The Epithelial Biology Research Initiative (EBRI) at Northwestern University is a recognized jewel of research excellence that is both long-standing and continually expanding. This research represents the efforts of our nationally and internationally recognized epithelial biologists from 11 departments. Research excellence concentrates in the following areas:(i) cell-cell and cell matrix adhesive structures and their relation to bullous diseases, infectious diseases and disorders of cornification;(ii) cell motility, wound healing and remodeling of the extracellular matrix;(iii) cell signaling, proliferation, differentiation and carcinogenesis;(iv) mechanisms by which infectious or inflammatory disorders affect keratinocytes;and (v) stem cell biology. Research in these 5 areas has been evolving from basic discoveries. Furthermore, escalating communication among clinicians and bench scientists has led to several translational research collaborations. The Northwestern University SDRC will: a) foster even greater cooperative interactions among the scientists of the EBRI;b) provide support mechanisms for ongoing epithelial biology research projects and ensure that the design of these mechanisms optimally promotes collaboration and efficient cooperative efforts;c) facilitate the lines of communication between the basic and clinical scientists so that translational research collaborations can be brought to fruition;and d) both solidify and expand the research base in investigations related to epithelial biology. A Northwestern SDRC will provide scientific core facilities;resources for pilot and feasibility projects;a facilitated pathway for transitioning projects from the laboratory to the clinical arena;and an administrative facility that coordinates university-wide epithelial-related activities (e.g., seminars, journal clubs, funding information). Four new Cores will be established, including an Administrative Core, Keratinocyte Core, Pathology Core, and a DNA/RNA Delivery Core, all of which will interact with an existing Skin Translational Core. Four pilot and feasibility projects are diverse in nature and in all cases represent both new areas of study and engage investigators new to epithelial biology. The long term goals of the Northwestern University SDRC are to provide novel insights and approaches into normal and pathological epithelial processes, thus realizing our ultimate objective of the delivery of first-class translational research in epithelial biology. Through the SDRC apparatus, Northwestern's remarkable group of basic science and clinical investigators will be poised to advance epithelial biology and dermatology, ultimately expediting our understanding of disease and resulting in discoveries that improve patient care.
The establishment of an SDRC Center grant at Northwestern University will greatly enhance and strengthen the existing programs in epithelial biology. This grant will bring new investigators into epithelial biology research and facilitate current research endeavors through the administrative and scientific cores. Ultimately, this will translate into better health care for patients with diseases of the skin.
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