Universitat Internacional de Catalunya

Alternative Models to Animal Experimentation

Alternative Models to Animal Experimentation
First semester
Main language of instruction: Spanish

Other languages of instruction: Catalan, English

Teaching staff


For many centuries, human beings have been using animals for scientific knowledge and thanks to these animals much progress has been made in the development of therapies, surgeries, etc. 

However, it is now known that not all the results observed in animals correlate with subsequent behavior in humans and therefore their use has been questioned.    

In addition, despite the fact that some statistics point to a decrease in the number of animals used in research, the reality is that many animals are still being used and the use of genetically modified animals is even increasing. In 2010, the European Commission approved a new directive on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes. 

This directive is known as the principle of the 3 Rs: Replace, Reduce and Refine. In this context, it is essential to provide training on alternative models to animal experimentation that our students will be able to use in their future. It will try to explain the various options, their uses and particularities and in which cases it is beneficial to use each one of them according to the scientific question that is being answered.

Pre-course requirements

In order to enroll in this elective, it is recommended to have passed:  

  • Molecular biology 
  • Genetics 
  • Genetic engineering and experimental models 
  • Toxicology


1. To understand the current situation of the use of animal models for experimentation.  

2. To study and apply the principle of the 3Rs in practical cases.  

3. To know the current alternative models, their benefits and use cases.  

4. To work on a hypothetical project and propose an alternative model to animal experimentation.

Evaluation systems and criteria

In person

1) First call students:  

Partial exam: 30% 

Case methods: 20% 

Final exam: 45% 

Class attendance: 5% 

The teaching staff reserves up to 10% of the grade to be awarded for subjective arguments such as: involvement, participation, respect for the basic rules, etc.     

2) Students in second or subsequent call: the note of the methods of the case will be saved and the final exam will represent 80% of the note. Repeating students who wish to repeat the partial exam in 3 or 5 calls, may do so by previously communicating it to the professor of the subject. It is also possible to repeat the methods of the case in 3 or 5 calls.    

General points to keep in mind about the evaluation system:  

1) In the final exam, a minimum grade of 5 must be obtained to be able to average with the continuous evaluation grades (case methods, attitude and partial).  

2) The exams will contain multiple choice questions (4 answer options, counting +1 for correct answers and -0.25 for errors) and development questions.  

3) Class attendance:  Regular attendance at lectures and case methods is recommended. Attendance at the master classes is not mandatory, but it is recommended since it will be 5% of the grade. If students are absent for more than 3 master classes, they will lose this 5%. The expulsion of a student from the master class or method of the case will negatively affect the continuous evaluations. Attendance at case methods is mandatory. To have the % of note of them, it is mandatory to have attended 75% of the sessions of methods of the case. 

4) When granting Honors, special consideration will be given to the candidates for their participation and involvement in the different methodologies of the subject, as well as respect for the basic rules.  

5) The improper use of electronic devices such as mobile phones, tablets or laptops can lead to expulsion from class. Improper use is understood as the recording and dissemination of both students and teachers during the different lessons, as well as the use of these devices for recreational and non-educational purposes.

Bibliography and resources

Zuang, V., Dura, A., et al., Non-animal methods in science and regulation – EURL ECVAM status report 2021, EUR 30960 EN, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, 2022, ISBN 978-92-76-46511-9, doi:10.2760/93290, JRC127780.


Canals, J. M., Romania, P., Belio-Mairal P., Nic, M., Dibusz, K., Novotny, T., Busquet, F., Rossi, F., Straccia, M., Daskalopoulos, E. P., and Gribaldo, L., Advanced Non-animal Models in Biomedical Research – Immunogenicity testing for advanced therapy medicinal products, EUR 30334/4 EN, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, 2022, ISBN 978-92-76-49091-3, doi:10.2760/7190, JRC126997.


DIRECTIVA 2010/63/UE DEL PARLAMENTO EUROPEO Y DEL CONSEJO de 22 de septiembre de 2010 relativa a la protección de los animales utilizados para fines científicos


Boada et al. La experimentación animal- UAB



Evaluation period

E: exam date | R: revision date | 1: first session | 2: second session:
  • E1 21/12/2022 A10 18:00h