Fauna Bio partners with UW Oshkosh in the search for new therapies

The collaboration aims to translate disease resistance strategies found in the animal kingdom into new treatments for human diseases.

Fauna Bio, a pioneering biotechnology company in the fields of comparative, computational and translational genomics, announces a partnership with the University of Wisconsin OshKosh to accelerate the translation of human therapeutic strategies and diseases discovered through mammalian extreme adaptation research.

Longevity.Technology: Thanks to this collaboration, Fauna Bio has provided a $500,000 a sponsorship that increases UW Oshkosh’s capacity for biomedical collaborations and helps establish the University as a destination for researchers who study emerging animal models and develop systems to streamline translation into therapeutics.

“This partnership will advance the work already done at UWO. This is an opportunity for our faculty to consolidate its leadership position in this area and expand our educational opportunities for students,” said Professor John KockerPhD, Provost and Vice Chancellor at UW Oshkosh [1].

“It is well recognized that research-based therapeutic discovery approaches using traditional animal models, including mice and rats, often fail because these animals do not accurately recapitulate human disease states. But there is enormous potential in studying animal models with natural disease resistance as an alternative strategy to finding treatments,” said Benjamin SajdakPhD, Director of Emerging Animal Models at Fauna Bio and Assistant Professor of Biology at UWO.

“These efforts are historically undersupported and underfunded despite the increase in genomes and technologies available to support translational science in a wide range of organisms. This partnership will create new educational opportunities to encourage the next generation of scientists in the field of regeneration and disease resistance, from local science seminars to research and biotechnology internships for students. [1].”

Fauna Bio and UWO have developed core expertise in the 13-lined ground squirrel (13-LGS), a mammal with remarkable resistance to health problems that plague humans. 13-LGS hibernates annually for about six months during the fall and winter months. In preparation for hibernation, 13-LGS will approximately double its weight in the summer, but despite very fatty, low-flow blood, squirrels can survive multiple heart attacks and strokes. Researchers from both institutions have made important contributions to the fields of genomics, biology and neuroscience by studying this natural phenomenon in 13-LGS.

The planned work will support, develop, and grow the current UWO 13-LGS colony while pursuing a mutual interest in identifying protective mammalian genes that allow 13-LGS to ward off health problems during litter. 'hibernation.
Fauna co-founders Katie Grabek, Ashley Zehnder and Linda Goodman.

The planned work will support, develop, and grow the current UWO 13-LGS colony while pursuing a mutual interest in identifying protective mammalian genes that allow 13-LGS to ward off health problems during litter. ‘hibernation. The UWO will retain ownership of 13-LGS. The Fauna Bio pipeline aims to discover these genes and develop treatments that can have a strong protective effect on human disease states.

“With the ability to prospectively design studies and collect samples at specific physiological time points, the collaboration with UWO will enrich and enhance our own internal biobank datasets and will undoubtedly lead to new insights into the how species like the 13-lined ground squirrel resist. develop human pathologies. This will help us develop more therapeutic programs and ultimately treat human diseases,” said Catherine Grabekscientific director of Fauna Bio [1].

Neurophysiologist Dana Merriman started the UWO 13-line ground squirrel breeding colony in 2003 to support her research on the visual system. She is the only scientist who has successfully bred and bred 13-LGS in captivity.

Merriman retired in June 2021 but continues to work at UWO on research funded and contracted by the National Institutes of Health. His main involvement with Fauna Bio will be recruiting other UWO faculty and students for the project and working to optimize operations and detail written protocols for raising the colony. She said the collaboration with Fauna Bio provides UWO with global exposure and the ability to connect with scientists around the world.

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