Vivarium Core and Transgenics Core

Overview

Van Andel Institute is committed to conducting exceptional animal research in an ethical and responsible manner to further science and improve the health of society. VAI’s Vivarium Core and Transgenics Cores develop, provide and support the gold standard of high-quality mouse, rat and zebrafish modeling services for VAI investigators, collaborators and the greater research community. VAI’s Vivarium is a state-of-the-art facility that includes a high-containment barrier. All procedures are conducted according to the National Institutes of Health’s Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. The Institute is accredited at the highest standard of care through the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC) International.

The Vivarium Core is led by Director Scott Bechaz, an accomplished leader and expert in laboratory animal research and management with more than 30 years of experience. He holds a Bachelor of Applied Biology from Ferris State University, a Laboratory Animal Technologist (LATG) certification and is a graduate of the Institute of Laboratory Animal Managers (ILAM). Prior to become director of VAI’s Vivarium in 2022, he held key leadership positions at University of Michigan, Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Harvard University, The Broad Institute and the University of Toledo, among others. The Core is committed to the highest quality animal standards and care as well as to providing strong, dedicated support for the research community. The Vivarium’s staff understand the importance of providing exceptional humane care in order to produce quality research.

The Transgenics Core is led by Tristan Kempston, who has more than a decade of experience developing and leading gene targeting projects. He earned his B.A. in biology (magna cum laude) from Grand Valley State University and later trained with Dr. Thom Saunders at University of Michigan. Tristan joined the Transgenics team at Van Andel Institute in 2010, where he advised clients on optimal gene targeting strategies and designed projects to facilitate leading-edge research. He was a key collaborator in VAI’s first CRISPR experiments in 2014 and, in 2017, Tristan helped launch a CRISPR design service to labs across the Institute. In 2022, VAI transitioned the Transgenics and Vivarium Core into two separate but collaborative groups to better support research. Tristan was promoted to director of the Transgenics Core, and leads an exceptional team with deep expertise in gene targeting, CRISPR and many other crucial services.

Please acknowledge VAI’s Vivarium Core and Transgenics Core in publications using the following wording or similar: We thank Van Andel Institute’s Vivarium Core and Transgenics Core for their contributions to this work.

HOW TO REQUEST SERVICES

VAI’s Core Technologies and Services manages service requests through CrossLab Solutions. Each Core maintains a CrossLab page that provides descriptions of the Core as well as options to schedule equipment and request services. Pricing also is available in CrossLab (See Schedule Equipment and/or Request Services). Current CrossLab users can login here.

VAI staff that need a login (or further CrossLab support) should contact Lori Moon. MSU and external users that need a CrossLab account/login should go here for account creation. After logging in, external users should click “list all cores” under the Core Facilities section in the left menu and scroll down to “Cores at Van Andel Institute.”

For production of transgenic mice, gene-targeted mice, cryopreservation and rederivation, please contact our team at TransgenicServices@vai.org.

Our Impact

We’re raising thousands to save millions.

We’re turning hope into action for the millions of people around the world affected by diseases like cancer and Parkinson’s. Find out how you can help us make a difference.

  • 88 studies published from Jan. 1, 2022 to Sept. 21, 2022
  • 44 studies in high-impact journals from Jan. 1, 2022 to Sept. 21, 2022
  • 42 clinical trials launched

VAI’s Vivarium Core and Transgenics Core provides high-quality mouse, rat and zebrafish modeling services. All procedures are conducted according to the National Institutes of Health’s Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. The Institute is accredited by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC) International.

Services offered:

Cryopreservation

  • Mouse sperm
  • Mouse embryo
  • Rat embryo

Transgenic Mouse Production

 

iGONAD

 

Gene Targeting

  • Gene knock-in or knock-out
  • Electroporation of ES cells, clone selection and DNA isolation
  • Thawing and expansion of ES cell clones

Blastocyst Microinjection

 

CRISPR/Cas9

 

Rederivation

  • Sperm cryopreservation to rederivation
  • Traditional rederivation

HOW TO REQUEST SERVICES

VAI’s Core Technologies and Services manages service requests through CrossLab Solutions. Each Core maintains a CrossLab page that provides descriptions of the Core as well as options to schedule equipment and request services. Pricing also is available in CrossLab (See Schedule Equipment and/or Request Services). Current CrossLab users can login here.

