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 potential Propel customers to visit Karen’s core facility at the Anschutz Medical Campus or Fort Collins for demonstrations.
Most important to Karen are her staff and customers. She believes that people in her position need to have 50% science and technology ability and 50% people skills to deal with a lot of people and to interact and teach them in a friendly manner. Judging on comments such as “Honestly, she is responsible for the quality of experimental data for many people at CU!!!” and “Without her and her expertise my career in rare events would have stalled and likely halted,” she and her staff have succeeded beyond measure.
Karen Helm announced in fall 2019 that she would retire in June 2020. She has trained a fantastic group by example over the past 15 years and leaves the core in very capable minds and hands.
Karen Helm will be greatly missed as a friend, collaborator and expert operator.
The Morphology and Phenotyping Core is now being operated under new leadership with Dr. Igor Kogut serving as director. It provides a full set of histology services including the following:
• Paraffin and OCT embedding.
• Sectioning of frozen and paraffin blocks.
• Routine (H&E) and special staining for all types of tissues.
• Consultation to optimize tissue isolation and fixation procedures.
Beginning in 2020, this core will be expanded to provide accelerated access to ultrastructure analysis by electron microscopy. The ultrastructural analysis of grafts generated with skin cells isolated from Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) patients has proven essential for characterizing a novel in vivo skin xenograft model that faithfully recapitulates the skin phenotype seen in EDS patients.
The Stem Cell Biobank and Disease Modeling Core was established in 2017 on the basis of the development of a more efficient approach for reprogramming a patient’s diseased skin cells into stem cells by a team of scientists at the Gates Center, Ganna Bilousova, Ph.D., assistant professor of dermatology, Igor Kogut, Ph.D., assistant professor of dermatology, and Gates Center Director Dennis Roop, Ph.D. The process, which was described in a paper published in Nature Communications in February 2018, reports a clinically safe approach that consistently reprograms healthy and disease-associated patient’s skin cells into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) with an unprecedented efficiency.
This core is co-directed by Drs. Bilousova and Kogut and offers complete services related to the production of high-quality human iPSCs from patient-derived somatic cells at one-third the cost charged by others. In addition to reprogramming services, the core provides genome engineering services using CRISPR/Cas to modify genes of interest in human iPSCs including the following:
• The development of iPSC-based lineage tracing models.
• The correction and introduction of disease-associated mutations in human iPSCs.
• The generation of isogenic pairs of genetically corrected and unmodified iPSCs by simultaneous reprogramming and gene
editing of patient’s somatic cells.
• The production of custom-made modified mRNAs encoding a variety of factors for transient transfection into cells.
  Flow Cytometry Manager Karen Helm
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