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TRaCES, or Translational Research and Core Expert Support, is a new initiative in the Department of Pharmacology & Physiology that aims to support translational and research-driven partnerships between scientists and clinicians. TRaCES elevates ongoing research in the department by providing access to tissue samples to faculty, offering experimental and technical support, and connecting researchers and clinicians that are interested in scientific collaborations.

TRaCES currently focuses on cancer metastasis and inflammation in the brain thanks to an ongoing collaboration with the Department of Neurosurgery and the Global Neurosciences Institute*. The core expects to expand its research focus and technical capacity with additional clinical and academic collaborators as well as to provide training opportunities to graduate and medical students.

TRaCES ongoing projects:

  • Brain metastases microenvironment
  • Melanoma brain metastasis and glial metabolism
  • Cancer cell stemness and brain invasion
  • Neurovascular coupling
  • Immune mediators and synaptic deficits

TRaCES offers the following services to departmental faculty:

  • Tissue freezing/embedding
  • Cryostat sectioning and microtome sectioning
  • H&E staining
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Image digitalization & analysis
  • Laser capture microdissection
  • Virus reactivation assays
  • Human brain slice cultures


Senior Faculty Oversight

O. Meucci, MD, PhD
A. Sarkar, MD, PhD
A. Fatatis, MD, PhD

*This clinical practice is independent of Drexel University (GNI’s research coordinator: Jennifer Ross, PhD;

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Elena Irollo

Elena Irollo, PhD
Core Co-Director

Rachel Van Duyne, PhD: Pharmacology & Physiology

Rachel Van Duyne, PhD
Core Co-Director

Translational Research and Core Expert Support Process 1
Translational Research and Core Expert Support Process 2
Translational Research and Core Expert Support Process 3
Translational Research and Core Expert Support Process 4