VAI staff that need a login (or further CrossLab support) should contact Lori Moon. MSU and external users that need a CrossLab account/login should go here for account creation. After logging in, external users should click “list all cores” under the Core Facilities section in the left menu and scroll down to “Cores at Van Andel Institute.”

For production of transgenic mice, gene-targeted mice, cryopreservation and rederivation, please contact our team at TransgenicServices@vai.org.

Selected Publications

Maupin KA, Diegel CR, Stevens PD, Dick D, VAI Vivarium and Transgenics Core, Williams BO2022Mutation of the galectin-3 glycan-binding domain (Lgals3-R200S) enhances cortical bone expansion in male mice and trabecular bone mass in female miceFEBS Open Bio 12(10):1717–1728.

Yang CH*, Fagnocchi L*, Apostle S, Wegert V, Casani-Galdón S, Landgraf K, Panzeri I, Dror E, Heyne S, Wörpel T, Chandler DP, Lu D, Yang T, Gibbons E, Guerreiro R, Brás J, Thomasen M, Grunnert LG, Vaag AA, Gillberg L, Grundberg, E, Conesa A, Körner A, PERMUTE, Pospisilik JA. 2022. Independent phenotypic plasticity axes define distinct obesity subtypesNat Metab.

*Co-first authorship
**Highlighted in News & Views
***The Core contributed to this work

Zhou W, Hinoue T, Barnes B, Mitchell O, Iqbal W, Lee SM, Foy KK, Lee KH, Moyer EJ, VanderArk A, Koeman JM, Ding W, Kalkat M, Spix NJ, Eagleson B, Pospisilik JA, Szabó PE, Bartolomei M, Vander Scaaf NA, Kang L, Wiseman AK, Jones PA, Krawczyk CM, Adams M, Porecha R, Chen BH, Shen H, Laird PW. 2022. DNA methylation dynamics and dysregulation delineated by high-throughput profiling in the mouse. Cell Genom 2(7):100144.

 Ubels JL, Lin CM, Antonetti DA, Diaz-Coranguez M, Diegel CR, Williams BO. 2022. Structure and function of the retina of low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 5 (Lrp5)-deficient rats. Exp Eye Res. 

 Zeng TB, Pierce N, Liao J, Singh P, Lau K, Zhou W, Szabó PE. 2021. EHMT2 suppresses the variation of transcriptional switches in the mouse embryo. PLoS Genet;17(11):e1009908. 

 Johnson ME, Bergkvist L, Stetzik L, Steiner JA, Meyerdirk L, Schulz E, Wolfrum E, Luk KC, Wesson DW, Krainc D, Brundin P. 2021. Heterozygous GBA D409V and ATP13a2 mutations do not exacerbate pathological α-synuclein spread in the prodromal preformed fibrils model in young mice. Neurobiol Dis 159:105513. 

 Chen L, Daniels S, Kim Y, Chu HY. 2021. Cell type-specific decrease of the intrinsic excitability of motor cortical pyramidal neurons in parkinsonism. J Neurosci 41(25):5553–5565. 

 George S, Tyson T, Rey NL, Sheridan R, Peelaerts W, Becker K, Schulz E, Meyerdirk L, Burmeister AR, von Linstow CU, Steiner JA, Galvis MLE, Ma J, Pospisilik JA, Labrie V, Brundin L, Brundin P. 2021. T cells limit accumulation of aggregate pathology following intrastriatal injection of α-synuclein fibrils. J Parkinsons Dis 11(2):585–603.  

 Tovar EA, Sheridan R, Essenburg CJ, Dischinger PS, Arumugam M, Callaghan ME, Graveel CR, Steensma MR. 2020. Dissecting the rat mammary gland: Isolation, characterization, and culture of purified mammary epithelial cells and fibroblasts. Bio Protoc 10(22):e3818.  

Liao J, Zeng TB, Pierce N, Tran DA, Singh P, Mann JR, Szabó PE. 2021. Prenatal correction of IGF2 to rescue the growth phenotypes in mouse models of Beckwith-Wiedemann and Silver-Russell syndromes. Cell Rep 34(6):108729. 

 Zeng TB, Szabó PE. 2021. Immunochemical detection of modified cytosine species in mammalian preimplantation embryos. Methods Mol Biol 2198:147–157. 

Liao J, Szabó PE. 2020. Maternal DOT1L is dispensable for mouse development. Sci Rep10(1):20636. 

