B3355 - Animal Experimentation and Alternative Methods

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Luca Lorenzini

  • Learning modules Luca Lorenzini (Modulo 1)
    Barbara Bacci (Modulo 2)
    Luciana Giardino (Modulo 3)

  • Credits 8

  • SSD VET/01

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures (Modulo 1)
    Traditional lectures (Modulo 2)
    Traditional lectures (Modulo 3)

  • Language Italian

  • Campus of Bologna

  • Degree Programme Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Animal Biotechnology (cod. 8522)


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

Good health and well-being

Academic Year 2023/2024

Learning outcomes

Al termine del corso lo studente avrà appreso le basi dell’etica e del benessere animale in sperimentazione integrandole con aspetti pratici della ricerca biomedica. Acquisirà competenze sulla scelte migliori per la gestione delle strutture di stabulazione e sulle tecniche di manipolazione delle specie animali più utilizzate. Conoscerà le strategie di generazione, gestione ed utilizzo dei modelli murini transgenici e mutati. Sarà infine in grado di sostenere una discussione consapevole sui sistemi alternativi e complementari ad oggi sviluppati per ridurre l’impiego di animali e sul ruolo dei sistemi di gestione per la qualità nel garantire la riproducibilità dei dati sperimentali.

Course contents

Module 1: Principles of bioethics in the veterinary field and laboratory animal science
The following topics will be addressed during the course: development of the modern scientific method, including the ethics of responsible research, animal welfare, experimentation with animals, the definition of a complementary and substitute method; ethical implications of xenotransplantation; Cell therapies with stem cells and in regenerative medicine; euthanasia as an ethical act of the veterinarian. The issue of science communication will also be addressed and the tools will be provided to carry out a cost/benefit and harm/benefit analysis. Students will practice an interactive process of drafting an experimental protocol with animals

Module 2: Mutated and transgenic models of disease
This module will deal with the different methods with which mutated models of laboratory animals are built with particular reference to mice (GEMM-genetically engineered and mutant mice). In detail, the methods of classical insertional transgenesis, homologous recombination, Cre-LoxP and CRISPR/Cas9 will be illustrated. In this context, constitutive and inducible models of gene addition, deletion and replacement and their use as models of human diseases will also be shown.

Module 3: complementary and alternative strategies to animal experimentation
This module will illustrate some possible complementary and alternative strategies to animal experimentation. We will discuss in silico systems (organ-on-chip and microfluidics), 2D and 3D cellular systems, including organoids, induced pluripotent cells, and the current state of validation of these approaches intended as alternatives to animal experimentation.

Module 4: Quality management systems in a laboratory
During this module, topics related to the management and organization system of laboratories that work for the production of data on the safety of chemical and medical products will be addressed. The topics of certifications and logical and technical paths will therefore be addressed to achieve certain standards of safety, quality and reproducibility of results.


Scientific papers suggested by the teacher during the lessons

Teaching methods

• Frontal lessons
• Interactive discussion of case studies
• Teamwork

Assessment methods

Oral exam

The purpose of the exam is to verify the student's ability to apply the acquired knowledge to perform logical-deductive connections.

The exam includes one question per module, with the possibility of a second question. The final grade will be a summary of the overall preparation:

Graduation of the final grade:
Expression in a correct language. Understanding and exposure of the basics notions with poor analytical skills and logical connections: 18-20

Expression in a correct language. Fair understanding and presentation of the notions learned with analytical skills that can only be highlighted with the help of the teacher: 21-25

Expression in a correct language. Good command and exposure of the notions learned with ability to analyze and connect the topics: 26-30

Teaching tools

Lesson slides

Scientific papers

Office hours

See the website of Luca Lorenzini

See the website of Barbara Bacci

See the website of Luciana Giardino