Evaluating Therapeutic Agents
The monitoring of animal behavior and physical presentation is key to understanding animal models of disease as well as assessing the effects of therapeutic agents. The Experimental Therapeutics Screening Facility is a unique collaborative research facility that supports both basic and translational research by testing preclinical therapeutics in vitro and in vivo.
Project managers will work closely with collaborators from academic institutions and research organizations to outline and oversee study design, resource allocation and budget. They will also help develop and manage project timelines while coordinating services provided by Sanford Research to facilitate the evaluation of therapeutic agents through high-content screening assays, behavioral assessments and a variety of histological, biochemical and molecular techniques.
Areas of Expertise
- Animal behavior, rodent surgical skills and physiological measures
- Custom in-situ hybridization (RNAscope) expertise for specific targeting, detection and analysis
- Histopathology and quantitative image analysis, including high-content imaging
- In vitro high-content screening and analysis for therapeutics
- Tailored gene expression design and analysis
The Experimental Therapeutics Screening Facility is focused on partnering with scientists to develop drug screening studies both in vitro and in vivo. Based on project needs, these services may include (but not limited to): high-content screening in various cell lines, short and long term rodent studies that include in-life behavior assessment, physiological measures, long-term survival studies and full necropsy, histopathological studies (including tissue processing and routine pathological stains/immunohistochemistry and imaging) and molecular biological services (rtPCR, RNAscope/in situ hybridization). The ETSF works in concert with a number of other Sanford cores including:
Meet Our Team
Benjamin Forred, MBA, ACRP-CP
Benjamin Forred has worked in the field of biomedical and clinical research for over ten years. He has spent much of that time in the research laboratory and has a background in cellular and molecular biology. For the past several years, Benjamin has served as a Director of Clinical Research at Sanford Research overseeing the research project management group, genetic & genomic studies, and Sanford’s rare disease registry, CoRDS. He also oversees the administration of the Experimental Therapeutics Screening Facility as the Director of Translational Research at Sanford Research.
Forred holds a B.S. in Biology, an MBA from the University of South Dakota, and a certificate in clinical trial conduct and management from the University of California at Berkeley.
Clarissa Booth, MS
Clarissa Booth joined the Weimer Lab in 2018 to research the efficacy of various treatments for different pediatric diseases. Her primary focus is with in vivo work. Booth holds a master's degree in biology with a neuroscience specialization from the University of South Dakota.
Katie White, BS
Katie White joined the Weimer Lab in 2014 to assist in the characterization of novel miniswine models. She has since worked on several projects involving gene and small molecule therapies for Batten disease, contributing to preclinical data for 2 clinical trials and 15 publications during her time in the lab. White holds a BS in Animal Sciences from the University of Missouri and is pursuing her MPH in Administration and Policy from the University of Minnesota.
Steven Ortmeier, MS
Senior Research Specialist
After a dozen years of part-time lab work at Sanford Research while teaching high school biology as a career, Steve joined the Weimer Lab full-time in 2021 (retiring from education). He currently focuses his skills on immunohistochemistry, image analysis, and data summarization for various CLN2 projects. Steve holds a master's degree in Biology from South Dakota State University.
Attila Kovács, PhDDr. Attila Kovács holds a PhD in cell biology from Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, Hungary, and completed postdoctoral training at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, and the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York. He has extensive research experience in both pharmaceutical and academic environments with expertise in neuroscience and behavioral pharmacology.
Rebecca Moser, BS
Associate Research Specialist
Rebecca Moser joined the Experimental Therapeutics Screening Facility and Sanford Research in August 2021. She is on the lab’s animal phenotyping team and helps with drug deliveries and tissue processing.
Moser holds a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities and is pursuing a master’s degree in public health through the University of South Dakota.
Emily Elliott, BS
Emily Elliott joined the Experimental Therapeutics Screening Facility in 2021. In the lab, they work on the enzyme assay, immunohistochemistry, and mouse behavior and surgery teams to help companies with various drug discoveries for rare childhood diseases.
Elliott holds a bachelor’s degree in nutritional science research from Iowa State University. They have experience in western blotting, immunofluorescence and immunohistochemistry, and microscopy in OB/GYN research from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.
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