Laboratory Animal Science


Previous research results:

We work towards improving animal-based research in a way that addresses both scientific validity and animal welfare. In studies of behaviour and welfare, we study how animals behave in different housing environments, and how providing resources animals value affects parameters measured in research in neurosciences and immunology. Our results indicate that – while improving animal welfare - furnishing mouse cages with nesting material and shelters does not compromise research results. We also use different experimental and epidemiological methods to understand the problems with early pup mortality in laboratory mouse breeding. Research into anaesthesia investigates how different concentrations affect learning, memory and brain morphophysiology in rats and mice and also develops refined anaesthesia protocols. In ethics, we ask how the harm-benefit balance of research can be improved. Analyses of different types of research have identified critical points in which animal welfare can be improved, and more recently we have also started to address the question of how to optimize benefit. We have also analyzed biotechnology applications from an animal-ethics perspective.


IMAGE: Scientifically valid and ethically responsible animal research starts with breeding and rearing the animals. This photo of a litter of young mouse pups comes from one of our ongoing research projects into maternal behaviour and pup survival in laboratory mouse breeding. Photo: Robert Eriksson

Future research:

The overall goal remains to develop animal-based research in a way that takes both research quality and animal welfare into account.

During the coming years, focus will be on an integration of our studiesof behaviour and welfare with the biomedical research where the animals are used. Similarly, we will take an integrative approach to the ethical harm-benefit analysis of animal-based research, further developing methods for critical evaluation of harm reduction and benefit optimization. In anaesthesia, the work on assessing different protocols and their effect on different levels of the nervous system continue. To achieve these goals, we are expanding our interdisciplinary and international collaborations, which now include sociologists and engineers as well as philosophers and life scientists. We welcome collaboration with industry.


Selected publications:

Olsson IAS and Sandøe P (2009) “What’s wrong with my monkey?”An ethical perspective on germline transgenesis in marmosets. Transgenic Research 19: 181-186.

Varga O, Harangi M, Olsson IAS and Hansen AK (2010)“Contribution of animal models to the understanding of the metabolic syndrome: a systematic overview.” Obesity Reviews. 11:792-807.

Olsson IAS, Costa A, Nobrega C, Roque S and Correia-Neves M. (2010). “Environmental enrichment does not compromise the immune response in mice chronically infected with Mycobacterium avium.” Scandinavian Journal of Immunology 71: 249-257.

Valentim AM, Di Giminiani P, Ribeiro PO, Rodrigues P, Olsson IAS and Antunes LM. 2010. “Lower isoflurane concentration affects spatial learning and neurodegeneration in adult mice compared with higher concentrations.” Anesthesiology 113:1099-1108.

Franco NH, Correia-Neves M and Olsson IAS. How humane is your endpoint? Refining the science-driven approach for termination of animal studies of chronic infection (2011) PLoS Pathogens. Accepted for publication.

Silva A, Campos S, Monteiro J, Venâncio C, Costa B, Guedes de Pinho P, Antunes L. (2011) Performance of anesthetic depth indexes inr under propofol anesthesia: Prediction probabilities and concentration-effect relations. Anesthesiology. 2011 Aug;115(2):303-314.





Group Leader

Catarina Castro, Ana

Félix, Luís

Franco, Nuno

Valentim, Ana Maria


Morello, Gabriela

Phd Students

Ramos, Pedro

MSc Students

Miranda, Sónia


Miguel Ferreira, Jorge


Costa, Andreia


Antunes, Luís

Jesus, Diogo

Marie Brajon, Sophie

Oliveira, Pedro Nuno

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