Intellectual and Developmental
Disabilities Research Center

Preclinical Models Core


Director: Zhaolan (Joe) Zhou, Ph.D. (
Co-Directors: Judith Grinspan, Ph.D. ( & Deborah French, Ph.D. (
Director of Neurobehavior Testing Core: W. Timothy O'Brien, Ph.D. (
Research Technician (Tissue Culture): Micah Romer

The Preclinical Models Core (PMC) was developed in response to a user survey that emphasized a need for an IDD-focused facility for the study of mammalian behavior and one to address the potential of current stem cell technologies, including genome editing using CRISPR-Cas9.


  • Customized Behavior Battery Design
  • Consultation in experimental design and interpretation of results
  • Tests of learning and memory, affective disorder-related behaviors, social and communication tasks, neurodegeneration and sensation
  • Protocol and Transfer Assistance (IACUC, ULAR, and LAR)
  • Training in all Procedures
  • Drug delivery
  • Tissue harvest
  • Video image analysis
  • Data Analysis
  • Generation of a variety of cell culture models:
    • Primary cultures of neurons, astrocytes, microglia and oligodendrocytes
    • Co-cultures of specific cell types
    • Organotypic cultures
  • Culture maintenance and use:
    • Propagation, amplification and cryopreservation of these cultures.
    • Variety of purification methods: immunopanning, "shake-off", Macs manual cell sorting
    • Evaluation of other culture and cell separation methods such as adult neural tissue cell separator (coming soon).
    • After exposure to agents: monitoring of cell death, toxicity, proliferation, differentiation, morphological alterations
  • Antibody services:
    • Validation and use of specific antibodies for neural cells
  • Generate and characterize iPSCs
    • Make them available to the research community
  • Differentiate PSCs
    • Mesodermal, endodermal, ectodermal lineages
  • Genetically manipulate PSCs
    • Transgene expression: Zinc finger nucleases
  • Gene editing PSCs
    • Gene loci: CRISPR/Cas9
  • Distribute NIH-approved human ESC lines
  • Distribute quality tested specialty reagents
  • Enrichment training