Overhead drone shot of the Capitol and the Pentacrest

UI Discoveries

The University of Iowa has an unwavering commitment to the health and well-being of research animals, which are valuable resources in the effort to uncover the biological mechanisms that make our bodies work and develop new treatments for a range of health conditions and diseases. This includes cancer, diabetes, cystic fibrosis, childhood blindness, macular degeneration, and many others. High-impact research helps people and animals live longer, healthier lives. 

Below is a select list of Iowa discoveries that were made possible through the use of an animal model.

infant sleep

Study finds coordination of brain and breathing rhythms during sleep begins early in life

The findings could inform our understanding of sleep-related breathing disorders in children
blood pressure icon

Reversing high blood pressure in offspring of hypertensive rats

Findings may open new avenues of research to prevent transfer of health conditions from mothers to children
illustration of a brain

Brain stimulation improves schizophrenia-like cognitive problems

Researchers identified the cerebellum as a potential target for treating diseases that affect thinking, attention, and planning
Close-up of gloved hands cradling a white laboratory mouse with red eyes

Early UI research on coronaviruses sets the stage for COVID-19 vaccine

In 2007, two UI professors led a team in creating a genetically modified mouse susceptible to infection by SARS in order to study the coronavirus and its potential treatments. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, The Jackson Laboratory, the world’s largest supplier of research mice,  re-created and bred this UI-developed mouse model that scientists around the globe could use in their quest for effective therapies against COVID-19. The UI team has since created other mouse models valuable for understanding the virus and the immune system’s response. 

graphic comparing an impacted frenulum vs one which isn't

Finding more genes associated with cleft lip and palate

The research team identified three genes that cause cleft lip or palate, which occurs in about 1 in every 1,600 babies born in the U.S.

UI biologists identify gene involved in kidney-related birth defects

The finding, which was confirmed using zebrafish and mice, allows for families carrying the mutation to be told in advance whether their children are at risk of inheriting the disorder
melanoma tumor, with blood and lymphatic vessels

Creating nanoparticle-vaccine combination to target melanoma

Experiments in mice eliminated cancerous tumors or extended survival

Using nanoparticles to target, kill endometrial cancer

The new treatment could mean improved survival rates for the roughly 6,000 U.S. women diagnosed with type II endometrial cancer every year

Gut microbes: Burning calories while you sleep?

Study links changes in gut bacteria to lower resting metabolic rate and weight gain in mice
vitamin b3 structural chemical formula view from a microscope

Vitamin nicotinamide riboside protects mice from diabetes complications

A naturally occurring vitamin, nicotinamide riboside, can lower blood sugar levels, reduce fatty liver, and prevent peripheral nerve damage in mouse models of diabetes

For more background on the scientific advancements made possible by animal research, please visit Learn more.