FEB 05, 2014 09:00 AM PST

What Germs? Hiring and Training Gnotobiotic Technicians

  • Gnotobiotic Research Associate, Department of Craniofacial Biology, Medical University of South Carolina, USA
      Michelle Hull earned her Master of Science in Animal and Veterinary Science from Clemson University in 2010. She is now a Research Associate at the Medical University of South Carolina. She has worked as a technician in the gnotobiotic core program under the Department of Craniofacial Biology for the past three years. Under this program Michelle has performed work on projects dealing with diseases of the gastrointestinal system. In addition, she has conducted contracted work for various external investigators for a variety of gnotobiotic based projects. Michelle is responsible for the quality control and health surveillance programs of the gnotobiotic colony, as well as general laboratory animal care. Michelle received her LATg certification in 2012.


    The primary goal of all gnotobiotic facilities is to maintain a germ-free colony until such time as protocols require associations with other organisms. As such, a well-trained and knowledgeable staff is crucial to the success of such facilities. Many facilities may differ in standard operating procedures, size, and species of animals. That being said, finding staff that correctly fit the role of a gnotobiotic technician for individual facilities is imperative. It is important to look for several key qualities in individuals during the interviewing and hiring process for any gnotobiotic position. Past laboratory animal experience, attention to detail, and organization are a few of the key concepts that aid in the gnotobiotic training process. Once an individual is hired, a detailed training process is essential to the continued success of a facility. In this presentation, we will review some basic training procedures of gnotobiotic technicians working in a mouse facility. These basic procedures range from basic animal care to facility upkeep. In addition, we will look at several additional study related procedures that are often used in gnotobiotic facilities. These will include derivation training, giving injections in isolators, special diets, and timed mating procedures for age specific studies.

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