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Animals in Research: Law, Policy, and Humane Sciences

4th Term
Environmental Health and Engineering
Academic Year
2024 - 2025
Instruction Method
Asynchronous Online
Auditors Allowed
Yes, with instructor consent
Available to Undergraduate
Grading Restriction
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Course Instructor(s)
Contact Name
Frequency Schedule
Every Year

Introduction to Online Learning.

In recent years, animal-based research has come under increased scrutiny due to its perceived lack of rigor, reproducibility and translational value. Would you like to learn how the 3Rs can help you to counter the so-called reproducibility crisis in animal research, and would you like to master the basics on how to conduct human-relevant and rigorous science?
Imparts fundamental knowledge about basic and applied (bio)medical research. Explores the main shortcomings of animal use in science. Discusses how to fully apply the 3R principles, and how to properly conduct experiments. Prepares students to critically appraise the validity of animal and non-animal models and methods in order to choose the best means for particular research interests. 
Learning Objectives
Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  1. Explain which laws apply when using animals in biomedical research
  2. Describe the 3Rs principles (Replacement, Reduction, Refinement) that govern the responsible use of laboratory animals in science
  3. Perform comprehensive literature searches on the research topic as well as on possible Replacement (animal-free methods), Reduction of animal numbers and animal experiments and Refinement of animal experiments to reduce inflicted pain and suffering to an absolute minimum
  4. Detect bias in scientific work
  5. Identify the steps by which biomedical research involving animals is reviewed by Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees (IACUCs)
  6. Assess the ways in which the application of humane science principles in biomedical research can lead to more robust scientific methodology and results
  7. Perform successful planning of research studies
  8. Explain why full reporting of research studies is imperative and what key items need to be reported in publications
  9. Identify available means to reduce pain, distress and suffering (Refinement methods) that ought to be applied if animals are used
  10. Describe means to reduce animal experiments and numbers of animals used (Reduction)
  11. Identify available non-animal methods and models that can be used to enhance chances of translatability of results to human settings
Methods of Assessment
This course is evaluated as follows:
  • 30% Participation
  • 30% Midterm
  • 40% Final Project