Lab Mice Rejoice Over Pending Budget Vote

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The Senate is poised to pass a budget deal this week that could restore funding for medical research trimmed as a result of automatic budget cuts known as the sequester.

Researchers in New York City are cautiously optimistic that they will have access to grants from the National Institutes of Health that they rely on to conduct their work.

Lonny Levin, a pharmacology professor at Weill-Cornell Medical College, was forced to drastically scale back his lab due the sequester. He had to lay off half of his staff and "minimize" his colony of specialized lab mice from 60 to just a handful. 

A year without the proper funding means he'll have to scale his operation up before he can begin his research again. That means he may have lost a year, even two, in his study of glaucoma and other diseases.

After all, mice don't just magically appear with the snap of a finger.

"We actually have to do matings and it takes six months to year to get the numbers for some of these experiments. So instead of being a week away from the experiment, we're a year away from the experiment," Levin said. 

To hear more about Levin's lab and what the pending budget deal could mean for the bioscience in New York, click on the audio player above.