Biomarker Laboratory

Request ACTRI Services

Through the TRT Laboratories, investigators will have access to the Biomarker Laboratory. Please click on the “Request ACTRI Services” button for information on contacting the laboratories described below.

Biomarkers are biological indicators that signal a changed physiological state due to disease or a therapeutic intervention. For example, in inflammatory diseases, typical biomarkers include cytokines (e.g., IL-1, TNF-alpha), metalloproteinases and small molecule mediators (e.g., prostaglandins). We measure biomarkers as either expression at the mRNA and protein level or as functional activity. The three principal uses of biomarkers are as (1) surrogate markers of disease; (2) proof-of-concept indicators, in that they aid in development decisions (“Go/No Go” to the next study); and (3) a means to understanding the mechanisms of action of drugs.

The Biomarker Laboratory provides analyte determinations on a variety of human and animal materials principally through immunoassays and quantitative PCR. Assays are provided at affordable cost to investigators carrying out clinical, translational, and basic research at UC San Diego and at our Partner Institutions. The Laboratory:

  • Performs all validated assays with internal and commercial QC in a timely manner.
  • Introduces and validates (GLP) new assays, as pilot studies, with commercial QC and internal quality assurance program (IQAP) support.
  • Helps physicians to develop and validate disease- and patient-oriented biomarker assays.
  • Works in tandem with the ACTRI Biomedical Informatics Division to provide secure data storage and retrieval.
  • Teaches and trains undergraduate and graduate students and junior investigators in laboratory techniques.
  • Helps PIs to develop protocols and procedures for collecting and storing samples.

The Biomarkers Laboratory currently offers over 125 validated assays. This number is growing, as we are continually adding new assays based on requests from ACTRI members or on anticipated needs using emerging technologies. If an assay is not available within the Biomarkers Laboratory, we will develop it in-house or assist in identifying a laboratory that performs the assay at a reasonable cost.


Major Biomarker Laboratory Equipment

  • Meso Scale Diagnostics Sector Imager 2400 Multiplex Instrument
  • Bioplex 100 Multiplex Suspension Array System
  • Molecular Devices Spectramax-M5 and 340pc384 microplate readers
  • Molecular Devices programmable SkanWasher300 plate washer
  • Applied Biosystems StepOnePlus™ Real-Time PCR System
  • Applied Biosystems 7300 Real-Time PCR System
  • Eppendorf epMotion 5070 robot
  • Titertek Auto Gamma Counter-AGC4/600
  • Corbett Robotics/Qiagen Qiaxtractor for DNA/RNA isolations
  • Bio-Rad Versadoc 4000MP and GelDoc XR+ imaging systems
  • NanoPro 1000 (Protein Simple)


Physical Address of TRT Biomarker Laboratory
University of California, San Diego

Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute

9452 Medical Center Drive, La Jolla, CA 92037

Phone: (858) 246-2446