The Stanford OHNS Core Center is organized into two Core facilities: Core I - Imaging Core and Core II - Inner Ear Physiology Core. Both cores serve to facilitate interdisciplinary collaborative research on the basic mechanisms of inner ear function, development, and therapeutic strategies. The Core Center user base comprises more than a dozen Principal Investigators working on a broad range of molecular, biophysical, developmental, whole animal, as well as engineering based projects all on topics that are of relevance to the mission of the NIDCD. Three goals are being pursued in both cores with an overarching strategy and philosophy where the Core Center serves as a hub for knowledge and technology (Aim 1) with the goal of generating an informed user base where students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty share successes but most importantly also problems and solutions. This, in turn, stimulates collaborative research (Aim 2) because it teaches critical thinking and solving problems as a team. Finally, the Core Center makes available access to state-of-the-art technology (Aim 3) uniquely applicable to solving inner ear-related questions and research. These resources would be out of reach for a single laboratory simply because the costs to maintain and appropriately utilize the equipment would be economically unbearable.
The Core Center facilitates collaborative research for 10 qualifying RO1 grants and serves as hub for sharing knowledge and technology among a group of researchers working on topics of relevance for the NIDCD. Focus lies on providing access to state-of-the-art technology to a vibrant collaborative group of users to foster collaborations and to increase the overall quality of research on topics of relevance for the NIDCD. Core I Imaging Core Co-Directors: Anthony J. Ricci, Ph.D. John S. Oghalai, M.D. DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The Imaging Core provides access to knowledge and training allowing the user to learn and understand imaging technologies and sample preparation techniques that are tailored toward inner ear-related research. Beside standard equipment for sample preparation and microscopy, it also offers advanced imaging systems that are integrated into a physiology-oriented concept allowing access to a broad base of users of technology that is not available as off the shelf solution. The Imaging Core is integrated into the overall philosophy of the Stanford OHNS Core Center providing access to knowledge and technology (Aim 1), and to stimulate and to inspire discussion among users to identify the best possible imaging solution for a specific question. Previous success supports the strategy that advanced scientific discussions foster and stimulate collaborative research (Aim 2). The Core provides access and training for state-of-the-art confocal systems (Aim 3), each configured for specific tasks, such as routine confocal scanning in upright or inverted configurations, fast high resolution scanning, ultrafast scanning for imaging physiological processes in subcellular structures or spinning disk confocal imaging for living cells. In addition, users have access to a highly flexible 2-photon imaging system that allows imaging of isolated tissues and structures in living animals. For histology, the Core offers access and training to use apparatus for cryosectioning as well as paraffin embedding and sectioning. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: Access to equipment that requires expert maintenance and advanced training for optimal use of the individual instruments'capabilities can most efficiently be capitalized through the implemented Core Center. For an individual laboratory, it would be economically unbearable to maintain such broad and up-to-date capabilities. Implementing a philosophy where the user base is being educated to utilize the Core-provided technology in the best possible way creates a stimulating and innovative environment for collaborative research.
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