Year 5

During 2013-14, the UCR Stem Cell Core revamped the organization of the Core to improve it operation, registered all Core users, provided space and cells for stem cell research, helped researchers develop their stem cell projects, upgraded and serviced equipment, hosted CIRM Bridges students, offered a hands-on human embryonic stem cell training class twice, trained new staff, evaluated cells lines derived in the Core, beta tested new culture medium, laid the ground work for isolating new lines of human embryonic stem cells, presented at scientific meetings, engaged in outreach activities, and took full advantage of the research facilities offered by the CIRM-funded Core. Our Academic Coordinator oversaw daily operation of the Core, created standard operating protocols for all major Core equipment, trained new users, offered monthly training on equipment, organized a vendor show, and oversaw the Core staff. She interfaced with the Office of Research to complete the paperwork necessary for deriving new human embryonic stem cell lines. A permanent staff technician helped with daily operation of the Core, provided cells to Core users, maintained inventories, handled operations and billing for Sales & Services, trained users on equipment in the Core, and placed orders for the Core. A part-time administrative assistant helped with reorganization of Core Sales and Services, upgrading the website, upgrading computers and troubleshooting computers problems, and helped with equipment maintenance and repair. The Core offers three cell culture suites, an equipment room, an analytical room, a microscopy room, and a cytogenetics workstation. The Core also offers state-of-the art equipment which has been extensively used by our stem cell labs at UCR. Some of our equipment (e.g., the Nikon BioStation CT) has also been used by stem cell labs at Loma Linda University, and our Core provides storage for cells generated by a local Biotech company. This year, the Stem Cell Core Annex, which is new space acquired several years ago, was upgraded with new flooring. Workstations in the Annex were also upgraded with new image processing software. The Core has organized a two-day hands-on training session for video analysis software that will take place this August. The Core also taught a hands-on stem cell culturing class in September to UCR students and again offered this class to both CIRM Bridges students and UCR in the spring quarter (2014). We accepted three new CIRM Bridges students from California State University at San Bernardino this spring, and they do part of their work in the Core. The Core continues to offer a Sales and Services operation to enable users to buy most items needed for their research from the Core at a reduced cost to the user. The inventory system for Sales and Services was upgraded, and the method for distribution and storage of our inventory was improved. This has greatly facilitated use of the Core. The Core facilities have received extensive use and have provided lab space for faculty who cannot culture cells in their home labs. Four labs from the College of Engineering work in the Core daily and have assigned spaces. Users can also request the Core grow cells for their research projects to help move projects along efficiently. Data collected in the Core were presented in platform and poster sessions at the numerous meetings this year, and a number of these presentations won awards. The laboratories using the Core published 22 papers in a broad spectrum of engineering and life science journals. Two of our stem cell graduate students who use the Core won pre-doctoral fellowships from the NSF and Tobacco-Related Disease Program of California. Our faculty have been using the Core to conduct research dealing with osteogenesis, wound healing, testing scaffolds for tissue repair, differentiation of endoderm, scaling up procedures for growth of pluripotent stem cells, modulating differentiation will tunable scaffolds, identifying stem cell factors that promote motility, and evaluation of environmental toxicants using stem cells. This year the Core evaluated the pluripotency and differentiation capability of the induced pluripotent stem cells that we derived previously. The Core website has been fully upgraded and contains complete information on the facility, as well as the resources and services offered by the Core ( The Core introduced karyotyping into its repertoire of services and now performs karyotyping and g-banding in house. To bring stem cell information to the local community, the Core has been engaged in outreach activities. We have hosted tours through the Core, given lectures at local universities, provided information and help to others in the Riverside/San Bernardino/Palm Springs area who are working with stem cells and participated in events sponsored by patient advocate groups.