Biological Resources Unit

image of a mouse

The Biological Resources Unit provides support to all scientists who conduct laboratory animal work as part of their research at CRUK Manchester Institute. We breed and use mice only.  

The BRU is divided into two teams: the Transgenic Breeding Team and the Experimental Team.  

Transgenic Breeding Team

The BRU Transgenic Breeding Team breeds genetically modified mice for researchers as required, providing a high standard of care for a variety of immune compromised and immune competent lines.  There are typically over 100 different breeding lines live at any one time and these are bred under the authority of a central breeding license, which is held by the manager on behalf of the Institute.   The team of professional animal technicians has a wide range of experience and is able to offer expert advice in the areas of transgenic mouse breeding and maintenance, working closely with researchers in order to provide a flexible service tailored to individual research requirements.  The team manages the outsourced genotyping service for the Institute, which includes taking and shipping samples as well as translating and transferring results in a semi-automated manner.  As part of the continued drive towards improving accuracy and security of data, all of the breeding records and genotyping results are now recorded using a specialist animal management system, which also allows researchers to easily view the details of their mice and to track progress in tasks. 

Experimental Team

The BRU Experimental Facility is based in our new facility on in the Paterson Building, with a capacity of aound 3500 cages, and includes a containment room, dedicated quarantine space, a range of imaging rooms and a new surgical suite.

The Experimental Team provides a comprehensive support service to the research groups. The team of 12 technicians facilitate the smooth running of the research unit, providing high quality day to day animal care. Between them, they have a wide range of expertise in different experimental procedures and support can be tailored to the individual researcher’s needs. This may range from data collection, to providing assistance for experimental procedures, or to running a whole study from start to finish. 

Over the last few years, the breadth of in vivo research at the Institute has expanded dramatically and the team have worked closely with the researchers to both develop and implement new surgical and imaging models, providing animal welfare advice and practical input.  We have a range of imaging modalities available including optical imaging systems, a micro-CT and an ultrasound and photoacoustic system.  We also have a cabinet X-ray irradiator suitable for whole body and tumour targeted irradiation.

Other key roles the team provide include the provision of quality, well-structured training for new licensees joining the Institute, promotion and implementation of the 3Rs (Replacement, Reduction and Refinement of the use of animals in scientific procedures) and involvement in public engagement events.