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Preclinical Models Core

The Preclinical Models Core in the San Diego Digestive Diseases Research Center provides access to animal models of gastrointestinal and liver disease for preclinical studies and assists in characterizing disease activity. The Core provides resources in veterinary sciences and a technical infrastructure that enables animals to be studied comprehensively. The services include consultation on the selection and interpretation of animal models of digestive diseases, ante-mortem imaging and post-mortem examination, including the development and interpretation of scoring systems by veterinarians trained in comparative pathology. The Core is led by two experienced leaders with strong track records in applying animal models to basic and preclinical questions: Peter Ernst, DVM, PhD, the Core Director with focus on murine models of gastrointestinal disease and in vivo imaging. As the Core Co-Director, Tatiana Kisseleva, MD, PhD, provides her extensive experience with animal models of liver disease. Furthermore, the Core interacts with and directly complement the Human Translational and Microbiomics and Functional Genomics Cores by being able to relate the imaging results, biomarkers and clinical data to specific outcomes in animal models and human disease.  

To Access these services, please contact Dr. Peter Ernst via email: or phone: 858.534.2975.

Services Currently Available:

  • Services in histopathology including tissue preparation, fixation, routine and specialized staining, state-of-the-art microscopy
    • Please use the following link to access the request form and detailed instructions to complete the request form:
      Please email completed request form to: 
  • Gnotobiotic animal models
  • Consultation and training on the principles, experimental design, methods and data analysis for various animal models and assays.

Services Under Development: 

  • Animal models of infectious and non-infectious forms of injury and inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract, toxic liver injury and fibrosis, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and steatohepatitis, alcoholic liver disease, and liver cancer.
  • Animal imaging (MRI scanning, intestinal endoscopy)

For consults or questions regarding obtaining services, Center members should email Dr.Ernst at: