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Directory of Rat Laboratories

RGD is assembling this list of laboratories whose major focus is rat research on an ongoing basis. The Directory of Rat Laboratories is designed to be a resource for anyone looking for rat researchers. Entries include information about the principle investigator of the lab, the type of resarch it specializes in, a list of representative publications and a link to the lab’s website if there is one.

If you would like your lab to be included in this directory, please click here to let us know using RGD’s “Contact Us” form.

Amos-Landgraf, James M.

Research Interests:

  • the use of classical and forward genetics to develop animal models of colon cancer
  • epigenetics and the gut microbiome
  • sex effects on disease susceptibility

Our lab studies human colon cancer through the use of animal models. Using genetically engineered models of colon cancer in the mouse, rat and pig, we are better able to understand the molecular genetic events that influence the initiation and progression of cancer. More…


Bryda, Elizabeth

Research Interests:

  • characterization of models of polycystic kidney disease and inherited deafness
  • manipulation of stem cells
  • genetic-based tools for laboratory animal diagnostics

Our lab takes a comparative medicine approach using a variety of animal models to study human disease with an emphasis on polycystic kidney disease and inherited deafness. More…


Chugh, Sumant S.

Research Interests:

  • investigation of disease mechanisms in nephrotic syndrome
  • development of novel therapeutics for minimal change disease, focal sclerosis, non-HIV collapsing glomerulopathy, and diabetic nephropathy
  • identification of a circulating proteome involved in nephrotic syndrome

My lab has developed transgenic rats that selectively overexpress key nephrotic syndrome related proteins in the podocyte or the adipocyte. We use these transgenic rats to develop or prove new therapeutic strategies, or backcrossing into genetic rat models of glomerular disease. More…


Dissen, Erik

Research Interests:

  • immunology
  • natural killer (NK) cell receptors
  • NK cell recognition of tumor cells, infected cells and MHC-disparate cells

We have identified at the molecular level the majority of NK cell receptors in the rat, localized in two regions. The NK cell receptor gene complex (NKC) resides on chromosome 4, and contains the killer cell lectin-like receptors (KLR). More…


Dwinell, Melinda

Research Interests:

  • high-throughput phenotyping, integration of phenotype data
  • tools for disease model identification
  • pulmonary diseases, neural control of breathing, development and aging

My major interest is to use the vast amount of phenotype data for the many rat models for disease to map disease traits to the genome. As more inbred rat strains are sequenced, we will be able to identify variation that results in a change in biological function which leads to the development of disease. More…


Geurts, Aron

Research Interests:

  • manipulation of stem cells
  • zinc finger nuclease (ZFN) technology
  • conditional mutagenesis vector system

Continuing research efforts in my laboratory are being driven by my interests in three programmatic areas related to genetic manipulation of stem cells and whole animals for the annotation of gene function, tissue engineering, and cellular therapeutics related to human disease. The development of rat-specific reagents and culturing methods to reprogram rat fibroblasts into induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells now provide a unique foundation to study whether these cells are capable of supporting gene targeting technology by homologous recombination for producing genetically modified rats. More…


Hessner, Martin

Research Interests:

  • molecular genetics
  • the role of innate immunity mechanisms in the development of Type 1 diabetes

The development of complex diseases involves the interplay of multiple genes, cell types and environmental factors. An integrated perspective of how these factors interact is vital towards the dissection and understanding of complex disease as well as a prerequisite for the development of successful treatment and prevention strategies. More…


Joe, Bina

Research Interests:

  • genetics of hypertension

Current funded research in the Joe Lab seeks identification of genetic variants that causally control the trait of blood pressure (BP), elevated levels of which result in hypertension. The Joe lab has applied cutting-edge rat genetic systems using novel knockout, congenic and transgenic models and mapped blood pressure controlling elements within genomic segments ranging from 42kb to <1Mb. More…


Kwitek, Anne

Research Interests:

  • genetics of complex disease

Dr. Kwitek’s major research focus involves understanding the genetic susceptibility to complex human diseases, with a focus on obesity, hypertension, and cardiometabolic disease. The approach involves integrating genetics, genomics, and other ‘omics’ approaches to identify genes and mechanisms leading to complex disease using rat models and human populations. Her studies also involve how genomic variation affects and is affected by environmental stimuli to influence susceptibility to cardiometabolic disease. More…


Lumeng, Lawrence

Research Interests:

  • alcoholic liver disease
  • alcohol drinking behavior
  • genetics of alcoholism

Recent evidence from more than 400 GWASs on human complex traits and disorders evinces that low frequency and rare alleles (some with large effects) are important in explaining the “missing heritability” in these clinical studies. Selective breeding is a powerful genetic tool that directly creates animal models of human diseases and it will effectively “make” low frequency and rare variants more common and then “capture” them into the high and low lines. More…


Meistrich, Marvin L.

Research Interests:

  • reproductive toxicology and endocrinology
  • biochemistry and molecular biology of sperm development

Our major focus is on understanding the molecular events of the differentiation of the spermatogonia. The spermatogonial stem cells self-renew and give rise to differentiating spermatogonia that eventually develop into sperm. The differentiation of the spermatogonia is sensitive to disruption by toxicological exposure (e.g. radiation and chemotherapy) and genetic mutations and can result in sterility. More…


Palmer, Abraham

Research Interests:

  • quantitative genetics in outbred populations
  • expression QTLs
  • behavioral models related to drug abuse, ADHD, fear and anxiety

Since 2005 my laboratory has been developing methods to perform GWAS in outbred rodent populations. Until 2012 this work was done exclusively in mice. More recently I have been attracted to rats because they are capable of performing very sophisticated behavioral tasks that are difficult or impossible in mice. More…


Redei, Eva

Research Interests:

  • stress hypersensitivity
  • depressive disorders
  • genetic vulnerability
  • QTL
  • neuroendocrinology
  • hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid
  • hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal
  • emotional behavioral tests

Eva Redei’s major interests include the molecular basis of affective illnesses and stress hyperreactivity. To this end, her laboratory has been using animal models and genetic methods. One of their projects uses quantitative trait loci analysis of multiple behavioral and hormonal traits in a genetic animal model of depression. More…


Soares, Michael J.

Research Interests:

  • biology of embryo implantation, placentation, and pregnancy
  • species-specific adaptations to physiological stressors

Our laboratory is interested in the regulation of cell differentiation, especially as related to trophoblast stem cells, and signaling pathways controlling their developmental fate, and their organization into the hemochorial placenta. More…


Solberg Woods, Leah

Research Interests:

  • genetics of type 2 diabetes
  • metabolic disorders related to diabetes

Research in my laboratory involves the use of heterogeneous stock rats to fine-map several complex traits. We are particularly interested in traits involved in type 2 diabetes and related metabolic disorders. Heterogeneous stock rats originate from eight inbred strains, which are then bred together for many generations in an effort to minimize inbreeding. More…



RGD is funded by grant HL64541 from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute on behalf of the NIH.