A professor in the Institute of Integrative Biology has been awarded the 2010 National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) prize for a study to reduce stress and anxiety in laboratory mice.
Professor Jane Hurst, William Prescott Chair of Animal Science and Head of the Mammalian Behaviour & Evolution Group in Evolution, Ecology & Behaviour, received the prize for advances in animal welfare.
Her research has shown that a new way of handling laboratory mice can improve their welfare and the quality of the science they are used for.
Laboratory mice are usually picked up by their tails. Professor Hurst’s study found that this method of handling causes high levels of anxiety and stress which can influence the outcome of experiments. By catching the mice using a plastic tunnel or cupped hands anxiety can be greatly reduced.
Sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline, Professor Hurst plans to use the prize to provide training for scientists and animal care staff on handling methods and also to assess the effects of different handling methods on stress physiology.