In recent years, a wealth of knowledge on the mechanisms of human biology has been derived from in vitro studies and mouse models. Despite this great progress, complex human diseases present extraordinary challenges. Nowhere is this truer than in the study of autoimmune rheumatic diseases, where the complex interplay of genetic variations and environmental triggers play prominent roles. Answering important questions about human disease mechanism, diagnosis and therapy requires that the tools of molecular biology and pathology be coupled effectively to detailed clinical phenotyping, particularly in patients followed prospectively over time. Such patients are available through the Clinical Centers of Excellence in the rheumatologic diseases established at Johns Hopkins. The coupling is enabled through Core resources like RDRCC, which provides a unique opportunity for both clinical and laboratory investigators to realize synergies that will lead to new opportunities to understand, monitor, prevent and treat autoimmune rheumatic disease.
The Sample Processing and Immunoassay REsearch (SPIRE) Core is placed directly at this interface, and enhances synergies by providing 3 major functions for investigators:
- Provides efficient processing, storage, transport, cataloging and retrieval of materials from patients with well-defined autoimmune rheumatic diseases. These biospecimens include serum, plasma, nucleic acids, cells and cell sub-populations. State-of-the-art methods are used for all services provided.
- Provides consultation and high-quality assay services that facilitate collaborative discovery and validation of discovery in the autoimmune rheumatic diseases. Assays offered include autoantibody detection using a wide range of formats, flow cytometry, various uniplex and multiplex immunoassays, immunohistochemistry.
- Provides rheumatic disease-specific consultation to direct investigators to other established Institutional Cores.
Through providing access to precisely phenotyped and quality-controlled patient samples and competitively priced, easily accessible, state-of-the art efficient assay services for validation, the SPIRE Core (i) maximizes the productivity of established investigators studying autoimmune rheumatic diseases, (ii) enables validation of molecular findings made in well-defined patient samples; (iii) facilitates collaboration amongst investigators at both local and distant sites; (iv) provides an outstanding framework for career development, and (v) plays a crucial role in recruiting additional investigators from outside rheumatology to work on these diseases. The SPIRE Core also provides training, management and quality control to other investigators as well as staff in the Clinical Centers to ensure that best practice standards for sample processing and recordkeeping are uniformly applied. This well-established Core has been used extensively by members of the research community, and its functions have proven to be essential for initiating and sustaining outstanding, innovative and synergistic research into the rheumatic diseases.
The SPIRE Core is led by Dr. Livia Casciola-Rosen, Professor of Medicine in the Division of Rheumatology. She brings an extraordinarily broad and deep experience in the basic biomedical sciences, with extensive background in biochemistry, cell and molecular biology, and autoimmunity. She is a recognized leader in the field of human autoantibodies, and is extremely knowledgeable in assays of autoantibody analysis and immunohistochemistry. She has an excellent rapport with the clinical members of the research base, cultivated over numerous years in the Division, and through multiple collaborations with members of the research base. Dr. Mark Soloski, Professor of Medicine and director of the Bayview Flow Cytometry Core, serves as co-Director for the SPIRE Core. Dr Soloski is an immunologist, whose research focuses on the role of infectious agents in driving inflammatory processes. His laboratory has several funded studies investigating human Lyme disease, and extensively employs flow cytometry based approaches. As director of the flow cytometry facility he collegially interacts with many basic and clinical investigators in the research base to help them implement flow cytometric approaches for the study of immune mediated disease processes
To ask about services and assays, please
contact the Bioassay Core Manager: Laura Gutierrez, MD at 410-550-1468
(tel) or firstname.lastname@example.org (e-mail)