Animal Models Core

The purpose of the Animal Models Core is to develop and characterize animal models of bacterial and viral diseases of importance to biodefense and related threats. Established animal models, biocontainment facilities and personnel expertise are then made available to other qualified investigators. We are particularly interested in supporting efforts to evaluate vaccines, antimicrobial drugs and diagnostics.


Services provided to investigators are flexible and range from a full service approach to execution of specific techniques with investigator assistance. Examples of services provided include:

  1. Exposure to pathogens with animals purchased or provided by the investigator.
  2. Clinical evaluation, including the possibility of telemetric monitoring.
  3. Vaccine and drug administration.
  4. Sample collection and storage (blood, serum, secretions, etc.).
  5. Necropsy with collection of tissues for enumeration of pathogen burden, histopathology and immunohistochemistry.
  6. Histopathologic evaluation by a board-certified veterinary pathologist.
  7. Serologic assays.


All BSL3 pathogens studied through the RMRCE are supported. The Animal Models Core has expertise with a broad array of human and animal pathogens beyond those studied under the RMRCE.

Pathogen Exposures

We provide biosafety level 2 and 3 facilities and expertise to conduct exposures by several routes with pathogens that require high levels of containment:

  1. Aerosol inhalation. In addition to intranasal instillation, non-anesthetized rodents may be exposed to pathogens in aerosols generated using the Glascol inhalation exposure system.
  2. Arthropod-borne transmission. We have extensive facilities and expertise to support studies utilizing mosquito-borne transmission.
  3. Direct inoculation. Animals may be exposed to pathogens by subcutaneous, intramuscular, intrathecal and other forms of injection.

Animal Hosts

We have biosafety level 3 facilities that allow studies with both conventional laboratory animals (rodents), as well as a broad range for large domestic animals and wildlife. Recent studies have utilized mice, hamsters, bats, raccoons, dogs, cats, horses, cattle, alligators, and birds ranging from sparrow to emus.


Limited opportunities for training in animal and laboratory studies are available.


Please feel free to contact us regarding specific needs in experimental design or scheduling.

Richard Bowen, DVM, Ph.D.