Biomedical Research Core Facilities
Spring 2022 Newsletter
The Perelman School of Medicine is proud to support our integral research core facilities and research teams. Please stay safe and be well!
In this issue:

  • Announcements
  • Core Facility Leadership Update - Dr. Lou Soslowsky
  • Introduction - Dr. Yale Cohen, Assistant Dean of Research Facilities & Resources
  • Building Community - A Note From Your Core Director Meeting Chair
  • Extracellular Vesicle Core Facility Survey
  • Core Facilities Spotlight
  • Neurobehavior Testing Core Facility
  • OCRC Tumor BioTrust
  • Viral/Molecular High Density Sequencing Core Facility
Announcements: Core Facility Leadership Update - Dr. Lou Soslowsky
With gratitude and pride in this community, I write with the bittersweet message that my role will soon be transitioning from oversight of PSOM’s biomedical research core facilities, and that my work as Associate Dean will be shifting to focus primarily on PSOM’s Research Integration initiatives. This move was not an easy decision, but this time of reconnection and renewal is an opportune moment to further develop research networks and resources within and beyond our School.

For the past seven years, I have been honored to support the stellar scientific endeavors of the PSOM core facilities community. In partnership with core directors, staff, users, PMACS, and our dedicated committee, I am incredibly proud of the work we have achieved, and the progress we have made. Together, we have seen the development of new core facilities and the thoughtful reorganization of others. We spent the time and effort to build a robust iLab management system. We implemented quarterly core directors meetings, now led by your own meeting chair. We hosted fantastic Cores Day events each year – both in person and virtually – and created a suite of outreach and promotional materials highlighted on our recently revamped website. We facilitated the funding of equipment, symposia, and other resources, to allow your teams to achieve new levels of scientific excellence. Most recently, we supported each other through an extraordinarily challenging COVID period, and hopefully into brighter days ahead.

I thank you all for your unwavering partnership, and look forward to many years of scientific collaboration.

Thank you,
Announcements: Introduction - Dr. Yale Cohen, Assistant Dean of Research Facilities & Resources
I am excited to join the Cores community as the Assistant Dean of Research Facilities and Resources in PSOM. In this new role, I will work with you on supporting existing cores and help facilitate the development of timely state-of-the-art new facilities to the University community.

I will also serve as Chair of the PSOM Research Core Facilities Committee. I want to continue Lou’s vision of an open supportive dialogue and partnership between the Committee, Core Directors, and the research community to enhance core operations and provide quality research infrastructure to the biomedical community.

Biomedical research at Penn is exploding in new and innovative directions, and the cores community will be a critical component of these new research initiatives. I am always open to feedback and constructive criticism and look forward to your partnership and thoughts on how to improve our community. Please feel free to reach out to me to discuss any concerns and thoughts that you may have.

Thank you,
Building Community: A Note From Your Core Director Meeting Chair, Dr. Chris Petucci
Communication and developing relationships are important to strengthen and promote unity among PSOM Cores. To keep us connected, especially during the pandemic, we had our first “You Slide” presentations at the last Core Director’s Meeting in December 2021. Andrea Stout (Director of the CDB Microscopy Core Facility), Tapan Ganguly (Director of the Penn Genomic Analysis Core Facility, Cell Center Services), and Chris Petucci (Director of the Penn Metabolomics Core) presented single PowerPoint slides with pictures and text summarizing their education, career path, interests, and hobbies. These presentations enabled us to have a more personable meeting and get to know each other better.
Extracellular Vesicle Core Facility Survey
My name is Luca Musante and I took over the position of Director of the Extracellular Vesicle Core Facility in the School of Veterinary Medicine on the 1st of February.

Dean Hoffman and I would like to take the pulse of the current state of EV research in Penn and affiliated institutions. For this reason, we kindly ask you to complete the survey at the link below.

The survey is made of 13 questions and will not take too much of your time. Moreover, it is completely anonymous to give you the confidence to voice your opinions without being identified. Your input will greatly help us to have a clearer picture of what are the needs of our EV community, allowing us to provide you with the best possible support for your research.

If you are new to the field and you are interested in the topic, please visit our website and feel free to contact me to discuss your project, ideas and/or any questions you have in mind.

Thank you very much for your time.

Best regards,
The EV Core Facility
Andrew Hoffman and Luca Musante
Core Facilities Spotlight: Neurobehavior Testing Core Facility
Dear Colleagues,

I would like to bring your attention to the Neurobehavior Testing Core (NBTC). The NBTC is a mouse behavior phenotyping service that joined ITMAT in 2017 and has contributed to numerous projects at UPenn and CHOP. Many procedures are available to assess diverse behavior domains.

