66633 - Biotechnology and Animal Models

Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Docente: Monica Forni
  • Credits: 6
  • SSD: VET/02
  • Language: Italian
  • Moduli: Monica Forni (Modulo 1) Chiara Bernardini (Modulo 2) Augusta Zannoni (Modulo 3)
  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures (Modulo 1) Traditional lectures (Modulo 2) Traditional lectures (Modulo 3)
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: First cycle degree programme (L) in Biotechnology (cod. 8005)

Learning outcomes

To prepare students for experimental work with live animals.

The course will focus on the use of animals in biomedical research. Based uponFELASA Programit should provide an introduction to the major areas of laboratory animal science and in this way contribute both to the humane use and care of animals and to the quality of experimental results.

The student must have knowledge of male and female gametogenesis in order to know and understand principal biotechnologies, comprising transgenesis, applied to male and female gametes and embryos of domestic, terrestrial and aquatic, species.

Course contents

Module 1 is dedicated to Laboratory Animal Science, as a basic discipline for approaching experimentation involving animals (Prof Forni)The course is composed by a theory part and a pratical laboratory work.

This module provides guidance and information to enable individuals working with animals to identify, understand and respond appropriately, to the ethical and welfare issues raised by the use of animals in scientific procedures generally and, where appropriate, within their own programme of work. It provides information to enable individuals to understand and to apply the basic principles of the Three Rs.

The contents of the Module correspond to the contents of Module 2 of the Italian Decree 05 August 2021, reflecting the implementation of Directive 2010/63/EU on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes.

Learning Outcomes

Students should be able to:

  • Describe the differing views, within society, relating to the scientific uses of animals and recognise the need to respect these.
  • Describe the responsibility of humans when working with research animals and recognise the importance of having a respectful and humane attitude towards working with animals in research.
  • Identify ethical and animal welfare issues in their own work and be aware and able to reflect on the consequences of their own actions.
  • Recognise that compliance with ethical principles may contribute to the long-term trust and acceptance in scientific research from the general public.
  • Describe how the law is based on an ethical framework which requires 1) weighing the harms and benefits of projects (the harm/benefit assessment) 2) applying the Three Rs to minimise the harm, maximise benefits and 3) promote good animal welfare practices.
  • Describe and discuss the importance of the ThreeRs as a guiding principle in the use of animals in scientific procedures.
  • Explain the Five Freedoms and how these apply to laboratory species
  • Describe the concept of harms to animals including avoidable and unavoidable suffering, direct, contingent and cumulative suffering
  • Describe the severity classification system, and give examples of each category. Describe cumulative severity and the effect this may have on the severity classification.
  • Describe the regulations regarding re-use of animals.
  • Describe the importance of good animal welfare including its effect on scientific outcomes as well as for societal and moral reasons.
  • Describe the need for a culture of care and the individual’s role in contributing to this.
  • Describe relevant sources of information relating to ethics, animal welfare and the implementation of the Three Rs.
  • Be aware of different search tools (e.g. EURL ECVAM Search Guide, Go3Rs) and methods of search (e.g. Systematic reviews, meta analysis).

In the Module 2, the fundamental aspects of animal biotechnology as a whole will be addressed with particular reference to the use of animal models in translational medicine and biotechnology applied to the reproduction of species of research interest. (Prof Bernardini)

Learning outcomes

  • Describe and identify the main areas of animal biotechnology 
  •  Describe and identify the main animal models used in translational medicine with particular reference to rodents and porcine species.
  • Describe and identify the main biotechnologies applied to reproduction, have an in-depth knowledge of male and female gametogenesis, the fertilisation process, embryo development up to the pre-implantation stage
  • Describe and identify the latest reproductive biotechnologies, including animal transgenesis and cloning.

Module 3 is the laboratory component of the course, which is partly carried out in the computer lab and partly in the wet lab as per the timetable (Prof Zannoni).

During laboratory activities, students will acquire skills in the manipulation of male and female gametes and alternative methods.

Learning Outcomes

  • To describe and discuss a maturation protocol
  • Describe the male and female reproductive organs of different animal species
  • Describe male and female gametes of different animal species
  • Recognise and discuss abnormal gamete forms
  • Describe and discuss the protocol of transgenesis using the Sperm Mediated Gene Transfer technique in the pig species
  • Describe and discuss the protocol fortransgenic mouse genotyping

In view of the types of activities and teaching methods adopted, attendance of this training activity requires all students to complete modules 1 and 2 in e-learning mode and to participate in module 3 of specific training on health and safety in the workplace. Information on the dates and procedures for attending module 3 can be found in the appropriate section of the course website.


Experimental Design and Reproducibility in Preclinical Animal Studies (Part 1) https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-030-66147-2

Advances in Animal Biotechnology Birbal Singh , Gorakh Mal , Sanjeev K. Gautam , Manishi Mukesh ed Springer 2019

Fisiologia degli animali domestici Oystein V. Sjaastad Iav Sand Knut Hove Casa Editrice Ambrosiana 2017

Appunti di lezione e Articoli forniti dal docente.

Teaching methods

Lectures and flipped classroom

Laboratory work performed personally by the student according to the handouts provided, with theoretical and practical explanations of the teacher and tutor

Assessment methods

The principal learning outcomes will be assessed:

-  knowledge on the use of animals in biomedical research.

- judgement autonomy and communication tools in relation to animal experiments

- knowledge of animal biotechnologies

- knowledge of male and female gametogenesis

The final grade will be composed of:

10% on the active participation in Moodle and laboratory activities;

40% on a multiple choice quiz (32 questions) on Laboratory Animal Science at the end of the first part of the course (Module 1) The quiz will be given once at the end of the lessons, afterwards, it will be replaced by oral questions on the same topics.

50% on a quiz, 28 multiple choice and 2 open questions, on animal biotechnology and reproduction and 8 multiple choice and 2 open questions on laboratory activities (Modules 2 and 3).

During teaching, students are provided with questions on the topics of the previous lecture to be used as formative assessment and to promote individual study in order to pass the final examination.

The student has the right to refuse to record the proposed passing grade 1 time (according to the university didactic regulations ART.16, paragraph 5)

Students with special needs and/or certifications must contact the teacher by email, including in C/C the DSA office.

Teaching tools

Moodle web site in Virtuale with multiple formative assessment available to the students

Lectures .ppt

Laboratories of bioinformatic, cell coltures, microbiology and morphology

Office hours

See the website of Monica Forni

See the website of Chiara Bernardini

See the website of Augusta Zannoni


Good health and well-being Life on land Partnerships for the goals

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.