The Integrative Morphology Core, under the leadership of Dr. David Witte, has provided state-of-the-art morphology services and pathology consultation to meet the research needs of the Cincinnati NIDDK-Digestive Disease Research Core Center (DDRCC). The Core has supported digestive disease research in Cincinnati since it became a "mini-center" in 2003. In 2007, the Center evolved to a full DDRCC and took the name of Cincinnati Digestive Health Center (DHC), with a focus on translational research in pediatric digestive disease. The Core was established within the Division of Pathology, which has a longstanding history of more than 20 years of experience of providing morphologic, technical, and analytical support to a multidisciplinary group of investigators utilizing the infrastructure, expertise and resources within the Division. Maintaining full alignment with the Center focus, the Core makes use of a wide range of services including histology, immunohistochemistry, special staining techniques, in situ hybridization, electron microscopy, and professional expertise in the interpretation of morphological findings. High-end instruments provided investigators unique opportunities to tease out biological processes within a tissue by using laser-capture microdissection, or by analyzing the dynamic response of cells and cell-groups in confocal microscopy-based live imaging systems. During the current award tenure, the Core services were heavily subscribed and enabled investigators to generate novel data regarding physiology and pathobiology in the liver and along the anatomical continuum of the gastrointestinal tract, both in man and in animal models of diseases. In addition to the basic morphology services provided to DDRCC investigators, the core has expanded and continually evolved its technical resources to meet the basic needs of the growing program both in meeting the increasing volume of work and maintaining a commitment to provide state-of-the-art technical resources. To name a couple of advances, the Core now offers in situ localization for mature microRNAs and investigators can now digitalize entire tissue sections stained with standard and special stains and immunofluorescence using the Aperio scanning microscope. New and upgraded electron and confocal microscopes are in use. These enhancements represent the ongoing strong investment of resources from the institution and the Division of Pathology to support this program. The Core director remains scientifically productive, innovative, and highly committed to scientific goals presented herein. The Core leadership and key personnel are stable;they have worked with the DHC since 2003 to support digestive disease research. The Core laboratory capacity has grown to meet the increasing level of support for investigators at the Cincinnati Children's Research Foundation (CCRF), as demonstrated by accessioning of more than 1000 total projects per year. The partnering of the Core with the DHC has provided the opportunity to build on this infrastructure and experience to put into place additional resources and processes to enhance the efficiency, technical support, project management, data storage and transfer, and technological customization with a focus on the gastrointestinal system. Administratively, the Core staff has had formal interaction with the DHC leadership at monthly executive meetings, at the time of submission of usage reports on a quarterly basis, and at the times when the Core held technology transfer workshops organized by the DHC for its investigators. Thus, the Core has been dynamic, collaborative, and engaged in the delivery of services that facilitates digestive disease research.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Center Core Grants (P30)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZDK1)
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