The NBTC services include:

  • Consultation in experimental design to address behavior specific aims.
  • Assistance with IACUC and ULAR regulatory policies and help with relocating mice.
  • Many procedures available to assess a wide variety of behavior output.
  • The core can perform procedures or train your staff to develop expertise.
  • Stereotaxic and other surgical procedures and tissue harvest.
  • Automated analysis of behavior to enhance rigor, data compiling and assistance with interpretation of results.

For more information, please visit our page on the ITMAT website or contact the core director W. Timothy O’Brien PhD:

Please feel free to share widely with colleagues that may have interest.

Thank you,
W. Timothy O’Brien
Core Facilities Spotlight: OCRC Tumor BioTrust Collection
The Ovarian Cancer Research Center Tumor BioTrust Collection is open and continues to collect fresh cancer tissue specimens, as well as plasma, serum, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC), blood and other biological samples from various cancer cases with a focus on gynecologic cancers. We also house formalin fixed paraffin embedded (FFPE) samples including tissue microarray (TMA) construction and immunohistochemistry. Samples collected through the Penn Legacy Tissue Program (PLTP) (e.g., rapid autopsy) are also available and a quote can be provided upon request.

We will also work with investigators to prospectively collect specific samples to support their research within Penn research community as well as in outside academic institutions. We will be working with biotech/bio-pharma companies if it is within the confines of a collaboration.
We are offering the following sample types:

  • Fresh Tumor Tissue
  • Frozen Tumor Tissue
  • Enzyme Digested Tumor Cells
  • Serum
  • Plasma
  • Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells (PBMC)
  • OCT
  • Formalin Fixed Paraffin Embedded (FFPE)
  • Tissue Microarray (TMA)
  • Samples from rapid autopsies

More info about the core and pricing can be found at:
Representative Publications:
Intra-Tumoral Nerve-Tracing in a Novel Syngeneic Model of High-Grade Serous Ovarian Carcinoma.
Barr JL, Kruse A, Restaino AC, Tulina N, Stuckelberger S, Vermeer SJ, Williamson CS, Vermeer DW, Madeo M, Stamp J, Bell M, Morgan M, Yoon J-Y, Mitchell MA, Budina A, Omran DK, Schwartz LE, Drapkin R, Vermeer PD. Cells. 2021; 10(12):3491.

Systematic analysis of CD39, CD103, CD137, and PD-1 as biomarkers for naturally occurring tumor antigen-specific TILs.
Eiva MA, Omran DK, Chacon JA, Powell DJ Jr.
Eur J Immunol. 2021 Sep 10. doi: 10.1002/eji.202149329. Epub ahead of print.

