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.


  • Animal handling, anesthesia, procedure assistance and post-procedure monitoring
  • Experimental glaucoma models and other ocular disease models
  • Assess aqueous humor dynamics in vivo
  • Assess retinal function using ERG and quantitative optomotor response testing (qOMR)
  • IOP measurements, slit lamp and fundus photography
  • Confocal scanning laser ophthalmoscopy with Spectralis HRA+ OCT
  • Monitoring outflow facility non-invasively
  • Tonometry to determine the effects of agents lowering intraocular pressure
  • Delivery of therapeutics, stem cells, scaffolds, devices, and gene therapy constructs to the eye
  • Ex-vivo eye organ culture

Link to Equipment

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

Animal Models/Organ Culture Core Director

Colleen McDowell, PhD
3375A MSC, 1300 University Ave.
Madison, WI 53705
Phone: 608-265-3996

Animal Models/Organ Culture Core Co-Director

Gillian McLellan, BVMS, DACVO, DECVO, PhD
594 Med Sci, 1300 University Ave.
Madison, WI 53705
Phone: 608-265-9848