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IDDRC Core-B Recombinant Technologies
Co-Directors: Michael Brenner, Ph.D. and Anne Theibert, Ph.D.
Technical Director: Scott Phillips, Ph.D. Core is located is SHEL 960, 962, and 972. Phone 205-975-2333.

The objective of the Recombinant Technologies Core is to provide technical and material support for molecular and cellular research by IDDRC investigators at UAB. The Core combines support for cutting edge procedures with outreach to the molecularly naive to encourage and enable application of recombinant techniques to their research projects. It provides state-of-the-art equipment, dedicated technical expertise, comprehensive hands-on training, and reagents in such areas as PCR, neuronal culture, cell transfection, sequence database searching and analysis, and recombinant DNA techniques. Through these services, the Core facilitates studies at the molecular level of brain development and function and disease processes. It also promotes collaborative projects among IDDRC investigators, and enables investigators to combine newly acquired cellular and molecular tools with other approaches, such as electrophysiology and behavior. The success of the Core in meeting the needs of the IDDRC community is indicated by 2,476 logged uses in the past year.

In the past year the Core has logged 2,476 visits from 29 different laboratories. Many of these were for routine use of equipment such as the electroporator, gel documentation system, or tissue culture facilities for working with the neuronal cultures. However, a critical component of the Core has been the instruction and training of students, staff and faculty. Molecular biology techniques taught included DNA purification, PCR, gel imaging, subcloning, nucleic acid database analysis, electroporation, neuronal transfection, DNA and protein electrophoresis and western blotting, and cell culture methods. During the past year alone, 47 individuals from 16 different labs were trained, including 22 graduate students, 9 postdoctoral fellows, 13 research staff and 3 faculty.

Core services are available without charge to all IDDRC investigators and their staffs, except users are expected to provide supplies in certain instances (e.g., rats for neuronal cell preparations). Although IDDRC investigators have priority, other investigators at UAB are encouraged to take advantage of the core facilities as well. In most cases, these services will also be provided without charge, although in certain instances there may be a modest fee.

Core-B Staff
One of the important functions of the Recombinant Technologies Core is to provide a skilled molecular and cellular biology technical staff. The technical director is Dr. Scott Phillips. Scott has over 12 years of expertise in the area of molecular and cellular neurobiology. In 2005 Scott received his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Cell and Developmental Biology under the mentorship of Dr. Vytas Bankaitis. Scott then was a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Dr. Kendal Broadie at Vanderbilt University until 2010 where he received an NRSA postdoctoral fellowship for studying the neurodegenerative Niemann-Pick type C disease. Scott's responsibilities include day-to-day administration of the Core and supervision of the research technician, Huashi Li.

Huashi Li has been with the Core for 2 years. She has 4 years of expertise is in the area of cellular neurobiology. After receiving her master’s degree from the University of Beijing, she was a research assistant from 2000 to 2006. From 2006 to 2008 she was the laboratory manager for Dr. Gavin Rumbaugh in the Department of Neurobiology at UAB. Huashi started working in the Core in 2008 and performs many of the Core services, such as preparation of neuronal cell cultures and competent cells; testing and maintenance of equipment and maintains supplies, training people neuronal primary cell cultures, cell transfections, and competent cell transformations.

Policy and oversight for the Recombinant Technologies Core are provided by two faculty members, Drs. Michael Brenner (10% effort) and Anne Theibert (5% effort), both of whom are Associate Professors in Neurobiology. Each brings approximately 25 years of experience in molecular and cellular techniques. Drs. Brenner and Theibert have a regularly scheduled weekly one-hour meeting with Ms. FLi and Dr. Phillips to trouble-shoot problems, set priorities for use of the Core’s resources and consider new services. In addition, Dr. Brenner is responsible for implementation of decisions and for assisting Dr. Phillips and Ms. Li on a daily basis as needed for trouble-shooting problems and administrative matters.