Shared Resource Spotlight: Genetically Modified Mouse Model

May 29, 2020

Development of transgenic and genetically modified mouse models continue to be the most common in vivo models for studying human disease. The Genetically Modified Mouse Model Shared Resource (GMMMSR) at the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center (HICCC) provides a comprehensive service to the wide Columbia University research community equipped with the necessary molecular genetic tools to generate state-of-the-art transgenic and genetically modified mouse models for a vast array of experiments.

Two researchers look into a microscope

The GMMMSR is directed by  Dr. Frank Costantini, a pioneer in transgenic mouse technology, and managed by Dr. Chyuan-Sheng (Victor) Lin who has overseen the GMMMSR since 1999. The GMMMSR team performs microinjection of transgenic DNA constructs to generate transgenic mice and also conducts gene targeting in murine embryonic stem (ES) cells to precisely modify genes through homologous recombination. The ES cell lines used in the GMMMSR’s gene targeting service are all derived in house and maintain 100% germline transmission rate. The services provided by this shared resource are broadly used by HICCC researchers for the in vivo functional characterization of oncogenes and tumor suppressors.

The experienced team of scientists at the GMMMSR ensure the high quality of services and skilled techniques are being provided to researchers. Over the last five years, the GMMMSR incorporated CRISPR genome editing services to generate more complex mouse lines. This shared resource has the capability to engineer novel mouse lines in about 10 months, and CRISPR-based gene targeting services can deliver a new genetically modified line in just three months. The broad service provided by the GMMMSR really relieves the burden from researchers to build their own gene targeting models, which can be a limiting step in labs that are not equipped with molecular cloning experience.

The GMMMSR has contributed to several major research projects at the HICCC, and is currently assisting in COVID-19-related research. The team is developing a COVID-19 mouse model that can be used to study the pathology of the viral infection, drug screening, and vaccine development and testing.

For more details about the GMMMSR, visit the HICCC Shared Resources page.