With the development of new investigative techniques, exciting research capabilities are continually being unlocked that allow previously unprecedented in-depth investigations of non-model organisms. Such organisms, which have always been part of the research emphasis of the Center for Evolutionary and Theoretical Immunology (CETI), can significantly expand our understanding of the biological worid beyond that obtained by studying only a limited repertoire of model organisms. However, investigation of non-model organisms comes with significant challenges, because maintenance of, and experimentation with, such organisms frequently falls outside of established infrastructures. The Controlled Environments Core (CEC) was established in Phase I of CETI's existence to facilitate our study of non-model organisms. Having moved into building space made available in Phase II, a now-expanded CEC is configured to provide safe long-term cryopreservation of organisms, tissues, samples and (immune-) reagents uniquely generated for our studies. The CEC will provide users with a freezer monitoring and alarm system, combined with ultra-cold freezer backup capacity, basic ultra-cold freezer maintenance and new liquid nitrogen storage capability. The CEC also provides a cell/tissue culture lab with a biosafety cabinet certified for use with BSL-2 organisms (human pathogenic bacteria and parasites). Moreover, controlled environments including environmental chambers and specially designed rearing rooms are provided for culturing, maintenance and experimentation with animals such as fishes (lungfish, trout), and various invertebrates including freshwater snails, crickets, parasitoids and schistosome and other flatworm parasites routinely used by CETI investigators. Such organisms are not routinely maintained in typical institutional animal resource facilities. Additionally, we can maintain organisms like plants or bacteria investigated by other users. The CEC will assume maintenance of selected (strains of) animal species such that they can be made continuously available to heavy users. Organismal resources will be shared as appropriate, under the guidance of the CETI Steering Committee. New staff will be appointed to manage and maintain the Core's equipment and provide basic care for organisms held in the CEC. Core users are required to meet regulations for compliance with animal use and biosafety, and will be trained to optimize efficiency and safety. In accordance with the mandates of Phase III, the CEC will work with the Steering Committee to support CETI's Pilot Project and waiver programs, and to initiate a business model that will transition the CEC to cost neutrality by the end of this phase.

Public Health Relevance

The CEC will support our users with facilities that enable safe long-term storage and provide unique controlled environments for maintenance and safe experimentation with non-traditional organisms. The CEC will thereby allow expansion of insights into biomedical sciences beyond that permitted by mainstream model organisms. This in turn will favor the success of CETI's investigators in competing for extramural funding, thereby improving their career success, and helping to fulfill the goals ofthe IDeA program.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Center Core Grants (P30)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZGM1-TWD-C (3C))
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of New Mexico
United States
Zip Code
Tasnim, Humayra; Fricke, G Matthew; Byrum, Janie R et al. (2018) Quantitative Measurement of Naïve T Cell Association With Dendritic Cells, FRCs, and Blood Vessels in Lymph Nodes. Front Immunol 9:1571
Ebbs, Erika T; Loker, Eric S; Brant, Sara V (2018) Phylogeography and genetics of the globally invasive snail Physa acuta Draparnaud 1805, and its potential to serve as an intermediate host to larval digenetic trematodes. BMC Evol Biol 18:103
Zhang, Si-Ming; Bu, Lijing; Laidemitt, Martina R et al. (2018) Complete mitochondrial and rDNA complex sequences of important vector species of Biomphalaria, obligatory hosts of the human-infecting blood fluke, Schistosoma mansoni. Sci Rep 8:7341
Ziegler, Maren; Stone, Elizabeth; Colman, Daniel et al. (2018) Patterns of Symbiodinium (Dinophyceae) diversity and assemblages among diverse hosts and the coral reef environment of Lizard Island, Australia. J Phycol 54:447-460
Malespin, Miguel; Benyashvili, Tamara; Uprichard, Susan L et al. (2017) Prevalence of end of treatment RNA-positive/sustained viral response in HCV patients treated with sofosbuvir combination therapies. Therap Adv Gastroenterol 10:68-73
McLean, Nancy Johnstone; Newkirk, Kimberly; Adema, Coenraad M (2017) Canine ocular onchocerciasis: a retrospective review of the diagnosis, treatment, and outcome of 16 cases in New Mexico (2011-2015). Vet Ophthalmol 20:349-356
Dewey, Evan B; Johnston, Christopher A (2017) Diverse mitotic functions of the cytoskeletal cross-linking protein Shortstop suggest a role in Dynein/Dynactin activity. Mol Biol Cell 28:2555-2568
Marroquin-Flores, Rosario A; Williamson, Jessie L; Chavez, Andrea N et al. (2017) Diversity, abundance, and host relationships of avian malaria and related haemosporidians in New Mexico pine forests. PeerJ 5:e3700
Clark, William S; Galen, Spencer C; Hull, Joshua M et al. (2017) Contrasting molecular and morphological evidence for the identification of an anomalous Buteo: a cautionary tale for hybrid diagnosis. PeerJ 5:e2850
Bell-Dereske, Lukas; Takacs-Vesbach, Cristina; Kivlin, Stephanie N et al. (2017) Leaf endophytic fungus interacts with precipitation to alter belowground microbial communities in primary successional dunes. FEMS Microbiol Ecol 93:

Showing the most recent 10 out of 91 publications