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

NC3Rs | 20 Years: Pioneering Better Science

RoboHog: developing an in vitro gut model system of the porcine hindgut

Portrait of Dr Anthony Buckley

At a glance

In progress
Award date
January 2023 - January 2025
Grant amount
Principal investigator
Dr Anthony Buckley
University of Leeds


  • Replacement
Read the abstract
View the grant profile on GtR



Why did we fund this project?

This award aims to replace the use of pigs in microbiome studies with a benchtop in vitro scale model of the porcine gut.

The variety of microbes which live in the gut and intestines are important for food digestion, immunity and overall health. Optimising the microbiota of animals in agriculture can increase sustainability and animal wellbeing whilst reducing costs and environmental impacts. This can be achieved through careful selection of feed and supplements, however, the results of dietary changes are currently tested in live animals. RoboHog is a high throughput in vitro system which contains three zones, each individually controlled to mirror different aspects of the pig gut. The team, led by Dr Anthony Buckley working with Research Fellow Dr Ines Moura, aims to develop and validate this physiologically-relevant model to investigate porcine microbiology, replacing pigs in studies of novel animal feeds and pathogen growth and treatments. Through industrial partnerships, RoboHog has the potential to establish more sustainable farming practices and tailor animal nutrition to refine the health and wellbeing of pigs in agriculture.

This award was made as part of the BBSRC/NC3Rs joint call for the development of next generation non-animal technologies (NATs).