The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently awarded Aaron J. Trask, PhD, principal investigator in the Center for Cardiovascular Research at The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, a $315K Shared Instrumentation grant (S10) to support existing, federally-funded researchers at Nationwide Children’s and The Ohio State University in a multitude of disciplines, including cardiovascular research, tissue engineering, microbial pathogenesis, biomedical engineering, perinatal research and childhood cancer.
At Nationwide Children’s, Dr. Trask is the second recipient of this type of NIH grant, which will be used to purchase a state-of-the-art atomic force microscope (AFM) that will be a shared resource for both institutions. The first-ever recipient was Peter White, PhD, director of the Genomic Services Core Laboratory, for the Illumina HiSeq 2000 platform.
The AFM will suit both current and foreseeable needs of NIH-funded investigators and other investigators at Nationwide Children’s, and allow them to conduct cutting-edge research into how the mechanical properties of tissues and cells affect their biological functions.
“Understanding the fundamental mechanics driving biological changes as diverse as cardiovascular disease, microbial pathogenesis, biomedical engineering, perinatal diseases, and cancer will be crucial to the advancement of our research efforts to improve the health of children and beyond,” says Dr. Trask, who is also an assistant professor of Pediatrics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. “The AFM is critical to add and maintain advanced biomechanical and imaging technology in the shared Morphology Core Laboratory at Nationwide Children’s.”
The Morphology Core is one of 12 core facilities or shared resources on the Nationwide Children’s campus, and is overseen by Cynthia McAllister, technical director, who will be responsible for the daily operations of the AFM, including training users and maintenance. Dr. Trask and his lab will also be available for secondary training and as a resource for data collection, handling and analysis.
In addition to supporting a major cardiovascular research project led by Dr. Trask, the AFM will be used by nine other research groups led by principal investigators at Nationwide Children’s and two research groups led by investigators at The Ohio State. A variety of trainee groups will also benefit from the use of the AFM equipment.