The O’Connor laboratory is located in the AIDS Vaccine Research Laboratory (AVRL) in University Research Park. AVRL is also home to the laboratories of Shelby O’Connor, Tom Friedrich, and David Evans. Three Wisconsin National Primate Research Center Research Service units are also housed in AVRL: Genetics Services, Immunology Services, and Virology Services. AVRL contains specialized equipment for studying viral pathogenesis, genetics, immunology, and virology. We also collaborate with our next door neighbors in the Influenza Research Institute, led by Dr. Yoshihiro Kawaoka.

AVRL is approximately three miles from the central UW-Madison campus. We regularly commute to campus for seminars, meetings, and classes. We have free parking outside AVRL and are located on a bus line to campus:

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AVRL has a number of rooms for specialized genetic and immunologic analyses. Below is a view of our pressurized PCR clean room that minimizes contamination:

HIV/SIV, TB, influenza, and samples with unknown viruses are handled within our BSL-3 laboratory. Adjacent to the BSL-3 is a flow cytometry room containing a BD LSR-2 flow cytometer:

Our lab relies heavily on PCR analyses. Conventional and quantitative PCR machines (Roche Lightcyclers) are in a soundproofed, vented room to minimize noise pollution in our main molecular biology space. This space also houses two large servers (1 running Bio-Linux and 1 running OSX Server) that we use for advanced DNA sequence analysis:

We have impressive DNA sequencing capacity, including a Roche/454 GS Junior and an Illumina miSeq. The GS Junior generates 100,000 sequence reads per run; the miSeq generates upwards of 8,000,000! We also use a 16-well ABI 3130 for microsatellite fragment sizing. We also have two Tecan workstations for high-throughput liquid handling.


Our main workspace is adjacent to both the sequencing and PCR thermocycler rooms:


AVRL makes extensive use of gotomeeting to communicate with colleagues on and off-campus. We have two conference rooms equipped with Polycom phones and large videoconferencing displays. Graduate students and senior staff also have offices; there are also built-in desks in the lab.

Internal lab management (inventories, purchasing, project management) for all AVRL investigators is powered by a LabKey Server managed by my laboratory.

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