The primary goal of the UNC Alcohol Research Center is to increase understanding of the molecular and cellular pathogenesis in alcoholism. To facilitate this integrated research effort, the Scientific Core will provide centralized facilities and technical assistance for the application of microscopy, molecular biology techniques, and methods for evaluation of neural circuit function. The Core fosters interaction among Center Investigators with the explicit purpose of increasing coordination and cohesiveness among individual research components. To accomplish this goal, the Core provides immunohistochemical and microscopy resources to facilitate evaluation of ethanol-induced changes in protein levels in specific loci from brain as proposed by the Research Components. Core faculty and staff provide training in histology and immunohlstochemistry, access and training for modern light, wide-field, and laser scanning confocal microscopes the conduct of immunohlstochemistry and use of light and/or confocal microscopes, and equipment maintenance. The Core also provides full access to state-of-the-art image analysis software and equipment for quantitative analysis and presentation of digital images. The Scientific Core will provide resources for quantification of protein and mRNA. Core staff will provide technical assistance, training, and/or collaborate with investigators on all aspects of the methods ranging from tissue extraction and preparation to data collection, analysis, and interpretation. In addition, the Core now provides facilities, resources, training, and services in the conduct of optogenetics and electrophysiological techniques for evaluation of neural circuits by Research Components. A final goal of the Core is to facilitate collaborative and Integrative research efforts of the Center. To accomplish this goal, the Core Director holds a monthly scientific meeting where Center investigators present research findings, review Core functions and progress, and keep Core staff up-to-date regarding needs. The Scientific Core is an evolving resource that serves an integrative role by providing a formal venue in which investigators can present and discuss findings of the research components, methodologies and training of new laboratory investigators as well as planning new directions. Overall, the centralized services and equipment provided by the Core play a critical role in the successful completion of the research projects in an efficient and effective manner.
The Scientific Core is a shared resource that facilitates completion of the goals of the UNC ARC by the Research Components. The Core reduces redundancy in equipment and costs, and represents significant added value to the overall project.
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