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. The value of animal models in translational research for human and veterinary vaccines will be discussed. 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:

Course Dates:
Q1 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.

Day 1: Morning
- Introduction
- Aspects of physiology and immunology of “un-usual” animal species and types used as animal models (incl. pathogen/host biology/justification of species):
• Non-human primates
• Swine
• (Humanized) mice
• Ferret
• Guinea pigs
- Comparative aspects of various animal models used in specific vaccine studies, e.g. influenza
- Discussion, Q&A,

Day 1: Afternoon
- General concepts of validation of animal models
- Available and advanced methods available in animal species/models
- Immunological assays and omics technologies available in species other than mice:
• Swine
- In-vivo imaging
- Discussion, Q&A, cases and presentations by participants

Day 2: Morning
- Study design
- General aspects
Vaccination study specific aspects, e.g. right prime-boost regimen for different vaccines
- Adjuvants aspects (innate immune response, specific immune responses)

Day 2: Afternoon
- Case studies and translational aspects e.g. :
• Chlamydia
• TB
• Influenza
- Discussion, Q&A, cases and presentations by participants

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

Experience with the execution of animal studies. Preferentially, applicants are certified to conduct animal experiments. Participants will be asked to actively participate in the discussions.


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





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