NC3Rs e-newsletter - October 2016


Talk Science at the British Library to focus on the 3Rs

As part of Biology Week 2016, we are collaborating with the British Library to host a panel discussion about the 3Rs. This event is open to the public and is aimed at anyone who is interested in learning about the use of animals in research and the current state of alternatives, alongside efforts to refine animal models.

Tickets cost £5 (plus booking fee) and are available on the British Library website.



Additional reviewers required for IICARus project

The CAMARADES group are assessing how the use of the ARRIVE guidelines impacts the quality of publications describing animal experiments, and are seeking collaborators to review manuscripts.

Reviewers will be named in the resulting publications and have the opportunity to earn prizes for the number of reviews completed.



New video tutorial released: mouse handling made easier

A new tutorial on refined methods of handling mice for researchers and animal technicians is now available.

The 20 minute video builds upon research by Professor Jane Hurst and colleagues from the University of Liverpool, co-funded by the NC3Rs and BBSRC. The tutorial offers practical guidance on the use of non-aversive handling techniques, which reduce stress and anxiety in mice in comparison with traditional tail handling methods.



How home pen design affects the welfare of laboratory dogs

A study co-funded by the NC3Rs has highlighted the importance of home pen design for laboratory dog welfare.

Research conducted by 2016 3Rs Prize winner Dr Laura Scullion Hall and her colleagues demonstrated that beagles housed within modern home pen designs, receiving regular staff contact and training, show more signs of positive welfare, such as resting, and fewer negative signs, such as vigilance and stereotypies.



New study looks at the impact of fluid restriction on macaque welfare

NC3Rs-funded research into the impact of fluid restriction on macaque welfare has recently been published in eNeuro.

Helen Gray compared two different fluid control protocols used to motivate rhesus macaques to perform cognitive tasks, as part of her NC3Rs-funded PhD studentship. The monkeys were able to adapt physiologically to restriction of fluid, but the implications of the behavioural changes observed on animal welfare was less clear.



A new non-invasive method for studying neuronal ageing using imaging in the fruit fly

A paper recently published in Nature Protocols describes the use of non-invasive imaging techniques to investigate neuronal aging in a fruit fly model.

Dr Alessio Vagnoni, an NC3Rs David Sainsbury Fellow, uses fruit flies to study the transport of molecules in neurons, changes in which are linked to age-related neuronal disorders such as dementia. Dr Vagnoni’s methods could also be applied to other areas of neuronal cell biology, offering a quick and cost effective alternative to mouse models.



Black or white? The effect of tank background on the welfare of laboratory frogs (Xenopus laevis)

Research funded by the NC3Rs has demonstrated that laboratory housed Xenopus laevis kept in tanks with dark backgrounds show fewer physiological and behavioural signs of stress compared with those kept in tanks with white backgrounds.

The work, which was recently published in Applied Animal Behaviour Science, provides empirical evidence that darkened or opaque tanks replicating the wild environment are beneficial to the welfare of the frogs.



Funding panel vacancies

We are recruiting Panel members to help select the latest 3Rs technologies and approaches on our Development and Impact, Grant, PhD Studentship and Training Fellowship Assessment Panels.

Deadline for applications: 4pm, 8 November 2016.



Launch of our new Skills and Knowledge Transfer grant scheme

We are now inviting informal outlines to our new Skills and Knowledge Transfer grant scheme. This scheme supports the adoption of ready-to-go 3Rs models, tools and technologies within routine research practice, through the transfer of knowledge, skills and expertise.

Awards are for up to £75k and 12 months in duration.

Outlines must be submitted to the Office by 4pm, 25 November 2016.



CRACK IT Challenges 2016 competition now open

The 2016 CRACK IT Challenges are now open for applications:

  • Osteo-chip: An in vitro model to recapitulate the human osteoarthritic joint (Two Phase)
  • Retinal 3D: A physiologically-competent human 3D retina (Two Phase)
  • EASE: Eliminating surgical embryo transfer in mice (Single Phase)
  • Maximise: Reliable predictions for classifying mixtures of chemicals for acute oral toxicity, and skin and eye irritation (Single Phase)

Each of the Two Phase Challenges offers up to £1 million funding and a research contract for up to three years and the Single Phase Challenges offer up to £100k funding for up to one year.

The application deadlines are:
Two Phase Challenges: 12pm, 9 November 2016.
Single Phase Challenges: 12pm, 16 November 2016.



£1.5 million for 3Rs research to improve gene therapy safety and skin metabolism prediction

We have awarded £1.5 million to the winners of the annual NC3Rs CRACK IT Challenges competition, run using the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) process which is supported by Innovate UK.

The funds will be used to deliver two Challenges: Metaboderm, to create tools for better understanding of human skin metabolism; and InMutaGene, to improve risk assessment for gene therapy products. Two teams have been selected by the expert CRACK IT Challenge Panels to solve these Challenges over a three year period.



Neurodegeneration and the 3Rs: Models, Mechanisms & Resources

6 December 2016: EDINBURGH
The Scottish TSE Network (STN) has dedicated their Annual Meeting to the application of the 3Rs to neurodegenerative disease research. As part of the programme Dr Sam Jackson (NC3Rs Programme Manager in disease models, efficacy and safety pharmacology) will be describing our work and outline funding opportunities for attendees.

The closing date for registration is 5 December 2016.



Animal Science Meeting 2016

9 December 2016: LONDON
Applications are invited for the Animal Science Meeting 2016, hosted by the Home Office (ASRU) and the Animal Science Group of the Royal Society of Biology. A mix of talks, panel discussions and workshops will address issues surrounding leaving the EU and the review of Directive 2010/63, project licence applications and severity assessments of experimental procedures.

The closing date for registration is 1 November 2016.