About the Energy Balance Core

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School

The home of CalR

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This is the website for the Energy Balance Core at BIDMC and Harvard Medical School, a facility designed for the measurement of energy intake, nutritional status, and energy expenditure in experimental mice.

This equipment consists of 40 individual indirect calorimetry cages with temperature and light-controlled environments. These systems allow for a powerful research and discovery platform for investigating factors affecting body weight in mice. This facility allows us to perform indirect calorimetry in unrestrained, conscious mice, yielding quantitative measurements of oxygen consumption (VO2), carbon dioxide production (VCO2), respiratory exchange ratio – an indicator of substrate utilization – and total energy expenditure. It also provides measures of basal locomotor activity, and exercise tolerance, as well as caloric intake. Our indirect calorimeters are specialized, allowing for the precise control of ambient temperature ranging from thermoneutrality (30°C) to cold (4°C). The use of indirect calorimetry in our studies has revealed profound changes in energy substrate utilization and induction of thermogenesis in multiple mouse models. Our calendar is typically scheduled 1-3 months in advance. 

Our other instrumentation allows for noninvasive quantitation of whole-body fat and lean mass (EchoMRI and DEXA), thermal heat radiation (FLIR camera), and energy consumed but not absorbed (fecal bomb calorimetry). We also utilize continuous glucose monitoring in mice with the Data Sciences International (DSI) HD-XG system. As of summer 2021, we also measure non-invasive isotopic substrate oxidation in live mice with 13C-glucose or other substrates when metabolized to 13CO2.  

See the list of our core’s equipment:

For scheduling, availability or questions about services please email EnergyBalanceCore@bidmc.harvard.edu