailys Vergnolle (FLS)

The Bioimaging Facility offers state-of-the-art imaging equipment to all members of the Faculty, the University and beyond. There are over 16 different microscope systems, so if you have a project that requires imaging we should have a system to meet your specifications.

Enquiries: Dr Peter March ¦ Email: peter.march@manchester.ac.uk ¦ Tel: +44 (0)161 275 1571

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Desktop PC

The Bioinformatics Facility provides bioinformatics expertise to the Faculty of Life Sciences. It brings together experts in genomics analysis, as well as providing data management support. The facility also supports analytical software for genomics analysis.

Enquiries: Dr Leo Zeef ¦ Email: leo.zeef@manchester.ac.uk ¦ Tel: +44 (0)161 275 1482

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Biomolecular Analysis

Eppendorf tubes

The Biomolecular Analysis Facility is a state-of-the-art resource for the identification of proteins and the subsequent investigation of their size, shape and interactions.

Dr Tom Jowitt (Biomolecular Analysis) ¦ Email: t.jowitt@manchester.ac.uk ¦ Tel: +44 (0)161 275 1561
Dr David Knight (Mass Spectrometry) ¦ Email: david.knight@manchester.ac.uk ¦ Tel: +44 (0)161 275 1561

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DNA Sequencing

DNA sequence

The DNA Sequencing facility provides high quality, high throughput sequence data to the entire campus of the University of Manchester and beyond. The facility operates two primary platforms: a 48 capillary ABI 3730 Genetic analyser for Sanger sequencing, and a Roche 454 GS Junior+ for metagenomic analyses and related next-generation sequencing projects. The facility additionally offers human cell line authentication and mycoplasma testing of cell lines.

Enquiries: Paul Fullwood, Graeme Fox, Fraser Combe ¦ Email: dnasequencing@manchester.ac.uk ¦ Tel: +44 (0)161 275 4867

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Electron Microscopy


The facility houses five electron microscopes, a comprehensive preparation laboratory which includes a range of specialised sample preparation equipment, a photographic dark room, digital imaging facilities and a suite of computer workstations for image processing. The facility is staffed by a manager, an experimental officer and two experienced microscopists.

Enquiries: Dr. Aleksandr Mironov ¦ Email: aleksandr.mironov@manchester.ac.uk ¦ Tel: +44 (0)161 275 5645

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Fast Reaction

Laser flash photolysis apparatus

The Fast Reaction facility consists of a suite of fast reaction kinetic instrumentation for the measurement of chemical reactions on the nanosecond to millisecond timescale. The kinetics equipment is located in state-of-the-art laboratories within the MIB, adjacent to the wet laboratories of the Molecular Enzymology Group on floor 3. To support the fast reaction kinetic measurements we have a number of peripheral instruments including spectrophotometers, CD machine, fluorimeters, and potentiometry apparatus. A number of our instruments are maintained in anaerobic glove box environments.

Enquiries: Dr Derren Heyes ¦ Email: derren.heyes@manchester.ac.uk ¦ Tel: +44 (0)161 306 5159

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Flow Cytometry

Forward versus side scatter.

As the original high content analysis technique, flow cytometry is an essential tool for cellular analysis. A flow cytometer has the ability to make multiple measurements on individual cells and to do that on thousands of cells per second, which can reveal the heterogeneity in cell populations hidden by other techniques.

On flow cytometers with the “sorting” capability, it is possible to go beyond analysis of the sample and physically separate out particular cell populations for further analysis by other techniques, or to put them in to culture.

Enquiries: Mr Mike Jackson ¦ Email: m.c.jackson@manchester.ac.uk ¦ Tel: +44 (0)161 275 5468

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Fly Facility


The Drosophila Core Research Facility (Fly Facility) at the Faculty of Life Sciences supports research involving the genetic model organism Drosophila melanogaster. The Facility was established through funds from the University and Wellcome Trust. This dedicated state-of-the-art Facility and the unique expertise therein is open to all scientists who already use fruitflies or intend to expand their research to Drosophila.

