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Experimental Models Core

The Experimental Models Core provides technical services and consultation for vision investigators in research using experimental models with operating rooms and specialized equipment for performing procedures. It also provides technical trainings for procedures commonly used in vision research, including intravitreal, subretinal, intracameral, intrastromal, and retro orbital injections. Trainings are also provided for use of special equipment (see below).

The Experimental Models Core is supported by NEI core center grant P30 EY014801. All publications of research work conducted using this core should cite the NEI center grant number. All users of the core working with live animals should be on an approved IACUC protocol. Please contact Dr. Dmitry Ivanov for assistance.

Leadership & Management

Dmitry Ivanov, Ph.D., research associate professor of ophthalmology, microbiology and immunology, directs the Experimental Models Core. 
Esdras Arrieta Quintero, M.D., associate scientist, manages the Core. 


The Experimental Models Core is located in the vivarium on the 3rd and 7th floors of the McKnight building. The vivarium is supervised by the Division of Veterinary Resources (DVR). It has 19 separate rooms, with a vet tech facility manager and 5 full-time technicians.


Procedure and Prep Rooms
The Experimental Models Core has two sterile operating rooms (OR1/2), equipped with ceiling mounted surgical microscopes with video and computer data acquisition systems. This suite has been created for pre-clinical tests of eye surgical methods and for experiments using popular animal models for eye disorders. The suite is also superbly equipped for surgical operations, specifically eye surgeries including intravitreal, subretinal space, intracaraneal injections, cannulation of the anterior chamber, ophthalmic lasers, TONOLAB tonometers. Adjacent are a scrub room, a sterilization and instrument room, and a preparation room, which can also be used as a recovery room for post-operative recovery care.

Retinal Photography & Angiography
Fundus photography and fluorescein angiography can be captured by the video camera, digital recorder and monitor fitted to each operating microscope in the two ORs.

Several lasers (Nidek, Iris) are available for ophthalmic applications, including argon, YAG, sapphire and diode lasers mounted either on slit lamps or microscopes. These lasers can be used for anterior-segment procedures such as laser iridotomy, selective laser trabeculoplasty, and capsulotomy; and posterior-segment procedures as capsulotomies on all types of intraocular lenses (IOL), laser-induced choroid neovascularization, and to generate photo-disruptive blast injuries for glaucoma studies, and traumatic optic neuropathy.


The portion of the core, located on the 7th floor provides ERG and PERG systems optimized for use on animal models.  ERG: The 7th floor vivarium has an LKC UTAS Visual Diagnostic System with BigShot Ganzfeld (LKC Technologies) for flash ERG experiments. The Ganzfeld delivered flash illumination from 1 to 10,000 cd/sqm in a variety of color and intensity using red, green and blue LEDs. Pattern ERG (PERG): Three state-of-the-art JÖRVEC (Miami, Florida) PERG systems for non-contact, high throughput, binocular PERG recording, with stereotactic holders, body temperature controllers, visual stimulators, as well as specific software for automated analysis of response and noise. 


Retinal Imaging
OCT: A Bioptigen / Zeiss SD-OCT (spectral domain-Optical Coherence Tomography) system is available for imaging in experimental models. This system is capable of high-resolution (~3 m axial) 3D imaging of small animals. It collects 3D volumes at very high-speed (> 17 FPS), enabling real-time, non-invasive imaging.

Spectralis HRA2: A Heidelberg HRA2 (Heidelberg Retina Angiograph II) is provided to investigators. This is a confocal laser scanning system for digital fluorescein, indocyanine green angiography, blue and infrared reflectance imaging, autofluorescence, stereo and widefield Imaging, as well as 3D scanning.

Cigarette Smoking Chamber
The core has a custom built chamber for delivery of cigarette smoke to experimental models. This unit is placed in a dedicated room in the third floor vivarium and is available to investigators who want to study smoking-related diseases.

Optomotor Systems
The Experimental Models Core has two optomotor systems for visual acuity measurements in rodents. The first is custom-made by our Ophthalmic Biophysics Center, and the second is a  CerebralMechanics Inc. Optomotry AT

Special facilities used for working with biohazards
One room of the 3rd floor vivarium has a dedicated fume hood, microscope, and cage racks capable of isolating experimental models requiring such protocols. All biohazard procedures are followed in compliance with UM’s Institutional Biosafety Committee and IACUC committee.

Experimental Models Booking and an Equipment Reservation

NOTE: Please contact Mr. Charles Yaros at 305-482-4788 or e-mail to obtain access to the University Sharepoint website that is used for scheduling operating rooms and equipment.

For more information, consultation on experimental design, training and data interpretation, please contact:

Dr. Dmitry Ivanov
Location: McKnight Building, 7th floor