March 15, 2012

Mouse phenotyping center lands grant renewal

Mouse phenotyping center lands grant renewal

The Vanderbilt Mouse Metabolic Phenotyping Center (MMPC) has received a third, five-year renewal of its federal funding.

The center, established in 2001, provides core services for “phenotyping” mouse models of metabolic diseases such as diabetes. It provides the techniques and expertise necessary to determine how specific genetic alterations in the mouse disrupt metabolic and endocrine processes and contribute to complications such as heart disease.

Services are provided through a Metabolic Pathophysiology Core, which enables the study of energy balance, insulin action, hormone secretion and metabolism, a Cardiovascular Pathophysiology and Complications Core, which facilitates the study of heart disease and other diabetes complications, and an Analytical Core, which consists of unique assays adapted for the mouse.

The center will receive approximately $900,000 a year for the next five years from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Of the six mouse metabolic phenotyping centers in the country, Vanderbilt’s is one of only three that have received uninterrupted NIH funding through three budget cycles.

Center director David Wasserman, Ph.D., the Annie Mary Lyle Chair and professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, said the center exists in part “because of the vision of members of the Vanderbilt faculty,” and “a generous commitment of space and resources” from Vanderbilt.

But its success derives mainly from its people.

“The research staff, many of whom have been with the center since its inception, has gained a reputation worldwide for their unique and exceptional skills,” Wasserman said.

“This … experiment in mouse phenotyping requires a faculty that is willing to make technology that is part of their research lifeline available to the scientific community for no more than the recovery of costs and the knowledge that they are working for a greater good,” he continued,

“It requires a staff that is so skilled and committed that scientists are willing to entrust their mice with them.”