Marshall LL, Killinger BA, Ensink E, Li P, Li KX, Cui W, Lubben N, Weiland M, Wang X, Gordevicius J, Coetzee GA, Ma J, Jovinge S, Labrie V. 2020. Epigenomic analysis of Parkinson’s disease neurons identifies Tet2 loss as neuroprotective. Nat Neuro. 

Ubels JL, Diegel CR, Foxa GE, Ethen NJ, Lensing JN, Madaj ZB, Williams BO. 2020. Low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 5-deficient rats have reduced bone mass and abnormal development of the retinal vasculature. CRISPR J 3(4):284–298. 

Diegel CR, Hann S, Ayturk UM, Hu JCW, Lim K, Droscha CJ, Madaj ZB, Foxa GE, Izaguirre I, VAI Vivarium and Transgenics Core, Paracha N, Pidhaynyy B, Dowd TL, Robling AG, Warman ML, Williams BO. 2020. An osteocalcin-deficient mouse strain without endocrine abnormalities. PLOS Genet. 

Diegel CR, Hann S, Ayturk UM, Hu JCW, Lim KE, Droscha CJ, Madaj ZB, Foxa GE, Izaguirre I, VAI Vivarium and Transgenics Core, Robling AG, Warman ML, Williams BO. 2020. Independent validation of experimental results requires timely and unrestricted access to animal models and reagents. PLoS Genet 16(6):e1008940. 

Johnson ME, Bergkvist L, Mercado G, Stetzik L, Meyerdirk L, Wolfrum E, Madaj Z, Brundin P, Wesson DW. 2020. Deficits in olfactory sensitivity in a mouse model of Parkinson’s disease revealed by plethysmography of odor-evoked sniffing. Sci Rep 10(1):9242. 

Steece-Collier K, Collier TJ, Lipton JW, Stancati JA, Winn ME, Cole-Strauss A, Sellnow R, Conti MM, Mercado NM, Nillni EA, Sortwell CE, Manfredsson FP, Bishop C. 2020. Striatal Nurr1, but not FosB expression links a levodopa-induced dyskinesia phenotype to genotype in Fisher 344 vs. Lewis hemiparkinsonian rats. Exp Neurol 330:113327. 

Grit JL, Pridgeon MG, Essenburg CJ, Wolfrum E, Madaj ZB, Turner L, Wulfkuhle J, Petricoin EF 3rd, Graveel CR, Steensma MR. 2020. Kinome profiling of NF1-related MPNSTs in response to kinase inhibition and doxorubicin reveals therapeutic vulnerabilities. Genes (Basel) 11(3):331. 

Pierce MR, Robinson RM, Ibarra-Rivera TR, Pirrung MC, Dolloff NG, Bachmann AS. 2020. Syrbactin proteasome inhibitor TIR-199 overcomes bortezomib chemoresistance and inhibits multiple myeloma tumor growth in vivo. Leuk Res 88:106271. 

Ganguly SS, Hostetter G, Tang L, Frank SB, Saboda K, Mehra R, Wang L, Li X, Keller ET, Miranti CK. 2020. Notch3 promotes prostate cancer-induced bone lesion development via MMP-3. Oncogene 39(1):204–218.  

Dischinger PS, Tovar EA, Essenburg CJ, Madaj ZB, Gardner EE, Callaghan ME, Turner AN, Challa AK, Kempston T, Eagleson B, Kesterson RA, Bronson RT, Bowman MJ, Graveel CR, Steensma MR. 2018. NF1 deficiency correlates with estrogen receptor signaling and diminished survival in breast cancer. npj Breast Cancer 4. 

Rodriguez WV, Woolliscroft MJ, Ebrahim AS, Forgey R, McGovren PJ, Endert G, Wagner A, Holewa D, Aboukameel A, Gill RD, Bisgaier CL, Messmann RA, Whitehead CE, Izbicka E, Streeper R, Wick MC, Stiegler G, Stein CA, Monsma D, Webb C, Sooch MP, Panzner S, Mohammad R, Goodwin NC, Al-Katib A. 2014. Development and antitumor activity of a BCL-2 targeted single-stranded DNA oligonucleotide. Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 74(1):151–156 

Monsma DJ, Cherba DM, Richardson PJ, Vance S, Rangarajan S, Dylewski D, Eugster E, Scott SB, Beuschel NL, Davidson PJ, Axtell R, Mitchell D, Lester EP, Junewick JJ, Webb CP, Monks NR. 2014. Using a rhabdomyosarcoma patient-derived xenograft to examine precision medicine approaches and model acquired resistance. Pediatr Blood Cancer 61(9):1570–1577.  

