By Dawn Rowe
The UC Davis Mouse Biology Program (MBP) has received an award of $414,000 from the National Institutes of Health to move towards sustainable, environment-friendly technology for its high-containment vivarium for mutant mice. The grant will also improve animal health and welfare, ergonomics for vivarium staff, and operational efficiencies.
Going ‘green” is a multi-step process that will take place over the next 12 months, and led by Kristin Grimsrud, associate director of vivaria and veterinary care for the program.
The plan includes improvements in water and energy efficiency through new HVAC and water systems; reduction of noise and stress for animals; improved airflows to reduce the risks of contamination; and better ergonomics for staff.
Grimsrud describes the approach as the “5E’s: Efficiencies, Exclusion (of pathogens and contaminants), Ergonomics, Enrichment, and Education.
“Our goal is to improve the infrastructure at our barrier vivarium by implementing lean management principles with an environmentally resourceful emphasis using our innovative 5E’s approach,” she said.
The UC Davis Mouse Biology Program provides services and consultation to researchers using gene-altered mice in biomedical research. It is the lead partner in the NIH-funded consortium that is part of the Knockout Mouse Project (KOMP), which seeks to develop a “knockout” gene-altered mouse for up to 1,000 different genes. These gene-altered mice have become an invaluable tool for fundamental biomedical research in areas ranging from Parkinson’s Disease to cancer. The MBP also participates in the International Mouse Phenotyping Consortium, the Mutant Mouse Resource and Research Centers network (where researchers can “archive” and obtain mice) and the Mouse Metabolic Phenotyping Center, which seeks to understand the basic mechanisms of diabetes and obesity.
Dawn Rowe is an analyst with the UC Davis Mouse Biology Program.