Animal Models and Organ Culture

The development of new therapies and improving our understanding of visual system function ultimately relies on transferring work done in vitro to animal models. The goal of the Animal Model and Eye Organ Culture Core is to provide users with assistance in using animal models.  To facilitate the proposed research and to establish relevance to humans it is essential to have a resource that specializes in nonhuman primates. Preliminary to nonhuman primate studies, many similar research studies may be carried out in cats, rats or mice.

Within the Animal Model and Eye Organ Culture Core, expertise and services are provided to allow core users to assess the effects of agents, manipulations, and vectors/constructs on ocular function in rodents, cats and primates and on aqueous outflow in organ-cultured anterior segments. Models of experimental glaucoma, as well as inner and outer retinal lesions, can be produced. Central and retinal function as well as anterior segment physiology can be monitored. Photography and imaging of ocular structures are accomplished with scanning laser polarimetry, confocal scanning laser ophthalmoscopy, fundus photography, and angiography. Gene delivery and detection of co-transduced reporter genes (GFP, RFP) is available.


  • Provide animal handling, anesthesia, procedure assistance and post- procedure monitoring following introduction of vectors into the eye
  • Produce experimental glaucoma in animals by laser trabecular destruction and monitor its progression
  • Assess the effects of transduced gene products on aqueous humor dynamics in monkeys in vivo or in organ-cultured pig and/or monkey anterior segments
  • Assess the effect of transduced gene products, pharmacotherapy and other interventions in preserving retinal function using standard and multifocal ERG, multifocal visual evoked potential, pattern ERG, full-field ERG
  • Monitor expression of co-transduced green fluorescent protein (GFP) included in many gene delivery constructs
  • Provide IOP measurements, anterior and posterior segment slit lamp stereobiomicroscopy, including assessment of disk cupping, indirect ophthalmoscopy, stereoscopic optic nerve head and fundus photography
  • Provide confocal scanning laser ophthalmoscopic (Cirrus and/or Stratus OCT) topographic assessment of the optic disc
  • Monitoring outflow facility non-invasively with pneumatonography
  • Tonometry studies to determine the effects of agents to lower intraocular pressure.
  • Other services: Provide measures of central corneal thickness, outflow facility in vivo and in organ culture, surgical assistance for lens extractions, vitrectomies, branched vein occlusion surgery, microsphere injections, microneedle injections, aqueous humor formation by fluorophotometry, euthanasia and tissue harvesting, retinal photography, retinal angiography, retinal nerve fiber layer and contour imaging, ultrasound biomicroscopy, refraction, and viral vector injections.


  • Fundus camera
  • Electrophysiology equipment for mfERG, ffERG, PERG, PVEP
  • Optical coherence tomographer
  • Ultrasound biomicroscope
  • Fluorotron master fluorophotometer
  • Sonometrics SBR-300 A-scan ultrasonograph
  • Slit lamps with Goldmann applanation tonometer
  • Hartinger coincidence refractometers
  • Keeler instruments indirect ophthalmoscope

For questions regarding Animal models and organ culture services, please contact:

Animal Models/Organ Culture Core Director

Paul L. Kaufman, M.D.
K4/430 CSC, 600 Highland Ave.
Madison, WI 53792
Phone: 608-263-6074