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The average mouse is home to trillions of bacteria, however gnotobiotic, or germ-free, mice have no microbes living on them and are therefore a powerful tool to interrogate the role of the microbiome in health and disease. 

A gnotobiotic research facility has opened at the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology on the Old Road Campus to support a major microbiome initiative currently underway at the Institute. Researchers from across the University, and outside collaborators, are invited to put forward proposals for potential projects that will benefit from access to the world-class facilities and germ-free animals or tissues.

Potential utilisation includes high throughput molecular and genetic analysis to compare germ-free mice with mice raised in a normal environment. Similarly, mice with a defined genetic mutation can be raised germ-free to investigate the interaction of this mutation with the microbiome. Additionally, individual microbes or groups of microbes can be introduced into germ-free mice to interrogate their role in a disease or biological process. The applications for the gnotobiotic facility are widespread and include studies of the immune system, respiratory system, digestive system, nervous system, reproductive system and others.

If you are interested in using the gnotobiotic facility or you would like more information or advice about using the facility, please email the project manager at 

To coincide with the launch of the gnotobiotic facility at the KIR and to highlight the relevance and potential applications of this resource, a Microbiome Symposium has been organised for Tuesday 9 January, 2018. With talks from world-leading experts in this area and the opportunity to network with colleagues from around the world, this is an event not to be missed.

Register for free here