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Centre for Free Radical Research

The University of Otago, Christchurch, is the base for medical and postgraduate health education, and for health research in the South Island’s major urban centre.

At the Centre for Free Radical Research, based in the Christchurch Campus building, major equipment is available for interdepartmental use on a collaborative research basis.

Equipment enquiries can be made to:

Mass spectrometry

Mass spectrometry equipment 418We have a Thermo LTQ Velos Pro Ion-Trap (purchased with support from Gravida) for qualitative analysis of proteins and peptides, and an Applied Biosystems 4000QTRAP for quantitative analysis of small molecules and peptides. Both machines use Dionex 3000 UHPLC systems.

This equipment enables us to identify unknown biological  molecules, determine amino acid sequences of peptides as well as molecular masses of proteins. In addition we use the equipment for specific and sensitive measurement of biomarkers in clinical samples for our research into inflammatory diseases.

High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC)

HLPC 418We have three Waters HPLC pumps with autosamplers and photo diode array (PDA), electro chemical detection (ECD) and fluorescence detection.

These instruments are used for routine measurement of abundant biological molecules, such as vitamin C and urate, in clinical samples. They are also used to follow consumption of substrates and formation of products in biochemical pathways within cells or for isolated enzymes.


Microscopy 418The Centre has an Olympus IX81 live cell imaging microscope (purchased with the support of Gravida) and a Zeiss Axio Imager fluorescence microscope.

These tools allow us to view cellular processes occurring in real time.


Imaging 418There are two Chemidoc biomolecular imagers and a Typhoon FLA 9500 biomolecular imager at the Centre for Free Radical Research.

These instruments capture images of proteins within gels for detection or identification of proteins in cells or blood.

Cell culture

Cell culture 418The Centre has incubators, laminar flow hoods and a Don Whitley H35 hypoxia station for hypoxic and anoxic conditions within a controlled and sustained workstation environment.

Growing live cells and testing them in controllable environments allows us to assess how the cells respond to different levels of oxygen. This work is particularly important in understanding the growth of cancer cells.

Cell metabolism

Cell metabolism 418The Seahorse Bioscience XF24 extracellular flux analyser for assessing mitochondrial function is used in our research into oxygen metabolism in cells.


The Centre for Free Radical Research has:

  • An Agilent stopped-flow spectrophotometer
  • A Hitachi U-3900 temperature controlled spectrophotometer
  • An Implen Nanophotometer, Nanodrop spectrophotometer

And three ELISA plate readers:

  • Varioskan flash
  • Polstar galaxy
  • Spectramax