The overall objective of the Animal Models Core (AMC) is to use the expertise of current investigators and existing resources at Washington University to improve the lives of those with intellectual and developmental disabilities by promoting the optimal development and assessment of new and existing animal models. Genetic abnormalities and acquired insults account for most intellectual and developmental disabilities. Animal models are a potent tool for obtaining a better understanding of these conditions and developing novel strategies for treating, preventing, and ultimately curing these conditions. Work at Washington University on mouse models of hypoxia ischemia(5), tuberous sclerosis(6) and lysosomal storage diseases(7-9) demonstrates the power of this approach. However, models are available for only a few of the many conditions associated with developmental disability, such as cerebral palsy and autism. Moreover, although causes are known in many instances, the cause of intellectual and developmental disabilities remains unknown for 20-90% of affected individuals.(10) Genomic, proteomic, and metabolomic approaches will help narrow this gap. Simultaneously, standard biochemical approaches will continue to identify novel causes such as cerebral folate deficiency, which was first described in 2002.(11) Nevertheless, the need for animal models will continue to grow. Until now, individual investigators at Washington University developed animal models in their own laboratories. On their own, they found other investigators with the expertise needed to help them develop and assess their models. Informal discussions with these investigators highlighted fruitful collaborations between specific individuals, but also brought to light the fact that many investigators had not taken full advantage of the vast expertise available at the university. Thus, a key goal of the AMC is to bring together several research methodologies into a cohesive functional unit to facilitate the development and assessment of animal models with relevance to intellectual and developmental disabilities. Through these discussions, we identified three specific areas to benefit the research community and have thus divided the AMC into three subcores: ? Genetics/Early Development Subcore: This Subcore will assist investigators with the generation of new animal models using genetic and reproductive/early development techniques. It will assist the development of strategies based on prenatal therapies, gene and stem cell therapy. In addition, it will promote a better understanding of the role of genetic modification in disease processes in IDD. ? Behavior Subcore: This Subcore will provide behavioral assessment of new and current animal models of intellectual and developmental disability. ? Neuropathology Subcore: This Subcore will provide neuropathologlcal assessment of new and current animal models of intellectual and developmental disability.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Center Core Grants (P30)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZHD1-MRG-C)
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Washington University
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