Animal research is supported by the Vanderbilt Division of Animal Care Act. The DAC is directed by Jeanne Wallace, DVM, DACLAM, and operates on an annual budget of $11 million. A staff of 75 full-time employees assists DAC leadership. Seven veterinarians and seven veterinary technicians provide veterinary medical care to over 20 different species of vertebrate animals used in research and teaching at Vanderbilt. 

Husbandry is provided by a team of facility managers and floor supervisors who oversee forty animal care technicians. In addition, the DAC supports six full-time administrative personnel, a Shipping Coordinator, and a Training Coordinator.

VO-CRO works with mice, rats, and rabbits, with species selected on the basis of prior knowledge and pilot studies, and in close consultation with the client. Necessary sample sizes are determined by power analysis conducted in collaboration with the Vanderbilt Center for Quantitative Sciences.

Intravitreal injection

Sub-retinal injection

Topical administration

Intraperitoneal injection

Intramuscular injection

Oral Gavage

Subcutaneous Injection

Intravenous Injection

Retro-Orbital Injection

Sub-Conjunctival Injection


VO-CRO has extensive experience in pre-clinical animal models of ocular disease and will work with you to determine the best disease model for your specific needs. Our scientists are experienced in delivering experimental compounds to animals by a wide variety of routes to test efficacy, including:

Oxygen-Induced Retinopathy

The OIR model is an excellent model of retinal angiogenesis and is used to test drugs for retinopathy of prematurity or proliferative diabetic retinopathy. With 31 years of experience using both rat and mouse models of OIR, we have honed our workflow to handle high-throughput and high-volume experiments. We have identified and validated a variety of standard of care-relevant positive control treatments for comparison to the effects of test compounds.

Diabetic Retinopathy

There are several models of diabetes in rodents. We use the streptozotocin (STZ) model and the non-obese diabetic (NOD) and Akita mouse models to recapitulate the pathologies seen in type 1 diabetes, as well as the lepob/ob and leprdb/db mouse models, with and without high-fat diet, to recapitulate the pathologies seen in type 2 diabetes.

Vanderbilt Ophthalmic Contract Research Organization (VO-CRO) is a research enterprise dedicated to producing highest quality pre-clinical data in a timely manner.

Contact us to learn more about our capabilities


Laser-induced choroidal neovascularization (LCNV) is a model of choroidal angiogenesis that is used as a preclinical model of wet age-related macular degeneration. This model employs a combination slit lamp and laser device to deliver laser burns that penetrate Bruch’s membrane in the eyes of rats or mice. We then use the Micron IV imaging system to perform brightfield fundoscopy or quantitative fluorescein angiography to assess vascular leakage non-invasively. We have identified and validated VEGF antibodies that are used as positive controls.

Retinal Degeneration

Photoreceptor cell death is a devastating cause of blindness in patients. We are familiar with many retinal degeneration models that can be used to examine neuroprotective agents and other therapeutic strategies. Included in our assays are ERG analysis, retinal histology/morphometry, optical coherence tomography, and optokinetic reflex analysis in both mice and rats.

Ischemia-Reperfusion Injury

Retinal ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI) can occur in conditions such as glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and retinal vascular occlusions, so animal models are used to study occlusive retinal vascular events. In the rodent model, blood flow to the retina is artificially reduced and then restored, thereby recreating damage that occurs in human retinal pathologies.

Retinal Vein Occlusion

Animal models of both branch and central retinal vein occlusion (BRVO and CRVO) are most commonly induced by laser photocoagulation and reproduce the retinal hemorrhages and retinal edema found in human disease.

Want to learn more about using these models to assess drug efficacy? Contact our team for a Consultation.