The Mouse Models Core

Director: Wanda K. O'Neal, PhD; Co-Director: Alessandra Livraghi-Butrico, PhD


The Marscio Lung Institute/UNC Cystic Fibrosis Center Mouse Core is dedicated to providing access for collaborating scientists to mouse models critical for in vivo studies that provide insights into pulmonary disease pathophysiology and treatment.  The Mouse Models Core has been involved in the generation and/or study of over 25 lines of transgenic or knockout mice for a variety of collaborators over the years.  The development of new transgenic of knockout lines is highly dependent upon a collaboration with the UNC Transgenic Mouse Core, and more recently to the use of transgenic lines obtained from international resources, such as KOMP and EUCOMM.  Currently, the Mouse Models Core supports several translational grants (CADET, tPPG, TCORS) and is funded by both industry contracts and NIH-funding, as well as core support from the North American Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.  The Mouse Core is also integral to the functions provided by SPIROVATION.  Currently, we are developing a number of new lines, particularly focused on mucin biology. The Mouse Models Core laboratory is located on the seventh floor of Marsico Hall, with most of the mice housed in Genetic Medicine

One of the more successful mouse lines to be developed in collaboration with the Mouse Models Core is the Scnn1b-Tg mouse that provides a valuable model for muco-obstructive lung diseases, such as CF, COPD, and chronic bronchitis.  This mouse has been widely used to explore features of pulmonary disease physiology and treatment since its development in 2004, and the number of publications based upon this model continues to grow. 

The Mouse Models Core Laboratory also provides support and expertise for mouse colony maintenance, breeding strategies, mouse lung phenotyping protocols, and submission of Applications to Use Live Vertebrate Animals to maintain compliance with IACUC guidelines.  Particularly valuable are the phenotyping services, which include collection of lavage samples for cytokines, mucins, microbiology, and inflammatory cell counts.  Histological sections can also be obtained that can be used to quantify specific aspects of pulmonary pathology, including emphysema, mucus plugging, inflammation, and goblet cell metaplasia.  Collaborations with other Marsico Lung Institute scientists, such as Drs. Barbara Grubb and Martina Gentzsch, extend the phenotyping to specialized measures of mucociliary clearance and ion transport properties.    


Mrs. Allison Volmer, BS
Research Specialist

Allison joined the Mouse Models Lab in January of 2010. Allison graduated from Texas A&M University where she obtained a Bachelor’s of Science in Biomedical Science in 1995. Before moving to Chapel Hill, she worked at the Baylor College of Medicine and The University of Texas- Medical Branch for Dr. Paul Overbeek in Molecular Biology and Dr. Neal Waxham in Neurobiology respectively.  She is responsible for colony management and genotyping of Mucin-deficient deficient βENaC-Tg mice as well as Rag deficient, SPDEF, and many others and she participates in phenotyping efforts.

Ms. Kristen J. Wilkinson
Research Specialist

Kristen graduated from UNC in 2006 with a Bachelors of Science in Biology and a minor in Chemistry.  She joined the Mouse Models Core in 2006 where she participated in mouse colony management, genotyping, and phenotyping of bENaC and Mucin deficient mice.  In 2009 she left the core to pursue a Masters in Research degree in Biomedical Sciences with a concentration in Human Genetics from St. Georges, University of London. In 2010 she received the postgraduate award for the best overall achievement in her course. In August 2011 she returned to UNC and the Mouse Models Core as a Research Specialist. 

Contact Information

125 Mason Farm Road
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Campus Box #7248
Chapel Hill, NC 27599
Phone: (919) 843-1097
Fax: (919) 966-5178