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International 3Rs Prize now open for applications. £30k prize (£2k personal award) for outstanding science with demonstrable 3Rs impacts.

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Project grant

The detection, assessment and alleviation of pain in laboratory zebrafish

Zebrafish in multiple tanks

At a glance

Award date
November 2012 - April 2016
Grant amount
Principal investigator
Dr Lynne Sneddon
University of Liverpool


  • Refinement
Read the abstract
View the grant profile on GtR


This award aims to refine the use of zebrafish in laboratory research by identifying non-invasive markers of pain.

Laboratory research is increasingly using zebrafish as a model organism in studies of human development, disease and in drug discovery programmes. When using animals in research it is essential to be able to evaluate whether an animal is suffering in order to alleviate that suffering, such as administering analgesia. Zebrafish routinely undergo procedures which would cause pain in mammals but little is known on the effectiveness of providing pain relief to fish. Dr Lynne Sneddon and colleagues will identify behavioural and physiological indicators of pain and use these to inform on the type of pain relief, doses and administration to zebrafish. Monitoring zebrafish welfare can be challenging due to the number of fish within a tank so Lynne and colleagues will use the indicators to develop an automated monitoring tool. To demonstrate the tool’s utility, Lynne will analyse behaviour of zebrafish that have undergone procedures to undisturbed and sham treated fish and compare results against physiological measures of stress (ventilation rate and water cortisol levels).



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