An increasing variety of technologies are now available to investigators to manipulate individual genes or to monitor biological processes with precision. These technologies are crucial to the study of the molecular bases of skin diseases because they allow us to establish a clear, causative relationship between a gene and an observed phenotype. However, such technologies are often complicated and not available to many investigators involved in cutaneous biology and skin diseases research. In the Cell and Gene Modification Core, we will provide the following services: 1) Generate keratinocytes, fibroblasts, or other skin cells with targeted reporter genes or gene knockdowns. 2) Generate genetically defined skin or induced pluripotent stem cells by use of state-of-the-art genome editing technologies. 3) Provide consultation and training to investigators interested in employing cell-based models for skin research. We envision that genetically modified cells are likely to be derived from tissues obtained in the Tissue Procurement and Analysis Core (Core D) and further incorporated into animal and tissue models generated in the Animal Models and Tissue Engineering Core (Core C) to create relevant skin disease models. As such, services to be provided by the Cell and Gene Modification Core will significantly enhance the ability of Duke research community to carry out mechanism-based skin research.
Skin diseases affect a large percentage of the population. The Cell and Gene Modification Core will facilitate mechanism-based skin disease research by allowing investigators to precisely examine the functions of genes and cells that play a role in skin biology and disease. This ability, in turn, will accelerate discovery and basic understanding that can lead to new therapies