Gnotobiotic Research

The Medical University of South Carolina Gnotobiotic Research Resource is a unique research animal facility that will enable investigators to conduct research with germfree or gnotobiotic animals.

Current research with germ free and gnotobiotic animals is demonstrating that the host's microbial flora has dramatic effects on Morphology, Physiology, Nutrition, Biochemistry, Endocrinology and Immunology. There is increasing evidence that intestinal microorganisms are involved in autoimmune diseases, inflammatory bowel diseases, and tumors of the alimentary tract and bladder. The microbial flora can also have dramatic effects on the pharmacology of orally administered drugs. Germfree animals continue to play a key role in basic research on the etiology, prophylaxis and therapy of caries and periodontal disease.

Recent advances in the genetic manipulation of microorganisms and animal models, via gene knockout or transgenic techniques, provide unique opportunities to study the multifaceted and complex interactions and cross-talk that takes place between a host and the microbial flora. Gnotobiotic technology will not only continue to play a key role in sustaining the health of these valuable immunodeficient, genetically engineered animal models but it will also continue to play an important role in the use of genetically engineered animals for basic research on many diseases that affect humans world wide.


The importance of understanding how the microbial flora can affect the health and well being of a host was recognized over 100 years ago. We still have a great deal to learn about host-microflora interactions. Gnotobiotic research will continue to play a key role in clarifying our basic understanding of host microflora interactions that affect so many facets of our health and well being. 

Edward Balish, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus

Medical University of South Carolina
Departments of Dental Medicine and Microbiology/Immunology
173 Ashley Ave
Charleston SC 29425

Telephone: (843) 792-0793
Fax: (843) 792-2464