The Cytogenetic shared resource provides expertise and equipment to scientists throughout St. Jude that enables them to design, build, and utilize cell based genetic assays. Newly discovered genetic events that contribute to the biology of cancer can be directly visualized inside individual cells. Insights that can only be reached by directly visualizing the genome in its natural cellular environment can be gained that otherwise may have been overlooked. The expertise of the CSR staff is provided collaboratively to scientists throughout the institution in order to advance the goals of their research.

Biorepository Overview
Three people in front of a computer screen


The CSR has made many impactful discoveries from the initial cloning of the ALK gene to discovery of novel mechanisms of oncogene activation through analysis of 3D chromatin dynamics and formation of transcription condensates in cancer. In addition to traditional cytogenetic capabilities, the CSR has developed immunofluorescence protein staining combined with both RNA and DNA FISH which can be applied to cells derived from culture or tissues. The center is especially well positioned to contribute to improved understanding of transcription and identification of potential points of intervention in this process to control expression of individual genes. 


The cytogenetic core team has shown enormous research experience and are highly motivated to apply the most appropriate cutting-edge research tools to my research work. I really enjoy the close collaboration and science brainstorming with this team in the past years.

Chunliang Li, Assistant Member

Services and technologies

  • Standard G Band Karyotyping
  • Tumor cell lines, xenografts, somatic cell hybrids, targeted ES cell lines
  • Spectral Karyotyping (SKY)
  • Available for mouse and human samples
  • Fluorescence In Situ Hybridization (FISH)
  • Mouse Transgene Mapping
  • Gene Copy Number Analysis
  • Gene Disruption and Fusion Analysis
  • RNA FISH (with DNA FISH, IF Protein Staining)
  • Fiber FISH
  • Flow FISH
  • Custom FISH assays


  • Cytovision image analysis system with a cooled CCD camera for the analysis and archiving of FISH studies
  • ASI complete SKY/Cytogenetic System
  • Lambda stand-alone xenon arc lamp and power supply that includes a 175W ozone-free, calibration- and centration-free lamp and liquid light guide
  • Sutter Instruments automatic PC-controlled 10-position filter wheel
  • Nikon E600 microscope


photo of Steven Burden

Steven Burden, PhD


Dr. Steven Burden earned his PhD in Biomolecular Sciences from Boise State University, where his research was focused on the study and engineering of novel fluorogenic RNA structures. Leveraging the technological advancements from his doctoral studies, he founded a company in early 2019. The company's mission was to provide rapid and accurate diagnostics to individuals, irrespective of their socioeconomic background. Dr. Burden is driven to enhance the field with cutting-edge tools, particularly in genetically encodable fluorogenic RNA tracking, demonstrating his commitment to advancing the frontiers of research and diagnostics.