CAR-T cell-mediated depletion of immunosuppressive tumor-associated macrophages promotes endogenous antitumor immunity and augments adoptive immunotherapy.
Rodriguez-Garcia A, Lynn RC, Poussin M, Eiva MA, Shaw LC, O'Connor RS, Minutolo NG, Casado-Medrano V, Lopez G, Matsuyama T, Powell DJ Jr.
Nat Commun. 2021 Feb 9;12(1):877. doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-20893-2.
Inhibition of relaxin autocrine signaling confers therapeutic vulnerability in ovarian cancer.
Burston HE, Kent OA, Communal L, Udaskin ML, Sun RX, Brown KR, Jung E, Francis KE, La Rose J, Lowitz JK, Drapkin R, Mes-Masson AM, Rottapel R.
J Clin Invest. 2021 Feb 9:142677. doi: 10.1172/JCI142677.
Combining PARP with ATR inhibition overcomes PARP inhibitor and platinum resistance in ovarian cancer models.
Kim H, Xu H, George E, Hallberg D, Kumar S, Jagannathan V, Medvedev S, Kinose Y, Devins K, Verma P, Ly K, Wang Y, Greenberg RA, Schwartz L, Johnson N, Scharpf RB, Mills GB, Zhang R, Velculescu VE, Brown EJ, Simpkins F.
Nat Commun. 2020 Jul 24;11(1):3726. doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-17127-2.
PARP Theranostic Auger Emitters Are Cytotoxic in BRCA Mutant Ovarian Cancer and Viable Tumors from Ovarian Cancer Patients Enable Ex-Vivo Screening of Tumor Response. Molecules.
Riad A, Gitto SB, Lee H, Winters HD, Martorano PM, Hsieh CJ, Xu K, Omran DK, Powell DJ Jr, Mach RH, Makvandi M.
2020 Dec 19;25(24):6029. doi: 10.3390/molecules25246029.
An autologous humanized patient-derived-xenograft platform to evaluate immunotherapy in ovarian cancer
Sarah B. Gitto, Hyoung Kim, Stavros Rafail, Dalia K. Omran, Sergey Medvedev, Yasuto Kinose, Alba Rodriguez-Garcia, Ahron J. Flowers, Haineng Xu, Lauren E. Schwartz, Daniel J. Powell Jr., Fiona Simpkins
Gynecologic Oncology 156 (2020) 222e232.
CAR T Cells Targeting MISIIR for the Treatment of Ovarian Cancer and Other Gynecologic Malignancies
Alba Rodriguez-Garcia, Prannda Sharma, Mathilde Poussin, Alina C. Boesteanu, Nicholas G. Minutolo, Sarah B. Gitto, Dalia K. Omran, Matthew K. Robinson, Gregory P. Adams, Fiona Simpkins, and Daniel J. Powell, Jr.
Molecular Therapy (2019),
Imaging Collagen Alterations in STICs and High Grade Ovarian Cancers in the Fallopian Tubes by Second Harmonic Generation Microscopy
Eric C. Rentchler, Kristal L. Gant, Ronny Drapkin, Manish Patankar and Paul J. Campagnola,*
Cancers 2019, 11, 1805; doi:10.3390/cancers11111805.
CD105 Is Expressed in Ovarian Cancer Precursor Lesions and Is Required for Metastasis to the Ovary
Shoumei Bai, Wanhong Zhu, Lan Coffman, Anda Vlad, Lauren E. Schwartz, Esther Elishaev, Ronny Drapkin and Ronald J Buckanovich
Cancers 2019, 11, 1710; doi:10.3390/cancers11111710.
Innervation of cervical carcinoma is mediated by cancer-derived exosomes
Christopher T. Lucido, Emily Wynja, Marianna Madeoa, Caitlin S.Williamson, Lauren E. Schwartz, Brittney A. Imblumc, Ronny Drapkin, Paola D. Vermeer
Gynecol Oncol. 2019 Jul;154(1):228-235.
Contact Us
Ovarian Cancer Research Center Tumor BioTrust Collection
Ehay Jung, Technical Director
Smilow CTR 08-191A
3400 Civic Center Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Phone: 215-746-5137
The Viral/Molecular High Density Sequencing (VMHDS) Core is a PSOM registered core facility that offers several sophisticated assays on a fee-for-service basis.

We have collaborated with numerous research institutions and corporations globally to study patterns of viral vector integration in gene therapy patient specimens to assess longitudinal performance of gene therapy products. Technologies studied include lentiviral, gammaretroviral and adeno-associated viral vectors. Our service includes a wet side workup of patient DNA samples, high throughput sequencing and generation of a patient analysis report. We create custom analysis and reports based on the specific needs of each collaborator. We are also working with several research groups to study HIV integration site distributions in patient specimens and helping to assess the relationship of integration target site selection and latency.

To help researchers who are developing therapies based on targeted nuclease cleavage, we offer the iGuide assay which quantifies off-target cleavage.

Our core also supports whole genome sequencing of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. We are sequencing patient specimens in and around the Greater Philadelphia area to study the evolution of strains over time and to document the variants driving the waves in this region. Our dashboard site can be found here:

Some recent publications highlighting our research assays:

SARS-CoV-2 Variants Associated with Vaccine Breakthrough in the Delaware Valley through Summer 2021.
Marques, AD et al.
mBio. 2022 Feb 8;e0378821.

Long-term safety and efficacy of lentiviral hematopoietic stem/progenitor cell gene therapy for Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome.
Magnani, A et al.
Nat Med. 2022 Jan;28(1):71-80.

Antigen-driven clonal selection shapes the persistence of HIV-1-infected CD4+ T cells in vivo.
Simonetti, FR et al.
J Clin Invest. 2021 Feb 1;131(3):e145254.

A long-term study of AAV gene therapy in dogs with hemophilia A identifies clonal expansions of transduced liver cells.
Nguyen, GN et al.
Nat Biotechnol. 2021 Jan;39(1):47-55.

iGUIDE: an improved pipeline for analyzing CRISPR cleavage specificity.
Nobles, CL et al.
Genome Biol. 2019 Jan 17;20(1):14.
Have you used any core products, services or facilities?
We encourage you to complete a survey to provide us feedback on your experience.

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