FEB 08, 2018 07:30 AM PST

Modernization of Animal Studies

  • 3Rs Scientific Liaison & Animal Welfare Specialist, Abbvie
      Natalie serves as 3Rs Scientific Liaison and Animal Welfare Specialist within AbbVie's Office of Animal Welfare. She earned a Master's degree in Cognitive and Behavioral Sciences from Illinois State University with an emphasis on applied behavior analysis. She spent her first 7 years at the company as a neuroscience pharmacologist in the area of CNS diseases research where she was responsible for a number of preclinical in vivo models. While working with these sensitive animals and models, Natalie developed a passion for improving research animal welfare and promoting refinement, replacement and reduction of animal use in research. She recognized that there were many opportunities for improving both animal welfare and scientific practices by way of the 3Rs. It was also clear that while an ethical obligation to adopt alternatives when possible exists, researchers have little time to pursue the studies necessary to assess the impact of change that comes with 3Rs implementation. This full-time role dedicated to the 3Rs was created strengthening the company's commitment and promoting smarter science through the 3Rs. Working under the Director of Animal Welfare, with many scientific mentors in R&D, Natalie serves as an ambassador and scientific liaison to facilitate and communicate all AbbVie's global 3Rs efforts. Natalie also serves as Global Animal Welfare Specialist to support compliance with AbbVie's Global Animal Welfare Policy, USDA regulations, and AAALAC International expectations by coordinating a global 3rd party supplier oversight program for all contracted animal use.

      Natalie enjoys and sees value in building relationships with, and collaborating with other, like-minded professionals in this precompetitive space. She just served on the PRIM&R planning committee for the second year in a row and is honored to be serving as the Vice President of the newly formed North American 3Rs Collaborative and serves as Vice-Chair Elect and sits on the steering committee for the Innovation and Quality Consortium's 3Rs Leadership Group.

      Her current research interests and collaborations include the parameters involved in successful social housing of male mice, benefits and 3Rs impact of utilizing digital vivarium technology, and further investigating the use of CO2 for refining humane euthanasia in rodents.
    • GSK Associate Fellow, Comparative & Translational Sciences Veterinarian, GlaxoSmithKline
        Sean Maguire, VMD, MS, DACLAM is a Comparative and Translational Sciences Veterinarian at GSK. He received his Veterinary degree from the University of Pennsylvania and his Master's degree in chemistry from Lehigh University. He is Diplomate of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine and has extensive experience in the pharmaceutical industry working across a range of species and disease areas and a special interest in animal model development.
      • Chief Scientific Officer, Vium
          Laura Schaevitz has more than 15 years of experience with In vivo animal studies. As VP of Chief Scientific Officer at Vium, she oversees the development of animal models and draws upon her experiences as a molecular and behavioral neuroscientist to direct the application of Vium's digital metrics to the animal models. In past experiences, Laura utilized a broad spectrum of mouse models including transgenic and nutrition-induced models of neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism, schizophrenia, Rett syndrome, and blindsight. Laura received her PhD in Neuroscience at Stanford University in 2006.


        There is a growing debate about the usefulness of animal studies in biomedical research and drug development. Some of the challenges in translation from animals to human patients may be from weaknesses in how we conduct those studies.  Technological advancements are providing opportunities to expand the data we collect from animals and improve alignment to clinical data and data management. Areas of potential 3Rs impact include environmental monitoring and controls, physiological monitoring, behavioral monitoring and assessments and data management. Technologies are providing innovative approaches to determining optimal housing conditions, improved animal study reproducibility, physiologic and translationally relevant data collection and ability to iteratively learn from studies in perpetuity. The overall impact of these capabilities when integrated in meaningful ways could reduce animal use, reduce pain and discomfort and improve clinical predictivty. Participants will learn about various technological advances enabling 3Rs impact and potentially improved clinical predictivity. In addition, participants will learn about the gaps with current approaches in these areas and how new and future technological capabilities can be leveraged to improve the welfare and scientific impact and relevance of animal studies.

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