AeroCore Testing Services

The AeroCore Inhalation Testing Research Service Facility provides aerosol/vapor exposures to rodent animal models for the purpose of testing the safety and efficacy of inhaled materials. AeroCore was formed with support from the Masonic Cancer Center, College of Pharmacy and the Department of Otolaryngology. Our techniques and services are inspired by the work of Dr. Lee Wattenberg and his innovations in chemoprevention and regional drug delivery.

AeroCore is set up as an Internal/External Sales Organization within the University of Minnesota Department of Otolaryngology. The services are available as ala carte options with a pre-approved cost structure. AeroCore is streamlined to provide a compressed timeline of services from initial contact to project completion. The services are comprehensive to include animal protocol approval (IACUC), handling chemicals of unknown safety, project execution, analytical support, written protocols and documented results with minimal contract negotiation time.

Expertise

Operations

Facility Director - Dr. Frank G. Ondrey, MD, PhD, FACS

Dr. Ondrey is a clinician-scientist in aerodigestive translational research. He has directed translational studies in clinical chemoprevention for over 15 years at the University of Minnesota and is a longstanding PI for NCI chemoprevention consortium studies. He is co-leader of the Carcinogenesis and Prevention Program for the University of Minnesota Masonic NCI-designated cancer center. His NCI funded molecular oncology program is geared at aerodigestive cancer prevention including in vitro, animal clinical trials, and human clinical trials. He has studied transcription factor biology cancer for approximately 20 years and was the first to establish upregulation of NFκB as a mechanism for proinflammatory cytokine secretion in his fellowship research at the NIH. He has performed several preclinical contracts in chemoprevention of lung cancer using the A/J mouse model and developed animal models for laryngeal carcinogenesis in rodents with Dr. Lee Wattenberg. 

Animal Colony Manager - Donna Seabloom

Donna supervises the daily care of the animals as well as performing experimental procedures, including carcinogen administration, aerosol delivery, diet administration, and necropsy of animals. She has 18 years of experience in managing the animal colony in Dr. Ondrey’s laboratory. Donna is an expert in many small animal techniques, including injections, gavage, and direct laryngoscopy. Donna's experience in animal handling ensures a low-stress environment for the animals, minimizing experimental variability.

Laboratory Manager - Beverly Wuertz

Beverly, a scientist in AeroCore and Dr. Frank Ondrey's molecular oncology program, has over 15 years experience in molecular biology and small animal surgery. Beverly coordinates incoming work requests, project summaries, and sales agreements. Together with Donna Seabloom, arranges regulatory compliance for the facility and user projects, day to day management of research data, laboratory administrative processes (including fulfillment of regulatory requirements, procuring laboratory services and supplies). Beverly performs small animal surgery including murine direct laryngoscopy, maintains equipment, performs necropsy and sample collections, and coordinates efforts of our expert consultants.  

Technical Consultant - Art Galbraith

Art provides technical expertise on aerosol drug delivery equipment and chemistry. Arthur provides support for aerosol exposures and has 40+ years experience with the design and development of robust equipment and processes. His previous work under Dr. Lee Wattenberg involved inhalation treatments for lung cancer chemoprevention.

Aerosol Delivery

Expert Consultant - Timothy Wiedmann, PhD - Professor, Department of Pharmaceutics

Professor Wiedmann's research focuses on the common thread of characterizing the physical chemical properties of biological systems for optimizing drug delivery. He specializes in inhalation delivery in rodent animal models, including a wide range of compounds for potential application in cancer chemoprevention and chemotherapy, cystic fibrosis, and pulmonary arterial hypertension as well as lung surfactant for respiratory distress syndrome. Dr. Wiedmann also provides consultation in:

  • administration of magnetic iron oxide, lipid-, and polymer-based nanoparticles
  • testing the inhalation toxicity of aldehydes associated with cigarettes and e-cigarettes
  • development of an aerosol/vapor delivery system for testing the safety and effectiveness of chemicals/particulate systems delivered to rodent respiratory tracts

Expert Consultant - Dr. Jayanth Panyam, PhD, Endowed Professor of Targeted Drug Delivery and Department Head, Pharmaceutics

Dr. Panyam’s research is primarily focused on investigating the mechanisms of nanotechnology-based anticancer drug delivery, with emphasis on understanding how various biological factors influence the effectiveness of delivery systems. His ultimate goal is to use the knowledge derived from these studies to devise advanced delivery systems which can be effectively translated to the clinic. Dr. Panyam provides consultation in:

