In past decade Georgia seeks integration into European structures, including scientific and educational organizations. This, in turn, requires significant changes in science and education management , including laboratory animal sciences.
On November 19, 2015, 14 participants from seven different biomedical research facilities in Tbilisi graduated a 3-month course entitled “Laboratory Animal Science: An International Perspective”. The participating institutes were:
1. Laboratory of the Ministry of Agriculture;
2. National Center for Disease Control;
3. Tbilisi State Medical University Institute of Pharmacochemistry;
4. Tbilisi State University Division of Immunology and Microbiology;
5. Beritashvili Center for Experimental Biomedicine;
6. Agricultural University;
7. Tbilisi State University Institute of Morphology
The course curriculum was developed and translated through a joint collaboration between the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, the US Centers for Disease Control, and the Georgian National Center for Disease Control. It focused on the ethics of animal research, legislation in the United States and the European Union, vivarium facility design and operation, colony health surveillance, and basic animal husbandry. Participants were given five different English-language textbooks, and translated excerpts from each of these were compiled and printed into a 488-page Georgian-language course handbook.
Participants were assigned homework projects and quizzed over the reading material each day. The physical location of the class was rotated between each of the different institutes – enabling participants to tour the vivarium facilities at all seven host institutes, while sharing their expertise and lessons learned. Innovative, sustainable solutions to universally encountered vivarium issues were a key focus of these tours.
The course culminated with a comprehensive final exam on November 19, 2015, and all participants were granted a Certificate of Completion.
At the end of the program, participants decided to establish a professional organization uniting scientists, veterinarians and technicians working in the field of biomedicine. After a two-month preparatory period, the non-governmental organization N(N)LE Georgian Association for Lababoratory Animal Science - GALAS was established and on February 16, 2016 it was registered by National Agency of Public Registry of Georgia (Reg. # 405136348 ).
The Association will serve as a professional forum for the establishment and implementation of Georgian standards for the care and use of research animals that will be harmonized with those of the international biomedical research community.This, in turn, will rise the quality and credibility of biomedical research in Georgia.