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Validity and translational aspects of animal models in vaccine research


Course Goals 

In various phases of pre-clinical vaccine development, animal experiments are indispensable. However, animal models are a matter of continuous discussion in regard to biomedical relevance and ethical concerns. The use of the most suitable animal model, the appropriate design of an animal study and the realistic expectation on the achievable information from the study are essential to the success and justification of the of use animals in research. This course is designed to critically discuss the design of animal studies: choice of animal models, presentation of less frequently used animal species, animal numbers and the extrapolation of results to humans.


Application Deadline:
20 August 2022

Course Dates:
20-21 October 2022 (2 days)


Wageningen University (SWR), Lelystad, The Netherlands

Participant Nr.: up to 30


Norbert Stockhofe

Course content

Course will critically discuss the use of animal models in vaccine development with special emphasis on less commonly used animal models.
The following topics will be covered by lectures followed by discussions on questions and cases raised by participants (draft program).

Day 1 (20 Oct 2022):

Introduction (15 minutes)

Intrinsic value of models, from organoids to non-human primate (30 minutes)

Aspects of physiology and immunology of “un-usual” animal species and types used as animal models (incl. pathogen/host biology/justification of species):
o Non-human primates
o Swine
o Guinea pigs
o Ferrets


I. Concepts of model validity and translational aspects

o General concepts of animal models
- Aspects of pre-clinical studies for success in clinical vaccine studies,
- Different approaches to vaccine development studies and pharmacology studies.
- Are target animal models valid for the veterinary field?
- Are humans good models for humans?


o A standardised framework to identify optimal animal models

Group discussion on choice of models for SARS Cov2 “ Did we make the right choices?”

Day 2 (21 Oct 2022)

Aspects of pre-clinical Study design
o General aspects
o Synthesis of evidence vs systemic review
o Vaccination study specific aspects, e.g. right prime-boost regimen for different vaccines

Coffee break

o Adjuvants aspects (innate immune response, specific immune responses)

Discussion, Q&A, cases and presentations by participants


Use and validity of specific models, Case studies, presentations by participants or on basis of
o Chlamydia
o TB
o Influenza


Learning Outcomes

Increased expertise on animal model assessment in biomedical research and vaccine development; provide guidelines to select the most appropriate animal model for the research question addressed; provide guidance on study designs.

Who should apply

PhD students, postdocs and senior scientists performing (pre) clinical vaccine studies.

Minimal requirements

Participants will be asked to actively participate in the discussions; animal studies are an essential part of current/planned research. Preferentially, applicants are certified to conduct animal experiments.


Accommodation is not covered, to be arranged by participants (information on accommodation will be provided). Travel costs are also not included.





How to apply>>

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