Biomedical Research Core Facilities
Summer 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
  • Introduction - Dr. Yale Cohen, Assistant Dean of Research Facilities & Resources
  • Core Facility Acknowledgements - Research Resource Identifier (RRID) Initiative
  • iLab Updates
  • User Survey Functionality
  • Refreshed iLab Landing Page & Expanded Support Documentation
  • Virtual Cores Day 2022 – Please RSVP by 8/3/22
  • Core Facilities Spotlight
  • Molecular Pathology & Imaging Core Facility
  • OCRC Tumor BioTrust
  • Penn Genomic Analysis Core Facility
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,
Announcements: Core Facility Acknowledgements - Research Resource Identifier (RRID) Initiative
We are pleased to announce that PSOM is participating in the Research Resource Identifier (RRID) initiative.

In partnership with the Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities (ABRF), the RRID initiative will assign a unique identifier to each core facility. Benefits of having an RRID include ease of citation and indexing through PubMed and Google Scholar. By tracking this information, we will be able to publicize our cores to the broader community and track their scientific impact more rigorously.

Please note this program is coordinated by PSOM administration – core leadership will not be asked to facilitate logistics. April Weakley ( will be reaching out to facilities included on the Core Facilities Finder once RRIDs have been assigned. If your core facility does not appear on the Core Facilities Finder and you would like to obtain an RRID, please contact April Weakley for assistance.
Further information on RRIDs can be found here.
iLab Updates: User Survey Functionality
We are pleased to announce that iLab now offers core facilities the ability to survey users, both on overall core experience, as well as specific services. Surveys can be sent to facility users or user financial contacts – you can even opt to capture users within a specific time frame! Cores may choose to have the survey sent by email, or to have it appear as a pop-up when users visit the core’s iLab homepage.

Surveys are managed by Penn’s iLab support team at the institutional level, freeing core staff to focus on their important work. Please contact the iLab support team at if you would like to learn more.
iLab Updates: Refreshed iLab Landing Page & Expanded Support Documentation
Following up on your excellent feedback, we have refreshed Penn’s iLab landing page to provide comprehensive help resources and support contact information.

Included documentation covers a wide range of topics, such as the relationship between CAMS and iLab, how to use purchase orders, and a guide for creating and editing your iLab services.

We encourage you to visit the site at, and to reach out with any comments or suggestions.
Virtual Cores Day 2022 – Please RSVP by 8/3/22
We are excited to welcome both new and returning core facilities to participate virtually in Cores Day 2022! If you have not already, please mark your calendars for Thursday, September 15, 2022, from 10am-2pm.  The annual Cores Day event is a joint venture with CHOP, PSOM and Wistar, in an effort to showcase the many outstanding biomedical research resources and services available throughout our campus.

The event will be held via the Pheedloop platform, which has been refreshed with a range of exciting new features to increase event attendee engagement and interactivity. These new features include a photobooth, where users can post and caption their Cores Day images, a gamification system, which allows attendees to earn points toward a variety of prizes by interacting with the event, and polls, that allow you to survey attendees with real-time results. Core facilities will provide pre-recorded presentations, freeing you to interact with attendees during your presentation via these enhanced features.

All core facilities are encouraged to participate. To RSVP, please email April Weakley ( by August 3, 2022. Please note to receive an event access code you must also register via the Pheedloop platform here.

As part of this year’s enhanced virtual experience, we kindly request that participating facilities provide us with the following items by August 3, 2022:

Required Items
  • Pre-recorded core facility presentation (MP4 format, 2 GB Max)
  • Minimum length: 8 min / maximum length: 10 min
  • Please provide the names of the individuals who will be staffing the live chat box during your presentation. Please note these individuals must register via the Pheedloop platform to receive an event access code.
  • Please note that to further streamline the event, timing between presentations has been tightened to 5 minutes and attendees will have the ability to pause and re-wind presentations as they see fit.
  • Brief paragraph describing core facility (for use in event schedule / brochure)
  • If your core facility appears Core Facilities Finder webpage, or you participated in last year’s event, you are welcome to use the same text and to notify us if you would like updates.
  • If your core facility does not appear on the Core Facilities Finder webpage and you have an existing Research Resource Identifier (RRID), please kindly provide us with this number.

