The Neuroendocrine Assay Core will provide the UCLA Center for Neurovisceral Sciences and Women's Health with state of the art resources and expertise related to the measurement of neuroendocrine mediators involved in central and peripheral stress signaling pathways. Additional services related to measurements of the HPA-axis activation in the blood and fat tissue have been added to accommodate changes in the needs of the projects in renewal application and personnel have been changed to reflect these requirements. The Neuroendocrine Assay Core will be directed by Dr. Iordanis Karagiannidis, PhD and co-directed by Dr. Charalabos Pothoulakis, MD and will be an independent Core lab within the next funding period. The Core is equipped with EchoMRI, plate readers. Real time PCR and the high-throughput Bio-Plex 3D Suspension array System. Dr. Karagiannidis has extensive training in molecular biology techniques as well as the use of these equipment. He also has considerable expertise on adipocyte biology throughout his career with emphasis on adipocyte differentiation and neuropeptide effects on adipocyte-associated inflammatory responses as they associate to IBD and in separate projects on the development of insulin resistance. Dr. Pothoulakis is a senior scientist in the field of intestinal inflammation and a leading expert in neuropeptide research. He will assist with counseling on the direction of the studies and the proposition of potential targets for analysis. Dimitris Stavrakis has been working as a student volunteer and as a technician for the last 2 years and is very capable with real time PCR, ELISA, western immunoblotting, adipocyte culture techniques and RNA, DNA and protein isolation. He will be assisting with the analysis of Core samples. In addition to the analysis of serum samples, cellular responses and RNA expression, the Core members will work closely with other members ofthe program to provide and receive consultation as well as advise on the performance of experiments. Drs. Pothoulakis and Karagiannidis have already had extensive collaborations with several other Program participants which produced a number of publications. The Core will also provide training as part of the Career Development Program, and participate at all levels in Center operations.
The Neuroendocrine Core will perform key measurements that will help identify biomarkers relevant to increased stress responsiveness seen in IBS and provide molecular explanations for excessive abdominal fat accumulation and brain changes observed in IBS and animal models of the disease. Information from measurements performed in this Core may identify novel targets for therapeutic interventions in IBS.
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