The Cell Isolation/Organ Function Core provides a unique skill set and expertise to Rhode Island vascular biologists by providing quality assurance in isolation, characterization, and propagation of vascular derived cells and fibroblasts and cardiopulmonary organ function analyses. The centralization of the cell isolation and organ function measurements will help investigators minimize the variability in sample preparation thus providing uniformity in data acquisition throughout all COBRE Projects and for other RI vascular biologists. Isolation, characterization, and propagation of the cells is time-consuming and costly; thus the services provided by this Core permit the Project and Pilot Investigators to focus their efforts on aspects of their research endeavors related to experimental design, execution and interpretation. Additionally, the Core provides the expertise and has already assembled, state of the art equipment for assessing cardiac function using a Visualsonics Vevo 2100 ultrasound imaging system for rodent echocardiograms, and a MPVS Ultra® pressure-volume system for simultaneous high-fidelity intracardiac pressure-volume analysis, as well as lung function using a flexiVent® system platform for measuring respiratory mechanics.

As our Project and Pilot Investigators and/or other RI vascular biologists experiments develop, so will their cell isolation needs; expanding to meet these needs by providing expertise in the isolation of primary cultures of cardiac or pulmonary endothelial cells, fibroblasts, as well as vascular smooth muscle cells.

Because all of the needed equipment, facilities, and personnel are already in place at the Vascular Research Laboratory at the Providence VAMC, the Cell Isolation/Organ Function Core will continue to serve as a resource for investigators in Rhode Island after the COBRE funding is complete.

Specific Aims:
The overall goal of the Cell Isolation/Organ Function Core is to facilitate the scientific objectives of the Project and Pilot Investigators by providing essential services in:

  1. Isolation of pulmonary and cardiac endothelial cell and ventricular fibroblast cells; characterization, propagation, and biochemical analysis.
  2. Endothelial progenitor cell and microparticle isolation from patient blood.
  3. Measurement of heart and lung function.
    1. Secondary goals are enhancing reproducibility of data and experimental endpoints, and increasing the efficiency and productivity of each project.

    The Cell Isolation/Organ Function Core will provide these services to vascular biologists in RI, such as those individuals located at the Providence VAMC, Rhode Island Hospital, Bryant University, Brown University, Rhode Island College, University of Rhode Island, and Brown- affiliated hospitals.