Animal research at the Imperial Festival 2018


Visitors gather round the animal research exhibit

The Central Biomedical Services department (CBS) participated in the Imperial Festival weekend for the third year running.

Once again, visitors had the opportunity to go behind-the-scenes to have a look to the different type of cages in which animals are housed, and to learn how to perform an accurate health check on fluffy toy animals.

Not only rodents

For the 2018 edition of the popular festival, CBS also teamed up with research groups to highlight Imperial’s commitment towards the use of alternative models for research.

Visitors gather round the animal research exhibitSaturday was the turn of the Drosophila team (Christopher and Laura, from Professor Irene Miguel-Aliaga’s lab, Cecilia and Laura from Dr Susumu Hirabayashi’s lab, and Lucie from Dr Helena Cocheme lab). Together they showed curious visitors of all ages how the fruit flies – which for the occasion were partying in a jar of rotting bananas – can complement mice studies in developmental biology research.

On Sunday, instead, fish experts Madina and Dorottya (Professor Maggie Dallman lab) showed the similarities between zebra fish and the human body and why this tiny little fish is a precious source of information for biomedical research. Floods of excited and interested children and their parents were delighted to see the fish swimming around in the tanks.

Walk-in into a real animal facility

Despite efforts to replace the use of animals in research, we cannot always avoid it. Therefore our CBS department is here to look after the animals used by research groups at Imperial, using the highest possible standards.

Visitors try out the google expeditionThe Festival was not only a good opportunity to showcase to the public all the advanced technologies used in our facility, but also there was the opportunity for people to have a look into a real Imperial Animal Facility, thanks to the Google expedition interactive tour.

Visitors of all ages got to walk around the Cure-iosity zone, with their virtual reality glasses on, as if they were inside Imperial’s animal research labs while a CBS volunteer explained to them more about the work that goes on in each room.

‘That’s an amazing opportunity to learn about animal research’ – one of the comments collected on the weekend. ‘We’re having so much fun with virtual reality!’

Once again being part of the Festival gave the opportunity for everybody to realize the College’s commitment to animal welfare, as ‘Happy animals make good science’ (Trevor Poole).


Anna Napolitano

Anna Napolitano
Office of the Provost


Strategy-share-the-wonder, Imperial-Festival, Outreach, Animal-research
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