The Infectious Disease Aerobiology Core in the Division of Microbiology offers aerosol exposure/treatment services of BSL-2 and BSL-3 agents (toxins, bacteria, or viruses) to primates, rabbits, and rodents, facilitating the study of infection via the respiratory route.
The Aerobiology Core uses an automated aerosol control system to maintain air flow rate to the nebulizer and sampler, recording all parameters in real time. Aerosols are generated by a collison nebulizer, enabling inoculum to be administered at a pre-determined rate. Biological sampling is taken during the challenges to determine dose. Our plethysmography equipment (available for primates and rabbits) provides accurate measurement of respiration rates and volumes, allowing for precise dosage calculations.
The primary mission of the Pathogen Detection and Quantification Core (PDQC) is to provide diagnostics service to the Division of Veterinary Medicine for establishing and maintaining Specific Pathogen-Free (SPF) nonhuman primate colonies. The PDQC team members also offer assay services and training to research investigators using specialized instrumentation.
a. Diagnostic Unit
Animal surveillance services provided by the Diagnostics Unit of the PDQC include routine serological testing for SIV, STLV, SRV, Herpes B Virus, Measles Virus, and Burkholderia pseudomallei. Expanded testing for the SPF9 colony is performed as requested that includes serology for SFV, CMV, RRV, SVV, SV40, and LCV. Serological testing for Chagas Disease, Chikungunya virus, Flaviviruses (e.g. Dengue, WNV, Zika, SLEV, Yellow Fever), and Mycobacterium tuberculosis also is performed to support the animal resources and for research purposes. The PDQC further provides service and resources to support research investigators, especially but not limited to multiplex bead-based assays using Luminex xMAP® technology (e.g. cytokine quantification, gene expression) using Bio-Plex 200 instrumentation.
b. Real-Time PCR Unit
Animal surveillance services provided by the Real-Time PCR Unit of the PDQC include routine qPCR detection of proviral SRV (i.e. Simian beta retroviruses). Expanded testing for RRV and SFV by RT-PCR to support the SPF9 colony also is available. The Real-Time PCR Unit of the PDQC provides research testing and instrumentation resources to support research investigators, specifically SIV viral load quantification, access to qPCR instrumentation (including open array via QuantStudio 12K-Flex), automated nucleic acid extraction (MagNAPure instrument), and technical support.
The Virus Characterization, Isolation, and Production Core (VCIP) was created to provide for the expanded needs of the TNPRC core and affiliate investigators with a focus on AIDS. It has eliminated the need for individual labs to prepare retroviral challenge stocks. Having titered stocks for immediate use saves funds and makes laboratories more efficient and the results comparable. Although the primary function of the core is to support TNPRC Cores and affiliate investigators, the core has provided virus to off-site NIH investigators.
VCIP also to characterizes viruses that have not been previously characterized in vitro for growth on macaque cells. This service is limited to studies linked to pilot projects or preliminary studies for NIH grant submissions.