Funds are requested to create the Germ-Free and Gnotobiotic Mouse Facility (GMF) to support the Functional Microbiomics Core (FMC), the individual projects described in this COBRE, as well as planned and future studies requiring the use of axenic and gnotobiotic animal models. Although the space included in the planned GMF totals 933 ft2, the projected strategy involves only minor physical modifications to the existing Clinical and Translational Research Vivarium (CTRV). The CTRV is located in the basement of the building housing many of the investigators described in this application, and provides access to numerous ongoing research capabilities, including multiple imaging modalities. Renovations include constructing a wall/door to create a more biologically and physically secured entryway (approximately 81 ft2) to the GMF, providing centrally-distributed gases for anaerobic culture chambers which will installed in a dedicated Microbiota Preparation Room, and installation of isolators and individually-ventilated caging systems for dedicated germ-free and gnotobiotic rooms, respectively. The project exploits existing infrastructure, including animal procedure and housing room design that meets strict requirements for rodent barriers, emergency power, in-room connections to existing HVAC systems, individual room electronic security, and available bulk autoclave capacity. Once completed, this facility will provide the necessary infrastructure for investigators to obtain and manage germ-free rodents, generate specifically-defined microbiota for inoculation, and thereby create gnotobiotic animals for further study.
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