MDI Biological Laboratory
Press Release

$600k for MDI Biological Laboratory Startup included in Congressional Spending Bill

Initiative Will Speed Drug Development with Unique Animal Models for Human Health

Bar Harbor, Dec. 23, 2022 – The omnibus appropriations measure Congress is considering includes $600,000 for a unique effort on Mt. Desert Island to deploy non-traditional animals such as zebrafish and C. elegans roundworms for fast, efficient discovery and screening of new medications and therapies.

MDIBL’s scientists are leaders in the development of novel models for human health. The Laboratory’s new division, MDI Bioscience, will use the Congressional allotment to finance the renovation and retrofit of a historic campus structure into a secure, state-of-the-art facility for drug discovery and high- throughput molecular analysis.

“We are enormously grateful to Maine’s Congressional delegation for securing this vital support,” said Herman Haller, M.D., the Laboratory’s President and an expert in the use of zebrafish to model regeneration of the kidney. “This is the kind of investment in the state’s biomedical infrastructure that puts Maine on the cutting-edge of life sciences research while supporting high-paying jobs for Mainers.”

Senators Susan Collins and Angus King each supported the funding as the appropriations measure was drafted, and Senator Collins ensured its inclusion from her position on the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Jim Strickland, Director of MDI Bioscience

MDI Bioscience aims to speed the development of safe, effective new drugs and get them more quickly into the hands of doctors and patients. In addition to kidney repair, the methodology can benefit the development of therapies for heart, liver, metabolic, and neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

We use state-of-the-art approaches to create genetic and chemical models of disease in zebrafish, zebrafish larvae, and C. elegans,” said MDI Bioscience Director James Strickland. “We use these disease models to help reveal the beneficial effects and potential toxicities of promising molecules before the initiation of more resource-intensive mammal studies.”

MDI Bioscience is also combining innovative new approaches for using high-throughput imaging, AI, and computational pharmacology to enable faster screening of a great number of compounds. These studies can better inform early decision-making about whether a drug is likely to be successful.

MDI Bioscience is also developing new models to screen chemical industry products for potential toxicity and for monitoring environmental health.

MDI Biological Laboratory is a 124-year-old, non-profit biomedical research and education organization focused on the science of aging and regeneration. For more information or to arrange interviews with MDIBL experts:

Fred Bever

Chief Communications Officer | 207-288-9880, Ext. 103 | 207-200-6832

P.O. Box 35 | Salisbury Cove, ME 04672 |