Animal Preclinical Services

The Developmental Therapeutics Core (DTC) provides a range of preclinical testing services that include: in vitro tumor cell assays; in vivo subcutaneous and orthotopic models for studying tumor growth, as well as for studying tumor response to therapy; exploratory pharmacokinetics; and exploratory toxicology. The DTC also assists investigators with drug formulations and initial assessments of drug stability.  A patient-derived xenograft (PDX) repository provides investigators with more than 60 tumor models representing 12 different types of cancer for in vivo testing of therapies against human tumors. The DTC also maintains a repository with more than 200 human tumor cell lines, many of which can also be used for xenograft establishment and therapeutic testing. DTC staff are proficient in all routes of treatment administration and in small animal surgery, provide consulting and training, and accelerate implementation of studies through simple modification of blanket IACUC protocols. Experienced core staff advise faculty on study design, and assist with the interpretation and presentation of results for manuscripts and grant applications.  


The Behavioral Phenotyping Core (BPC) helps investigators examine their mice and rats for changes in behavior. BPC's mission is to make available to funded research projects a facility to determine the behavioral effects of genetic manipulations, potential pharmaceuticals, aging, and other manipulations upon normal behavior, and the learning and memory capacities of rodents used as model systems. We can also work with PIs needing to gather pilot data. For more information about this facility, click here.

Individuals wishing to use the BPC are encouraged to contact Dr. Craig Weiss during the design stage of the project. 

The selection of animal strain, age and gender should be considered carefully.  Contact Dr. Weiss to discuss  selections.  For a discussion of gender differences affecting research with humans see:

On-line reservation calendar: The BPC has multiple assays in the same room and even multiple assays in the same chamber.  This arrangement maximizes flexibility and efficiency within our limited space, but it precludes the use of an on-line reservation calendar.  Scheduling is done by emailing either Mary Kando ( or Dr. Weiss ( 


The Core is an integral component of Northwestern University’s Comprehensive Transplant Center (NUCTC) and has served all interested investigators in the NU community for more than 15 years with a wide variety of complex surgical procedures in rats and mice that may otherwise be difficult or time-consuming for those investigators without specialized skills, personnel and proper equipment. The core facility is dedicated to assist investigators with a central resource for creating murine models of tissue and organ transplantation that provide valuable and unique research opportunities for translational research from animal studies to human diseases.

Microsurgery Core Facility is located on the 11th floor of Tarry Research and Education Building (11-726/728/736/750B), occupying approximately 600 square feet lab space. The facility contains state-of-the-art operating microscopes including three Zeiss OPMI® operating microscopes with dual binocular heads and two Zeiss Stereo Zoom Microscopes (STEMI SV6) along with five aseptic surgical units that allow for daily routine performance of 10 vascularized transplant procedures and 20+ other surgical procedures (e.g. skin transplant, ischemia and reperfusion injury models). In addition, the facility holds a murine intensive care unit with a temperature controlled small animal intensive care chamber (Harvard Apparatus) that provides an appropriate environment for postoperative animals to recover from surgery as well as other separate areas designated for animal prep, autopsy and tissue sampling. Moreover, the core has been additional designated space as “a satellite facility” for immediate post-surgical animal care. For more information on this facility, please click here.


CAMI staff

The Center for Advanced Molecular Imaging (CAMI) provides access to imaging modalities ranging from the nanometer scale to whole animal imaging. These include MRI, nuclear imaging (PET, SPECT, and CT), in vivo bioluminescence and fluorescence imaging, animal housing and prep spaces, and tissue culture.  Image analysis services are available, as are software packages (JIM, Amira, Matlab) and a workstation for users to perform their own data analysis.  Imaging services can be provided for investigators' own animal models, or animal models can be supplied by the Developmental Therapeutics Core.

CAMI also houses a 2 photon confocal microscope operated by QBIC and atomic force microscopes operated by NIFTI.