Microbiome Research

It is now known that the human microbiome, which consists of microbes, such as bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and viruses, plays a much larger role in human health and disease than previously assumed. Microbiome research is a relatively new and uncharted frontier in science. However, with recent studies demonstrating a link between the microbiome and the various diseases that afflict humankind, a surge in funding and research into this promising arena has developed. And as more improvements in genome sequencing and data analysis tools develop, this research field is poised to bring with it novel approaches to health care.

micro electron bacteria

With a comprehensive portfolio of microbiome-specific products and services, Charles River is strategically positioned to provide researchers with the necessary tools and research support they will need to advance their studies. Whether you are at the early stages of your research or looking to take your studies to the next phase, we can partner with you to ensure that you meet your research goals.

Microbiome research has primarily focused on the gut as it has been found to be the most diverse and constitutes the densest number of microbe cells in the human microbiota. Recent studies using germ-free animals have provided further insight into how the gut microbiota are specifically linked to autoimmunity. Charles River provides germ-free animal models, germ-free housing, and comprehensive microbiome testing services for screening the health of germ-free animal colonies. Download overview sheet

C57BL/6NCrl (B6N) Germ-Free Mice

Germ-free rodents have been essential to microbiome research and the production of specific pathogen-free (SPF) rodent models. Bred in an axenic environment to ensure strict exclusion of all microorganisms, Charles River’s C57BL/6NCrl (B6N) germ-free mouse is an indispensable model for research into the host-microbiome interaction, including type 1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, and autism.

Germ-Free Housing

Isolators are an effective housing solution for safeguarding the health and genetic status of research animals. Typical isolator applications include quarantining and housing research animal models of varying health status. However, for microbiome studies that require animals to be maintained at a germ-free health status, specialized isolators capable of excluding all contaminants are required. Charles River germ-free isolators are available in various sizes, easily transportable, and can be connected to one another to support colony expansion.

Microbiome Diagnostic Services

Germ-free animal colonies are typically monitored for extraneous microbes and fungi, as well as pathogens, with testing being conducted more frequently due to the potential for a high incidence of contamination and its significant consequences to customers. Testing services must be comprehensive enough to screen not only standard pathogens, but also microbial contaminants that may be fastidious or non-cultivable on cell-free media (like much of the indigenous microbiota). Charles River offers multiple screening options that help ensure the germ-free health status of your animal colonies is maintained.

Our services include:

•   Microbial Culture: Broad analysis of bacteria in samples to confirm the absence of bacteria.
•   Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS): Comprehensive genetic analysis of samples to assess biodiversity of bacterial composition in animals on microbiome studies.

A robust health surveillance program is key to successfully maintaining the germ-free health status of your animal colonies. Our laboratory scientists can work with you to develop and implement a germ-free health monitoring program that fits your budget and your specific research needs.

Basic Research Products & Services

Microbiome therapy is an emerging target as recent studies have demonstrated a direct correlation between various human diseases and the gut microbiome. Our scientists can work with you to tailor microbiome drug discovery studies to fit your program.

Discovery Services

The microbiome is a challenging yet dynamic area of interest in preclinical research. The microbial imbalance is a critical factor in a wide range of conditions across multiple therapeutic areas such as oncology, metabolic disease, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and neurological disorders.  Not only are disparities within the microbiome important, but the reversal of microbial imbalances can be used as treatment across a multitude of research areas.

From the initial stages through clinical trials, Charles River provides safety assessment, chemistry, and in vitro solutions for your microbiome research. Our capabilities in customized analytical and bioanalytical assays, toxicology studies, and pathology endpoints along with expertise working with microbiome-directed therapies across the portfolio means we are an ideal partner with whom to bring your therapies and drugs to market.

Safety Assessment Services

Lab Sciences Services

Microbiome research begins and ends with identification, from isolating and accurately identifying species in a community to confirming the quality of your end product. Research and product release demands rigorous quality control and confident results, a critical task made easier with the help of a reliable partner. Charles River is the industry leader in providing microbial detection and identification services that deliver accurate, relevant, and reliable QC results that you can trust.

Microbial Services

Offering staffing, training, regulatory advice, program management, and vivarium development, our insourcing and consulting services help clients streamline their microbiome research programs to make best use of their resources and achieve optimum results. Download overview sheet

Staffing & Training

There are added levels of complexity associated with maintaining a vivarium that supports microbiome research. Unlike standard animal care and maintenance programs that adhere to a strict but selective biosecurity program (i.e., managed exclusion of key infectious agents), a vivarium designated for microbiome research must expand on this biosecurity to ensure that absolutely all agents (pathogenic or not) are accounted for or excluded. Therefore, it is critical that vivarium staff have the necessary qualification and expertise to maintain this level of biosecurity.

Vivarium Program Design

Clients can leverage Charles River’s scientific and engineering expertise to plan and design a vivarium specific for microbiome research. Consultation is available on a number of design aspects including development of mechanical and electrical systems concepts, equipment lifecycle cost analysis, staffing, and options to maximize space. Review of existing program(s) is also available.

Training, Staffing & Operations Support Services