Northwestern University Skin Biology and Diseases Resource-based Center

Project: Research project

Project Details


Northwestern University (NU) is recognized for its strong interdisciplinary cutaneous biology research program with particular strength in investigations related to epidermal structure and function. Leveraging this strength, the theme of the NU Skin Biology and Disease Resource Center (SBDRC) is the “Keratinocyte and its Microenviroment”, with its goal to promote outstanding translational research. The NU SBDRC, with its 40 Senior Bench members, 11 Junior Bench members and 12 Collaborating Clinical Associate members, encompasses 12 University departments and 5 divisions within the Department of Medicine. Information generated through the SBDRC will ultimately improve patient care. To accomplish this goal, the SBDRC has the following Cores: (i) Administrative (Admin); (ii) Skin Tissue Engineering and Morphology (STEM); (iii) Translational and Experimental Skin Testing and Immune Tracing (TEST IT); and (iv) Gene Editing, Transduction and Nanotechnology (GET iN). The Admin Core encourages collaboration among the SBDRC Senior and Junior Bench Research members, as well as with the Collaborating Clinical Associate members through its Enrichment Program. Within the Enrichment Program, the SBDRC will support its Pilot and Feasibility (P&F) Program, which will extend cutaneous research in new directions and be a source of new SBDRC members from the NU community. The Admin Core will feature its Minority and Sex Awareness (MSA) Program, which promotes research to elucidate the differences in skin based on sex and skin color. The STEM Core will provide: (i) normal keratinocytes, fibroblasts, and melanocytes, cells from patient lesional skin, and induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, including an extensive cell bank; (ii) 3D organotypic cultures of human and mouse epidermis; (iii) keratinocyte co-cultures, including with immune cells and nerves; and (iv) an extensive array of morphogenetic processing services. The TEST IT Core focuses on the important relationship between keratinocytes and the skin immune system, and provides instrumentation and immunological assay services, as well as the unique opportunity for human testing in a controlled environment. The GET iN Core will generate: (i) lentiviral and retroviral constructs to overexpress or silence genes and to express reporters in skin cells; (ii) viruses for generating and differentiating iPSCs; (iii) CRISPR/Cas constructs for introduction into keratinocytes; (iv) nonviral approaches for delivering CAS9 and guide RNAs; and (v) a variety of other nonviral delivery techniques using nanotechnology (spherical nucleic acids/SNAs, high density lipoprotein/HDL-like nanoparticles) and Nanofountain Probe-based Electroporation. STEM, TEST IT and GET iN cores interdigitate with each other and other university cores, provide education through training and interpretation of results, and have strong translational components. The NU SBDRC is ideally positioned to provide users with opportunities to take their basic findings into a clinical setting, which will enable NU skin biologists to make important strides in understanding and treating diseases of the skin.
Effective start/end date8/20/197/31/24


  • National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (5P30AR075049-05)


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