In vivo laboratory practicals in research-led teaching: an example using glucose tolerance tests in lean and obese mice

J Pharmacol Toxicol Methods. 2011 Sep-Oct;64(2):168-72. doi: 10.1016/j.vascn.2011.07.002. Epub 2011 Jul 27.


The use of animal models is an essential part of medical research and drug development. The essential skills required to be able to do such research includes experimental design, statistical analysis and the actual handling and treating of the animals (in vivo skills). The number of students in the U.K. receiving training in handling and experimenting on animals has declined rapidly in the last few decades which has led to initiatives to increase numbers of students with these skills to meet demand. Within the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics at King's College London, we run a course for 2nd year undergraduates entitled "Animal models of disease and injury". This course not only covers the theoretical and ethical aspects of using animals in research, but also contains practical laboratory classes in which students get hands-on experience using animals. One of the laboratory classes we run is a glucose tolerance test in obese and lean mice. This is an example of research-led teaching which aims to develop research skills through engaging students in research like activities. In this paper, we outline the methodology of the glucose tolerance practical and highlight some of the skills we and the students think they gain by research-led teaching such as this.

MeSH terms

  • Animal Experimentation* / ethics
  • Animals
  • Biomedical Research / education*
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Glucose Tolerance Test / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Professional Competence
  • Research Design
  • Students
  • Teaching / methods
  • United Kingdom