The facility, both the main location and the Bioengineering satellite, provides the infrastructure for UCSD scientists to launch and expand their research projects with human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs). The staff of the core facility has trained over 100 scientists in over 45 labs in the basic methods of hESC growth and differentiation. A wide range of projects on cardiovascular regeneration, cell microenvironments, childhood neurological disease, neurodegenerative disorders, and pancreas development have been initiated and in some instances have been completed in the shared research lab. The large number of scientists actively using the HESCCF has fostered multiple collaborations across campus. Existence of these well-designed and well-equipt facilities attract has attracted substantial federal funding.
The HESCCF has become a center for training, experimental design, and conduct of cell sorting and flow cytometry analysis. With the acquisition of a BD FACS Aria 2 and FACS Canto 2, the analysis and isolation of specific sub-populations of undifferentiated and differentiated hPSCs is conducted. This technology will soon be available to all resident scientists in the Sanford Consortium building.
Our goals are to continue the training and research function of the HESCCF, to support the development of the satellite CERC, and make tools and solutions readily available to the UCSD research community and our partner institutions.
The HESCCF provides these technologies:
• Characterization of hPSC lines. Basic protocols to ensure cell lines are pluripotent, karyotypically normal and free of bacterial contamination are available. Researchers and students have the option to be trained in these methods or have these characterizations performed by the HESCCF staff on a recharge basis.
• Lenti- and retro-virus technology: The core provides expertise and resources to generate non-replicating lenti viruses to introduce genetic elements into hPSC lines. This technology is also available for induced pluripotent cell lines.
• Cell imaging technologies. Confocal microscopy and live cell imaging capabilities are available at the Core. In addition, a High Content Analysis Microscope is available and managed by the UCSD Microscopy Core Facility (under direction of J. Meerloo).
During this period, the Cell Engineering Research Center (CERC) satellite became fully operational, offering core laboratory facilities and services to bioengineering researchers engaged with scientists and physicians to bring therapeutic advances to California. Located in the Jacobs School of Engineering, the CERC provides novel engineering expertise from the faculty of Bioengineering in important technological areas including nanotechnology, biomaterials, instrumentation, and tissue engineering for regeneration. http://www-bioeng.ucsd.edu/cerc/.
In January – March, 2011 a Student Tissue Engineering Laboratory was conducted in the CERC. The students gained hands on experience with experimental techniques, protocol design, data analysis, and journal-quality report writing. The students fabricated a collagen gel and synthetic polymers, cultured cells, performed differentiation assays and completed team projects.
Management and use of the laboratory
The HESCCF provides a stem cell culture laboratory available to all campus researchers. The HESCCF includes biosafety cabinets, quarantine and other control practices, -150 freezers, incubators, microscopes, mycoplasma testing, karyotyping, viable cell line services, MEFs, sharing of protocols & best practices. We also provide these services and technologies: Cell sorting BD FACS Aria2, Flow Cytometry BD FACS Canto 2, Olympus FV1000 Confocal Microscopy; Cellomics Automated Microscopy; Electrophysiological equipment; real time PCR; hESC cell-culture training in basic and advanced lab techniques; Reagents and special plastics; gene transduction using Amaxa Electroporator; Perkin Elmer Plate reader.
Activities of the Oversight Committee
The Shared Facilities Steering Committee meets at least annually to make decisions about future goals and needs. Their principal topic is equipment priorities, for example, new equipment to enhance the facility when the HESCCF moves to the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine, a possible role for the core in banking hESC, iPS, and other cells, how to offer advanced technologies like electrophysiology, and the management of the CERC satellite facility in Bioengineering.