Organizational hub for Center leadership, data management, pilot projects within UVA and across the Consortium, and the inclusion of diverse perspectives in cancer systems biology.
The High-Content Imaging & Analysis Core provides the three SASCO Center projects with experimental and computational resources to analyze different biological samples by multiplexed fluorescence microscopy and to extract quantitative data from microscopy-based images. The core will develop, validate, and apply highly multiplexed (iterative) imaging approaches, integrate subcellular imaging data collected across multiple rounds of iterative imaging, and build customized tools for image analysis, feature recognition, and extraction. The generated multi-parametric datasets will address specific needs of each project, enabling model-experiment iterations involving diverse cancer drivers, signaling pathways, and subcellular organelles in multiple biological contexts. Aim #1 supports the development, validation, and application of highly multiplexed immunofluorescence staining and imaging procedures to measure molecular features at cellular, subcellular, and organelle resolution. These procedures will enable the molecular analysis of mitotic signaling pathways and recruitment patterns in metaphase chromosomes derived from breast cancer organoids (Project 1), mitochondrial morphology, cell signaling and metabolic enzymes in colorectal cancer cells and tumors (Project 2), and post-translational modifications of key EGFR signaling molecules, protein-protein interactions, and their subcellular localization in glioblastoma cells (Project 3). Aim #2 customizes tools for quantitative image analysis, including image alignment and tracking, segmentation of cells and subcellular structures, as well as feature extraction and recognition. The High-Content Imaging & Analysis Core provides all three projects the necessary expertise and tools for quantifying information about cells, cultures, and tissues from image data to support hypothesis generation and model testing related to the overall hypotheses of the SASCO Center.
The SASCO Outreach Core serves to promote the broad use of systems biology in cancer research beyond the University of Virginia (UVA); disseminate and increase accessibility of computational and experimental approaches developed within the SASCO Center to the cancer research enterprise; and recruit the involvement of investigators, cancer biologists, and clinicians from diverse backgrounds to enrich the research and environment of the Center. The Outreach Core has three initiatives. First, undergraduates from around the country will participate in summer research experiences in SASCO laboratories through existing outstanding summer research internship programs at the Schools of Medicine and Engineering & Applied Science. Second, we will develop a series of three 25-minute videos designed to introduce clinicians to systems concepts and approaches toward enabling stronger collaborations between clinicians and systems biologists. The videos will be piloted for effectiveness within a Clinical and Translational Science Award program that includes UVA and other health centers in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Third, the SASCO Outreach Core will enable summer scholar-in-residence positions for faculty of historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to develop research projects in SASCO laboratories. The goal of this third aim is to both establish systems-based research projects at HBCUs and increase the visibility of systems approaches in their curricula. The Outreach Core synergizes with the Center’s Plan to Enhance Diverse Perspectives by engaging individuals from historically marginalized groups at the undergraduate to faculty levels in SASCO research themes.
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