Research Equipment Support

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The CCAH launched its Faculty Equipment Grants Program in 2014 after recognizing the ongoing need of the school’s faculty to purchase new equipment and pay for replacements or repairs. “It’s hard to repair or replace equipment needed for research because most grants exclude equipment,” says Director Dr. Michael Kent. “If a freezer or centrifuge breaks, it needs to get done right away.”

In the program’s three years of existence, nearly $300,000 has been used to finance 50 total requests for equipment. During the 2017 round of funding, the CCAH fulfilled 15 requests — totaling nearly $135,000 — for items such as a UVP BioSpectrum Imaging System, Sonoscape S9 Ultrasound Machine, Corneal Cross Linker, Beckman Coulter FC500 Flow Cytometer and more. Here we highlight three pieces of funded equipment:

Forma high-performance freezer

In the Department of Medicine and Epidemiology, Associate Professor Dr. Jodi Westropp received a grant to pay for a Forma high-performance freezer that stores samples at -112 degrees Fahrenheit. Clinical research involves blood, urine and tissue specimens from companion animals, which must be properly stored to prevent degradation. Westropp’s colleague Dr. Jonathan Dear, for example, needs the freezer for his continuing research into blood-borne infectious diseases.

Motion-capture video analysis software

Dr. Susan Stover, a professor in the Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Cell Biology, purchased an upgraded motion-capture video analysis software. The software captures and analyzes an animal’s motion through tracking-markers taped to the limbs or torso as it walks, runs or performs tasks — like what a service dog would do when assisting a person. Veterinarians then use the data to assess changes resulting from surgery or medicine for joints, limbs or spinal conditions. A dog that starts moving normally again is likely not experiencing anymore pain.

Trackit EEG monitoring system

Another grant covered the cost of the Trackit EEG monitoring system. Dr. Beverly Sturges, a professor in the Department of Surgical and Radiological Sciences, says the system uses Bluetooth technology, is compact and weighs less than 1 pound — making it easy to carry in the pocket of a dog’s harness. Because the equipment was made for use with people, researchers will adapt it for use in awake dogs as a way to monitor long-term EEG recordings to diagnose and classify seizures. This will also help monitor the effectiveness of anti-seizure medication.