The Immunologic Monitoring (IM) Core will serve as a shared resource to assist the target faculty of the COBRE to pursue high quality research by monitoring immune cell functions following treatment with the dietary supplements in naive and experimental models of inflammatory disease. The Core will be useful to characterize the immune status before, during and after treatment of diseased animals with the plant products so as to provide insights into their prognostic and therapeutic effects. In addition, while the individual projects deal with specialized studies related to the effects of plant products on macrophages that play a pivotal role in inflammation, it is critical to know how these would affect the other immune cells and the overall immunity. This is especially important because inflammatory diseases are systemic and involve multiple types of immune cells. Furthermore, such information on the immunologic effects of the plant derivates is critical in the development of bench-to-bedside research. Specifically, the IM Core will 1) offer a wide range of state-of-the-art resources to pursue cellular and molecular immunological assays so as to enable the investigators to pursue cutting-edge research on the projects. 2) provide technological assistance and training in the use of major equipment by the users 3) participate in the design of the experiments, selection of the appropriate assays, trouble-shoot and interpretation of results. 4) develop and standardize new technologies based on the changing needs of the users by optimization and evaluation of sensitivity, specificity and reproducibility. 5) aid in data collection, evaluation and analysis as well as sharing of the data to enhance collaborations. There are two major components of this core. The core will 1) Serve as a resource of multi-user equipment 2) Perform Immune Function Assessment by 1) Evaluation of the general health status 2) Level I immunological testing which includes a variety of assays that examine the functions of T cells, B cells, NK cells, dendritic cells and macrophages. 3) Level II immunological testing of the genetic, transcriptional and epigenetic mechanisms underlying immune cell dysregulation. This functional assessment performed by the IM Core will complement the cell phenotyping and animal imaging studies performed by other cores and thereby lead to comprehensive integration between projects and cores. These shared resources could be used for translational studies in the future. In summary, the IM Core will provide effective and economical shared resources and service to conduct high-quality research that will lead to increased productivity and enhanced interactions between investigators of all the projects resulting in their ability to attract independent, extramural funding, and advancement of scientific careers.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Exploratory Grants (P20)
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University of South Carolina at Columbia
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