Director: Dr. Douglas R. Spitz
IRS Co-Director: Dr. Prabhat C. Goswami
EPR Co-Director: Dr. Garry R. Buettner
AES Co-Director: Dr. Frederick E. Domann

Recent evidence indicates that oxidation/reduction (redox) reactions are disrupted in cancer vs. normal cells as well as by cancer therapy interventions and these biochemical alterations significantly contribute to outcomes in a host of human diseases. The goal of the Radiation and Free Radical Research Core (RFRRC) is to provide state of the art technologies to investigators studying the role of oxidative stress and redox biology as they relate to cancer biology and cancer therapy in order to aid in the development of novel biochemical rationales for improving cancer prevention and therapy as well as studying degenerative diseases associated with aging.

The Radiation and Free Radical Research Core focuses on providing state of the art technologies to investigators studying the role of oxidative stress and redox biology. There is growing evidence that oxidative stress and redox biology are critical determinants of cancer biology including the processes of initiation, promotion, and progression to malignancey as well as the prevention and treatment of cancer and degenerative diseases of aging. The RFRRC was established to provide easy access to free radical and radiation biology expertise, reagents, technologies, and analysis for investigators doing basic, pre-clinical, and clinical research. The RFRRC offers the following three basic services to the university community and to researchers and private companies across the country:

1) Ionizing Radiation Services (IRS) provides research related radiation treatments to eukaryotic and procaryotic cells, viruses, and small animals as well as non-biological materials. The IRS core facility includes an Xstrahl Small Animal Radiation Research Platform (SARRP), Xstrahl CIX3 cabinet irradiator, and a Cesium gamma-ray source. With funding from the Department of Energy and University of Iowa, plans are underway to decommission the Cesium source.  The SARRP can deliver filtered or unfiltered x-rays, with maximum x-ray energy of 225 kVp and a range of mA between 2.8 mA (fine) – 13 mA (broad).  The SARRP also has a motorized variable columnator and various fixed columnators to be used with aluminum or copper filtration for imaging or therapy delivery.  A CT imaging panel is used to determine treatment planning using Muriplan.  SARRP is ideal for preclinical studies that use targeted radiation therapy. The newly acquired Xstrahl CIX3 cabinet irradiator consists of a metal ceramic fixed anode x-ray tube with a maximum voltage of 320 kV and current maximum of 1.0 – 30 mA housed in a large lead-shielded irradiation chamber. The instrument is equipped with quick-change beam conditioning filters, adjustable specimen table (20 cm to 70 cm SSD), movable operator control panel, and a touch-screen interface. Unlike SARRP, this equipment is ideal for delivering non-targeted radiation treatments of biological and non-biological specimens. The facility also includes a GE Typhoon FLA 7000 Phosphorimager that provides image capture, storage, analysis, and quantitation of autoradiography and chemiluminescence signals..

IRS Rates: All rates effective from 01/02/2022: SARRP x-ray, $120 per usage up to an hour; HCCC and CCOM member rates are $84 per usage up to an hour.  Barrier cleaning fee is $80 per usage.    Gamma ray source: $60 per usage for up to 60 minutes, then $15 per hour beyond the first 60 minutes. HCCC and CCOM member rates are $42 for the first 60 minutes and $15 for each subsequent hour
IRS Hours and Contact Information: Ionizing Radiation Services are available, 8 AM - 5 PM Monday through Friday. Special arrangements can be arranged after discussions with the IRS Core leaders. To set up an appointment, or if you have questions, please contact:

2) Electron Paramagnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (EPR) services as well as other detection methologies for measuring free radicals, singlet oxygen, nitric oxide and the array of related oxidants and oxidative damage products are available. The EPR facility assists users in the detection of: free radicals in systems that range from solids, solutions, cells, tissues and whole animals, nitric oxide and related metabolites including peroxynitrite, MDA/TBARS, indicators of lipid peroxidation that are detected with fluorescence spectroscopy, oxidation of fluorescent dyes as indicators of oxidation reactions in living cells, UV-Vis spectroscopy for kinetic studies of PhGPx, Cellular oxygen consumption for studying metabolic oxidations reactions, oxidative stress-indicators using HPLC: including DNA damage products, antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, precise cell volume measurements.

