FEB 08, 2017 12:00 PM PST

Availability and Management of Genetically Engineered Swine Models for Biomedical Research

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  • Research Assistant Professor, Project Director, National Swine Research and Resource Center
      Dr. Eric Walters is a world-renowned scientist in the area of genetic engineering and swine biomedical models. His group has made and is currently working on swine models for various human diseases such as cancer, retinitis pigmentosa, xenotransplantation, and congenital heart defects. Dr. Walters has been able to travel around the world giving seminars and attending various scientific meetings. He has written 45 abstracts, 35 peer reviewed manuscripts, and 6 book chapters. In addition to the transgenic research, he also investigates the transcriptional regulation of cryopreserved porcine embryos.

      Dr. Walters is a 1991 graduate of Spoon River Valley High School. Following his graduation from Western Illinois University in 1995 with a Bachelors degree in Agricultural Science, he completed his Masters degree at the University of Illinois and then received his PhD in Reproductive Biology at the U of I in 2000. Dr. Walters was a post-doctoral researcher for the Beckman Institute at the University of Illinois and a senior scientist for a small biotechnology company. In 2003, he moved to Columbia, Missouri for a post-doctoral position in the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Missouri. Currently, he is a Research Assistant Professor in the Division of Animal Sciences and Project Director for the National Swine Resource and Research Center at the University of Missouri.


    DATE: February 8, 2017
    TIME: 12:00pm PT, 3:00pm ET

    Large animal models have recently become a staple in biomedical research.  The pig’s similarities to humans in terms of genetics, anatomy, and physiology have allowed the pig to gain momentum as a biomedical model.  On a nucleotide basis, the pig genome is 3 times closer to the human than rodents are to humans.  Although there are some anatomical differences between the human and pig, the pig is still becoming the model of choice for many human diseases.  In 2003, the National Institutes of Health developed the infrastructure for a central resource center for swine models for human health and diseases.  The National Swine Resource and Research Center (NSRRC) was developed to provide valuable swine models to investigators across the country.  Currently, the NSRRC has 60 models available to the scientific community with an additional 15 models in various stages of production and characterization.   Management of genetically modified swine models can range from standard housing to highly specialized housing which may be necessary for the disease model.   Maintenance or breeding of genetically modified swine models also ranges from strains being maintained in the heterozygous/monoallelic state while others can be maintained in the homozygous/biallelic state.  Although there may be specialized needs for some models, in general genetically modified swine models can be maintained as any other research pigs.  Biomedical research for human health and disease has begun to incorporate the swine model as the large animal of choice.  

    Learning Objectives:

    • To determine the availability of swine models for investigators to request
    • To determine specific management skills for genetically modified swine models

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