FEB 03, 2016 12:00 PM PST

Panel: How should we conduct and assess teaching and training to optimize animal handling?

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  • Associate Professor, Department of Experimental Medicine, University of Copenhagen
      Klas Abelson is an Associate Professor at the Department of Experimental Medicine at the University of Copenhagen. He obtained a Master of Medical Sciences at Uppsala University in 2001, where he also graduated as a PhD in Comparative Medicine in 2005. Klas is doing research in animal welfare and model refinement, especially with focus on pain and stress. He is also responsible for his departments teaching and training activities for technicians as well as PhD-students and other academics.
    • Director of Comparative Biology and Medicine, GlaxoSmithKline, Adjunct Professor of Pathology, Duke University School of Medicine
        Jeff Everitt received his DVM from Cornell University and then completed a residency in comparative pathology at the University of Pennsylvania and a postdoctoral research appointment at the University of Illinois. Dr. Everitt served for 17 years on the senior scientific staff of the CIIT Centers for Health Research where he attained Senior Scientist status. At CIIT he led the animal care and use program as well as a multidisciplinary research program that examined the health effects of inhaled fibrous particulate. He currently serves as a Director of Comparative Biology and Medicine at GlaxoSmithKline and as an Adjunct Professor of Pathology at Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, NC. Dr. Everitt is board certified in anatomic pathology (ACVP) and in laboratory animal medicine (ACLAM) and is a Fellow in the International Academy of Toxicologic Pathologists (FIATP). He has served in leadership positions in multiple professional organizations in laboratory animal science, pathology and toxicology during the past twenty years. Dr. Everitt has lectured and published widely on best practices for the control of variability and bias in the conduct of in vivo studies.


      The use of laboratory animals requires education and training of persons who are to design and/or perform animal experiments. It is essential for these persons to practice various procedures on live animals. Previous investigations of student evaluations have shown that students consider the theoretical knowledge of laboratory animal science and practical skills of great importance to the success of their future research involving animal experiments. Practical handling and procedures of the animals are among the topics that students appreciate the most and also request more practicing in. This is, however, in conflict with the general strive to reduce the number of animals in experimentation and in education, and there is thus a controversy between the wish for reduction of the number of animals used and the necessity of actually using them in education. Therefore, it is important to identify cases in which the use of live animals is necessary in teaching and training, and in which cases it is not. At our department, we offer courses that contain practical hands-on exercises in handling, injections, blood sampling and surgery, on live animals. Other exercises, in e.g. anesthesia and behavior, have successfully been replaced with video-based exercises, where the students assess animals that have been filmed. This strategy has turned out to be very successful. This presentation will describe the educational advantages and disadvantages of using live animals versus video-based exercises, give examples of how teaching with live animals can be carried out, to what extent video-based exercises can reduce the number of animals used, and how this strategy is perceived by the students. The presentation will also bring to discussion and give examples of how to assess learning outcomes and technical skills of the student’s in practical exercises with live animals.

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