Case Studies Academia

Improving Animal Tracking at UNMC’s Fox Lab with eLabJournal for Rat Breeding & Mouse Colony Management

2 min read 24 May 2023

Working with eLab has been a great experience. They are so easy to work with and help anytime we have a question.

Benjamin Lamberty, Researcher at UNMC

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The University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) was founded in 1869 and became the state’s first medical college in 1881 and part of the University of Nebraska in 1902. Today, the UNMC educational programs train more health professionals than any other institution in the state. The Fox Lab began at the UNMC approximately 15 years ago in the Neurological Sciences Department. The team of 12 focuses on the mitochondrial function of different neurological cells and brain pathways. More recently, they have begun looking at single-cell analyses of brain cells.

Goal

Currently: To advance Parkinson’s Disease research by leveraging efficient rat breeding and mouse colony manage.

In the long term: Through the use of specialized animal tracking systems and innovative colony management software, we aim to support Dr. Howard S. Fox and Dr. Kelly Stauch in securing the necessary funding to further their groundbreaking work in preventing, treating, and potentially curing Parkinson’s Disease.

Challenge

A more efficient and centralized rat-tracking system

In order to streamline and optimize rat breeding processes, the Fox Lab aims to introduce an advanced mouse tracking software that seamlessly integrates with existing label printers. The Fox Lab has several rat strains associated with several experiments in inventory. To optimize workflows, the Fox Lab requires a platform that seamlessly links the colony to experiments so that the team may keep track of important factors, such as how many animals are in inventory, which experiments they will be used in, whether they were transferred to the correct experiment, and more.

By adopting this comprehensive software solution, the Fox Lab wanted to move away from its digital and paper hybrid approach, which made daily tasks overcomplicated, having to shuffle through countless Excel sheets.

Solution

A centralized platform

eLabJournal offers the Fox Lab an all-in-one solution for efficient rat breeding management. This centralized platform seamlessly connects animals to experiments, allowing the Fox Lab to easily track crucial details, including mouse litter sizes, the gestation period for mice, and how fast mice reproduce. With eLabNext’s open ecosystem, the Fox Lab can integrate various third-party tools, including label printers, to further enhance its colony management process. Lastly, the eLabNext Mobile App makes it easy to pull data when away from the computer.

With eLabJournal, the Fox Lab can easily keep track of additional factors, such as:

  • Breeding pairs and how many litters the females have had
  • How many animals have been used for a particular experiment
  • Genotype and ear punch identification for linking the gel picture to the litter
  • Samples generated from experiments

For the Parkinson’s model, several females passed away during labor. With eLabJournal, the team could keep track and find out how many were dying compared to how many pairs were set. These findings are now in a paper recently submitted by the team. 

Result

An optimized lab mouse colony management process

eLabJournal offers a more efficient and centralized mouse tracking software compatible with the existing label printers. As a result, the Fox Lab may move away from the paper, digital hybrid approach for a more optimized experiment management process.

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