Where Ideas Grow

XXX Laboratory Animal Science Course

3-14 May 2021* | i3S, Porto


Note that this course will be adapted to the pandemic circumstances and will be held according to all the preventive measures required at the time.


Appropriate training in animal biology, experimental techniques and other relevant topics are a prerequisite for responsible conduct with animals in research. In Europe, the standard for such training is set by FELASA (Federation for European Laboratory Animal Science Associations). To be considered competent to work with animals, a researcher should have a degree in a life sciences discipline and have participated in a Laboratory Animal Science course.
This course covers Functions A, B and D of the European Directive 2010/63 for the animal species mouse, rat, zebrafish and fish. IBMC/i3S runs the only FELASA accredited course in Portugal since 2008, and in 2018 with the renewal, training is now aligned with the structure defined in article 23 of the aforementioned Directive.
The training combines theory (lectures, seminars, online lectures) with practical sessions and group assignments. The focus is on how to design, plan and carry out experiments to minimize animal harm.v The course has the approximate duration of 80-h over two consecutive weeks and will give you the necessary training to obtain a permit to work with animals in most European countries. To get the actual permit, you need to apply to the competent authority; in Portugal, permits are handled by Direção Geral de Alimentação e Veterinária (DGAV).
Attending this course is the first step towards meeting the challenge of doing good research with animals in a responsible way. Note that this course will be adapted to the pandemic circumstances and will be held according to all the preventive measures required at the time.


General Information:
The official language of the course is English.

[FELASA accredited Course for functions A, B and D (mouse, rat, zebrafish and fish species specific) aligned with the European Directive 2010/63]
Functions (according to directive 2010/63, article 23 – Competence of personnel):
A. carrying out procedures on animals;
B. designing procedures and projects;
C. killing animals.

*This course format covers the indicated directive functions and roughly corresponds to FELASA C category - Persons responsible for directing animal experiments.


Course Duration
80 h | Two consecutive weeks - Monday to Friday | Full Time from 9 AM to 6 PM

Email: training@i3s.up.pt
(*preliminary schedule - course dates will be confirmed upon registration acceptance and prior to requisition payment)



Covered species: Mouse, Rat, Zebrafish and Fish


The following themes are addressed:

Biology and husbandry of laboratory animals | Mouse, Rat, Zebrafish and Fish
This theme focuses on aspects related to biology and husbandry of animals used in research, including behavior, stress, welfare, husbandry, genetics, nutrition of laboratory animals. A combination of lectures, group assignments, and self-study exercises is used.

Microbiology and disease
This theme covers microbiology/gnotobiology, diseases of small laboratory animals (Mouse, Rat, Zebrafish and Fish), pathology and necropsy. A combination of lectures, hands-on practicals, and interactive software is used.

Health hazards and safe practices in the animal house

Design and conduct of animal experiments
This theme covers statistics and methodology, including experimental design, power analysis and statistical analysis of data.

Anesthesia, analgesia and experimental procedures
This theme combines lectures with practical classes and demonstrations. Basic theory in anesthesiology and pharmacology is covered in lectures, whereas practical classes give students the opportunity for hands-on training of different experimental procedures.

Alternatives to animal use

Ethical aspects and legislation
This topic includes ethical theories, the ethical dilemma of animal research, harm-benefit analysis and decision-making, as well as Portuguese and European legislation.

Analysis of scientific literature
This group exercise consists of a critical analysis of specific literature and hypothesis formation and testing.

Project work
Throughout the course, the students have to prepare a complete protocol for a research project or an experiment, as if it was to be presented to an ethics committee. The projects are presented and defended orally on the evaluation day.

Course textbook
Hau, J.H., Gerald L. Van Jr. (eds) Handbook of Laboratory Animal Science: Essential Principles and Practices (CRC Press, 2002, 2nd edition).
Normal fee registration includes this hardcover textbook.