  • Chemoprevention
  • Drug delivery
  • Nanotechnology
  • Polymeric systems
  • Sustained release
  • Tumor targeting

Microsurgery

Expert Consultant & Facility Director - Frank Ondrey, MD, PhD, FACS- Associate Professor, Department of Otolaryngology

Dr. Ondrey's is a clinician scientist whose research focus is in aerodigestive translational chemoprevention research. Dr. Ondrey has performed several preclinical contracts in chemoprevention of lung cancer using the A/J mouse model and developed animal models for laryngeal carcinogenesis in rodents with Dr. Lee Wattenberg. Dr. Ondrey consults in:

  • small airway direct laryngoscopy 
  • small animal surgical model development
  • middle ear access
  • microsurgery

Expert Consultant - Dr. Bevan Yueh, MD, MPH, Department Head & Professor, Department of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery

Dr. Yueh is a head & neck surgeon, and his practice is focused on the ablation of H&N tumors. As a former Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar, he has expertise in clinical epidemiology and health services research.

Expert Consultant - Dr. Samir Khariwala, MD, Associate Professor & Chief, Division of Head and Neck Surgery, Department of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery

Dr. Khariwala's primary research areas are biomarkers and outcomes in head and neck cancer and he consults in:

  • microsurgical techniques
  • microvascular surgery

Expert Consultant - Dr. Sobia Khaja, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery

Dr. Khaja specializes in head and neck oncology and microvascular reconstruction.

Expert Consultant - Dr. Sofia Lyford-Pyke, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery

Dr. Lyford-Pyke specializes in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery.

Middle Ear/Sinus

Expert Consultant - Dr. Sebahattin Cureoglu, MD, Associate Professor, Department of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery

Dr. Cureoglu's research focuses on middle ear infections, hearing loss, otosclerosis, Meniere’s disease, congenital and acquired hearing losses, syndromic ear problems, and other ear pathologies. He has published more than 130 peer-reviewed scientific articles and presented more than 40 presentations in scientific conferences. Dr. Cureoglu consults in:

  • Middle ear surgical techniques
  • Electrophysiologic animal studies
  • Otopathology via micropscopy, histology and molecular techniques
  • Extracelluar matrix remodeling in the middle and inner ear
  • Effect of inflammation, biochemical changes, bacterial invasion, and other factors on the structure and function of the round window membrane and inner ear

Expert Consultant - Dr. Tina C Huang, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery

Dr. Huang consults in:

  • Cochlear implantation outcomes
  • Tinnitus reduction strategies
  • Prevention of hearing loss due to aging
  • Cytomegalovirus-induced hearing loss
  • Cochlear lateral wall pathophysiology

Expert Consultant - Dr. Jizhen Lin, MD, Associate Professor, Department of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery

Dr. Lin's research interests include otitis media with a focus on mucous cell metaplasia in pneumococcal otitis media, identification of cochlear neural progenitors and differentiation of them into hair cells, supporting cells and neurons in vitro, and identification of head and neck cancer stem cells and determination of their role in initiating head and neck cancer. Dr. Lin consults in:

  • Animal models
  • Head and neck cancer stem cells
  • Targeted therapy of head and neck cancer

Biomarkers

Expert Consultant - Dr. Timothy Griffin, PhD, Professor & Director, Center for Mass Spectrometry and Proteomics, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics

Dr. Griffin's research interests focus on the development and application of mass spectrometry-based tools to study proteins and proteomes. The goal of his work is to provide the necessary tools to enable the system-wide characterization of proteins expressed within a cell, tissue, biological fluid or organism, in order to better understand basic mechanisms of biological function and disease. 

  • Biological mass spectrometry
  • Quantitative proteomics
  • Protein and peptide chemistry
  • Bioinformatics

Pathology

Expert Consultant - Dr. M. Gerard O'Sullivan, PhD, Professor & Director, Comparative Pathology Shared Resource, Masonic Cancer Center

Dr. O'Sullivan's research interests and consultation expertise are in Cancer chemoprevention; Colon carcinogenesis; Comparative and experimental pathology; Pathology of rodents and non-human primates; Parvovirus infections of animals and human beings.