The Islet Procurement and Analysis Core (IPA Core) was expanded and became a new core of the Vanderbilt DRTC in June 2007. Soon after that the IPA Core was integrated into the Vanderbilt Core Ordering &Reporting Enterprise System. Islet biology, development, and function are major research areas of the Vanderbilt DRTC with investigators studying a variety of islet-related processes ranging from intracellular signaling, the immunology of type 1 diabetes, islet-enriched transcription factors, to islet transplantation. Necessary components of many of their experimental paradigms are high quality, well-characterized pancreatic islets, and reliable assays of islet function and mass. The main objective of the IPA Core is to provide DRTC-affiliated investigators with high quality mouse pancreatic islets. In addition, the core assists investigators in studies of islet function that involve services such as islet culture, islet perifusion, static islet incubation and RNA isolation. An important component of the IPA Core services is training. The IPA Core staff will continue to provide training to graduate students and postdoctoral fellows thus allowing them to gain knowledge and understanding of procedures used in their research. Due to high demand among DRTC-affiliated investigators, the IPA Core added to its equipment Aperio whole slide scanning system and will expand its service portfolio for the assessment of islet mass/morphology in this competitive renewal cycle. This will not only broaden the current DRTC user base, but will also allow us to reach out to non-VUMC users and offer slide scanning and image analysis services. Utilizing Aperio whole slide scanning technology and image analysis tools, the IPA Core will develop standards for pancreatic islet morphometry and measurement of islet mass. By having a centralized facility, the IPA Core provides services to a larger base of investigators at a lower price than would otherwise be possible. Other advantages are quality control, the ability to develop new techniques and applications, the increased potential for collaborative interactions, and immediate access to individuals with a broad experience and knowledge in handling isolated islets.
The IPA Core expands the ability of DRTC-affiliated investigators to perform diabetes-related research and frequently interacts with other DRTC-supported cores. This core allows investigators have technology to assess the function of pancreatic islets which fail in individuals with diabetes.
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