In honour of Jean René Maisin

With the creation of a BCLAS 3Rs Fund in honour of Jean René Maisin, BCLAS aims to provide funding for projects by Belgian institutes with a clear link to the BCLAS mission that aim to promote and develop ethical and responsible care and use of laboratory animals.

By 2023, research projects under the fund had to contribute to the replacement and/or reduction of laboratory animal care and/or use.

For this purpose, BCLAS made an amount of EUR 10,000 available.
This amount could be awarded to one project or divided among several projects meeting the scope and assessment criteria.

Applicants could submit an application by 15 November 2023.
All submitted applications were assessed by a committee (a panel consisting of BCLAS members) against a set of predefined assessment criteria.
The committee had to present the selected projects to the BCLAS board.

The BCLAS Board is delighted to inform you on the two projects selected to be funded this year by the BCLAS 3R’s Fund.

  • Evaluating innovative human 3D skin equivalent modeling to study tumorigenesis and invasiveness in skin cancer
    by Prof. Wim Declercq from VIB-UGent, Center for Inflammation Research.

    Developing suitable models for studying the mechanisms of skin carcinogenesis and invasiveness is crucial to discover new preventive and therapeutic approaches. These days, 2D in vitro cultures and in vivo mouse models are commonly utilized for studying epidermal differentiation and skin carcinogenesis, however, these models have substantial limitations regarding the physiological translatability to the human situation.

    Therefore, the aim of this research is to introduce a novel 3D
    in vitro technique in Belgium, aiming to successfully deploy and validate this in vitro model.  Additionally, this should contribute to the development and validation of a tumor suppressing mechanisms model with relevance to human pathology, which otherwise would have required in vivo mouse models.


  • Immersive simulation for teaching veterinary anesthesia skills
    by Prof. Annelies Decloedt from Ghent University, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine

    Veterinary medicine students face the challenge of acquiring diverse clinical skills, from bandaging to sutures and injections. These so-called “Day One skills” should be acquired by the end of their undergraduate studies and are essential for their future practice. Traditionally, teaching clinical skills followed a “see one, do one, teach one” approach, in which veterinary students learn by practicing on animal patients under guidance in a clinical environment.

    The ethical concerns associated with practicing on live animals and the stress imposed on both students and sick animals during initial skill acquisition necessitate alternative training methods. Therefore, the Skillslab at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, was established in 2016.

    To address this gap, the aim of the present project is to explore the integration of the “Open VetSim” platform developed by Cornell University into the anesthesia skills lab, with the goal of putting in place an immersive simulation for teaching anesthesia skills and evaluating its educational value.



We’ll be looking forward to sharing the progress of these projects with our BCLAS members in the coming years.