GR8 Brings Team to SHAFC

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
-Chinese Proverb

In the past three years, GR8 has taken some giant steps towards overcoming long-standing cultural and communication barriers by building trust in the lab animal training we provide each summer in China.

This July, GR8 brought a dynamic team to Shanghai Vocational & Technical College of Agriculture & Forestry (SHAFC) to introduce 24 eager third-year animal science students to fundamentals of laboratory animal care & use.

The Team
Led by Dr. Szczepan Baran of the Veterinary Bioscience Institute, enthusiastic trainers included Dr. James Kehler (VBI), Dr. Marcel Perret-Gentil (University of Texas—San Antonio) and Laurie Long, LATG (UTSA). The faculty also included Dr. Scout Chou and Sandra Burlock, RLAT (WuXi AppTec, Suzhou) and two experienced clinical vets on loan from the National Shanghai Center for New Drug Safety Evaluation & Research (NCDSER). Treasor Wang, a graduate of SHAFC and our first course in 2011, provided tireless assistance during class, in the lab and with never-ending administrative details. Technicians from NCDSER and the Eastern Hepatobiliary Hospital were invaluable during wet labs and supervised all aspects of animal care & use undertaken by the students.

Recognizing the potential of our intensive, hands-on training, the college hired a professional translator whose participation greatly increased comprehension and facilitated communication during daily lectures and labs. All presentations contained dual language slides, and the original text book developed by ACTS had lessons in both English and Mandarin.

Each day began at 8 AM with an English class infused with bioethics and animal welfare. Students quickly understood the importance of asking questions, especially “WHY?” Lectures covering biomethodologies for mice, rats and rabbits followed with demonstrations of proper handling and techniques. Guest lecturers from GSK, Shanghai Servanimal, Novartis, WuXiApptec, and Tecniplast covered a variety of topics, including animal welfare laws & regulations in China, enrichment, caging systems, and industry expectations for new hires.


Promoting the 3Rs
In an effort to demonstrate best practice by reducing animal use and replacing animals whenever possible, our dedicated team introduced three types of inanimate training models: Cur-Vet rats; Koken rats, and Silicone rabbit ears. According to Dr. Baran, “Initial training on the inanimate models allowed students to focus on safe needle handling practices and to refine their approach to vascular access, before having to also restrain live animals. It was safer for the students until they developed the competence and confidence to proceed. And it was certainly better for the animals.”

Course Content Sampling of Topics
Mouse, Rat and Rabbit Biomethodology
• Biological features
• Behavioral and psychological characteristics
• Proper Housing
• Nutrition
• Enrichment/socialization
• Timing of cage changes
• Identification Methods
• Common blood sampling locations
• Best methods for the required sample
• Total blood and safe collection volumes
• Manual vs chemical restraint

Take-away Lessons
Proper Handling = Decreased Stress = Decreased Variables = Better Data
Good animal care and good science go hand-in-hand.
The tech who knows anatomy gets the blood.
The only dumb question is the one you don’t ask.
Practice makes perfect.

We are in the process of surveying institutions where our students have interned and will share the evaluations with you as soon as the report is completed.