March 12, 2019
FIVM Series presents: Genetically tailored pigs as large animal models and organ donors
With the right animal models, it seems possible to translate novel biomedical research discoveries into clinical applications. Although rodent models are widely used, they often don’t accurately represent human disease. What is often needed are animal models that better mimic aspects of human anatomy and physiology.
On Friday, March 15, Dr. Eckhard Wolf will discuss how advances in the genetic engineering of large animal species have made them suitable for biomedical applications. He will talk about how tailored pig models for monogenic diseases such as cystic fibrosis, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, or Laron syndrome have been shown to resemble the human diseases more closely than existing rodent models. These models allow clinicians to develop and test new therapeutic treatments in human-sized animals that show the same disease mechanisms and symptoms as the affected patients.
Dr. Wolf’s presentation will also look at the importance of these models to rare diseases, and how improved predictive data may reduce the risk of drug failure in clinical trials.
Dr. Eckhard Wolf studied veterinary medicine at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU), Germany. He has been a full professor since 1995 (at the age of 32) and an elected member of the German Academy of Sciences, Leopoldina since 2000. He is the head of the Institute for Molecular Animal Breeding and Biotechnology and the director of both the Laboratory for Functional Genome Analysis and the Center for Innovative Medical Models at LMU Munich. His lab specializes in the generation and characterization of genetically engineered pigs as models for human diseases (diabetes mellitus, rare monogenic diseases) and as organ donors for xenotransplantation.
Dr. Wolf is Speaker of the Transregio Collaborative Research Center “Biology of xenogeneic cell, tissue and organ transplantation – from bench to bedside” funded by the German Research Council. His research work is published in leading journals, with an h-index of 80 and around 30,000 citations. He is also vice dean of research, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, and vice head of the Gene Center, LMU Munich.