Core Services














Aerobiology and Animal Models Core


Core leader: Richard Frothingham

Duke University

The Aerobiology and Animal Models Core provides animal models using BSL3 NIH priority pathogens to respond to the scientific needs of investigators in the Southeast Regional Center of Excellence for Emerging Infections and Biodefense (SERCEB). The Core is located in the NIAID-funded Regional Biocontainment Laboratory (RBL) at Duke. The Core develops and characterizes specific models based on SERCEB research priorities, and uses the models to test specific hypotheses developed by SERCEB investigators.


Core services include local animal approval, animal acquisition, growth and characterization of inoculum, delivery and confirmation of challenge dose, animal monitoring, serum and tissue collection, determination of colony-forming units or plaque-forming units, and data analysis. The Core provides well-characterized challenges by the aerosol route, either whole body or nose-only, and by other routes as appropriate to scientific hypotheses.


The Core registers and acquires Select Agents in the RBL, and maintains the inventory for these agents as required by the Select Agent Final Rule. The Core coordinates with the SERCEB BSL3 Host-Pathogen Interaction Flow and Imaging Core located in the RBL to provide live BSL3 cell sorting and analysis, BSL3 whole-body imaging using the IVIS system with both luminescence and fluorescence capabilities, multiplex cytokine determination, and other immunological studies.


The Core has established and validated murine models for bubonic plague, pneumonic plague, tuberculosis, West Nile Virus, and tularemia. A murine model for Yellow Fever Virus is in development. Other models will be developed over the course of the grant period using other agents and other mammalian species, based on the research needs of SERCEB investigators. The Core will be available to provide surge capacity to local, state, and federal officials in the event of a public health emergency.


The Core has conducted research using the NIAID priority pathogens Y. pestis, Mycobacterium tuberculosis (sensitive, MDR, and XDR), Francisella tularensis, West Nile Virus, and Yellow Fever Virus to support ten funded SERCEB components:


SERCEB Research Programs

Virginia Miller and Matt Redinbo, UNC: Yersinia autotransporters (Yaps): Structure, function, and host response to plague

William Goldman, UNC: Controlling the progression of pneumonic plague

Jeff Frelinger, Univ Arizona and Tom Kawula, UNC: Route of infection shapes immune responses to Francisella

Jenny Ting, UNC: Novel roles of the NLR protein in host response against West Nile Virus and Dengue Virus

Frank Scholle, NC State: TLR7 and responses to flaviviruses

Thomas Tedder, Duke: Regulatory B cell inhibition of immune responses to pathogens

SERCEB Developmental Projects

Mariano Garcia-Blanco, Duke: Development of a mouse model for viscerotropic yellow fever

SERCEB Career Development Awards

Alex Duncan, UNC: NLRP3 signaling in staphylococcal infections

Sunhee Lee, Duke: Development of animal models and a new vaccine strategy for MDR TB

SERCEB Core Services

Greg Sempowski, Duke: BSL-3 Flow, Biomarker and Imaging Core (FBI)