Launched in 2014, the Provost’s Awards for excellence in animal research acknowledged staff who have made advances in the 3Rs, shown openness or demonstrated a long-term commitment to improving research practice. Winners receive £1,000 to cover costs of presenting their work to a wider audience.

Award winners for 2015

Application of the 3Rs, CBS staff – Bruna Delfini

Bruna Delfini Bruna Delfini joined Imperial less than two years ago but in this time she has become a mentor for Imperial’s new Apprenticeship scheme and joined the College’s 3Rs Environmental Enrichment committee.

She has brought a wealth of experience and knowledge in caring for zebrafish. For example, she has investigated different methods of monitoring water quality and has been able to advise researchers on optimising the performance of the fish housing systems. Through her work with zebrafish Ms Delfini has also helped improve communication between CBS and research staff.

She said: “Winning the prize was unexpected, in fact I didn’t know I was even nominated by one of my colleague. Thanks to this prize I am feeling appreciated and motivated in doing my job.”

Application of the 3Rs, researchers – Dr Francesca Rauzi

Dr Francesca Rauzi Dr Francesca Rauzi is employed on an NC3Rs-funded research project to develop improved models of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. As part of this work she has developed and refined a real-time monitoring technique of radiolabelled cells in animal models of thromboembolism and inflammation. This has led to a 75 per cent reduction in the number of mice used in particular experiments.

Having developed this technique, Dr Rauzi located two research groups based in the US who she knew could be using it to reduce their use of mice. She approached these groups and successfully persuaded them to collaborate with her.

Dr Rauzi has also been involved in public engagement activities in relation to her work, including taking part in 3Rs talk at a “Pint of Science” event.

She said: “I am deeply grateful and honoured to have received the 2016 Provost’s Researcher Award for Excellence in Animal Research from the 3Rs Advisory Group. I am proud of working on an NC3Rs funded project to refine and reduce animal procedures in the cardiovascular and respiratory biomedical field. I would like to thank you once more with a brief motto: ‘3Rs science is better science’.”

Communications – Natasha Martineau

Natasha Martineau Natasha Martineau is Head of Research Communications at Imperial, a post she has held for eight years. Over the last two year, she has ensured that Imperial has met and surpassed its commitment to the Concordat on openness in animal research.

As part of this, she created Imperial’s first interactive events where the public could discuss animal research with technicians, vets and scientists, and edited the College’s first Animal Research Annual Report.

Ms Martineau said: "It's been two years since Imperial signed up to the Concordat on openness in animal research, and we have taken some enormous steps since then - talking about our work online, via the media and at public events. It's been tremendously rewarding for me to work alongside the people who care for and work with animals at Imperial, as well as those whose support we need to carry out this works, such as security staff and College senior leadership. It is their willingness and commitment to openness that has made this work possible."

Lifetime achievement – (joint winner) Angela Kerton

Angela Kerton Angela Kerton joined Imperial in April, 2001. She immediately began a major review, providing AWERB advice on project applications, particularly in implementation of the 3Rs and humane endpoints. This advice has resulted in improved animal welfare coupled with better science at Imperial.

She currently leads a team of veterinary surgeons to share best practice and promote the 3Rs. Her 3Rs initiatives include: switch from injectable to gaseous anaesthetic agents, promotion of the use of oral analgesics both in the drinking water and via jelly for rodents, creation of dedicated animal score sheets and post-operative care check lists, and improved training in the recognition of signs of pain and distress.

Ms Kerton said: “On winning this award, I do not have the appropriate words to express my gratitude to the Provost for recognizing my efforts. As Named Veterinary Surgeon, the College’s support has inspired me to help others on a daily basis within our large and varied laboratory animal science community. I hope one day I will be able to help all young researchers achieve their scientific goals, coupling the 3Rs with animal welfare and good practice. I would like to thank the 3Rs board for acknowledging my services. This would not have been possible without the assistance that I have been constantly provided with by a variety of veterinary colleagues over the years. We appreciate working alongside all the wonderful researchers at Imperial.”

Lifetime achievement – (joint winner) Professor Uta Griesenbach

Professor Uta Griesenbach Professor Uta Griesenbach’s research at Imperial over the last 18 years has contributed to developing gene therapy treatments for respiratory diseases. This work has led to the recent completion of a trial of gene therapy in cystic fibrosis patients.

The success of this research is underpinned by animal studies and Professor Griesenbach has both worked to reduce the number of animals required and developed models to replace animals. For example she has used lung cells and tissue in the lab as well as intact human lungs that have been rejected for transplant.

She said: “It is a great honour to receive a Lifetime achievement award for Excellence in Animal Research. We would not be able to perform bench-to-bedside translational research without the help of animal models and the award underlines our conscientious use of these models.”