When the UNC Center for Gastrointestinal Biology and Disease was initially established it emphasized analysis of epithelial transport, growth, development, and repair, including control of these functions by subepithelial immune and mesenchymal cells. From the outset, it was recognized that a Core Facility capable of measuring levels of soluble signaling molecules (such as peptide hormones, growth factors, eicosanoids, cytokines, and cyclic nucleotides) would be essential to investigators pursuing these goals. For this reason, an Immunoassay (IA) Core was established, and staffed with a Core Director (Dr. Don Powell) and a Core Technician. In 1991, Dr. Michael Goy replaced Dr. Powell as the IA Core Director. Due to steadily increasing demand for Core services, an additional half-time technician was hired in 2002. In January 2008, Scott Plevy replaced Michael Goy as IT Core Director. The strategic reason for this change was Dr. Plevy's expertise in cytokine biology and quantitative technologies, which historically has comprised the predominant usage of the core. In addition. Dr. Plevy brought new expertise in biomarker development and immune monitoring, which as described, will become new initiatives of the Core based on the prospective needs of CGIBD members. In April 2008, Carlton Anderson became the new IT Core Technician and Assistant Director. Mr. Anderson provides a wealth of laboratory experience and expertise. He has rapidly assimilated techniques for the most commonly requested ELISAs, has been trained on all existing equipment, and has developed, under the guidance of Dr. Plevy, new cost effective technologies for the Core. In parallel with these personnel changes, the objectives of the IT Core have also evolved and expanded. As the focus of the Center has shifted from diarrheal to inflammatory diseases and cancer, the needs of Center members have shifted and the IT Core has acquired new capabilities. From an initial repertoire of three immunoassays performed for a few investigators, the Core now serves a client base of over 50 laboratories, and offers a sophisticated array of services, including (a) over 50 different types of ELISA and RIA measurements, (b) custom immunoassay development, and (c) quantitative multiplex proteomic analysis that can be adapted to numerous applications. During the last funding cycle, as described elsewhere in this application, the proteomic component of the IT Core was eliminated. This decision reflects the existence of multiple cores on campus that provide cost-effective proteomic analysis, and followed polling and approval of CGIBD executive committee who concluded that such technology is no longer a high priority. To provide expanded and significantly more cost-effective services to the CGIBD community. Dr. Plevy initiated new cytokine ELISA development for the most requested cytokine assays based on established technology in CGIBD investigator's laboratories. Mr. Anderson has already negotiated better prices for standard ELISA kits;therefore, CGIBD investigators immediately benefitted by a 10-35% reduction in costs for services provided. With increased emphasis on translational research, the IT Core has embarked upon several new initiatives. An emphasis of the IT Core moving forward, facilitated by the acquisition of new technology platforms and thematically consistent with the NIH Roadmap, will be biomarker development with an emphasis on human studies. We are now performing multiplex protein analysis using xMAP technology. We have negotiated with Bio-Rad and R and D Systems to receive discounted prices on multiplex kits for the Core's Bio-Plex 200 system which will facilitate human and murine research, and contribute to biomarker development. Additionally, we are planning an on-site symposium to better acquaint investigators with the multiplex platform. We have also established collaboration with Glycominds, Inc. to develop ELISA-based serological markers directed against the enteric microbiota in human inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and inflammatory liver diseases. Finally, as a result of recent NIH funded and industry sponsored activities of several Center investigators, the Core has taken an interest in immune monitoring in IBD patients, including but not limited to, immunogenicity and vaccine monitoring, and immunocompetence and reconstitution during therapeutic interventions. Development of this technology will be applicable across many GI disorders where assessing subtle effects on the human immune system will be critical to understand safety and efficacy of clinical interventions, including trials of vaccinations, cellular therapy, drug therapy, cancer immunotherapy, transplantation, and autoimmune/inflammatory disorders.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Center Core Grants (P30)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZDK1-GRB-8)
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University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
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