New Year’s Resolutions from the Preclinical Therapeutics Core

2023 has started on a strong trajectory following many organizational changes that occurred within the PTC at Helen Diller over the last year. 2022 was a time for new staff recruitment, and improvement and consolidation in our resources and workflow. We hope 2023 will be a year of growth and development, both in personnel and resources. We thank our users for their patience over the last few months as this reorganization occurred. 

These changes and incorporations are in line with the continuous growth of the Preclinical Therapeutics Core, with the objective of increasing the services offered to the UCSF science community. We look forward to continuing working with you this year!


New in vivo Imaging Laboratory: In close collaboration with the LARC office, we designed and established a dedicated imaging room within the HDFCRB animal facility. HD527 is now designated the state-of-the-art imaging facility, containing two optical imaging systems (one specifically designed for BSL-2 work within HD527A), the preclinical microCT, a lab animal-designed ultrasound and a fluorescence dissecting microscope for macroscopic imaging. This new facility is a step forward to place the Helen Diller as a reference in terms of imaging modalities and services.

New immunocompromised-dedicated room: Thanks to LARC support, we shifted our main in vivo operation in an immunocompromised-dedicated room (HD-503).  To comply with the higher sanitary status of this room, we have been deep-cleaning all our equipment, including tools and furniture via fogging or autoclaving. We are now fully set up to work in the clean room (HD503) as well as we maintain our workspace in our dirty room (HD525). We consider the pathogen-free status of the animals as key in biomedical research and for this reason we now undertake most of our immunocompromised animal work in this room, which has its own dedicated IVIS. In this way, the impact of opportunistic infections in our work will be reduced drastically, especially in projects involving immunodeficient animals. We will continue working in the regular room immunocompetent models, but the movement of immunodeficient animals to the clean area is a significant improvement for the quality of our work.


New Staff recruitment: In the last months of 2022, Ons Zakraoui PhD joined the PTC, as a Research Specialist. Dr. Ons Zakraoui earned her master’s and Ph.D. degrees (in Genetics, Molecular and Cellular Biology) from Pasteur Institute of Tunis (IPT) and University of Tunis El Manar, Tunisia (UTM).  She joined University of San Francisco (UCSF) as a Postdoctoral Fellow in Translational Cancer Research (2018). After her two post-doctoral trainings she joined Preclinical Therapeutics core (PTC) in October 2022. She is using her cancer biology background in service to her community by managing and conducting various preclinical research studies for drug discovery and she will be leading our cell culture work as well as contribute to certain animal studies.



New Staff recruitment:This month we also recruited a new Junior Specialist, Isa Tariq BS. Isa recently graduated from UC San Diego with a B.S. in Neurobiology and minor in Chemistry. He has joined the PTC as a junior specialist to provide support and enthusiasm to our animal studies and general laboratory tasks.