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Brown University

Superfund Research Program

Molecular Pathology Core

Project Leader: Robbert Creton
Grant Number: P42ES013660
Funding Period: 2005-2021
View this project in the NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools (RePORT)

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Project Summary (2009-2014)

The Molecular Pathology Core provides both biomedical and engineering researchers within the SBRP at Brown University the technical expertise and scientific equipment necessary to evaluate and diagnose pathological alterations from the nano to the organismal level following exposure paradigms ranging from the simple chemical exposure to the more complex chemical mixture. This Core enables investigators to apply histopathological, immunohistochemical and immunocytological methods in order to visualize morphology through various microscopic techniques. The strengths of this Core include specialized techniques for whole embryo embedding including serial and/or step sectioning. The Core provides thin sectioning capability for electron and transmission microscopy for the visualization of interactions between nanomaterials (engineering) and cells/tissue (biomedical). Routine procedures include the processing and embedding of specimens for paraffin, plastic and frozen sectioning for light microscopy. Routine staining procedures are used, such as Periodic Schiff's Staining and Hematoxylin and Eosin stains. The methodology for specialty staining procedures such as immunostaining for apoptotic cells (TUNEL), damaged induced foci (yH2AX), unscheduled DNA synthesis (bromodeoxyuridine/Ki67), and staining for immune cells (lectin and GR1) following toxicant exposure are available. The Molecular Pathology Core also has a newly acquired vibratome for sectioning soft tissue as an alternative for freezing and/or paraffin embedding of tissue. Another unique aspect of the Core is that it provides educational and hands-on training for its instrumentation. The ScanScope CS system from Aperio Technologies is a virtual microscope which enables various SBRP laboratories to collect detailed scanning for image analysis of tissue specimens. The advanced algorithm software allows researchers to process images in order to identify and quantify morphological structures, thus reducing variability between individuals grading histopathology sections. In summary, this Core continues to provide these resources through the following aims:

  1. To provide expertise and consultation in the assessment of histological samples and assistance to Superfund project members and members of the Brown University community in the use of techniques in molecular pathology.
  2. To provide training for investigators, students and technical staff in various technologies and interpretation of tissue morphology.
  3. To anticipate the need for emerging pathology methodologies and establish expertise in their use.
  4. To facilitate collaboration between SBRP investigators and the research community at large.
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