Translational Research Support Core (TRSC)

The TRSC facilitates research that progresses environmental health sciences from basic studies to applications in affected people and communities.

About this Core

The TRSC will be the major driver of activities that are central to the core mission of TiCER: to identify and address environmental health concerns through multidisciplinary collaborations between Center members and other stakeholders. The primary goal of this core is to facilitate bidirectional translational studies ranging from community-based human cohorts to population-based experimental studies in mice, to human and mouse inter-individual variability and organotypic in vitro models. To accomplish this, the Center’s translational research will be integrated into causes and mechanisms of environmental health risks in three important structural areas: human translational studies, mouse translational studies, and in vitro translational studies.


Here we provide a brief overview of the facilities and equipment available to Center members through the TRSC that will expedite bi-directional translational research in each of the three structural areas. These resources include the Framework for Research on the Environment, Sustainability, and Health (FRESH) lab, the Texas Institute for Genomic Medicine (TIGM), and the Texas A&M Institute for Genomic Sciences and Society (TIGSS).

Human Translational Studies

Led by Dr. Natalie Johnson, this area focuses on enabling access to human health and environmental information-containing databases, facilitating community-oriented research projects, and consultations on human subject research compliance.

Mouse Translational Studies

Led by Dr. Benjamin Morpurgo, this area focuses on study designs and access to population-wide mouse models, transgenic/knockouts (including CRISPR/Cas9), and advice on study designs and animal welfare compliance.

In Vitro Translational Studies

Led by Dr. Ivan Rusyn, this area focuses on the use of novel microphysiological (human and mouse organoids, iPSCs, and tissue chips) and population-based in vitro tools, as well as consultations on biosafety compliance.

Fresh Lab

The Framework for Research on the Environment, Sustainability, and Health (FRESH) lab maintains specialized hardware and software to carry out CPU-intensive data analysis and environmental modeling. Through the FRESH lab, researchers can use a variety of health and exposure databases to acquire, analyze, and archive data. FRESH staff, including Dr. Itza Mendoza-Sanchez,  oversee data use and HIPAA and IRB compliance.

Databases Available:

  • National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES): health and nutritional data for adults and children, including chemical exposure data
  • Vital Statistics Data (VSA): information related to birth outcomes and infant mortality
  • National Health Care Surveys (NHCS): national survey data on ambulatory medical care, surgery, and medical discharge
  • Texas Health Care Information Collection (THCIC): inpatient, outpatient, and emergency department data from the Texas Department of State Health Services
  • US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) data repositories: Air Quality Data for the CDC National Environmental Public Health Tracking Network, Consolidated Human Activity Database, Environmental Geophysics, ExpoCast, and Human Exposure Database System
  • Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) data repositories: information related to air quality, water contamination, and waste management. These include the Texas Air Monitoring Information System, GeoTAM Viewer, Point Source Emissions Inventory, Texas Air Emissions Repository, Meteorological Data Sets by county, Texas Water Information, and Texas Waste Management
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA): data for landfills, scrap tires, industrial and hazardous waste, petroleum storage tanks, and dry cleaners; geospatial data, including regulatory and administrative boundaries
  • Restricted Access Databases housed in the Texas Research Data Center, part of the national network coordinated by the US Census Bureau: restricted access versions of US Decennial censuses and demographic surveys such as American Community, Current Population, American Housing, National Survey of Family Growth, National Crime Victimization, National Health Interview, National Health and Nutrition Examination, the National Longitudinal Mortality Study, detailed vital statistics files, the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, and others


The Texas Institute for Genomic Medicine (TIGM) houses unique, world-class scientific facilities located adjacent to the Veterinary & Biomedical Education Complex. The most central feature of TIGM’s 34,000-square-foot facility is a Specific Pathogen Free (SPF) maximum barrier vivarium. The vivarium can house more than 40,000 mice in 8,000 high-density micro-isolator cages. An adjoining research vivarium can house an additional 30,000 mice. TIGM also has onsite molecular biology and tissue culture facilities for microinjection of stem cells and maintains liquid nitrogen vapor-based frozen stocks of cell lines, embryos, and sperm.

Available Resources:

  • Mouse knockout ES cell library of lineages on the C57BL/6N background:
    • 335,900 cell lines representing at least 10,222 unique genes. This library includes multiple clones for each gene. It also contains 18,000 clones that represent 1,000 inactivated ncRNAs including a number of long non-coding RNA genes.
  • Lymphoblasts from 1,100 humans (nine populations in Asia, Europe, Americas, and Africa):
    • Cell lines developed by Coriell from 1000 Genome and Human HapMap consortium-collected human samples. These cells have been acquired for several NIEHS-funded projects and are available for collaboration through Dr. Rusyn’s lab.
  • Human iPSC-derived cell lines:
    • TIGM maintains stocks of iPSC-derived cell lines from Cellular Dynamics. These include iCell hepatocytes, cardiomyocytes, macrophages, neurons, endothelial cells, and myoblasts, as well as myCell cardiomyocytes from normal donors (~40 lines as of 04/2017).


The Texas A&M Institute for Genome Sciences and Society (TIGSS) functions as a virtual institute to connect genome scientists with researchers who study the social, economic, and ethical consequences and impacts of genomics technology, as well as bioinformatics scientists who conduct research on how to analyze and manage large datasets such as those generated by high-throughput genomics experiments. TIGSS established the Shared Molecular Genomics Workspace, which occupies a 1,200-square foot laboratory and office space within the Reynolds Medical Building and offers upstream and downstream sequence generation support for internal and external users.

Available Resources:

  • Collaborative Cross (CC) population mouse strains: the mouse colony consists of 40 CC strains currently breeding, with a target of 48 CC strains by the end of 2017. Recombinant Inbred (RI) Strains can be derived from these CC lines; both CC and RI strains are available for Center members.
  • CC-derived MEF and iPSC lines: mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEF) are available from all in-house mouse CC lines. iPSCs of both sexes can be produced from the MEF lines.

Fee Schedule

The TRSC will not charge fees for its use.

Most of the equipment, animals, cell lines, and other resources available to Center members through the TRSC are already available to any Texas A&M investigator. The unique role of the TRSC is in providing access to highly qualified personnel to initiate, design, and oversee integrative translational projects, train research personnel in using equipment, and ensure research compliance.

Core Members

Dr. Natalie Johnson

Deputy Director, TRSC PI

Associate Professor

Dr. Ivan Rusyn



In Press

TRSC members have published in some prestigious peer-reviewed journals.



212 Adriance Lab Rd.
1266 TAMU
College Station, TX 77843


670 Raymond Stotzer Pkwy
College Station, TX 77845


Reynolds Medical Building
206 Olsen BLVD
College Station, TX 77843