Our Facilities


We house a wide range of high-tech facilities under one roof, providing a world-class resource for research and training.

Alongside our leading academics, our cutting-edge technologies and facilities help to advance research in the biosciences and healthcare sector, across disease-specific research, biomanufacturing and biotechnology and digital analytics and machine learning.

Through our state-of-the-art laboratories, computing suites and co-creation spaces, our researchers, students and industry partners benefit from access to everything they need to innovate in one place.

Our technologies include high-specification mass spectrometers, next-generation sequencing equipment, bioinformatics software, microbial and mammalian bioreactors and high-performance confocal microscopy.

To find out more about accessing our facilities, please email NHC-operations@tees.ac.uk.

Labs and equipment

Located in Central Park in Darlington in the heart of an ecosystem of life sciences excellence. With easy access of national road and rail links the NHC has on-site car parking and is a five minute walk from Darlington railway station and the East Coast mainline.

Ground Floor

Waters Bioanalytical Laboratory

Part of the Waters Centre of Innovation Program which recognises innovative science in a select number of international collaborative laboratories.

Among the equipment is ultra-performance liquid chromatography and gas chromatography systems coupled with high-specification mass spectrometry instruments (LC-QQQ, GC-QQQ and Q-TOF instruments including shape selective capability), enabling proteomics, metabolomics, biopharmaceutical analysis, trace analysis and protein structural studies.

Bioprocessing Laboratory

Microbial and mammalian bioreactors are available at laboratory scale for batch and continuous cultivation.

Seminar room

The seminar room boasts high specification AV equipment, free WiFi and can be arranged to meet your specifications. Whatever type of event you are holding, it can be adapted to hold seminars, board meetings, training sessions, screenings and more.

Level 1

Cell culture

Cell culture is an essential technique used in cellular and molecular biology. It allows the creation of model systems for studying the normal physiology and biochemistry of cells such as:

  • Metabolic studies.
  • Aging.
  • The effects of drugs and toxic compounds on the cells.
  • Infection model of diseases.
  • Mutagenesis and carcinogenesis.
  • Drug screening and development including large scale manufacturing of biological compounds like vaccines and therapeutics.

Consistency and reproducibility of results can be obtained from using a batch of cloned cells or established cell lines.

Omics laboratory

The Omics laboratory contains high-performance confocal microscopy for cellular physiology and dynamics - MALDI and DESI mass spectrometry for molecular imaging and confocal Raman microscopy for cells, tissues and microorganisms with live cell imaging capability.

Freezer room

The freezer room houses -20 freezers, -80 freezers, a -150 mechanical freezer and a cool room. Liquid nitrogen is also used for the storage of cells.

Preparation room

The preparation room houses instruments such as the ultracentrifuge, radiography, furnaces, ovens, thermal gravimetric analysers, differential scanning calorimetry and opentrons robotics preparation system.

Autoclave room

For sterilization of laboratory glassware, plastic, petri dishes, media and discard loads.

Level 2

Research Laboratory One

Supports researchers who study cancer therapeutics to understand the molecular basis of cancer. Researchers investigating molecular and pathological mechanisms of neurogenerative illnesses such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.

Research Laboratory Two

Supports researchers who investigate pathogens, how they infect us and how cells respond to them and researchers investigating low cost diagnostics for biotechnological applications.

Research Laboratory Three

Supports researchers who study the biology of lymphoma, to identify biomarkers and develop new treatment strategies.

Research Laboratory Four

Supports researchers who investigate host-pathogens interactions, exchange of lipids, mass spectrometry preparation laboratory and researchers studying the molecular mechanisms underlying cytoskeletal in diverse cancers.

Bioinformatics suite

The Bioinformatics suite has 21 (20 student and 1 instructor) high specification workstations with dual-octal Intel Xeon CPUs, 256Gb RAM, NVIDIA 980Ti GPUS and 512GB SSD with 4TV HDD. These high power computers makes quick work of comparative genomics, large multi-dimensional data integration and interpretation and clinical informatics.


Research-grade BioVector production service

The National Horizons Centre is excited to launch VecTUs.

Services offered to accelerate the development of gene therapies:

  • Design & manufacture of constructs for packaging into rAAV vectors
  • Manufacture of research-grade rAAV vectors using suspension cells for proof-of-concept in vivo studies

At the early-stage of development, non-GMP grade rAAV vectors are generally produced using adherent cells. Upon scale-up towards clinical trial testing, the need for GMP grade high titre vectors necessitates a switch to suspension cells for production.

This often results in requirement of re-optimisation of the gene therapy candidate, which can be costly and an inefficient use of time.

Building on our experience of developing gene therapies that are now in clinical trial, our new service removes the need for re-optimisation. This is because we use suspension cells to produce affordable research-grade vectors for your early proof-of-concept studies. This accelerates the translation of products to clinic, resulting in a saving on development costs overall.

Using high-spec technical equipment, we are removing the need for re-optimisation of gene therapy vectors upon scale-up, whilst enabling affordable and clinically relevant proof-of-concept studies.

Linda Popplewell, Professor of Genetic Medicine

To learn more about how we can meet your requirements with this service, please contact NHC-Operations@tees.ac.uk


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