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Gnotobiotic Facility for Pigs and Mice


For pig derivation: Dr. Michael Oglesbee,, 614-292-9672

For mouse derivation: Dr. Prosper Boyaka,, 614-247-4671

The Gnotobiotic (“germ free”) Laboratory has been in continuous operation since 1959, supporting the study of the pathogenesis in infectious diseases and host immune function in multiple species, including cats, dogs, pigs and mice. The resource is the only one of its kind on the Ohio State University Columbus campus, and one of only two in the university network, the second being located at the Wooster Campus as part of the Food Animal Research Program of the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC).  Current studies in pigs examine the viral pathogenesis and mucosal immune responses to vaccine constructs for human norovirus and swine enteric coronaviruses (porcine epidemic diarrheal virus and porcine delta coronavirus), and mouse studies examine the role of intestinal microbiomes on mucosal and systemic immune function. The department facilities include equipment and space for the surgical derivation of germ free pigs, and the cleaning, autoclaving and construction of isolators for pigs. ULAR facilities are used to maintain germ free pigs in the Sisson vivarium (which is within the veterinary medical school campus), and ULAR staff have been trained to support all aspects of the animal studies. 

The Gnotobiotic and Germ-Free Mouse Resource (GFMR) at the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine was established and is directed by Dr. Prosper Boyaka. The germ-free mouse resource is located the animal vivarium in Sisson Hall. It provides research service to OSU and Nationwide Children Hospital investigators who need to use germ- free(sterile) and/or gnotobiotic (i.e. selectively colonized with microbes) mice to address the role of microbes in biological processes.

The GFMR equipped with several soft-sided plastic isolators for breeding colonies of C57BL/6 and Swiss Webster mice. In 2018, the GFMR has acquired a Sentry SPP rack (Allentown) that employs a Sealed Positive Pressure (SPP) system to achieve the type of germ-controlled environment traditionally found only in isolators. This new rack system will increase 4-5-fold the number of germ-free (sterile) and gnotobiotic mouse studies that can be conducted simultaneously in the Germ-Free mouse resource.

Regular fecal samples monitoring and control necropsies are performed to ensure that mice remain free of all bacteria, fungi and parasites. Additional isolators and a class II biosafety cabinet are available for experimental use.

Services provided by the germ-free mouse resource include:

Assistance with design of experiments involving germ-free and gnotobiotic mice.

  • Purchase of germ-free mice.

  • Colonization studies with a specific microbe (mono- colonization) or a group of microbes (poly-microbial colonization).

  • Fecal material transplantation.

  • Gavage feeding.

  • Blood and fecal collection.

Additional services can be provided on the case-by-case basis

  • Long-term maintenance of germ-free mouse colonies.

  • Derivation of new lines of germ-free mice.