The Nathan Shock Center has created a strong environment in which to conduct research on aging through the provision of state-of-the-art research resources. The Center's Research Cores provide care for mouse colonies (Animal Core), phenotyping of these animals (Health Span Core), and tracking and analysis of the resulting data (Statistical Core). The overall goal of the Image Analysis Core is to develop and provide resources for the geroscience community to aid in computer-assisted histopathological analysis and discovery of age-related histological feature. Together these Cores foster shared use and collaborative research, and are utilized by researchers within and outside of the Center.
The Administrative Core provides the management of the overall Center, as well as support for the External and Internal Advisory Boards.
The Center Director is responsible for managing the Center, addressing issues of fiscal management and compliance with institutional, HHS, NIH and NIA policies.
The Center has established an External Advisory Board, an advisory panel of experts from outside the institution. This panel convenes annually at The Jackson Laboratory and evaluates the progress of the Center.
Scientific and organizational guidance is also provided by the Internal Advisory Board. The Board meets annually with the Center Director and the Center leadership team to discuss the Center’s scientific direction. Monthly meetings with the Center Director and the Center leadership team provide a forum for reviewing the Center’s science and operations.
Aging encompasses a myriad of complex phenotypic changes thatare influenced by many genes. Each gene may exert only a small influence, making their identification challenging. Aging is also strongly impacted by environmental factors, further complicating the dissection of the genetics of lifespan and healthy aging. To understand the complex genetic and environmental effects on aging, a model that mimics the genetic and phenotypic diversity of the human population is necessary. Investigators at The Jackson Laboratory (JAX) developed highly diverse strains, including Collaborative Cross (CC) inbred strains and Diversity Outbred (DO) mice. These resources will enable us to track changes in aging mice across a range of molecular, clinical, behavioral, and physical phenotypes that are relevant to human aging and link them to their underlying genes.
The Animal and Phenotyping Core provides essential and targeted resources to define the genetic mechanisms that underlie specific age-related phenotypes using unique combinations of animal resources (unparalleled anywhere in the world), state-of-the-art phenotyping capabilities and advanced statistical methods. Longitudinal and cross sectional healthspan and lifespan studies on C57BL6/J, Diversity Outbred (DO) and Collaborative Cross (CC) and various KOMP strains have been completed or are currently in process. High-throughput phenotyping pipelines have been established for CC and DO mice. The JAX Center for Aging Research has collected and curated thousands of tissue samples from mice representing a wide range of genetic backgrounds and conditions including aged mice of both sexes. Among these resources, there are two studies, a cross sectional Diversity Outbred (DO) and cross sectional Collaborative Cross (CC) that collected tissues in cross sectional study design from female and male mice at ages 6, 12 and 18 months.
The Statistical Core provides data analysis support for ongoing studies conducted within the JAX NSC including the development of new analysis methods and software necessary to support these projects. This core also disseminates JAX NSC data in conjunction with the Mouse Phenome Database and through the development of web services and interfaces to provide access to large-scale data resources. In addition the core also provide experimental design and analysis support to the aging research community.
The Nathan Shock Center Research Development Core seeks to expand the research focus on aging, healthspan and age-related diseases at JAX through a robust Research Development Core by actively supporting and mentoring both new and established investigators who are developing new programs in the field of aging biology. Investigators are directly supported through a process of pilot project funding. In addition, the JAX Center for Aging Research provides access to aged animals and samples collected from aged animals to support pilot project awardees and other qualified investigators.
The overall goal of the Image Analysis Core is to develop and provide resources for the geroscience community to aid in computer-assisted histopathological analysis and discovery of age-related histological features. The significance of the Image Analysis Core is to advance aging research by automating an advanced image analysis system and scoring platform that can be used to discover and quantify age-related histological features. The benefits of such an automated imaging pipeline will be the early detection of histological phenotypes that predict later, age-related non-pathological and pathological outcomes. An automated imaging pipeline will also be useful for determining the effect of interventions in aging studies.