Skip to main content

Columbia Mouse Metabolic Function & Phenotyping Core


The investigators of the Diabetes Research Center employ many murine models to study diabetes and its complications. The Mouse Metabolic Phenotype and Function Core currently provides services that facilitate the efficient characterization of mouse models of diabetes and its complications. Core personnel also provide guidance to investigators regarding selection of techniques and experimental design. The core services complement those provided by other Diabetes Research Center cores, so that investigators who take advantage of our resources can fully characterize the histologic, immunologic, and metabolic function and phenotypes of mice.


  • Body Composition Analysis - To provide robust measurements of body composition in live mice. The total and relative fat, lean and bone mass of an animal modulates whole body glucose, lipid and protein metabolism. Quantifying the body composition provides critical data for diabetes investigators as they assess the metabolic function and phenotypes of mice.
  • Whole Body Metabolic Assessment - To measure the caloric intake, feeding behavior, motor activity, energy expenditure, and fuel utilization of mice. Critical for understanding the metabolic function of an organism is measuring its energy intake, expenditure, and partitioning. Defining the whole body metabolic function is often central in understanding mechanisms that underlie mouse models of obesity and diabetes.
  • Measurement Metabolic Clamps - To measure insulin action, glucose disposal and production, lipid fluxes, and insulin release in mice. The defining feature of type 2 diabetes is reduced insulin action leading to hyperglycemia and altered lipid metabolism. Metabolic clamp studies permit measurement of insulin action, including the ability of key metabolic tissues to produce and clear glucose and lipids, and permit response of the pancreas to hyperglycemic stresses.
  • Thermogenic Phenotyping - To measure the metabolic response of mice to thermogenic challenges and to quantify heat generation by key thermogenic tissues. Heat generation is an important component of energy expenditure that acutely alters glucose utilization and long-term metabolism. Using both standard and novel techniques developed by the MMFP, investigators can more completely assess energy balance in mice and cellular heat production.
  • Gastric Infusion/Feeding - To precisely control the quantity and composition of nutrient intake, and GI drug delivery. Circadian metabolism, over-nutrition, gut hormone activation, and gut microbiota all modulate the development of diabetes, hepatic steatosis, and insulin resistance. Precise control over timing, amount, and content of food permit the study of gut function in the development of diabetes and its complications. Gastric tube feeding also permits chronic enteral treatment with drugs and micronutrients implicated in diabetes.

Core People

Core Director
Anthony W Ferrante Jr MD PhD Columbia Mouse Metabolic Function & Phenotyping Core Email