As microbiologists, we are fascinated by how nasty microbes cause disease. As it is ethically unacceptable to deliberately infect people to understand how superbugs operate, we use surrogate hosts instead. Using animals in scientific research is guided by ethical responsibilities best described as the 3Rs: replacement, reduction and refinement. Replacement refers to methods that avoid or replace the use of animals, reduction refers to methods which minimise animal use and refinement refers to improvements to scientific procedures and husbandry which minimise actual or potential pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm and/or improve animal welfare.
The Bioluminescent Superbugs Lab is committed to applying all aspects of the 3Rs to our research where ever possible and we have a number of projects aimed at developing more relevant and/or ethically responsible infection models.
This work is supported by the Health Research Council (HRC) of New Zealand and the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences at the University of Auckland.