Access to the CoLab and training is open to all academic members of the University of Minnesota community. ​​Training and bench space are provided at no cost to UMN principal investigators, graduate students, scientists, and technical staff. Outside organizations and universities are also eligible for access to the CoLab and will be charged a training and usage fee. 

CoLab Orientation

CoLab orientation is required before receiving access to the CoLab. New users will receive a tour of the designated CoLab space and available instruments, and the CoLab staff will discuss lab safety, policies, and the standard of conduct to be exercised at all times in the shared space. Users must successfully complete all applicable online UMN safety training in order to receive Ucard access to the lab and building. After completing orientation, users will schedule one of the below training modules. 

Schedule an orientation time

Available Training

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Constructing Visium CytAssist Spatial Gene Expression Probe-based Libraries

This training is for generating Visium CytAssist Spatial Gene Expression probe-based libraries for sequencing. At this 1.5-day training, researchers will follow the library preparation protocol under the guidance of a UMGC scientist, using the probe elution from the Visium slides prepared upstream by the UMGC. Before a CoLab training date is set, researchers will meet with Bionet and the UMGC to discuss sample preparation, sectioning, and mounting on slides. Researchers have the option to provide samples already cut on slides or request the service through Bionet. 

Measuring Cell Viability and Counting Cells on the LUNA Cell Counter

Cell suspension visualization and quantification are critical for determining accurate concentration, viability, and suspension quality before use in downstream single-cell protocols. In this training, researchers will learn to operate the LUNA-FL Automated Fluorescent Cell Counter to measure cell viability and count cells. This training will cover operating the LUNA-FL, preparing and loading samples, and evaluating results. Researchers will supply the cells, and the UMGC will provide the stain and slides. 

Preparing Chromium Single Cell Gene Expression Libraries

Training will provide researchers with the technical skills to independently prepare 3’ or 5’ single-cell transcriptomic experiments using the Chromium Single Cell Controller. To begin, researchers will meet with the CoLab to discuss their experimental goals and receive cell sample requirements. The hands-on training will cover GEM generation, cDNA amplification, and library construction, with a focus on best practices. Researchers will learn to submit the intermediate cDNA and the final libraries for QC to the UMGC and learn how to evaluate the results. 

Operating the QuantStudio 5 Real-Time PCR System

Training on the QuantStudio 5 is customized based on the researcher's background with quantitative PCR. Part one (optional) is instructional-based, where the CoLab will provide an overview of qPCR, including PCR basics, general chemistry, intercalating dye vs. probe-based reactions, reverse transcription, and what efficiency means and why it's important. Part two (required) is at the instrument, where the CoLab will demonstrate how to use the QS5 and the software, including data review, how to export the data, QC metrics, and how to troubleshoot. Researchers familiar with qPCR can bring a plate to run at training.

Getting Started

New users will begin with an orientation to the CoLab and can schedule an orientation time here. If you have general questions about the CoLab and training, contact Aaron Becker, the CoLab Lead, at