Optional Items (not required)
  • Attendee Poll Questions
  • Please feel free to send us 1-5 brief questions for your session attendees to answer. These questions become available to attendees during your presentation and the results will be displayed in real-time. Please note these questions cannot be open-ended and you must pre-select answers for the attendees to choose from. 
  • Example questions
  • Would you be interested in X service/equipment?
  • How would you rate our service turnaround time?
  • Have you used our core facility before?
  • How did you find out about this core facility?
  • Image to use as core facility thumbnail on event website (JPEG, 500 x 500 pixels) If no thumbnail is provided, we will be happy to use the default Cores Day logo next to your facility name in event materials.
  • Core Facility Poster PDF

Please contact April Weakley ( with any questions or concerns.

We look forward to seeing you in September!
Core Facilities Spotlight: Molecular Pathology & Imaging Core Facility
The Molecular Pathology and Imaging Core is pleased to announce the addition of a Leica Slide Scanner to its collection of specialty equipment. The slide scanner has brightfield and IF imaging capabilities, with 1.25x, 5x, 10x, 20x, and 40x objectives. It will be available for use in MPIC by the end of the month.

The Leica Bond RXm Automatic Slide Stainer, currently housed in MPIC, is approved for RNAscope-ISH automated assays. Additionally, MPIC has workspace and the Hyb EZ Hybridization oven, which is customized for RNAscope, available for users to perform manual assays.

Please reach out to Kate Bennett ( with any questions!
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
Core Facilities Spotlight: Penn Genomic Analysis Core Facility
We recently received funding from the PSOM Research Core Facilities Committee to buy Qiagen’s digital PCR (dPCR) nanoplate-based QIAcuity One system. It’s a fully integrated one plate, 5-plex dPCR instrument. A nanoplate can have 24 wells x 26,000 or 24 wells x 8,500 partitions, i.e. 24 samples plus the assay mix, each distributed over 26K or 8.5K partitions. It can also have 96-wells x 8,500 partitions i.e. 96 samples plus the assay mix, each distributed over 8.5K partitions. Sealed nanoplates prevent well-to-well contamination. 5-plex refers to multiplexing 5 targets using 5 different fluorescent dyes. We will start with multiplexing 2 or 3 targets.

The dPCR instrument is going to meet our need for an orthogonal platform for NGS data validation. Investigators doing targeting sequencing of cancer and other disease related genes are increasingly focusing on very low frequency mutations, mosaic mutations and low-fold copy number changes. Unlike a standard qPCR system (e.g. our ThermoFisher ABI QS12 qPCR instrument,) that uses microliter volume assay, QIAcuity can detect very rare variants due to miniaturization of the assay volume to less than 1 nanoliter per partition as well as massive parallelization over 8.5K or 26K partitions. The system also detects very low-fold gene expression changes.

Some immediate applications include-

  1. Ongoing glioblastoma FFPE tumor sequencing project: EGFR amplification and EGFRvIII deletion detected by NGS sequence coverage analysis, is to be validated by dPCR on QIAcuity.
  2. To detect very low frequency somatic mutations in cell free DNA (cfDNA) from individuals with Congenital Hyperinsulinism (CHI) and no detectable germline mutations in CHI genes. Besides NGS, cfDNA needs to be analyzed by dPCR for rare variants when affected tissue, for example affected pancreas, is not available.
  3. To detect exonic repeats (exon 8 and 10) by dPCR in highly polymorphic Filaggrin (FLG) gene in African American patients with atopic dermatitis and validate NGS based approaches.

Last but not the least, there is a need for a dPCR instrument at the core. We get queries from different researchers time to time about the availability of a dPCR system in this core or any other core.

For further information please contact Tapan Ganguly,

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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