Not only does their research help promote the 3Rs principle, which aims to replace, reduce and refine animal experiments, the projects also offer translatable outcomes so other researchers can use their methods. The 3Rs Award 2020 and Young 3Rs Investigator Award recipients will receive CHF 4,000 and 1,000 respectively to support their work. Furthermore, they will get the opportunity to present their awarded research at the Swiss 3Rs Day 2021 and in a featured video.
The 3Rs Award 2020 will go to Ronald Dijkman at the Institute for Infectious Diseases of the University of Bern. Dijkman and his team collect human cells lining the airways and culture these cells in a petri dish. They conduct studies on these in vitro cell cultures to better understand how viruses, such as SARS-CoV-2, interact with the cells, tissues and organs. With his model for respiratory infectious diseases, like Covid-19, Dijkman is able to replace certain experiments that would have otherwise needed animals. His approach can also be applied to study the interactions of viruses in the airways of various domesticated and wildlife animals, which has the potential to improve veterinary health and further reduce the need for in vivo experiments.
The Young 3Rs Investigator Award 2020 will go to PhD student Joseph Scarborough for his work in Prof. Urs Meyer’s laboratory at the Institute of Veterinary Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Zurich. Scarborough developed a novel method to administer pharmaceutical substances to mice with a sweetened solution using a small pipette, thus motivating the animals to voluntarily take the pharmaceutical substances. This method reduces the animal’s stress, improves their welfare, and therefore also the quality of study results. Scarborough has already helped implement the procedure at several research groups at the University of Zurich.