In order to promote the scientific level of the research center in the field of molecular and cellular studies, and due to the need that was felt by the head of the research center, Dr. Ahmadreza Jamshidi, the research laboratory of the center with the management of Dr. Mehdi Mahmoudi and in cooperation with other professors, started its activity in the summer of 2011.The overall goal of this research laboratory is to investigate cellular and molecular aspects of rheumatic diseases in order to understand etiopathogenesis and finally a better treatment for these diseases. In this regard, numerous molecular and cellular studies have been carried out or are ongoing on patients referred to the Rheumatology Research Center of Shariati Hospital.
Molecular studies at Research Laboratory of Rheumatology Research Center are consist of studies which are focused on genetic, epigenetic and protein aspects. Genetic studies are including: DNA and RNA extraction, PCR techniques (including Real-Time PCR, ARMS PCR, PCR-RFLP, RT PCR and PCR-SSP), transfection, and cloning. Epigenetic studies are including: DNA methylation and miRNA expression, and protein studies are including: ELISA, Western blot, and Immunocytochemistry. Laboratory equipment in molecular section are: Real-Time PCR (ABI step one plus), Thermocycler (ABI 2720 and PeQlab-PEQSTAR), gel reader (VILBER LOUMAT), power and electrophoretic tanks for agarose and polyacrylamide gel (SDS-PAGE), Nano Drop THERMO SCIENTIFIC 2000C, Labet Labs, ELISA (biotek -ELX800), minus 80 Freezer (-86 Freezer) (New Brunswick Premium U570 & U410 and Haier) , Refrigerated centrifuges (BOECO U-320R) and refrigerated microfiber (Hettich-MIKRO22R).
Cellular studies at Research Laboratory of Rheumatology Research Center are consist of studies which are focused on peripheral blood cells isolation from blood, cell isolation from tissue, cell isolation using MACS, and cell culture. Laboratory equipment in cellular section are: Class 100 Laminar Flow Hood (BEASAT), inverted microscope (Nikon ts100), conventional microscope (OLYMPUS CH30), CO2 incubator (New Brunswick-Galaxy 170R), MACS Manual Cell Separator, Statebourne Biorack 3000 Liquid Nitrogen Sample Storage Tank, and Hettich 320 Refrigerated Universal Centrifuge.
Blood sampling to create a DNA and serum bank from Ankylosing Spondylitis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Behcet’s and Scleroderma has begun since beginning of the research laboratory. We achieved this goal through a good collaboration with other professors in the rheumatology research center. We have 750 samples of ankylosing spondylitis, 760 samples of systemic sclerosis, 670 samples of systemic lupus erythematosus, 870 samples of rheumatoid arthritis, 940 samples of Behcet’s and 1350 healthy control samples.
Currently, the Research Laboratory has two employee and more than 10 M.Sc. and Ph.D. students. Since the launch of the laboratory, 48 students have already graduated from the laboratory after passing their projects. This number includes 36 M.Sc. students, 7 Ph.D. students and 5 Fellowship students. Currently, 15 students are passing their project in this laboratory, which includes 8 M.Sc. students, 6 Ph.D. students and one fellowship student.
Since the launch of the laboratory, more than 100 research projects have been conducted with Tehran University or with other universities and centers all around the country such as Tarbiat Modares University, Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences , Yazd University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Qom University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Guilan University of Medical Sciences, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Sabzevar University, Tehran University, Amirkabir University and Sharif University of Technology and other centers such as Presidential office and Firoozgar Hospital has been done or is ongoing. There are also have a good collaboration between the Rheumatology Research Center and universities and centers all around the globe such as University of Queensland, University of Medicine (Greifswald), University of Japan (Yokohama City University Graduate School of Medicine), Research Center of Spain (Instituto de Parasitología y Biomedicina Lopez-Neyra), and India (Center for Rheumatic Diseases, Pune University).