Getting Started

The Gnotobiotic Core at Rutgers University provides investigators with the ability to work with germ-free mice and technical services that support gnotobiotic studies. Our germ-free mice are completely free of exogenous, bacterial, fungal and viral microorganisms. To ensure they remain free of all exogenous microbes, our germ-free mice are housed in isolator cages and are routinely monitored. These mice are ideal for the study of the microbiome. The Gnotobiotic Core also provides investigators with a laboratory that contains a biosafety cabinet and incubator for experimental needs. Currently the core maintains a germ-free colony with C57BL/6 GF mice and Swiss Webster mice.

For Gnotobiotic Core related technical services or supply requests, please submit requests using iLab.

For general facility related inquiries, please contact:

Technical Services

Our gnotobiotic core provides the following types of technical services to researchers as per their protocol needs:

  • Colony management and breeding of germ-free mice
  • Injections
  • Blood collection
  • Identification & tissue for genotyping
  • Body weight
  • Fecal collection
  • Sterility testing – food, environment, swabs
  • Sterile supplies for experiments – available upon request (ie. sterile gowns, gloves, 1.5ml microcentrifuge tubes, needles & syringes)
  • Health monitoring – in house microbiological testing, external diagnostic lab for molecular testing
  • Animal husbandry services
  • Rederivation offered in the future
  • Transfer of germ-free mice in autoclavable cages
  • Fecal storage at -80

Professional Services

Training is available in the following two areas:

  • Hands-on training using the isolator cages, isolators, and biosafety cabinet
  • Hands-on training tailored to the lab's needs

Housing for Germ-Free Mice

All germ-free or axenic mice are housed on sterile cellulose based bedding (BioFresh), provided with hyperchlorinated RO water and Lab Diet JL rat & mouse 6F K5AI extruded diet formulated for autoclaving. The facility also has HEPA filters that filter the air in every animal room and is maintained at positive pressure. Environmental enrichment includes a red mouse igloo (Bioserv) and/or Enviro-pak for nesting. Any other special housing requirements must be requested and an additional fee may incur.  

Housing Racks

The Gnotobiotic Core has four Allentown Sealed Positive Pressure (SPP) mouse racks certified with double HEPA filtration that house up to 48 cages each. These cages enable a germ-free environment at the cage level. The isolator cages are great for experiments as each cage provides its own individual isolated clean micro-environment. The sterility of each cage is tested every each time the cage is opened.

We also have several 6-ft flexible-film isolators available for larger mouse breeding colonies.

Transportation for Germ-Free Mice

The Gnotobiotic Core has a Sentry SPP animal Transfer Unit which is a mobile housing unit designed to provide a secure microenvironment for animals in transport or temporarily removed from the main population. This unit has an 8-hour battery supply when not plugged in.

Our core also has additional NKP isotec reusable autoclavable cages to transport GF mice across the Rutgers campus and maintain GF status upon receipt. To transport mice using these cages, please submit an animal transfer request using ACFC.

Use of NKP isotec cages may require recipient to undergo in-person hands-on training. To request hands-on training, please submit your request using iLab. NKP isotec cages can be used to transport up to 4 adult mice in each cage. GF mice can be transferred from IVC cages into isolators and many other places.

Facility Access

To obtain facility access to the Gnotobiotic Core, please visit eIACUC and navigate to the Course Registration System. Click on “Animal Care Self-paced Training” and scroll down to register for the Gnotobiotic Orientation. You will receive an email with a video link to view it.

After the virtual Gnotobiotic Orientation is completed, schedule a facility tour by emailing gnotobiotic coreIn the email, please include your PI’s name, your netID and what role you play in your research lab. If you are a student, please include your expected graduation date.

Before starting any gnotobiotic animal work or new experiments, a pre-study meeting with the gnotobiotic staff must be scheduled.

Image Gallery

Allentown Sentry Sealed Positive Pressure (SPP) Mouse IVC cages

Vinyl Coy Anaerobic Chamber

CBC double tiered flexible-film isolator

Allentown Sentry SPP Animal Transfer Unit

NKP isotec cage