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Animal Handling Workshop for Medical Biotechnology Students

19 Dec 2017

Today, animal models are employed in virtually all fields of biomedical research and the use of animal models has been central to most of the achievements of modern medicine, particularly in the field of human physiology and biochemistry because it allows the researchers to investigate the disease states in ways which would be inaccessible or considered unethical to inflict on a human. With that being so, it is crucial for researchers to be well-equipped with the knowledge on handling, housing and manipulating the animals to minimise potential pain and distress.

Considering the importance stated above, an animal handling workshop was organised on 13 September 2017, aimed at exposing IMU‘s Semester 3 and Semester 5 Medical Biotechnology (MB) students to the basic knowledge of animal care and maintenance. Basically, the objectives of this workshop were to provide students with an understanding of the ethics and regulations that govern the use of animals in research, to allow handling experience on the general care and maintenance of small animals and also to provide the students with the knowledge and basic technical skills needed to facilitate their in-vivo studies.

Prior to the workshop, the students were required to go through an online ethic course and also complete the animal care and ethics assessment to ensure they comprehend the moral obligations towards the animals used in research. The workshop began with a welcoming speech by the chairperson of this workshop, Dr Kok Yih Yih, followed by a 20-minute Kahoot Quiz before continuing with the demonstration of animal handling by the facilitators in the laboratory. As the workshop was carried out in the form of small group teaching, every student was given the opportunity to restrain and handle the mice with ample assistance from the facilitators. Overall, the workshop was quite successful as there was a substantial amount of positive feedback from the students stating that they were pleased with the event.

Year 2 MB student, Ruben A/L Amirthalingam appreciated the efforts of the MB lecturers in organising the workshop. “Workshop was very well-organised as animal handling will come in handy when doing research. The lecturers explained the various techniques when dealing with animals very well as ethics come into play very much. The exposure is very important for us students as the knowledge obtained would be very beneficial in time to come.”
Year 3 MB student, Pichien Mongkolthanit mentioned “It was fun and informative! It was new for me to learn how to handle mice properly and ethically. The skills we learned here would definitely be useful for us who plan to do research in the future.”
“The workshop was great and informative! The entire experience was very refreshing and I learned a lot on not only how to efficiently handle mice and rat models within the field of research, but also to do so respectfully and ethically.” – Andrew Octavian Sasmita (MB1/14)

Written by: Cheow Yi Ann Photos by: Dr Tan Boon Hooi

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