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Vector Core

Director: Patrick Sinn (patrick-sinn@uiowa.edu; 6318 PBDB, 319-335-8190)

The Vector Core is integrated into many diverse projects for the study of diseases of the lung, eye, brain, liver, pancreas, kidney, heart, muscle, cardiovascular, and neuromuscular systems. Gene delivery and editing applications are wide-ranging and include in vitro gain or loss of function studies and in vivo gene replacement or repair experiments. In many cases, viral vectors are key tools in hypothesis driven research and these services dovetail with the use of unique cell culture and animal models at the University of Iowa. The Vector Core staff are active participants in the development of gene transfer technologies for the Center for Gene Therapy of Cystic Fibrosis, as well as the Neurobiology, Cardiovascular, Cancer, and Macular Degeneration Centers. These interactions with investigators from various disciplines allows for cross-fertilization of ideas, technical advancements, and innovations in vector design. The overall objective of the Viral Vector Core is to support investigators in gene transfer technologies. This includes consultation, development of novel vectors, collaborative testing of vectors for function and purity, and routine vector preparations. Core staff and investigators are in close contact through all phases of design and generation. The Core will provide purified and concentrated preparations of recombinant adenovirus, adeno-associated virus (AAV), lentivirus, vaccinia, baculovirus, and hybrid non-viral/viral vectors. The Vector Core will also provide access to standard cell lines, expression plasmids, and stocks of reporter viruses. Thus, the Core serves as a research and development facility for gene transfer studies, and a service facility for routine vector preparations. The Vector Core also has an exceptionally strong national and international presence by distributing viral vectors to many institutions and companies outside of Iowa.

The Vector Core is committed to producing state of the art reagents. This is accomplished in several ways. First, Core staff keeps abreast of many different gene transfer technologies from the current literature and scientific meetings. Second, the Core provides service to a broad scope of users across institutions and countries, fostering inter-collegiate communication with focused efforts at developing improved vectors, payloads and delivery methods. Finally, a continuum of new ideas from our close collaborators Drs. John Engelhardt, Paul McCray, Patrick Sinn, Michael Welsh, Joseph Zabner, and Ziying Yan assure that the Iowa Gene Transfer community has access to cutting edge approaches.

The main responsibilities of the Vector Core are:

1.  Production

a.  Assemble custom plasmids for generation of vectors that deliver transgenes, guide RNAs, siRNAs, gene editing machinery, or base editing machinery.

b.  Prepare recombinant viral vectors from an extensive and growing catalog.

c.  Purify, titer, and perform quality control assays prior to vector dissemination.

   2.  Research and Development

a.  Develop new expression vectors as needed.

b.  Develop improved methods for delivery and vector production.

c.  Compare and contrast new technologies to innovate delivery and production.

  3.  Education

a.  Present technology advances in joint lab meetings, journal clubs, seminars, and webinars.

b.  Provide advice concerning the implementation of delivery vectors in study design.

c.  Provide protocols and hands-on training for quantifying delivery and editing efficacy.

  4.  Materials archive

a.  Maintain an itemized catalog of vector stocks available for use.

b.  Maintain a plasmid database of viral and nonviral expression vectors.