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Terry Magnuson, PhDThe MMRRC at UNC, led by Dr. Terry Magnuson (Vice Chancellor for Research and Distinguished Professor of Genetics), was awarded a $500,000 supplement from the NIH to develop and validate two new animal model resources to support research activities related to pathogenic coronaviruses (including SARS-CoV2).

Under the project funded by the supplement, the MMRRC will leverage three UNC specific resources – 1) a humanized ACE2 mouse model, 2) a screen for susceptibility and severity of SARS-CoV-2 infection in over 40 Collaborative Cross (CC) strains, and 3) a custom speed congenic pipeline – to rapidly create two new mouse models with diverse genetic backgrounds that combine disease susceptibility and phenotypic similarities to human infection and utilize the human receptor to more exquisitely model infection. Development and distribution of these new resources to the research community will open the door to an array of mechanistic studies of genetic modifiers of disease and the susceptibility to new and emerging viral variants and strains.

UNC Co-Investigators on the MMRRC supplement project include Fernando Pardo Manuel de Villena, PhD (Distinguished Professor and Chair, Department of Genetics), Mark Heise, PhD (Professor, Department of Genetics and Department of Microbiology and Immunology), Virginia Godfrey, DVM, PhD (Professor, Department of Pathology and Lab Medicine), Tori Baxter, DVM, PhD (Assistant Professor, Department of Pathology and Lab Medicine) and Stephanie Montgomery, DVM, PhD (Associate Professor, Department of Pathology and Lab Medicine).