Core Facility of Comparative Medicine
To be able to investigate diseases, understand the relationships between pathogens and their host and to develop novel strategies against pathogens, the scientists at the HZI depend on experiments that involve the use of laboratory animals. For this purpose, the HZI operates a central animal facility on campus. The primary task of this service unit is the breeding and keeping of laboratory mice as well as provision of services for the scientists of the HZI, centered around laboratory animal science.
The HZI technology platform „Core Facility of Comparative Medicine” is responsible for the humane treatment and orderly care of laboratory animals required for scientific research purposes. We enable the HZI scientists to perform infection experiments on mice and hamsters up to biosafety level S3.
In our units, we house the animals under continuously monitored, standardized conditions (temperature, humidity, light cycle) in individually ventilated cages (IVC). Therefore, we can exclude unwanted infections by external pathogens. The barriers are strictly separated against the environment and are ventilated with sterile filtered air. All necessary material has to be sterilized; electronically controlled access is restricted to admitted personal only, complete change of clothes is necessary.
These hygienic measures not only keep our animals healthy – we can also ensure that no pathogens will leave our experimental barriers. This includes sterilization of all used materials (e.g. used bedding or food rests) before leaving the unit.
Animal husbandry and animal experiments are regulated by strict legal provisions, e.g. the German Animal Welfare Act (Tierschutzgesetz) , the Animal Welfare Regulation (Tierschutz-Versuchstierverordnung) and the Directive 2010/63/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes. The animal facility management is supported by the Animal Welfare Officer and the Animal Welfare Committee.
The HZI is a signatory of the Initiative Transparent Animal Experiments.