Sri Lanka Association for Laboratory Animal Science (SLALAS) is the apex organization dedicated to Laboratory Animal Science in Sri Lanka. We are committed to promote the animal welfare and the ethical use of laboratory animals with the promotion of the “3R concept’ in Laboratory Animal Science.
Efforts in improving welfare of research animals and awareness about the importance of using alternatives to animals are not yet adequate in Sri Lanka. These areas were highlighted in SLALAS Annual sessions 2018 titled “3Rs and beyond: Joining forces towards alternatives to animal experimentation” which was held at the Waters Edge Hotel in Colombo on 25th and 26th January 2018. The National Science Foundation of Sri Lanka contributed its support to the SLALAS as the co-organizer of the event. This conference was well attended by scientists who are involved in biomedical research in Sri Lanka.
This year the session had been organized with two min objectives,
- Alternatives to animal experimentation: with the aim to make Sri Lankan scientists aware of the state of the art new technologies to replace animal use and also to promote validating currently available alternatives to suite our context.
- Establishing a Culture of care through Harmonization: with the aim to initiate a discussion with all stake holders to develop and implement a harmonized protocol for reviewing and monitoring of animal experiments in Sri Lanka, with the ultimate aim of establishing a “Culture of Care”.
Professor Lakshman Dissanayake, Vice Chancellor of the University Colombo was the Chief guest of the event, while Professor Saroj Jayasinghe (Professor of Medicine, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka), Professor Samantha Weerasinghe (Professor in Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, University of Colombo) , Deshabandu Emeritus Professor Tuley De Silva (Chancellor Wayamba University of Sri Lanka, Director and Consultant Link Natural Products (Pvt) Ltd), Dr Suresh Poosala (Council Member of AAALAC, International and Advisor to R&D Bio companies) and Dr Vijay Pal Singh (Deputy Director, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) were guest speakers.
Dr. Charu Chandrasekera, Executive Director, Canadian Centre for Alternatives to Animal Methods, Canadian Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods, University of Windsor, Canada was the Keynote speaker. She enlightened the audience with her talk on “From Bench to Bedside: Shifting the Gold Standard”. She highlighted the need for exploring alternatives for better research outcomes. Dr Tharanga Thoradeniya, the President of SLALAS delivered the presidential address on “Responsible Researching through Responsible Reporting “. Her speech emphasize that the high quality appropriate reporting of research is essential for the 3Rs in animal experimentation.
In addition to the guest speeches the session was enriched with panel discussions, round table discussions and working sessions which went ahead with the expertise of the respective field.
Apart from the above speeches, there were two free paper sessions in which a total of nine free papers were presented. Dr. Suresh Poosala and Dr. Charu Chandrasekera judged oral presentations to award “Dr. Sharmini Jayasekera award for best oral presentation”. Mrs. VL Udalamaththa from University of Colombo won this award for the her research work on “Use of human primary cell cultures for screening effects of natural products as an alternative to animal models”.