Enquiries: Sanjai Patel ¦ Email: sanjai.patel@manchester.ac.uk ¦ Tel: +44 (0)161 275 5628
Website: Manchester Fly Facility

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Genomic Technologies

MiSeq instrument

The Genomic Technologies Core Facility (GTCF) is housed in purpose built laboratory space in the Michael Smith Building. Funded largely from grants from the Wellcome Trust, the Facility was established to provide access to cutting-edge post-genomic technologies.

The Facility supports five main technology categories, namely:

  • Next-generation sequencing
  • Affymetrix GeneChip Microarrays
  • Real-time PCR instruments
  • RNAi library screening
  • Digital nucleic acid analyses (NanoString Technologies)

Also, we have extensive liquid handling and automation capacity, together with instrumentation for quantification and sample QC. The facility operates in close association with the bioinformatics core facility to facilitate a complete service from experimental design through to bioinformatic analyses.

Enquiries: Dr Andy Hayes ¦ Email: andy.hayes@manchester.ac.uk ¦ Tel: +44 (0)161 275 1589



The Histology Facility provides the equipment and technical support for producing high quality tissue sections for microscopy. Handling of tissue prior to histology is a key step in obtaining good data. We provide advice and protocols on the best methods for tissue preparation, preservation and processing in order to achieve the best from your samples.

Enquiries: Mr Peter Walker ¦ Email: peter.walker@manchester.ac.uk ¦ Tel: +44 (0)161 275 1476

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Macromolecular Crystallography

MIB X-ray diffraction data collection system

The high level of detailed insight and understanding of macromolecule structure and function offered by crystallography is undoubtedly unparalleled and underpins much of our present understanding of life at the cellular level. Located in the Manchester Interdisciplinary Biocentre (MIB), the Macromolecular Crystallography Facility contains state-of-the art instrumentation that supports the structural biology groups within the Faculty and offers a dedicated crystallisation and crystal characterisation service. Inquiries from other Faculties and external organisations are encouraged.

The Facility acts as a focal point for diverse crystallographic structural studies throughout the Faculty. User interaction is encouraged and hence knowledge sharing is at a premium. A formal ‘structuring’ service is available. Support and instruction is continually provided depending on level of user competence.

Enquiries: Dr Colin Levy ¦ colin.levy@manchester.ac.uk ¦ Tel: +44 (0)161 275 5190

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Manchester Surgical Skills and Simulation Centre

Facility equipment

Opened in November 2012, the Centre is among the most technologically advanced in the UK. As well as the latest surgical equipment, instrumentation and virtual simulators, the Centre also features a live audio-visual link to a live operating theatre at Manchester Royal Infirmary. This allows real-time communication between surgeons and trainees, helping to bridge the gap between theory and practice.

We only use fresh-frozen cadaveric tissue – now considered the gold standard for surgical training – to give delegates as realistic an experience as possible and allow them to practice complex procedures in a safe and realistic environment.

For more information please visit the Manchester Surgical Skills and Simulation Centre website.

Enquiries: ¦ Email: jenny.schofield@manchester.ac.uk ¦ Tel: +44 (0)161 275 4593

NMR Facility

One-dimensional NMR spectrum

We can help with advice on the type of NMR experiments that will be most suitable, appropriate and informative for a particular project, and provide help with setting up experiments and training for regular NMR users.

Enquiries: Dr Matthew Cliff ¦ Email: matthew.cliff@manchester.ac.uk ¦ Tel: +44 (0)161 306 5179

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Protein Expression

A typical protein expression purification

This core facility provides a comprehensive resource for the production of recombinant proteins. Currently we offer a choice of three expression systems: bacteria, insect and mammalian cells. Depending on particular needs we are able to provide either small scale production facilities for biochemical analysis and antibody production or larger scale production for structural studies.

Enquiries: Dr Edward McKenzie ¦ Email: edward.a.mckenzie@manchester.ac.uk ¦ Tel: +44 (0)161 275 5106

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