One goal of the UC Davis MIND Institute IDDRC is to more thoroughly address the biological complexity of intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), such as fragile X syndrome (FXS) and autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The overall objective of the Biological Analysis Core (BAC) is to facilitate an integrated experimental approach to the study of the molecular and cellular mechanisms of neuronal and immune function, including interactions between the two systems, in the context of IDD. This type of comprehensive core does not currently exist at the MIND Institute or on the UC Davis campus. The BAC is designed to advance and support research on emerging concepts regarding cellular and molecular mechanisms contributing to the risk and clinical heterogeneity of conditions associated with IDD, including variable response to therapy. Services provided will facilitate analyses of neuronal development, direct and indirect interactions between the neuronal and immune systems, and cellular and molecular biology. The BAC will also serve as a liaison to the vast array of resources at UC Davis for studying environmental exposures and extend the core's assays and expertise to testing such exposure effects on immune and neuronal cells for IDDRC projects. Recent achievements in these key areas by investigators included in the proposed IDDRC can now provide the infrastructure needed to advance our understanding of the biologic underpinnings of FXS, ASD, and other IDD conditions. This new core will be a unique resource for the MIND Institute IDDRC and the entire IDDRC network. The BAC is charged with providing core services that address components from each of the MIND Institute IDDRC central themes: Integrated Biobehavioral Characterization of IDD, Environmental Contributions to IDD, and Targeted Treatments for IDD. The BAC is designed to: 1) support the scientific agenda of the IDDRC;2) provide services and training related to analysis in the areas of cellular and molecular neurobiology and Immunology;3) increase access to cutting-edge resources in cellular and molecular neurobiology and immunology that will enhance the research of IDDRC investigators;4) work with each of the IDDRC cores to support the integration and dissemination of services;and 5) work with the Administrative Core to integrate the BAC into the broader context of the UC Davis IDDRC and the national network of NlCHD-funded IDDRCs. The expertise of the BAC director, co-director, and core staff members includes extensive knowledge and experience in immunology, molecular and cellular neurobiology and environmental toxicology in the area of IDD. The key members of the BAC have previously worked together successfully to integrate seemingly disparate disciplines to better understand the neurobiology of ASD. We will develop these successful relationships into a state-of-the-art core to provide users with five tiers of service: 1) consultation in model selection and experimental design;2) training of users on available equipment;3) training and supervision in conducting assays of interest where applicable;4) provision of a battery of assays conducted by core staff;and 5) tailored sets of analyses conducted by core staff. Combinations of service can be designed to match user needs. Assistance with data interpretation will be provided as needed for each tier.
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