The function of Sanford Burnham Medicial Research Institute (SBMRI’s) Stem Cell Core (SCC) can be divided into 4 areas: (1) Human Stem Cell Generation, Culture, Manipulation, & Supply; (2) Human Stem Cell Characterization; (3) High-Throughput (HT) Technologies (including such advanced & automated image analysis as high-content screening); & (4) Human Stem Cell Data-Sharing, Training, & Education. The SCC has served about 30 labs in the SBMRI and more than 50 scientists inside SBMRI and outside research institutes and private companies.More than 400 iPSC lines has been generated for the research labs on various diseases. The SCRC’s successful service program has been facilitating the local stem cell related researches. Many of these projects produced high quality papers published in the first tier scientific journals, in the areas of degenerative disease, stem cells & regenerative biology and development & aging. The SCC has truly become an epicenter for education, data exchange, & collaborations on the Mesa.
As the goal for the SCRC SCC is to be the top stem cell facility in the nation, new technology development has been the major focus besides the service projects. Since generating induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) is the major service provided by the SCC, further improvement in the reprogramming technology was carried out, including identifying better reagents and optimal condition for each step, adjusting the protocol for different tissue samples, increasing the sample throughput to reduce the cost, etc. In collaboration with Intrexon, a high throughput reprogramming method was developed using a computer controlled laser system. The throughput was increased 10 folds and its cost is only 1/10 of the previous method. In addition to the successful reprogramming on the Epstein-Barr virus immortalized lymphoblastoids, the SCC successfully reprogrammed the umbilical cord blood cells as well as cord tissue cells. The core also recently successfully established the CRISPR gene editing technology for hESC/hiPSC and will add this powerful tool into the service program.
To further enhance the collaboration among the stem cell labs, A monthly stem cell User’s meeting and a monthly Journal Club organized by the SCC are all designed to engage researchers & trainees throughout the region. Being a training facility, SCRC also provides various hands-on ad hoc training for hESC/hiPSC maintenance, hiPSC generation, lineage-specific differentiation, etc. The core also conducts numerous tours to non-stem cell scientists, non-scientists, patient advocates, journalists, donors, high school students, & residents from the local communities who are interested in learning about stem cell biology throughout the year.