EPR Hours and Contact Information:  Services are available 8AM-5PM Monday through Friday (and at other times based on specific discussion with Drs. Spitz and Buettner). To set up an appointment, or if you have questions, please contact: Brett Wagner at

ESR Facility Rates 

Effective 2022.02.01 

Rates for University of Iowa users

ESR Instrument use (Standard configuration): $75 h-1 HCCC $55 h-1 
ESR Instrument use (Low temperature) $95h-1   HCCC $70 h-1
Nitric Oxide Analyzer (Set-up fee $50/$35) $55 h-1  HCCC $40 h-1 
Beckman LS-50-B Fluorescence $35 h-1  HCCC $25 h-1 
Oxygen Monitor systems (YSI or Biostat) $15 h-1   HCCC $10 h-1 
HPLC System $110 h-1  HCCC $75 h-1 
Seahorse Instrument $125 h-1  HCCC $95 h-1 
Supplies: Consumable $120  (typical costs of plate and media)    
Mito reagents $15 each  
Labor charges $90 h-1  HCCC $64 h-1 

Small routine supplies necessary for “in facility” sample handing and preparation are included in the above. 

Specialty chemicals and supplies are charged at cost, which includes the labor cost for preparation to be user-ready.  Because this is a pass through expense, discounts are not normally available. 

For specific assays, such as vitamin C, vitamin E, or superoxide, we charge by hour of instrument use plus appropriate analysis and labor costs. 

Users other than University of Iowa and Iowa Regent institutions investigators enjoy these rates x 1.55. 

The rates for HCCC investigators are provided for other investigators at NCI Comprehensive Cancer Centers around the nation.

3) Antioxidant Enzyme Services (AES) to provide easy access to technologies for modifying and measuring molecules responsible for pro-oxidant formation, metabolism of reactive oxygen species, and mediators of redox biology including: anti-oxidant proteins/enzymes, small molecular weight cellular thiols and reductants, as well as redox mediated signaling and gene expression pathways governing growth, differentiation, and cell injury processes. These services include molecular biology reagents to transfect and infect cells with adenovirus and plasmid vectors that cause over expression of anti-oxidant proteins, providing QA on the levels of expression and enzymatic activity of cells, and QA to ensure that the desired stable integration or transient expression of various proteins has occurred as well as RTPCR analysis of SNPs and other genes of interest in free radical biology. Resources available through the AES include antibodies, cDNAs, cell lines, transgenic mice models, primers, and well characterized expression vectors. The AES works closely with other cores in this regard, including the Gene Transfer Vector Core and the DNA Core. Techniques include: measurement of thiols and antioxidant enzyme activity using activity assays, activity gels, spectrophotometric assays and HPLC assays; measurement of immunoreactive protein for antioxidant enzymes using western blotting; measurement of steady-state mRNA levels for antioxidant enzymes using northern and PCR analysis; determination of antioxidant enzyme gene copy number and gross chromosomal changes; transfection and characterization of cell lines expressing antioxidant enzyme sense and antisense cDNAs; maintain, distribute, and provide a repository for reagents used in the study of antioxidant proteins: i.e., antibodies, cDNAs, expression  vectors, RNAi reagents and cell lines; provide expertise and equipment for studying a range of O2 tensions from radiobiological hypoxia (<0.1% O2) to physiologically relevant tissue O2 tensions (4-6% O2) in tissue culture experiments measuring clonogenic cell survival.

The following enzyme assays are routinely available: copper-and zinc-containing superoxide dismutase (CuZnSOD), manganese-containing superoxide dismutase (MnSOD), catalase (CAT), glutathione transferases (GSTs), glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT), glutamylcysteine synthetase (GCS), glutathione reductase (GR), glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD), thioredoxin reductase (TRR), and glutathione peroxidases (GPx). Assays for the detection of prooxidant production in living cells (superoxide, hydrogen peroxide, lipid peroxidation products, etc.) are also be available. Antibodies, cDNA probes, transplatable human tumor xenograph models, will be provided. Services to measure glutathione/glutathione disulfide, thioredoxin/thioredoxin disulfide, glucose, ATP, lactate, NADP+/NADPH and NAD+/NADH are also available for monitoring oxidative metabolism. AES staff will carry out the proposed work or will advise the user and staff on how to perform and analyze the experiments.

AES Rates: The regular charges for non-UI members associated with the AES are $40 to $50 per sample (includes sample prep, protein assay, and activity assay) for most assays if the lab staff runs the experiment, and $20 to $25 if the investigator provides the personnel to be trained by the facility to run the sample. The investigators are responsible for the supplies specific to their experiment but not for the quality assurance testing and maintenance of supplies, reagents, cell lines, and genetically manipulated animals.  In addition, all costs are discounted 30% for members of the UI Cancer Center and the UI College of Medicine. 

AES Hours and Contact Information:  Services are available 8AM-5PM Monday through Friday (and at other times based on specific discussion with Drs. Spitz and Domann). To set up an appointment, or if you have questions, please contact Mike McCormick at