The aim of the Rodent Facility (RDF) is to support scientific projects associated with animal experimentation, working towards a state-of-the-art animal-based research while maintaining the highest standards of animal welfare. We are highly committed to following the 3Rs – Replacement, Reduction and Refinement - and to promote a conscious and responsible use of laboratory animals.
The Rodent Facility has a license of establishment for breeding and animal use, issued by the Portuguese competent authority - Direcção-Geral de Alimentação e Veterinária (DGAV), since 2013. This facility complies with Portuguese law Decreto-Lei 113/2013, transposed from the European Directive 2010/63/EU, and follows the European Commission recommendations (2007/526/EC) on housing and care of animals and the FELASA (Federation of European Laboratory Animal Science Associations) guidelines concerning laboratory animal welfare.
The facility has a total capacity for 3212 mouse cages (5 mice/cage) and 72 rat cages (4 rats/cage). Animals are housed in 3 different health status conditions / areas (according to the FELASA recommendations): SOPF (Specific and Opportunistic Pathogen Free) / Production area, SPF (Specific Pathogen Free) / Experimental area and VAF (Virus antibody-free) / Quarantine area, where all animals are kept in individually ventilated cages (IVC) systems with HEPA-filters (High Efficiency-Particulate Air). Specific biosafety level 2 (BSL2) housing room also exist for infection studies.
In addition to normal husbandry routines, RDF staff supports specialized services such as colony management, rederivations of mouse lines, sperm and embryo cryopreservation, sample collections and surgical and experimental support to all research activities inside the animal facility.
The facility also participates in the educational process of researchers and staff members (caretakers and technicians) by advising and training on laboratory animal science and promoting practices that lead to better animal use and welfare. All users of the Rodent Facility must be certified by DGAV to be able to perform animal procedures. Otherwise, they may only use the facility accompanied by a senior laboratory member who already has a personal license issued by DGAV.
At iMM all research projects using animal models to be carry on have to be first approved by ORBEA-iMM (Órgão Responsável pelo Bem-Estar Animal, set up in accordance with article 34 of Decreto-Lei 113/2013) and submitted to DGAV for legal authorization. Only after this, researchers can start their projects using animals.
The main task of ORBEA-iMM is to conduct the ethical evaluation of projects, advising on animal welfare issues, on the practical application of the 3Rs principle and assessing if the research and procedures proposed are justified (compare the potential benefits of the proposed experiments with the likely costs in terms of any possible animal suffering). ORBEA-iMM also follows the development and outcome of projects at institutional level and foster a culture of care.
- For those who want to know a little more about our facility we invite you to explore our Virtual Tour.
- Rodent Facility housing services.