Transgenic and Knockout Animal Facility

Tim Oury, M.D., Ph.D.
Department of Pathology (Neuropathology)
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine


Genetically engineered mice have dramatically expanded research options for neuroscientists wishing to test specific hypotheses in in vitro model systems. Only a small number of genetically altered mice are commercially available. Therefore, investigators usually need to create their own genetically altered animals or obtain them from other laboratories that are willing to supply them to the investigator. The investigator then needs to establish breeding colonies to assure that a sufficient supply of the mice is available for their research.

Dr. Oury’s transgenic and knockout animal facility will breed and genotype a number of genetically altered animals so that they will be readily available to Parkinson’s disease researchers who would otherwise be less likely of having these animals at their disposal. This will greatly aid investigators in obtaining data for grants pertaining to neurodegenerative disease and allow them to test novel hypothesis concerning this disease and its treatment, which might not be possible without access to these animals.

Progress Report (as of 8/2002)

We were able to successfully bring in 4 lines of transgenic and knockout animals for use in PD research from this grant including EC-SOD transgenic and knockout mice, Mn SOD transgenic mice and iNOS knockout mice. These mice were bred and shared with several investigators at the University of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Institute for Neurodegeneration (PIND) for work in Parkinson’s models and learning and memory models. We are still breeding these animals on a fee basis for other investigators but are no longer expanding as no new funds have been obtained to maintain and expand this facility.

This facility led to a number of positive interactions among faculty with current experiments being done in collaboration with Dr. Chu and Dr. Hastings investigating the effects of EC-SOD and Mn SOD in multiple models of Parkinson’s disease. A fully funded center would likely have generated a lot of benefits to PD researchers at the University of Pittsburgh by making genetically altered animals more readily available to test specific hypotheses concerning this disease.