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Skin Biology and Diseases Resource-based Center

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Northwestern University's Skin Disease Research Center, established in 2009 through funding from the NIH National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases/NIAMS, is now the Skin Biology and Diseases Resource-based Center (SBDRC; based on a change in the funding name). The SBDRC supports the research, education, and communication among 74 members, of which 60 are Bench Researchers and 14 are Clinical Collaborative Associate Members from 16 university departments and 7 divisions within the Department of Medicine. The goal of the Northwestern University SBDRC is to promote outstanding bench and clinical research in cutaneous biology, with an emphasis on the keratinocyte and its microenvironment, ultimately to improve patient care.

The SBDRC is comprised of an Administrative Core and three distinct Research Cores which include the Skin Tissue Engineering and Morphology Core, the Translational and Experimental Skin Testing and Immune Tracing Core and the Gene Editing, Transduction and Nanotechnology Core. The Core facilities are designed to help SBDRC investigators accomplish their research goals related to cutaneous biology and to provide a level of support to newly recruited junior investigators who are interested in skin research. The Cores strive to provide all SBDRC users with access to specialized techniques, expertise, biological analysis and instrumentation that enhances research progress. The Cores promote optimizing the capabilities of manpower, sharing available resources and efforts while being cost effective. Each Core has a permanent, dedicated, well-trained staff member whose primary role is the education and assistance of SBDRC users in the special techniques available in that core. The Core facilities encourage collaborative opportunities between the Department of Dermatology and other departments within the Feinberg School of Medicine and Northwestern University. The Center provides education regarding new scientific investigation and technical advances to the university, and mentorship to junior scientists. In addition, funding of four SBDRC funded Pilot and Feasibility Studies annually encourages junior scientists and more senior scientists from other fields to perform research related to cutaneous biology.

Skin Tissue Engineering and Morphology Core Services

  • Human Epidermal Keratinocytes
  • Human Skin Cell Isolation and Immortalization from Neonatal Foreskins or Skin Biopsies
  • Short and Long Term Mouse Keratinocyte Cultures
  • Human Skin Equivalents
  • Human Dermal Fibroblasts
  • Human Melanocytes
  • Culture Medium Supplies
  • Training and Consultations
  • Routine Tissue Processing for H&E Evaluation (Paraffin)
  • Frozen Sections
  • Routine Histochemical Stains
  • Special Sectioning Needs

Translational and Experimental Skin Testing and Immune Tracing Core Services

  • Provide service, equipment, protocols, and training to help investigators differentiate healthy skin from skin with abnormal immune responses at the cellular and molecular level, to enable biomarker identification as well as to increasing our knowledge of skin immune responses.
  • Homogenization and cell derivation from fresh tissues while preserving markers on the cell surface
  • Characterization of cell isolates at the protein levels by cytokine arrays, ELIPOTS and multi-parameter cell scanning or sorting
  • DNA or RNA analysis of captured tissue or single cells, including paired TCR subunit sequences  
  • Purification of immune cell populations to be combined with extracellular matrix composites containing keratinocytes, melanocytes and fibroblasts (genetically modified or not) in a 3D setting
  • Support for state-of-the-art multispectral analysis and imaging of diseased skin and skin reconstructs

Gene Editing Transduction and Nanotechnology Core Services

The major objective of the GETiN core is to provide the innovative customized solutions for cell engineering and gene expression modifications for in vitro and in vivo applications, including:

  • Generation of retroviral and lentiviral suspensions for gene overexpression and silencing (including high titer stocks for specific applications).
  • Providing lentiviruses expressing transcription factor luciferase reporters; viruses for cell labeling/tracking and for live cell imaging in vivo and in vitro.
  • Engineering of primary and immortalized cells and cell lines stably expressing DNA/RNA using  human and mouse keratinocytes, fibroblasts, melanocytes, T- and B-  lymphocytes, neurons, cardiomyocytes, human IPSC and other cells provided by customers.
  • Engineering of custom cells with gene knock-down by CRISPR/Cas9 approach using RNP complex made of recombinant Cas9 and guide RNA oligonucleotides.
  • Engineering of custom cells with gene knock-down using shRNA lentiviral libraries (Dharmacon, Sigma, Origene, Genecopiaeia)
  • Consultations and assistance related to the cloning of cDNA/RNA into the lentiviral and retroviral expression vectors, usage of CRISPR/Cas9 approaches, and   generation of stably infected cell cultures in the experimental application of retro- and lentiviruses.

Contacts & Locations

Administrative Core

Tarry, 300 E. Superior, Office # 4-735

Amy S. Paller, MS, MD
Center Director

Rui Yi, PhD
Associate Center Director

Kurt Q. Lu, MD
Associate Center Director

Sonya L. Bowen
Associate Department Administrator

Melissa M. Vazquez 
Program Coordinator
(312) 503-4883

Skin Tissue Engineering & Morphology Core

Tarry, 303 E. Superior Street, Lab #: 4-750, 4-754, Office #: 4-753

Kathleen J. Green, PhD
Core Director

Bethany E. Perez White, PhD
Associate Core Director

Hallie Rebecca Goldstein
Research Technologist 2

Korvell Russell
Research Technologist 2

Translational & Experimental Skin Testing & Immune Tracking Core

Tarry, 303 E. Superior Street, Lab #: 4-750, 4-754

Caroline Le Poole PhD
Core Director

Kurt Lu, MD
Associate Director

Stephanie Rangel

Surya Pandey
Operations Manager

Gene Editing Transduction & Nanotechnology Core

Tarry, 303 E. Superior Street
Lab #: 4-750, 4-754
Office #: 4-753

Irina Budunova, MD, PhD
Core Director

Pankaj Bhalla, PhD
Managing Director


All manuscripts and grants presenting work supported by this core should include the following acknowledgement:

"This research was supported in part by resources provided by the Northwestern University Skin Biology and Diseases Resource-based Center (P30AR075049), Chicago, IL with support from the NIH/NIAMS. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Northwestern University Skin Biology and Diseases Resource-based Center or the NIH/NIAMS."