In Vivo Animal and Human Studies Core

(Top to Bottom, L to R ): Director - Chung Owyang, MD; Associate Core Directors - Peter Higgins, MD; Jason Spence, PhD; Akbar Waljee, MD, MSc

The objective of the In Vivo Animal and Human Studies Core is to provide a venue for focusing human resources, facilities, new technology and equipment necessary for the in vivo study of humans and animals. 

The core is directed by Dr. Chung Owyang, who has extensive experience in studying the physiology and pathophysiology of gut hormones in humans and animal models. The associate core directors (Drs. Peter Higgins, Jason Spence, and Akbar Waljee) provide expertise in the areas of biorepository management, organoid and enteroid development, and artificial intelligence/machine learning.

Aims

  • To provide a variety of state-of-the-art in vivo technologies to enhance rapid translation of basic discoveries to physiological and clinical applications. 
  • To support an organoid and enteroid program in which these preparations grown from mucosa biopsies and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) may be used to study epithelial cell biology and provide therapeutic targets for clinical intervention.
  • To support a newly created Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning Program which will provide consultation and technical support to Center investigators on big data analysis.
  • To provide a user friendly, one-step service to access digestive disease-related biospecimens for Center members.

Service Programs

The In Vivo Animal and Human Studies Core offers access to four service programs:

In Vivo Small Animal Studies Program

The Animal Studies Program is streamlined to include those services that are frequently utilized, including small animal endoscopy, small animal behavior, in vivo single fiber recording from the vagus and sympathetic nervous system, in vivo and in vitro mucosal permeability studies, and electroporation for direct transfer of siRNA into targeted neuro-tissue or GI organs. Due to popular request, the Mouse Metabolic Phenotyping Service was recently added to support members interested in performing metabolic studies in rodents.

Organoid/Enteroid Modeling Program

The Enteroid and Organoid services enable Center investigators to conduct research on in vitro models of human and mouse GI tissues to study GI development, homeostasis, and disease in vitro.

Biospecimen Banking Program

The Biospecimen Banking service provides support to enhance individual access to GI-related biobanks and utilization of GI biospecimens to translate basic research using human specimens.

Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning Program

The recently launched Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning Program will create an ecosystem for deep collaborative work that unites method experts in computer sciences, engineering and statistics, and health domain experts and clinicians using novel computational platforms built by informatics experts for GI research. This approach stimulates research using AI/ML technologies and facilitates big data analysis.