Home > Research & expertise > Research platforms > Biomedical research unit

Biomedical research unit

To deepen our understanding of the immune system and its relation to health and disease, the Malaghan Institute is home to a state-of-the-art Biological Research Unit with specialised facilities for the care and housing of pathogen-free rodents as well as animal research.

We're committed to finding better ways to fight, prevent and treat disease and, where that fight requires the use of animals in our research, maintaining the highest standards of ethical treatment.

In many cases, the use of animals is the only effective means that scientists have to model human disease complexity. It has been critical in the development of virtually all life-saving treatments that society now regards as commonplace, such as antibiotics, vaccines, blood transfusions and cancer treatment.

In our research, we predominantly use mice, whose immune system is surprisingly similar to that of humans. We do so with care and consideration, and only where this is the best path to gaining the understanding that can lead to potential treatments and cures. We are required to demonstrate the effectiveness of a potential therapy in animals before we can take it into humans.

Concerns for animal welfare are paramount in our research. We meet stringent animal welfare regulations and treat the animals used in our research with respect and the highest standards of care. We are governed by an independent ethics committee on which veterinarians, the SPCA and the public are represented, guided by the principals of reducing, refining, and (wherever possible) replacing the use of animals in research.

Our commitment to animal welfare

The Malaghan Institute is an inaugural signatory to the Australian and New Zealand Council for the Care of Animals in Research and Teaching (ANZCAART) Openness Agreement on Animal Research and Teaching in New Zealand. The objective of the agreement is to ensure that the public are well informed about animal research including the benefits, harms, and limitations.

The Malaghan Institute is also member of the Australian and New Zealand Laboratory Animal Association (ANZLAA), an organisation made up of members with a professional commitment to the care, production and use of animals in research and teaching in Australia and New Zealand.