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UTSW Gnotobiotics Core

Overview of Services


Understanding the molecular foundations of intestinal host-microbial relationships is an exceedingly challenging problem due to the complexity of the gut microbiota, the complexity of the intestinal mucosal surface, and the lack of good in vitro models for studying the complex interplay between host and microbe. Overcoming these challenges has required the development of unique in vivo experimental approaches. One of our most important tools is gnotobiotics ("known life"), a technology involving the use of microbiologically sterile ("germ-free") animals. Using germ-free mice, we can manipulate the intestinal ecosystem by introducing a single bacterial species or defined species mixtures.

The Hooper lab maintains a gnotobiotic mouse facility here at UT Southwestern, where we rear mice under germ-free conditions in sterile plastic isolators. Food and water and other sterile supplies are imported into the isolators by docking autoclaved supply cylinders to a double-door port built into the isolator wall. We monitor our germ-free mice monthly for the presence of microbial contamination to ensure the sterility of the colony.

We are able to provide limited numbers of germfree mice to investigators and perform experiments under germfree and/or monocolonized conditions. Consultations regarding germfree mouse experiments will be taken on a case by case basis. All experiments are done at the discretion of Dr. Hooper and the availability of mice is based on a first come, first served approach after approval.


Lora Hooper, PhD | Immunology Chair

Cassie Boyd | Gnotobiotics Lab Manager

Hours of operation


Monday-Friday: 9am-5pm 


Links and Resources

  1. UTSW Hooper Lab Website


Name Role Phone Email Location
Cassie Boyd
Gnotobiotics Lab Manager

Kelly Ruhn