The SRC-associated faculty are a dynamic group of junior and senior investigators who have interacted for a number of years, and have published together. We have common interests, but also diverse expertise in biology, engineering and clinical medicine.
In order to best utilize our research expertise and facilities, we have clustered our technical capacities into a number of Core Facilities. These Core Facilities are dedicated to moving these technologies forward, while, at the same time, providing invaluable services to ongoing research projects.
The members of the Center Staff represent a resource for the faculty and other researchers associated with the Center providing not only expert advice but also purified reagents and information on current technologies of interest to the Center Faculty.
Proteoglycans are macromolecules consisting of covalently attached protein and polysaccharides. The polysaccharide components of proteoglycans are glycosaminoglycans, which are highly anionic moieties and which confer much of the physicochemical and functional properties to proteoglycans, although the protein components also provide many functional aspects to proteoglycan molecules. Proteoglycans are responsible for the resiliency of cartilage, and affect the tensile strength of skin. These molecules also affect cell migration and proliferation and play roles in various molecular interactions, such as growth factor binding. The detailed analysis of proteoglycans allows an indication of tissue complexity and age. The analysis of this class of molecules provides one of the investigative backbones for the research of the center.
The Biomechanics Core focuses on evaluating the mechanical behavior of tissues used in cartilage repair and the material properties of cartilage.
Joseph M. Mansour, Ph.D. is in charge of the Biomechanics Core.
A bioreactor is an essential tissue engineering tool not only to provide optimal nutrient supply and waste removal, but also to control environmental conditions such as pH, temperature, or pressure. Bioreactors are ideal for tissue engineering of large three-dimensionally complex tissues. The Bioreactor Core provides state-of-the-art bioreactor culture support for SRC investigators for routine tissue engineering as well as technical expertise for experimental design and development of project-specific bioreactor systems. Ongoing research and development focuses on developing a clinically useful toolset for osteochondral tissue engineering. The Bioreactor Core provides individual bioreactor modules for culturing MSCs or chondrocytes in scaffolds under optimal medium flow and growth and differentiation conditions.
Jean F. Welter, M.D., Ph.D. is in charge of the Bioreactor Core Facility, with the assistance of one full-time staff member.
The Cell Core serves as a centralized technical and dispensing facility, dedicated to producing MSCs using Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to insure that all of the Center research projects will be conducted with the same high quality MSC preparations. In addition, the Cell Core Facility conducts quality control assays including the screening, selection and procurement of specialized reagents needed for the isolation and expansion procedures. In particular, the fetal bovine serum used in the culture-expansion medium must be carefully screened and selected. Finally, the Cell Core Facility conducts experimentation to optimize the differentiation potential of the cell preparations to be supplied to the Center’s Investigators.
The standard operating protocols and procedures (SOPs) for isolation, expansion and characterization of MSC preparations are in hand as are the SOPs for isolation and expansion of other cell types from a variety of human and animal tissues.
Rodrigo Somoza, Ph.D. is the director of the Stem Cell Core Facility.
This facility generates and maintains a large repertoire of monoclonal antibodies which are used as research probes in a variety of current experiments related to muscle, cartilage, bone, and skin.
J. Michael Sorrell, Ph.D. is in charge of the Monoclonal Antibody Facility associated with the Center. In addition, he is collaborating with center faculty to design non-invasive diagnostics using this antibody technology. Dr. Sorrell supervises a full time senior staff member.
The Morphology Core is equipped and staffed to provide standard histology services, such as embedding, sectioning and staining, as well as more specialized techniques such as frozen sectioning and immunohistochemical staining. The Core is equipped with microtomes, automated embedding centers, upright and inverted microscopes for brightfield and fluorescence microscopy, and image analysis software. Expertise is available for scanning and transmission electron microscopy, and also for the morphometric analysis of bone sections using Osteomeasure software.
In many of the model systems used by the Center Faculty for their experimentation, cell cultures are indispensable. The Center has two suites of class 10,000 rooms equipped with modern transfer hoods, incubators, microscopes and all other cell culture devices.
Rodrigo Somoza, Ph.D. is in charge of the Tissue Culturing Facilities and is responsible for isolating and perpetuating cells in culture from various sources including those from cartilage and bone. Dr. Somoza maintains and operates this facility for center faculty and for members of collaborating laboratories. Dr. Somoza employs two full-time support staff to assist in these activities.