Biomedical Research Core Facilities
Winter 2021 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
  • Merging of Penn & CHOP Proteomics Core Facilities
  • Cell Center Stockroom Now Offering Limited Delivery 
  • NIH S10 Funding Opportunities Announcement 
  • Invitation to Join PSOM ABRF Membership & Annual Meeting Registration
  • Core Facilities Spotlight
  • Human Immunology Core Facility
  • Metabolomics Core Facility
  • Neurobehavior Testing Core Facility
  • Next Generation Sequencing Core Facility
  • OCRC Tumor BioTrust
  • Radiology Research Core Facility
Announcements - Merging of Penn & CHOP Proteomics Core Facilities
We are pleased to announce that the Penn and CHOP proteomic core facilities will be merging this summer!

Please click here to see a memo from Drs. Lynch, Oliver, and Soslowsky, outlining the the coming change.
Announcements - Cell Center Stockroom Now Offering Limited Delivery 
The Cell Center Stockroom is pleased to announce they are now offering limited delivery!

Please click here for a note detailing delivery specifications from Operations Manager Barbara Nevin.
Announcements - NIH S10 Funding Opportunities Announcement 
The NIH has recently announced two S10 funding opportunities, the Shared Instrumentation grant ($50k-$600k), and the High End Instrumentation grant ($600k and up). Please note that the SIFAR program has not been announced for this year. We know cores often encounter difficulty in acquiring new equipment, and the NIH instrumentation grants are one way to cover partial or full costs of instrumentation. Links to the program announcements for each NIH call are provided here:

Please click here to view our S10 submission guide, which provides some tips and examples for putting together a proposal.

In order to coordinate duplicate requests at the school level, we are asking that all SIG/HEI applicants first submit a brief Letter of Intent (LOI) to Dr. Lou Soslowsky, via April Weakley at Please note that LOIs must be co-signed by your Department Chair.
We will coordinate the response with the Office of the Vice Provost for Research (OVPR) to determine if the duplication is justified and if so, we will provide a letter of support per the NIH guidelines.

Your letter of intent should be submitted by April 16, 2021 and include:  

  • Type of instrument
  • Name of vendor
  • Estimated instrument cost
  • A brief description of the instrument's programmatic use
  • Name of the Principal Investigator (PI) and at least three NIH funded PIs who will form a Major User Group.
  • Intended physical location of the requested equipment, including department, building and floor

If you have any questions regarding the application, please contact us via April Weakley at The NIH application due date is June 1, 2021.

Please let us know how we can support you through this application process!
Announcements - Invitation to Join PSOM ABRF Membership & Annual Meeting Registration
In these unprecedented times, the value of collaboration, shared experience, and community are extremely important. In this spirit, we are pleased to announce that PSOM is sponsoring an organizational membership to the Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities (ABRF).

Simply contact April Weakley ( to be included in the PSOM organizational membership at no cost to you.

As an added bonus, individuals covered under our membership will be charged a discounted rate of $99 when registering for the upcoming 2021 ABRF Virtual Meeting, to be held March 7th-11th. Please note registration ends on March 4th, at 12pm EST.

