The MTCC Imaging &Histology Core offers a suite of modern digital imaging services to biomedical nvestigators at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill working to develop gene therapy delivery vectors and procedures. Briefly, the Core will support efforts of gene therapy investigators working to optimize the replication and targeting of adeno-associated viral vectors, and lentiviral and paramyxoviral vectors. Additionally, the Core will also support efforts to understand the functional barrier to viral infection offered by mucus and the luminal glycocalyx in the airways of the lung and in the gastrointestinal system, with the aim of improving delivery of viral vectors through the mucus/mucin barriers of these organs. The support offered by the Core falls into three categories. First, the Core offers small animal and macro imaging services to UNC gene therapy facilities, in the form of cryo-cooled CCD-luminometry and conventional CCD cameras for gene expression studies, gamma-camera scintigraphy for lung clearance studies, and CCD camera-equipped fluorescent stereo dissection microscopy for varied purposes. Second, the Core offers a full range of modern digital imaging microscopy services, with a suite of conventional wide field and laser scanning confocal microscopes to gene therapy investigators. Third, investigators also have available full service histology and electron microscopy facilities. With all these services, investigators also receive consultation with technical problems and assistance with problems in image quantitation and data extraction. The services offered are fully consistent with the importance of modern digital image technology to molecular medicine and the development of effective gene therapies.
Histology and digital imaging microscopy enable the gene therapy investigator to determine the targeting specificity and effectiveness of their experimental therapies. Hence, the Imaging &Histology Core of the MTCC is absolutely essential to the mission of providing critical services to this important area of biomedical research.
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