Research Core Facilities

The Gene Therapy Center supports four research core facilities, the Vector Core, the Animal Models Core, the Cell Morphology and Pathology Core, and the Cells and Tissue Core. These research cores provide equipment, reagents and expertise at a substantial discount to facilitate the research efforts of Center Members. Please refer to the Research Core section of this web site for more information about core services and contacts.

Pilot and Feasibility Grants

The major goal of this Center is the development of effective gene therapies for the treatment of metabolic diseases, with a focus on CF. The Center has helped to facilitate this goal through several mechanisms, for which the centralized Core Facilities and the Pilot and Feasibility Program are among the most significant. The purpose of this Pilot Program is to provide seed money for research that has not yet reached the stage of maturity necessary for funding through traditional NIH mechanisms such as R01 and P01 grants, but is considered to be innovative and potentially high risk. The program is also committed to assisting junior investigators in the development of their careers, to the point at which they can establish independent laboratories with independently funded research programs in Molecular Medicine. Additionally, this program has served as a conduit to recruit new senior investigators into the field of gene therapy by promoting interdisciplinary interactions with the Center’s Cores and established Center Members. 

Seminars, Workshops and Annual Retreat

The Gene Therapy Center Administrative Core schedules a weekly gene therapy seminar, periodic guest seminars, and an annual retreat/symposium. The "work in progress" format of the weekly meetings and retreat provide excellent opportunities for the informal exchange of ideas through which innovative approaches for gene therapy can be developed. The yearly retreat consists of a full-day symposium during which Center Pilot and Feasibility Participants are required to present a short presentation on the progress of their work. This retreat also serves as part of the mechanism for review of Pilots and Center activities by the External Advisory Committee members. To stimulate collaborations between institutions involved in the Midwest Regional CF Tissue Consortium, these institutions are also be encouraged to participate by attending and or presenting their research.

Regional Midwest CF Lung Acquisition Program

Due to an increasing need for CF lung tissue in basic research on cystic fibrosis, we have formed a Midwest Regional CF Lung Tissue Acquisition Program as part of this Center for Gene Therapy of CF and Other Genetic Diseases at the University of Iowa. The goals of this consortium are to create a frozen repository of viable primary cells and lung tissue specimens for basic research. An increasingly important part of CF research on both basic pathophysiology and gene therapy involves the use of genetically defined, fully differentiated, human airway epithelial cell models. Such models, which closely resemble the biology of native airways, can only be generated from primary cultures of normal or CF airway cells. Our present objectives are to provide through the Cells and Tissue Core tissue specimens and primary airway cells obtained under this consortium to those institutions participating with the Center. Participating Consortium Institutions:

  • The University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
  • University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, Illinois
  • University of Toronto Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada
  • University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois