Rheum News

Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to announce that the Washington University Rheumatic Diseases Research Resource-based Center (WU-RDRRC) is up and running. The mission of the WU-RDRRC is to advance research in rheumatic diseases by providing the infrastructure, education, and training to assist our members in the experimental and scientific design of their projects. We provide subsidized service for the use of Cores that offer state-of-the-art technologies with the goal of advancing the pace of discovery. We also promote and enable cutting-edge collaborative science. Toward these goals, we offer the following Cores.

  • The Translational Research Core (TRC Director: Dr. Wayne Yokoyama). The TRC comprises three separate but related services devoted to the support of translational research efforts.
    1. The Biobank (led by Dr. Mark Watson and Dr. Al Kim). Our main goal is to develop an integrated rheumatic diseases Registry and biospecimens Repository that can be searched and maintained through electronic biomedical data management systems, allowing for the annotation, tracking, and sharing of tissue and databases. More information related to the Registry/Biobank is forthcoming on the website we are building.
    2. The Genomics and Bioinformatics Facility (GBF, led by Dr. Eli Roberson) will provide expertise and guidance needed for human genetics and genomics work. Dr. Roberson will provide consultation regarding any genomic projects to assess the goals and most appropriate approach. We will leverage resources from GTAC to provide cutting-edge and cost-effective sequencing and analysis technologies for WU-RDRRC investigators. A comprehensive list of the services at GTAC is available at https://gtac.wustl.edu/. For all WU-RDRRC members doing work with the GTAC, there will be dedicated bioinformatics support to assist with custom (non-pipeline) analyses. Three bioinformatics specialists, Paul Cliften (DNA analysis), Eric Tycksen (RNA analysis), and Jinsheng Yu (Microarray) will have a component of their time available to aid WU-RDRRC investigators with their data.  Requests can be made to Paul Cliften, GTAC Director of Computational Biology.
    3. The ImmunoMonitoring Lab (IML, led by Dr. Stephen Oh and Dr. Kathleen Sheehan) will provide the structure, instrumentation, and expertise to interrogate human and mouse immunologic profiles, including the use of validated panels of CyTOF-ready antibodies that have been developed by CHiiPs. A list of service offered by the IML is available at http://chiips.wustl.edu/iml-core-lab.html. The IML will offer WU-RDRRC investigators, prioritizing those who do not have access to other subsidies, up to 50% discount on labor costs, up to $1,000 per user per service. These subsidies will be distributed through the IML iLab. Submissions are on a rolling basis, first-come first-served.
  • The Genome Engineering Core (GEC Directors: Dr. Farshid Guilak and Dr. Megan Cooper). The GEC has two units: a) the Genome Engineering and iPSC Center (GEiC directed by Dr. Xiaoxia Cui) and b) the Transgenic and Knockout Mouse Facility (TKMF headed by Mr. Mike White).
    1. The GEiC offers a wide range of services including CRISPR nuclease design, assembly and validation for generation of genetically modified mouse models. A comprehensive list of services at GEiC is available at http://geic.wustl.edu/. The GEC will facilitate use of GEiC by as many members as possible but will prioritize use by junior faculty (Instructors, Assistant Professors). The GEC will reimburse 50% costs for autoimmune- and rheumatic disease-related projects (up to $4,000 for junior faculty and $1,000 for other members). Submissions are on a rolling basis and can be directed to Dr. Megan Cooper.
    2. The TKMF works closely with the GEiC for the rapid generation of genetically-modified mice. Other services offered by the TKMF are available at https://pathology.wustl.edu/research/core-facilities/transgenic-knockout-micro-injection-core/. All WU-RDRRC members receive subsidized services when using the TKMF.
  • The Cellular Imaging Core (CIC Director: Dr. James Fitzpatrick) leverages the significant recent institutional investment in the Washington University Center for Cellular Imaging (WUCCI). Services offered by the WUCCI are available at http://wucci.wustl.edu/. The CIC will accelerate the pace, expand the scope, and improve the efficiency of rheumatic diseases research by providing micro-grants that will cover approximately 50% of the recharge costs of a given imaging project up to a maximum of $2,000 for junior faculty and $1,000 for other members. Submissions are on a rolling basis and can be directed to Dr. Fitzpatrick.
  • The Administrative Core (Directors: Dr. Christine Pham and Dr. Deborah Lenschow). The Core will administer the Pilot and Feasibility Program and the JIT Core Usage Funding Program.
    1. The Pilot and Feasibility Program supports early phase, innovative research programs from new investigators, especially Assistant Professors. The RFA will be announced in early Spring and will support 2 projects per year up to a budget of $40,000 per year, with the option of renewing funding for a 2nd
    2. The JIT Core Usage Funding Program is designed to provide quick access to funding for use in rheumatic disease-related projects in any of the WU-RDRRC-related Cores. All members can apply but priority will be given to faculty who do not have access to other subsidies or with limited extramural funding. We recommend consulting with the Core(s) and Directors to determine the appropriateness of the projects and in order to avoid duplicating discounts on any specific service. Call for applications will be announced quarterly. Funds may be requested for services for up to $2,000 and up to 2 Cores maximum, per JIT application cycle.

We are working on a website, which will have links to all the Cores, application forms, P/F and JIT RFA announcements.

Don’t forget to cite the grant in publications: P30 AR073752

Christine Pham, MD                           Debbie Lenschow, MD PhD

Director                                               Co-Director

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Congratulations to Rick Brasington, MD and Wayne Yokoyama, MD!

Masters of the American College of Rheumatology 2018

This is one of the highest honors the College bestows to members who have made outstanding contributions to the field of rheumatology through scholarly achievement and/or service to their patients, students, and profession.

Other Masters in our Division include Dr. John Atkinson, MD and Dr. Benjamin Schwartz, MD PhD

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Decades of dedication lead to drug trial for rare, fatal illness

Old cancer drug may treat devastating blood vessel disease

by Tamara BhandariJune 19, 2018

John P. Atkinson, MD, (right) talks with patient Kim Morey, of Bentonville, Ark., a participant in the first clinical trial evaluating a potential drug therapy for a rare, fatal disease called retinal vasculopathy with cerebral leukodystrophy (RVCL). Atkinson, who directs the RVCL Research Center at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, is leading the trial and has played a key role in research to describe the disease and develop a genetic test to identify it.

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Center for Advanced Medicine – South County Opening April 19

Mar 11, 2016

Patients in south St. Louis County and southern Illinois will soon have access to a higher level of care closer to home. The Center for Advanced Medicine – South County is opening April 19. The new outpatient facility jointly owned by Barnes-Jewish and Washington University is located near the Siteman Cancer Center at I-55 and Butler Hill Road.

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January 4, 2016

$4.1 million Clayco Foundation gift aids research into rare disease

By Kristina Sauerwein

Clayco’s chairman and CEO, Robert G. Clark, along with the company’s partners, have committed $4.1 million to Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis to advance research into a rare blood vessel disease that results in death five to 10 years following diagnosis.

The gift – which has been committed through The Clayco Foundation — will fund research in the laboratory of John P. Atkinson, MD, the Samuel B. Grant Professor of Medicine and chief of the Division of Rheumatology. Atkinson, who treats patients at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, was part of a team that originally identified the disease — cerebroretinal vasculopathy (CRV) — in 1988 and, in 2007, the genetic defect that causes it. The disease is caused by the progressive loss of small blood vessels in the brain and retinas.

Additionally, The Clayco Foundation is donating $25,000 to support an international CRV symposium sponsored by the School of Medicine.

Rare diseases such as CRV often receive scant attention and modest research funding, despite the fact that research into such disorders often leads to findings and treatments relative to more common diseases.

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