creating a
healthier future

Animal Facility

The i3S animal facility is an animal facility dedicated to the production and maintenance of laboratory animals. The facility provides care and veterinary advice on laboratory animals, mainly mice, rats and rabbits and holds approximately 2500 cages of laboratory rodents in SPF conditions. Zebrafish (associated with the Vertebrate Development and Regeneration group, José Bessa) and seabass (associated with the Fish Immunology and Vaccinology group, Nuno Santos) models are available. The aim of the facility is to support scientific projects associated with animal experimentation and to ensure high animal welfare standards throughout the development of such projects by encouraging the application of the 3R’s and high quality animal research. The development of new models (mainly surgical) is supported by the veterinary and technical team and by the recently implemented unit for the generation of genetically modified mice. The animal facility also allows the development of projects associated with microbiological risk agents (level 2 and 3). The facility participates in the educational process of researchers, users and staff by advising and training on laboratory animal science and promoting practices that lead to better animal use, maintaining high levels of animal welfare.

Platform Head



Some of the equipment available at the animal facility require previous training. Some of these are also associated with a user fee. Please contact the animal facility for more information.


Ivis Lumina series III

Equipment available for living image with bioluminescence and fluorescence techniques. This equipment is ideal for longitudinal studies, increases the amount of information obtained from the same animal and helps reducing the number of animals needed per experiment. The system has an incorporated volatile anesthesia machine, allowing anesthesia with isoflurane.

The use of this equipment requires previous training.



The Preclinical MRI lab houses a state-of-the-art horizontal magnet with clinical magnetic field strength (3 Tesla), available for in vivo imaging of small animals, such as mice and rats. Additional equipment is available for anesthesia (isoflurane), animal warming (heating systems), and real-time life monitoring (body temperature, breathing, and oxygen saturation). An assortment of radiofrequency coils and animal cradles is also available for multi-modal head and body applications, ranging from morphological characterization (anatomical imaging) to assessment of tissue microstructure (diffusion imaging) or vasculature (angiography and perfusion imaging), as well as relaxometry (T1, T2, and T2* mapping) and metabolism (localized spectroscopy). A CryoProbe is available for mouse brain imaging (sensitivity equivalent > 7T).


IVIS Spectrum CT is a two and 3D luminescence and fluorescence in vivo imaging equipment for optimal imaging. It allows tracking of cells or infectious agents in longitudinal studies. The system has a heated chamber and an isoflurane anesthesia system allowing a safe maintenance and recovery of animals. Ex vivo samples can also be acquired. Ten excitation and 18 emission filters are available for fluorescence. The equipment uses x-ray for the 3D mode acquisition, where 1 (fluorescence) and 2 animals (luminescence) can be acquired simultaneously. For the 2D mode, groups of up to 10 animals can be acquired at the same time. For more information consult the Animal Facility head or the Perkin Elmer website.



Vevo Ultrasound 2100

Equipment available to perform high frequency ultrasounds. The MicroScan transducer provides increased frame rates, contrast and a high resolution (30 micron resolution). Microultrasound can be used for non-invasive living imaging for anatomical and functional evaluation of different organ systems. The ultrasound is associated with an isoflurane anesthesia system and with a heated stage for microinjection.

The use of this equipment requires prior training.




The Owandy intraoral x-ray gives you anatomical information by the acquisition of digital x-rays. This system is especially useful for hard tissue analyze, such as bone.

The use of this equipment requires prior training.



In vivo microultrasound for 2D and 3D imaging of mice and rats tissues. Available with B and M modes, color and pw doppler and a contrast mode using microbubbles. Cardiac ultrasound can be performed using the Vevo F2
This system provides up to 30 µm of resolution and is especially indicated for soft tissue applications, from structural and anatomical information, function and vasculature details (contractility, velocity, volumes).

Stereomicroscopes (Zeiss Discovery V8 and Olympus SZX 10, Leica S8APO)

Several stereomicroscopes can be used for microsurgery and animal/ sample dissection. With zoom between 0.8 to 8 and 0.63 to 6.3 and cold LED for illumination. One stereomicroscope with heated stage and fluorescence filters is also available.



Perfusion pump

One perfusion pump is available for whole body perfusion of small rodents. 


Volatile Anesthesia systems and recovery chamber

Volatile anesthesia systems with isoflurane vaporizers are available to perform anesthesia in small rodents. One rodent recovery chamber is available for animal recovery at a specific temperature.



Micromotor K-5 Plus Kavo

The micromotor can be used to perform small defects in hard structures such as bone. Several defect sizes can be performed by using different drills.



This equipment allows the production of medullar lesions by contusion.



Coloview – Small animal endoscopy

Equipment for mouse and rat in vivo colonoscopy with biopsy forceps.

Two stereotaxic system with mouse and rat pin bars are available, coupled with an automatic system for coordinates determination and microinjection. The system also has anesthesia masks to be used with isoflurane and a dedicated mircomotor drill.

Red and white blood cells screening and platelets analysis (Multispecies) using a minimum volume of blood (15 microliters).


The animal facility provides several services to support the work developed by different research groups. These services are available to internal users and also to external users upon request.

Services available:

  • Maintenance and breeding of mouse transgenic strains (includes also timed pregnant females)
  • Production of mice and rats of several strains (NMRI, CD1, BALB/c, C57BL/6, C3H, FVB, Sv129, Nude mice and Wistar han rats)
  • Rederivation of mice strains (embryo transfer)
  • Cryopreservation of mouse embryos
  • Polyclonal antibody production in rat and rabbit
  • Training and support in the application of different administration and collection techniques: intravenous, intracardiac, intradermal, subcutaneous, intraperitoneal, oral gavage
  • Training and support in the development of surgical models
  • Health monitoring of mouse and rat colonies
  • Level 2 and level 3 infectious models and rooms
  • Support in the use of specific equipment: IVIS Lumina, Ultrasound, X-Ray
  • Oncological models development
  • Genetically modified mice production by pronuclear/cytoplasm injection


Access to the animal facility requires specific training. Legal requirements and internal rules are:

  • License to work with laboratory animals (provided by the competent authority in Portugal –DGAV)
  • Training in laboratory animal science (FELASA or FELASA equivalent to a level B or C)
  • Complete the internal training program (more information available at

The facility organizes frequently laboratory animal training sessions in several areas and participates in the organization of the FELASA C course and the internal Introductory Course in Laboratory Animal Science (equivalent to the FELASA B). For more information about training opportunities, please consult the training webpage.