The mission of the NBC Animal Core is to support basic science and translational research on BSL3 select agent bacterial and viral pathogens in small animal models for members of the NBC, as well as for other scientists from academia and the commercial sector. The information generated by these studies is expected to contribute to a greater understanding of the biology and host response associated with these dangerous pathogens, and to advance novel treatment, prevention and detection strategies. The Animal Core consists of 3 separate vivivaria (PHRI-UMDNJ, Wadsworth Center, and CPRC), which emphasize viral and/or bacterial infections in small and large animals, and leverage extensive in-house expertise. The research programs supported over the past grant period include studies of pathogenesis, host immune responses, vaccine development, improved diagnostics, unique therapeutic strategies andadjunct treatment regimens. The pathogens under investigation include Baccillus anthracis, Yersinia pestis, Franscella tularensis, Burkholderia mallei, West Nile Virus, Dengue, and MDR/XDR-TB, and H5N1 avian flu. The animal models include mice, rats, guinea pigs, rabbits and rhesus and cynomologous macaques. Each sub-Core is covered by separate IACUC and biosfatey committees. The PHRI-UMDNJ Small Animal Core provides primarily rodent and rabbit models of bacterial infection with Baccillus anthracis, Yersinia pestis, Franscella tularensis, Burkholderia mallei, MDR/XDR-TB, but also runs a pandemic flu model of H5N1. The sub-Core works closely with users to perform animal model studies, which in most cases are performed by in-house vivarium staff members. The extensive use of these sub-Cores over the past grant period (>200,000 select agent animal days per year) has prompted expansion of this operation both at CPRC and at UMDNJ with the opening of a new Regional Biocontainment Laboratory. The PHRI Core, which includes the RBL, will provide high quality animal model support and advanced facililites for imaging and assessment of host responses under BSL3 consitions. The PHRI core has logged more than 338,000 mouse days with select agent pathogens since 2004, and the dedicated IACUC has approved 57 BSL3-level protocols.

Public Health Relevance

The role of the PHRI-UMDNJ Small Animal Core is to support research on BSL3 select agent bacterial and viral pathogens in small animal models. This work supports the national research agenda in biodefense and emerging infectious diseases to better understand the nature of highly transmissible diseases and to furher development of countermeasures in the form of new diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccinces.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Specialized Center--Cooperative Agreements (U54)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZAI1)
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Columbia University (N.Y.)
New York
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