June 28, 2017
11 am to 12 pm EDT

Sponsored by
Biomodels logo



Webinar Description:

Imbalances in the intestinal microbial community (dysbiosis) caused by disease or therapy-induced toxicities have been linked to the pathogenesis of a number of disease states. These include auto-inflammatory and auto-immune diseases, such as IBD and RA, and metabolic disorders such as obesity; however, dysbiosis has also been implicated in the therapeutic efficacy of checkpoint inhibitors for many cancers. A possible explanation for these findings may be associated with differences in resident gut flora (notably Clostridiaceae, Bacteroidaceae, Provotellaceae, Lactobacillaceae, and Bifidobacteriaceae families) that have been reported between animals sourced from different vendors.

A number of experimental approaches can be taken when probing disease models with a microbiome component. These include comparing disease penetrance and/or test-article therapeutic efficacy in animals sourced from multiple vendors, pre-treatment of animals with antibiotics prior to introduction of novel fecal microbial transplants and/or bacterial compositions, or the use of germ-free and gnotobiotic mice, housed in germ-free isolators. As germ-free mice lack a competing endogenous gut microbiome, they allow for a “blank-slate” when studying the role of the microbiome in disease models, and can be used both to control the intestinal microbiome between experiments and to model disease states with potential roles for the microbiome. This webinar will describe Biomodels’ capabilities in design and execution of translational preclinical efficacy studies for novel microbiome-modulating treatment modalities toward a variety of disease states.

Learning Objectives:

  • Introduce the role of the microbiome in various human disease states
  • Discuss the experimental approaches that can be utilized when probing disease models with a microbiome component
  • Describe the importance of the microbiome when modeling diseases in vivo


Caitlin SL Parello, PhD.

Scientist. Biomodels


Dr. Parello joined Biomodels in 2016 as an Associate Scientist after completing her post-doctoral studies in the Department of Pathology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Her post-doctoral work focused on identifying myelin protein-derived peptides to which human or murine HLA-DR15.01 or HLA-DR04.01 restricted T cells are reactive, with the downstream goal of developing a clinically relevant, humanized murine model of Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis (EAE) as a model for Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Dr. Parello received her PhD from Boston University School of Medicine in 2014, where she adapted two murine models of Shiga Toxin 2- induced kidney injury, and was an NIH- funded pre-doctoral fellow and Russek award winner. Her current research interests combine her background in adaptive immunity and murine model development, and are largely related to translational microbiome research. These interests include the interaction of the microbiome and immune system, the potential dysbiosis mediating inflammatory/autoimmune disorders, determining if restoration of eubiosis can be therapeutic for such disorders, and the development of clinically relevant animal models with which to probe these exciting questions. At Biomodels, Dr. Parello has established the Germ-Free/Gnotobiotic murine isolator facility, and serves as the lead scientist on microbiome- related studies.

Benjamin G Cuiffo, PhD.

Principle Scientist, Oncology. Biomodels


Dr. Cuiffo joined Biomodels in 2015 after completing his postdoctoral studies at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, where he was an American Cancer Society Fellow. His postdoctoral work centered upon elucidating the molecular mechanisms of tumor metastasis in preclinical in vitro and in vivo models. Dr. Cuiffo brings additional expertise in the biology of tumor- initiating (cancer stem cells) and invasive phenotypes, oncogenic signaling pathways, and noncoding RNAs in cancer. He received his Ph.D. in Molecular and Cell Biology from Brandeis University in 2010, where he developed novel strategies to target the RAS oncogene in animal models of leukemia. As the Lead Oncology Scientist at Biomodels, Dr Cuiffo will collaborate with clients to design and execute clinically translational preclinical Oncology studies.