iPS Core Facility

Tak Ko, Research Scientist, iPS Core Facility Supervisor
Photo: Najat Kessler

With the support of an anonymous donor and under the leadership of the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, the iPS Core Facility was constructed in the Fall of 2010.

The advent of human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) has heralded a new generation of clinical and basic research into human disorders. Patient-derived skin fibroblast cells are reprogrammed into iPS cells, which allow researchers to directly examine a wide variety of diseases directly in human cells. iPS cells also have remarkable therapeutic potential, as they can be differentiated into multiple cell types, including neurons, and can be transplanted back into the donor without the risk of an immune response. Cells derived from patients can also be used to screen novel therapeutic compounds, and, as these cells reflect the genetic profiles of their donors, can be used to study the mechanisms of multiple neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders.

The creation of this common iPSC facility provides a powerful incentive for different labs to collaborate together and exchange ideas. This facility integrates the various research goals of members of the Picower and McGovern Institutes, and the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences. Users of the iPSC facility have expertise with mouse and human embryonic stem cells, as well as multiple lines of pluripotent stem cells, and are constantly refining various experimental protocols which, when combined in a collaborative manner with the user’s research, result in accelerated progress within the dynamic and competitive field of pluripotent stem cell application. This exciting resource provides various fee-based services and training to MIT researchers and is open to the global research community.

Currently, 25 patient-specific iPS cell lines have been derived from various patients with Alzheimer’s disease, Schizophrenia, Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Rett syndrome, Autism, and healthy individuals.

CRISPR/CAS9 genome editing has been added on the service with various human ES cells and/or patient-specific iPS cell lines.

Services and/or Training

  • ES/iPS Cell Culture
  • Derivation and Characterization of iPS Cells
  • Neural Differentiation
  • Genome editing (CRISPR/Cas9)

The iPS Core Facility has added new CRISPR technology to its genome editing services:

  • Construction and/or Testing CRISPR vectors
    • Customized construction of a CRISPR guide RNA plasmid/Lenti virus containing a synthetic guide RNA complementary to the DNA sequence in the genomic site to be targeted. 
  • CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene knock-out - This service includes the transduction, transfection of hPSC with Cas9-Puro or Cas9-Blasticidin, and CRIPSR guide RNAs into one hPSC line. 
  • CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene introduction and/or repair - This service includes the transduction, transfection/electroporation of Cas9-Puro plasmid or Cas9-Blasticidin and a single stranded oligodinucleotide (ssODN) containing wildtype or mutated DNA sequences into one hPSC line.