The Cell Biology Core (CBC) within the Center for Evolutionary and Theoretical Immunology (CETI) was established in Phase II with Dr. Charies Cunningham named as Director. The CBC was established in response to the needs of newly-hired principal investigators and was facilitated by the acquisition of new CETI building space acquired at that time. CBC equipment items purchased in Phase II with COBRE funds include an inverted Nikon Ti fluorescent microscope, a Microm HM550 cryostat, and an Attune acoustic focusing flow cytometer. The core has also acquired from non-COBRE sources a Zeiss confocal microscope. As part of the CBC's first aim in Phase III, to further expand the CBC's capabilities and improve the microscopy facilities of the core, a Nikon high-resolution color camera will be purchased for the Nikon fluorescent microscope. The CBC's second aim is to purchase a BD Biosciences FACSAria II Cell Sorter to complement the flow cytometry functions already in place. In addition, a full-time technician will be hired to assist the core director with providing both enhanced microscopy and cell-sorting functions, thereby helping to fulfill the aims of the CBC.
The third aim of the CBC is to develop and provide all the services needed for core users to maximize their likelihood of securing extramural funding and achieving long-term career success. This includes integrating the CBC into the Administrative Core's steering committee and CETI's Pilot Project and Waiver programs, including associated mentoring for users. The CBC's final aim is to develop and implement a business model that will transition the CBC to financial independence by the end of Phase III. After fully staffing and equipping the CBC in years one and two, accompanied by an outreach program to increase the CBC's user base, the CBC will begin to transition to cost neutrality in year three with the assistance of pilot project and waiver awards. Finally, thanks to the support received from the UNM administration, additional pilot project awards and equipment service contract funds will continue to be made to the CBC post-Phase III, in years sixteen through twenty of CETI's existence. An expanded and fully staffed CBC will provide essential new resources for our investigators, increase their likelihood of securing funding, and thus fulfill the goals ofthe IDeA program.
This core, by providing key scientific infrastructure, mentoring and financial support to investigators in New Mexico, will help them to be more competitive for securing extramural funding. Ultimately, this will help fulfill one of the major goals of the IDeA program, namely to help under-funded states like New Mexico be more competitive. The CBC will also favor scientific discoveries of both basic and applied nature in the field of immunology.