RNA In Situ Hybridization Core wins 2022 ATC Core of the Year

At the end of every academic year, Baylor College of Medicine’s Advanced Technology Cores conducts a customer survey. The results of this survey help determine Baylor’s Core of the Year.

In 2022, that honor was bestowed upon the RNA In Situ Hybridization Core under director Dr. Cecilia Ljungberg, assistant professor of pediatrics – neurology, and staff members Rong Kao and Ying Liu. Ljungberg’s lab is located at the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children’s Hospital.

Cecilia Ljungberg and Ying Liu

Dr. Cecilia Ljungberg and Ying Liu, research technician, use a slicer machine in the RNA In Situ Hybridization Core.

Ljungberg arrived in Houston in 2003 for postdoctoral training at Baylor, and in 2010, she was promoted to lead the RNA In Situ Hybridization Core.

Ranging from the Antibody-based Proteomics Core to the Zebrafish Core, Baylor hosts 27 core laboratories to serve customers in-house, as well as throughout the Texas Medical Center. These core facilities provide expertise, instrumentation and technologies to support research on a fee-for-service basis. Clients may be graduate students, postdoctoral researchers or faculty.

Typically, Ljungberg and her colleagues examine how much mRNA is expressed and where in rodent or human tissue samples. Using powerful and precise slicers, the team can slice frozen tissue samples very thinly. The sections are then placed on glass slides, the specific RNA molecules visualized and examined under a microscope.

When she started, technicians used a color system to look at one gene at a time. The current technology allows them to view up to three genes at once. Another addition has been an automatic scanner that can load up to 100 slides and then take high-resolution images.

Ljungberg considers the services she and her colleagues offer a small, but important contribution to the highly collaborative process of scientific discovery.

Learn more about the Advanced Technology Cores at Baylor. To contact the RNA In Situ Hybridization Core, email atc-rnacore@bcm.edu.

By Julie Garcia