Monsma DJ, Monks NR, Cherba DM, Dylewski D, Eugster E, Jahn H, Srikanth S, Scott SB, Richardson PJ, Everts RE, Ishkin A, Nikolsky Y, Resau JH, Sigler R, Nickoloff BJ, Webb CP. 2012. Genomic characterization of explant tumorgraft models derived from fresh patient tumor tissue. J Transl Med 10:125.  

Phadke AP, Jay CM, Wang Z, Chen S, Liu S, Haddock C, Kumar P , Pappen BO, Rao DD, Templeton NS, Daniels EQ, Webb CP, Monsma DJ, Scott S, Dylewski D, Friedboes HB, Brunicardi FC, Senzer N, Maples PB, Nemunaitis J, Tong AW. 2011. In vivo safety and antitumor efficacy of bifunctional small hairpin RNAs specific for the human Stathmin 1 oncoprotein. DNA Cell Biol 30(9): 715–726.  

Rao DD, Maples PB, Senzer N, Kumar P, Want Z, Pappen BO, Yu Y, Haddock C, Jay C, Phadke AP, Chen S, Kuhn J, Dylewski D, Scott S, Monsma DJ, Webb CP, Tong A, Shanahan D, Nemunaitis J. 2010. Enhanced target gene knockdown by a bifunctional shRNA: a novel approach of RNA interference. Cancer Gene Ther 17(11): 780–791.  

Hostetter G, Kim SY, Savage S, Gooden GC, Barrett M, Zhang J, Alla L, Watanbe A, Einspahr J, Prasad A, Nickoloff BJ, Carpten J, Trent J, Alberts D, Bittner M. 2010. Random DNA fragmentation allows detection of single-copy, single-exon alterations of copy number by oligonucleotide array CGH in clinical FFPE samples. Nucleic Acids Res 38(2): e9. 

Phadke AP, Chen S, Rao DD, Jay C, Wang ZH, Kumar P, Dylewski D, Scott S, Tong AW, Maples PB, Senzer NN, Monsma D, Webb C, Nemunaitis J. 2009. Safety studies of a Stathmin 1 bifunctional shRNA in murine xenograft of human osteosarcoma and a human colon cancer cell line. Mol Ther 178: S114–S114. 

Kuick R, Misek DE, Monsma DJ, Webb CP, Wang H, Peterson KJ, Pisano M, Omenn GS, Hanash SM. 2007. Discovery of cancer biomarkers through the use of mouse models. Cancer Lett 249(1): 40–48. 

Creighton CJ, Bromberg-White JL, Misek DE, Monsma DJ, Brichory F, Kuick R, Giordano TJ, Gao W, Omenn GS, Webb CP, Hanash SM. 2005. Analysis of tumor-host interactions by gene expression profiling of lung adenocarcinoma xenografts identifies genes involved in tumor formation. Mol Cancer Res 3(3): 119–129.

Scott Bechaz, B.S., ILAM, RLATg

Director, Vivarium Core

Biography

Scott Bechaz is an accomplished leader and expert in laboratory animal research and management field with more than 30 years of experience. He holds a Bachelor of Applied Biology from Ferris State University, certified Laboratory Animal Technologist (LATG) and is a graduate of the Institute of Laboratory Animal Managers (ILAM). Prior to become director of VAI’s Vivarium in 2022, he held key leadership positions at University of Michigan, Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Harvard University, and the Broad Institute, among others.

Tristan Kempston, LAT

Director, Transgenics Core

Biography

Tristan Kempston has more than a decade of experience developing and leading gene targeting projects. He earned his B.A. in biology (magna cum laude) from Grand Valley State University and later trained with Dr. Thom Saunders at University of Michigan. Tristan joined the Transgenics team at Van Andel Institute in 2010, where he advised clients on optimal gene targeting strategies and designed projects to facilitate leading-edge research. He was a key collaborator in VAI’s first CRISPR experiments in 2014 and, in 2017, Tristan helped launch a CRISPR design service to labs across the Institute. In 2022, VAI transitioned the Transgenics and Vivarium Core into two separate but collaborative groups to better support research. Tristan was promoted to director of the Transgenics Core, and leads an exceptional team with deep expertise in gene targeting, CRISPR and many other crucial services.