In addition to their role in the development of nearly every life-saving surgical procedures and medicine animal models play an irreplaceable role in our understanding of the function of living systems.
Whether bacterium, plant or animal, model organisms are used in biomedical research every day to investigate life’s processes from the earliest stages of development to senescence and death. This group boasts a cadre of researchers with wide-ranging expertise in the care, maintenance, husbandry and experimental manipulation of living model systems spanning most living taxa.
Traditional murine models (e.g. Mus and Rattus) abound in laboratories studying phenomena as diverse as obesity and drug addiction while fruit flies (Drosophila) are used to investigate tumor suppression. Still others take advantage of the unique life history characteristics of fungi (e.g. Neurospora) to study the mechanisms regulating circadian rhythms, fish (e.g. Danio) to determine the factors involved in birth defects, or frogs (e.g. Xenopus) as an oocyte expression system within which to investigate mechanisms of iron transporters.
Animal core facilities provide comfortable and controlled environments with expert veterinary care and administrative oversight of animal welfare at the both the federal and local level.
The African clawed frog is a powerful vertebrate model for exploring molecular transport phenomena. (Photo by B. Mackenzie.)