As complementary reading we recommend:

  •  Festing, M.F.W., Overend, P., Gaines Das, R., Borja, M.C. & Berdoy, M. Design of animal experiments: reducing the use of animals in research through better experimental design. (Paperback, January 2002).
  • Flecknell, P.A. Laboratory Animal Anaesthesia: An Introduction for Research Workers and Technicians (Academic Press).
  • Hau, J.H., Gerald L. Van Jr. Handbook of Laboratory Animal Science: Essential Principles and Practices (ed. Boca Raton, F.) (CRC Press, 1994).
  • Percy, D.H. & Barthold, S.W. Pathology of Laboratory Rodents & Rabbits (Wiley-Blackwell, 2007).
  • Ruxton, G.D. & Colegrave, N. Experimental Design for the Life Sciences (Paperback, 2006).
  • Svendsen, P. & Hau, J. Handbook of Laboratory Animal Science: Animal Models (ed. Boca Raton, F.) (CRC Press, 1994).
  • Thurmon, J.C., Tranquilli, W.J., Benson, G.J. & Lumb, W.V. Lumb & Jones' Veterinary Anesthesia, 3rd (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 1996).
  • van Zutphen, L.F.B., V. Beynen, A. C. Principles of laboratory animal science, revised edition (Elsevier, 2001).


The course is organized and coordinated by the Laboratory Animal Science group.

Responsible for scientific and pedagogical content:
Anna Olsson - Institute for Molecular and Cell Biology, Porto (behavior, stress, welfare, ethics, alternatives to animal use, introduction to laboratory animal science, legislation and supervision, and evaluation of projects)

Regular collaborators:
Ana Maria Valentim - i3S / IBMC (Refinement of procedures /Humane endpoints/ Euthanasia / Zebrafish animal model)
Ana Lourenço - UTAD (Nutrition)
Andreia Costa - i3S / IBMC (Handling and Procedures with animals)
Fátima Gartner - i3S / IPATIMUP (Diseases of laboratory animals/pathology and necropsy)
Hugo Santos - CIMAR (Fish as animal model / Procedures with fish)
Irina Amorim - i3S / IPATIMUP (Diseases of laboratory animals/pathology and necropsy)
João Neves - i3S / IBMC (Pathology and necropsy)
Luís Antunes - UTAD (Anaesthesia and analgesia, Perioperative care, Surgery and microsurgery, Telemetry)
Nuno Franco - i3S / IBMC (Experimental design with animals)
Pedro Brites - i3S / IBMC (Laboratory Animal Genetics; Transgenics)
Pedro Oliveira - ICBAS (Statistics & Methodology)
Renata Freitas - i3S / IBMC (Zebrafish animal model)
Sofia Lamas - i3S / IBMC (Microbiology of Laboratory animals/Gnotobiology/ Procedures with animals)


Limited number of registrations (24).

Should registrations complete the requirements, they will be accepted on a first-come-first-served approach based on the date the registration is received. Internal registrations (i3S members) will be selected according to defined criteria.
The candidate must hold at least a BSc - Bologna 1st cycle degree in Biology, Biochemistry, Veterinary, Medicine, Pharmacy or similar.


Registrations fees

  Early bird
until February 15
between February 16
and February 28
from March 1
i3S* 400 600 600
U.PORTO 600 800 800
EXTERNAL 900 1000 1200
* Including students in the doctoral programs: BiotechHealth; GABBA; MCbiology


Registration for external members includes lunch ticket, coffee breaks and coursebook. For U.Porto members, registration includes lunch ticket. Once their participation in the course is accepted, i3S and U.Porto members may request the course book at a reduced price.
Hau J., Schapiro S. J. (eds) Handbook of Laboratory Animal Science, Volume I: Essential Principles and Practices (CRC Press, 2010, 3rd edition)

Selection criteria
- Applicants must hold at least a BSc - Bologna 1 cycle degree in Biology, Biochemistry, Veterinary, Medicine, Pharmacy or similar.
- Participants will be admitted on a first-come, first-served basis. Additional selection criteria apply for i3S applicants.
Registration closing dates  

Applications deadline will be anticipated to March 29.
i3S             March 29
U.Porto      March 29
External     March 29
i3S/ IBMC reserves the right to close registrations before the pre-announced closing dates if applications exceed the places available for the course.
Changes to pre-announced course closing dates will be indicated at the course page at least one week prior to the closing date.



Course pre-registration
Registration procedure:
Download the Application form and, once you fill it out, upload it in the registration area. Please note that your pre-registration does not confirm that you have been selected for the course. 

Documents required to register:
Application form (download)
Copy of degree and/or master and/or PhD diploma.
ID photo
Please note that the requested information will be used for selection and registration purposes.