Patients and Visitors go to


Comparative Pathology
Phone: 615.322.3667
Room: MCN S1310

Human Tissue Acquisition
Phone: 615.343.3274
Room: TVC 4902

Phone: 615.322.3667
Room: MCN S1310

Research Histology
Phone: 615.322.3667
Room: MCN S1310

Comparative Pathology


Comparative Pathology Mission:

The mission of Comparative Pathology is to advance translational research at Vanderbilt University by providing comprehensive diagnostic, histology, necropsy and pathology services to the Division of Animal Care and Vanderbilt Faculty working with animal models.

Comparative Pathology has built a foundation of excellence, utilizing state of the art equipment and personnel with expertise in comparative pathology.  Our focus is on two primary service goals, comprehensive pathology support for basic science and rapid, accurate diagnosis of pathogens to maintain colony health. 


Diagnostic Services

Anatomic Pathology Services (includes Mouse Phenotyping)

Veterinary Pathologist Consultation


Diagnostic Services


Hematology Services

  • Complete blood count (CBC)* includes the following tests:
    • WBC (white blood cell count)
    • Five-part differential Seg (segmented neutrophils), Lymph (lymphocytes), Mono (monocytes), Eos (eosinophils), Baso (basophils)
    • RBC (red blood cell count)
    • HB (hemoglobin)
    • HCT (hematocrit)
    • MCV (mean corpuscular volume)
    • MCH (mean corpuscular hemoglobin)
    • MCHC (mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration)
    • RDW (red cell distribution width)
    • PLT (platelet count)
    • MPV (mean platelet volume)

* Note: When complete blood counts are performed as a routine part of a research project, they should be scheduled with the laboratory a minimum of 48 hours in advance.

  • Blood Smear Stained
  • Blood Smear Unstained
  • Reticulocyte Stain
  • Manual White Blood Cell Count
  • Manual Red Blood Cell Count
  • Manual Platelet Count
  • Hematocrit (HCT) or Packed Cell Volume (PCV)
  • Total Protein Analysis


Collecting and Handling Blood Samples for Hematology Analysis

A blood cell count is only as accurate as the sample collected.  The following guidelines are recommended to ensure consistency from sample to sample.

  • To obtain the most accurate results, we request that you provide a minimum volume of 50 μL whole blood in 3 μL EDTA.  If smaller volumes are required for your project, please contact us at to discuss the options.
  • Our instrumentation will provide the most accurate results when EDTA is used as the anticoagulant.  We can provide EDTA for you. 
  • The maximum ratio of blood to anticoagulant in the sample should be 10:1.  Increasing the anticoagulant volume will result in clotting and an inaccurate blood count.
  • After blood is transferred to an Eppendorf tube, the sample must be mixed thoroughly for a minimum of 15 to 20 seconds by gently thumping the side of the tube.
  • Blood samples should be submitted at room temperature.
  • Blood samples with evidence of blood clots will not be processed.


We are happy to assist you in project planning.  If you have any questions, please contact us at


Parasitology Services

  • Anal Tape for Pinworms
  • Direct Fecal Examination for Protozoa
  • Fecal Flotation for Endoparasites
  • Direct Skin Examination for Ectoparasites
  • Total Pelt Examination for Ectoparasites


Chemistry Services

We offer comprehensive clinical chemistry testing utilizing the Alfa Wasserman ACE Alera®.  We have a standard diagnostic panel that evaluates multiple organ systems, we can run individual tests, or we can customize panels to specifically meet your project needs. 

Alfa Wasswermann's Alera Chemistry Analyzer Test Information 
TestsLinear RangeUnitsFactors resulting in artifactual resultsSpecial requirements
Serun Iron0-600ug/dL Hemolysis 
Chol5-600mg/dL Hemolysis 
TP0.1-14g/dL Hemolysis 
GLU0-750mg/dL Hemolysis Best results on a fasting samples 
Tbili0.0-40mg/dL Hemolysis 
ALP0-1400U/L  Must be run on serum
Ca0.2-15mg/dL HemolysisMust be run on serum
BUN0-100mg/dL Hemolysis 
Creat0-25mg/dL Hemolysis 
Urine Creat6.8-333.2   Specimen must be in plastic containers
ALB0.1-7g/dL Hemolysis 


Chemistry Test on Mouse Model


         Diagnostic Panel

  • Electrolytes: Sodium (NA), Potassium (K), Chloride (Cl)
  • Cholesterol (CHOL)
  • Triglyceride (TRIG)
  • Amylase (AMY)
  • Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST)
  • Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT)
  • Creatinine Kinase (CK)
  • Gamma-Glutamyl Transferase (GGT)
  • Total Bilirubin (TBILI)
  • Creatinine (CREAT)
  • Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN)
  • Glucose (GLU)
  • Total Protein (TP)
  • Calcium (CA)
  • Albumin (ALB)

Requires 250 μL of serum or heparinized plasma (Please contact us to discuss dilution of smaller   sample volumes).


Individual Chemistry Tests


Cell Line Testing

All cell lines (e.g. murine, human) and biological materials (e.g., antibodies, serum) that are to be injected into an animal must be tested prior to passage.

Testing is done by PCR assay and the results are usually ready in 7 to 10 days.

Specimens submitted must contain at least 1x106 cells/mL tissue culture medium.


Microbiology (currently send out service)

  • Bacteriology Services
  • Aerobic Cultures
  • Anaerobic Cultures
  • Antibiotic Sensitivity




Anatomic Pathology Services


Phenotyping Services

The following baseline testing can be performed:

  • General evaluation of the live animal
  • Body weight
  • Organ weights
  • CBC (Complete Blood Count)
  • Serum Chemistry Profile
  • Gross Necropsy
  • Microscopic evaluation all organ systems
  • Publication-quality digital imaging of gross and microscopic findings

Additional diagnostic tests or specialized imaging may be recommended to further characterize unique phenotypes.


What to provide:

To most accurately evaluate a genetic line, we request that you provide age-matched, sex-matched, litter mate animals when possible.

For initial phenotyping, we recommend that animals be analyzed at 8 to 12 weeks of age.

A Comparative Pathology Core Submission Form must be completed for each animal.

Testing must be scheduled with in advance.

If you require consultation with a Veterinary Pathologist, contact Dr. Kelli Boyd before submitting animals to the TPSR.


Evaluating Male Infertility:

To evaluate infertility in male mice, we perform the following tests:

  • Body weight
  • Testicle weight
  • Sperm count
  • Sperm morphology
  • Sperm motility
  • Histologic evaluation of testicles and accessory sex glands



Veterinary Pathologist Consultation 

Consultation and collaboration with a Veterinary Pathologist on animal studies is available.  Veterinary Pathology Support is provided by ACVP Board Certified Veterinary Pathologist, Dr. Kelli Boyd.  Please contact Dr. Kelli Boyd directly to set up a meeting to discuss the project and establish the best strategy and timeline to meet the project goals.