The Stem Cell Isolation and Manipulation Core (SCIM) was established to facilitate skin-related research by providing a platform that allows access to state-of-the-art experimental human and rodent skin model systems at the tissue, cellular and molecular level. The SCIM was specifically designed as resource to support a translational-based pipeline to facilitate skin disease studies that is able to bridge basic science with translational models. As such, SCIM services will be tailored to the needs of each investigator in a manner that is highly responsive to the Precision Medicine directive and the NIAMS mission. For tissue analysis, the SCIM provides a wide array of histological; immunohistochemical; and molecular-based tools to characterize gross and microscopic morphology, functional features, and gene expression in skin of mutant and genetically engineered laboratory animals. The SCIM is also dedicated to assisting Center investigators in the isolation, propagation and manipulation of primary skin cells and in analysis of genes related to skin diseases by efficient and systematic generation of transgenic tissue models of skin that show either transgene overexpression or suppression. The SCIM is equipped with special technical expertise that includes extensive knowledge of skin and hair follicle morphology essential for understanding the genotype/phenotype correlations; state of the art methods for gene expression studies specifically designed for mouse and human skin and cells; and possession of a battery of original experimental approaches to the study of skin physiology in vivo. The SCIM will also provide Center investigators with proof reading and suggestions for Materials & Methods sections for publications and applications for extramural research funding utilizing skin and cellular analyses. Finally, the SCIM provides several new areas of innovation to Center investigators. In utero gene targeting using RNAi and CRISPR/Cas9-mediated skin cell knockouts will be offered to epiCURE investigators. Tissue specimens of human normal and diseased skin will be provided to epiCURE investigators upon request with the hopes of enriching the interactions between Dermatopathologists and epiCURE basic scientists. In an effort to broaden the appeal of the SCIM within the Columbia research community, we have enhanced our repertoire of skin stem cell services including: in vitro and in vivo functional stem cell assays and induced pluripotent stem cell production from human skin cells; and three-dimensional imaging platforms specialized for whole skin. Overall, we feel the SCIM provides a comprehensive catalog of experimental technical expertise and knowledge of skin biology that will fully support the skin-related research of Center investigators, increase clinician-researcher interactions and reduce research costs.
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