The CAUMA facility offers multiple services related to hydrodynamic characterization of solvated molecules.

  • Experiments we perform:
    We primarily perform three types of experiments to assist with the characerization of solvated molecules:

    • Analytical ultracentrifugation, to perform sedimentation velocity and sedimentation equilibrium experiments with any one of three instruments: a Beckman Optima XLA, XLI and XLF (equipped with fluorescence optics)
    • Densitometry, using an Anton Paar densitometer
    • Laser light scattering, performing both static and dynamic light scattering experiments.

    These experiments will provide information about sample composition, high resolution quantification of trace contaminants and aggregates, identify oligomerization states, measure stoichiometry of binding and binding strength, and permit identifying the order of assembly of complex multi-domain systems. We specialize in the measurement of binding strength of small, fluorescently labeled molecules to macromolecular targets to identify drug and inhibitor potency, and specialize in particle sizing of solvated nanoparticles.

  • Types of Molecules:
    Analytical ultracentrifugation is suitable for a very large range of molecules, including proteins, nucleic acids, carbohydrates, quantum dots, and a multitude of nanoparticles, including virus particles, capsids, networks, cages, nanotubes, assemblies, and metal nanoparticles. On the lower end, even molecules as small as NaCl can be sedimented by the very large forces generated in the analytical ultracentrifuge (up to 260,000 x g). There are only a few limitations: The molecule should not sediment by gravity force alone, hence molecular size and density together should be small enough. Buffers for solvation should not be so acidic, alkaline or chemically reactive that they damage our centerpieces. Gradient forming buffer components like high concentrations of CsCl, glycerol, urea, guanidium hydrochloride, sucrose, nycodenz, etc. should be avoided for regular sedimentation velocity experiments.
  • Clients:
    Our clients include intra- and extramural investigators from academia, pharma industry, biomedical research institutions as well as material science investigators.
  • Experimental Design:
    We assist our clients with a complete and thorough review of their research needs in order to develop a custom experimental design plan to best address your questions with our technology. If our technology is not suitable for your investigations, we can refer your projects to other core facilities at the UT Health San Antonio where they will be handled with equal expertise and efficiency. In some cases, our experimental design includes other experiments for supporting information and complementary data.
  • Data Analysis:
    We provide data analysis services for analytical ultracentrifugation data using the UltraScan data analysis suite. This analysis package is the most advanced software for AUC data analysis, offering the highest resolution of all available methods, and was developed in house by Dr. Demeler’s group. UltraScan utilizes high-performance computing on national XSEDE supercomputing infrastructure to obtain the maximum information from AUC experiments.
  • Consulting:
    We offer consulting for all of the services offered through CAUMA. Customarily, we first enter into a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) with commercial and corporate clients to protect your intellectual property. After a NDA is in place, we are able to consult you with the development of experimental designs and analysis strategies, perform analytical ultracentrifugation services, analyze experimental results, and write scientific reports for the analysis results. We also offer development of experimental strategies and designs, as well as data analysis, for any experiments performed at your location on your own equipment. We have many years experience to develop successful analysis strategies for many analysis questions. Please call for a quote in case you are interested to outsource data analysis or experimental design.