Please click here for details.
Core Facilities Spotlight: Human Immunology Core Facility
The (COVID) Beat Goes On in the HIC
The Human Immunology Core kicked off the new year with a seminar highlighting our new partnership with Adaptive Biotechnologies, giving HIC clients access to the immunoSEQ TCRB Kit and workflows for sample submission, sequencing, and data analysis for applications in COVID-19 research, immuno-oncology, and more. The seminar also highlighted Adaptive’s immunoSEQ T-MAP COVID service, a tool that provides a quantitative map of TCRs and the SARS-CoV-2 antigens that drive the immune response in infection or vaccination; as well as the open-access ImmuneCODE database, which pools virus-specific TCR sequences and the viral antigens they recognize from COVID-19 patients around the world.
The HIC is participating in several ongoing COVID-19 studies through:
  • Sequencing and somatic hypermutation analysis of memory B cell immunoglobulin gene rearrangements encoding strongly neutralizing antibodies to SARS-CoV-2
  • Performance of ELISAs, anti-nuclear antibody assays, sample processing and a collaboration with investigators at Penn, Stanford and Marburg University to quantify and characterize hallmark IgG autoantibodies, anti-cytokine and anti-viral antibodies in hospitalized COVID-19 patients
  • Processing samples and profiling immune receptors of sickle cell disease patients, including longitudinal studies of antibody responses in those exposed to SARS-CoV-2
  • Processing samples for COVID-19 vaccine studies
  • Immune receptor repertoire profiling (BCR and TCR sequencing) in longitudinally collected samples from hospitalized COVID-19 patients
  • Immune repertoire profiling in different tissues of COVID-19 autopsy cases 
In addition, in close partnership with the Clinical Immunology and Clinical Chemistry Core laboratories at HUP, the HIC has participated in testing or application of over a dozen commercial SARS-CoV-2 serology assays.
The HIC is actively involved in “keeping the beat” for many different COVID-19 research efforts on the Penn campus. We have access to and expertise in a wide range of cellular and molecular assays to characterize the adaptive immune response to SARS-CoV-2. 

Please contact Dr. Nina Luning Prak ( if you would like to incorporate any of our many platforms, technologies, or services for your COVID-19 research. 

Further information can also be found on our website:  
Core Facilities Spotlight: Metabolomics Core Facility
The Three C’s: Collegiality, Communication, Collaboration 
Chris Petucci Ph.D., Metabolomics Core Director
The Metabolomics Core was extremely busy serving the Penn research community this past Fall. Our major challenge during this time was completing our backlog of projects from the shutdown, while taking on important new projects throughout the Fall. Our ability to successfully complete several projects was enabled by the outstanding collegial, communicative, and collaborative spirit of the Penn research faculty during these challenging times. Highlights of projects that we completed include: 
  • Completion of 12 targeted and untargeted metabolomics projects
  • LC/MS quantitation of amino acids in COVID-19 positive patient serum for Professor Maayan Levy in the Department of Microbiology
  • LC/MS quantitation of sulfatides in mouse tissues for a metachromatic leukodystrophy drug discovery project in the Gene Therapy program
  • Completion of a 13C isotope tracer LC/MS study in a mouse colitis model and manuscript in progress with Peder Lund, post-doc in Professor Ben Garcia’s lab in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics
  • 8 letters of support provided to professors for R01 submissions
Core Facilities Spotlight: Neurobehavior Testing Core Facility
The Neurobehavior Testing Core (NTC) provides equipment and services to investigate behavior phenotypes of mice. The core is available for scientists in diverse disciplines that are interested in the behavioral consequences of unique physiological disruptions (e.g., metabolic, drugs etc.). In addition, mouse models of human disorders are used to explore therapeutic interventions or molecular mechanisms that underlie behavior output.

The NTC is a Biomedical Research Core Facility at the Perelman School of Medicine and is part of the family of cores within the Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics (ITMAT). We also serves as part of the Preclinical Models Core for the Intellectual and Developmental Disorder Center (IDDRC) at CHOP/UPenn.

Typically, mice are transferred to the core IACUC protocol and then relocated to our facilities by ULAR to ensure compliance with OAW regulations. We pay very close attention to environmental stimuli that may influence behavior and work very closely with ULAR to ensure a stable environment. Because of this, we are able to provide reliable reproducibility across cohorts of mice.

A major strength of our core is the ability to provide procedures for the investigation of diverse domains of behavior output. We offer many procedures to asses:
  • Sensory function
  • Affective disorder-related behavior
  • Social behaviors
  • Motor function
  • Learning and memory
  • Communication
We make every effort to expand our repertoire of procedures for continued, innovative application to mouse models studied at UPenn, CHOP and elsewhere. For example, we recently acquired a Catwalk Gait analysis system. The state of the art equipment allows for comprehensive characterization of gait and ambulation for investigators working with models of developmental, neurodegenerative and musculoskeletal disorders.

