Animal Models and Tissue Engineering Core The skin is a complex organ that undergoes life-long renewal through spatially programmed growth and differentiation. It is composed of many distinct cell types (epithelial, fibroblast, endothelial, adipose, immune, neurons, etc.) that work in concert to allow normal physiology or that are disrupted to yield pathologies. Both normal and disease states of the skin are characterized by a specific three-dimensional architecture and interactions between these cell types which cultured cells in isolation cannot fully recapitulate. A critical aspect of basic and translational research involves the generation and application of skin tissue and animal models with an intact epidermal permeability barrier and physiologic connections to the systemic circulation. The goal of the Animal Models and Tissue Engineering Core is to provide consultation, generation and data analyses of a broad range of animal and skin tissue models. These include 1) 3-D organotypic skin culture, 2) de novo human skin regeneration on immunodeficient mice with genetically modified human epidermal and dermal cells, 3) lesional or normal human skin xenotransplantation onto immunodeficient mice, 4) various surgical and physiological wound healing models of mouse and swine, and 5) mouse models with skin cell targeted genetic engineering. These models will be tailored towards the specific needs of each investigator for functional, mechanistic and pharmacological studies. Our service will be provided through team efforts of basic science researchers, dermatologists and surgeons. These core resources will not only strengthen the investigations of current skin but also facilitate entry into skin research for other investigators who lack the technical basis to initiate such effort given a historical focus in other systems. We are confident that Duke research community has a strong desire and an enormous capacity to expand its skin disease-focused research.
Healthy and diseased skin involves a complex, three-dimensional structure composed of a wide variety of cell types. In order to increase the potential clinical relevance of basic and pre-clinical research in skin biology and disease, this Core will provide consultation, generation, and data analysis of animal and skin tissue models that demonstrate this three-dimensional structure.