Learning outcomes of the course unit
The course will consider:
- how different experimental systems can be used to model key aspects of a human disease
- how how various types of animal models such as Drosophila, mouse, rat and non-human primates have contributed to our growing understanding of the mechanisms of human physiology and diseases such as diseases of the nervous system, cancer and
- how Applications of these models can be used for addressing mechanistic questions and testing potential therapeutic options.
- how important is for research to ensure the highest standard of animal welfare.
By the end of the course, students will be able to critically evaluate the advantages and the limitations of these experimental models
Course contents summary
1. Introduction to animal models. The Theory of Evolution, Classification and Phylogeny, the scientific method. Planning and evaluation of scientific questions.
2. Animal species employed in biomedical research. A survey of the main animal models: C. elegans; D. melanogaster; Aplysia; zebrafish, chicks, rodents, primates. Characteristics of models and translational data.
3. Laboratory species: anatomy, physiology, ethology. European Directive on animals used in scientific research and the three Rs. Animal Welfare. Outbred, Inbred and genetically modified strains .
4. “Case studies”: Analysis of specific animal models of functions and pathology (sexual differentiation, neuropsychiatric disorders; methabolic diseases; cognitive neuroscience)
5. Laboratory Training. Techniques of maintainance, breeding and handling of mice colonies. Animal welfare and environmental enrichment. Experimental models of anxiety, depression, social and metabolic disorders.
Review, scientific articles, lecture materials posted on the course website.
Lectures, seminars on specific topics, students’ presentations and discussion of a scientific papers, laboratory practice.
Assessment methods and criteria
active class, seminars and lab practice partecipation and ppt presentation of a scientific article; OR
- oral exmination: one question on the course program, one question on the lab practice, diiscussion of a scientific article examination