Ancillary services include consultation on experimental design, surgical procedures, and delivery of drugs, particles, gene and immunotherapies to assess behavior output. Each project is tailored to the specific aims of the individual PI so consultations occur throughout the projects. Procedures can be performed by our staff or we can train your lab to use core equipment.

More information is available at our website: and selected references acknowledging the Neurobehavior Testing core are available at

Please contact our Director, W. Timothy O’Brien ( or (215) 898-0476 to discuss how we can help with your project.
Core Facilities Spotlight: Next Generation Sequencing Core Facility
The Next-Generation Sequencing Core (NGSC offers a wide range of very high-throughput sequencing services. We highlight a few exciting new services and lower prices below.

In March 2020 the NGSC's Illumina NovaSeq 6000 became operational. The NovaSeq is an ultra-high capacity sequencer, yet also easy to operate. Thus, we are offering clients in the Penn community self-service access to the NovaSeq in addition to our standard full-service mode. Training is being offered by Illumina and consists of classroom and hands-on sessions. Training sessions are on-going. Please reach out to us to register for a class.

During the late Summer of 2020, Illumina announced dramatic price cuts for their new version 1.5 sequencing reagents for the NovaSeq. Starting in October 2020 we were able to pass along these saving to our clients, resulting in decreases of 10% to 30% in charges for sequencing. Illumina's pricing changes also removed the need for bulk purchases to get deep discounts so that individual labs can readily purchase just the reagents they need. Putting these prices drops together with self-service operation of the NovaSeq means even large experiments are much less expensive, e.g., sequencing a human or mouse genome for $600. Illumina is also offering special promotions for reagents if you use a core facility in Philadelphia for your experiment.

The NGSC has long offered 10X Genomics single-cell services, in either full- or self-service mode. We note that 10X Genomics released a 'multiome' kit a few months ago that provides for snRNA-Seq and snATAC-Seq data from the same cells giving unprecedented detail of the connection between chromatin and expression at the single-cell level. The Core is currently evaluating the reliability of the multiome procedure.

Additionally, 10X Genomics released their spatial genomics platform, Visium, a few months before the pandemic. Visium captures RNA-Seq expression with high spatial resolution of approxmately 100mm2. Tissue sections are first imaged with H&E or fluorescent staining to identify regions of interest, then mRNA expression is captured via sequencing. Subsequent data analysis pairs expression with visible structures. We are working with Penn’s Molecular Pathology and Imaging Core (MPIC) to begin to provide this service. Contact NGSC or MPIC to discuss options.

PSOM Cores


10X Genomics
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 all cases of gynecologic cancers. We handle collection, processing, storage, and distribution of primary and recurrent ovarian tumor samples as well as blood. We also house formalin fixed paraffin embedded (FFPE) samples. 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 institutions and bio-tech/bio-pharma companies.

In order to protect our users and staff, we have implemented ‘no contact’ sample pick-ups and drop-offs.
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:
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: Radiology Research Core Facility (RADCORE)
The Radiology Research Core (RADCORE) formally known as the Clinical Imaging Core (CIC) was initiated in the fall of 2009 as part of a new Abramson Cancer Center (ACC) shared resource with the primary focus being a tumor response assessment core (TRAC). Since then, our core has grown offering numerous other services such as imaging anonymization/upload, clinical research coordinator services, data management, regulatory services and most recently, the development of a research biopsy review service.
Over the past ten months, due to the COVID-10 pandemic, we have shifted our TRAC core to full remote operations all while continuing to provide the ACC with assistance anonymizing and uploading imaging scans to industry sponsors for clinical trials as well as continuing to offer efficient tumor response assessments.

In addition, our clinical research and regulatory staff have strived to provide the highest quality of work during this time. Our team meets weekly to discuss operations, identify challenges and develop solutions and have adapted to electronic formats. Our accrual rates have been increasing the past few months, we are activating new trials as well as providing regulatory support to our clinicians who have developed prospective data collection and registry protocols. Lastly, we have developed a clinical research training program which has been a fantastic addition to our department. While, this is bringing new skills to our teams, it is also allowing us to collaborate and continue to build relationships through a virtual environment.
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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