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Animal Models Core

Leadership, Expertise & Staffing

Andy Shih, Ph.D.

Dr. Shih was involved in the development of optical techniques to generate targeted small vessel occlusions in the mouse cortex under guidance by two-photon microscopy (C1a to d). He was also involved in the refinement of imaging techniques to quantify blood flow at the level of single vessels and to sample cell populations during neuronal calcium imaging in vivo (C1b,c and C2c). Combined, these tools allow my lab to conduct the proposed studies at a high level of rigor and precision that may not be achieved elsewhere.

We use advanced optical techniques and genetic targeting strategies to visualize and manipulate blood flow at the level of the smallest arterioles, venules, and capillaries of the brain. The goal is to determine how anomalies in blood flow at the microvascular level affect brain function and repair after injury.

Elyse Clayton, Research Specialist

Elyse has over seven years of experience performing sensitive behavioral assessments on rats and, more currently, mice. She has over 4 years of experience working with brain stimulation techniques to enhance motor rehabilitation in rats.


Core Training & Consultation

Stroke Surgery

Surgical-related equipment includes a rodent stereotax, Zeiss OPMI VISU surgery microscope, stereotaxic drills, ultraviolet curing light, and fiber optic illuminator. For tissue processing, there are two shared computer-interfaced stereological work-stations, which include two stereo light microscopes with high-resolution digital cameras and fluorescent capabilities, Leica VT1000S vibratome, and a benchtop microscope.

Brain Stimulation

Epidural Stimulation: The cortical stimulation protocol is run off of one PC laptop with custom software that can run up to five wireless stimulator boxes, each box connecting to one implanted electrode via radio frequency. The stimulation software allows each stimulator box to be set individually for exact frequency, current level, plus width, etc.

Behavioral Assessments

We have approximately 300 square feet of a dedicated room for behavioral assessment and training of rats. Dr. Adkins has all the necessary behavioral testing equipment for this research. For rats, there are four reaching chambers, two ladder tasks, two testing cylinders, video tracking EthoVision software, and a high-speed digital video camera suitable for frame- by-frame analyses of digital videos. For mice, she has enriched environment equipment and cage, a high- speed digital camera, two reaching chambers, two pasta and two single-pellet reaching platforms, two cylinder tasks, and two ladder tasks. Additionally, AAALAC approved animal housing rooms are available in the MUSC Childrens’ Research Institute.