About Us

We are the MARC: the Microenvironment in Arthritis Resource Center. Established in 2018, the Center is based on the collaboration between four premier San Diego area research institutions: UC San Diego, The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBPMRI), and the La Jolla Institute for Immunology (LJI).


The MARC is dedicated to providing technical and educational support to researchers interested in studying the rheumatic diseases and how they affect the microenvironment of the joint.

The MARC is comprised of three resource Cores, each dedicated to providing MARC members with access to different research resources. The Joint Imaging (JI) Core operates MRI scanners for the imaging of both human and small animal joints, allowing researchers to more clearly visualize how rheumatic diseases affect joints. The Joint Cell Isolation (JCI) Core provides access to flow sorting and laser capture microdissection to allow isolation of cells and tissue structures from joint specimens. Finally, the Joint Bioinformatics and Computational (JBC) Core offers analysis of complex multi-dimensional datasets pertaining to studies of the joint.
The MARC also supports investigators by providing educational and monetary resources for their benefit. The MARC provides Pilot Project Grants and service vouchers to enable new lines of research to be explored. We also organize a monthly seminar series and a biennial La Jolla Arthritis Conference as places where our members can discuss their findings in the field of arthritis and the joint with their scientific peers in the fields of rheumatology, immunology, connective tissue biology, and musculoskeletal radiology.
The Joint Imaging Core
The goal of this core is to grant MARC members access to the powerful tool of bioinformatic analysis. This will allow for the creation of multi-dimensional networks between diverse elements of large data sets, enabling researchers to better understand their results and plan their future experiments.
a)     Dr. Christine Chung – Core Co-Director
b)     Dr. Won Bae – Core Co-Director
c)     Sheronda Statum – Core Manager marcjicore@ucsd.edu
The Joint Cell Isolation Core
This core provides MARC members with the ability to isolate tissue fragments or single cells through Laser Capture Microscopy or flow sorting. The availability of both of these resources allows for the targeted isolation of a wide spectrum of tissues of interest for later analysis.
a)     Dr. Nunzio Bottini – Core Co-Director
b)     Dr. Stephanie Stanford – Core Co-Director
c)     Benjamin Van Espen – Core Manager marcjcicore@ucsd.edu
The Joint Bioinformatics and Computational Core
This core aims to provide MARC members with access to magnetic resonance imaging for both human and small animal joints. Users of this core will be assisted at every step by an expert staff, from experimental development to data analysis.
a)     Dr. Gary Firestein – Core Co-Director
b)     Dr. Wei Wang – Core Co-Director
c)     Dr. Rizi Ai – Core Manager marcjbccore@ucsd.edu
If you have questions regarding a specific resource core, please refer to the particular page for that core or e-mail the Core Manager.
Center Leadership Committee
a)    Dr. Nunzio Bottini – MARC Director
b)    Dr. Maripat Corr – MARC Associate Director
c)    Dr. Christine Chung
d)    Dr. Won Bae

e)    Dr. Stephanie Stanford
f)     Dr. Gary Firestein
g)    Dr. Wei Wang
Center Advisory Board (2018-2019)
a)    Carl Ware, PhD, Chairman, The Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute
       Lab profile
b)    Martin Lotz, MD, The Scripps Research Institute
       Lab profile

c)    Klaus Ley, MD, The La Jolla Institute for Immunology
       Lab profile

d)    William Robinson, MD, Stanford University
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e)    Thomas Link, MD, PhD, UC San Francisco
Lab Profile
The MARC provides several resources for its members in order to encourage engagement and exploration in the study of the joint and its pathologies.
Primary among the MARC’s resources are its core facilities, which provide investigators with the tools and expertise to pursue a wide variety of questions in their study of the microenvironment of the joint.
To further researcher engagement with the most up-to-date scientific studies, the MARC has organized a monthly seminar series for researchers from fields of study ranging from rheumatology to nanoengineering to anesthesiology. Each speaker will be given an hour to report on their recent discoveries and answer questions from the audience. It is our intention that these lectures will inform and inspire the listeners for new directions of study.
The MARC also offers several funding opportunities to promote exploration of new lines of research into joint pathologies. Grant funding is offered once a year to members through the MARC Pilot Project Grants Program, and applicants are encouraged to use this opportunity to obtain new preliminary data that can be used in future applications for grant funding. The MARC also offers members vouchers to discount the use of MARC resource cores, thus helping investigators to more completely pursue investigative lines of inquiry.
Please remember to cite the MARC P30 grant in all papers that utilize MARC Cores or are supported by the Pilot Program Grants by using the following line:
Our research utilized Core (or Research) support from the UCSD NIH Grant P30AR073761.”
Contact information for MARC Cores
If you have specific questions about the services offered by each core, you can contact the manager for the specific core.
MARC Joint Bioinformatics and Computational Core
Core Manager – Sheronda Statum – marcjicore@ucsd.edu
MARC Joint Cell Isolation Core
Core Manager – Benjamin Van Espen – marcjcicore@ucsd.edu
MARC Joint Imaging Core
Core Manager – Dr. Rizi Ai – marcjbccore@ucsd.edu

If you are uncertain about which core you need, you can contact the MARC Coordinator who will put you in touch with the correct resource core. You can also contact the MARC Coordinator with questions about Vouchers, the Pilot Project Grants Program, and the MARC Seminar.

MARC Coordinator

Alexander Funderburk – marcadmin@ucsd.edu