Animal Testing in Research and Teaching

At the University of Bremen, animals are used for research into the systemic basis of neuropsychiatric diseases, for diabetes research, and for basic research in brain research. The animals in question are mice, rats, and rhesus monkeys (macaques). The scientists also contribute their research and findings to teaching.

Animal experiments are controversial in the public sphere and misinformation often circulates. In order to counteract said misinformation, this page on animal experiments at the University of Bremen intends to provide insights into the goals, motivation, and work with animals at this scientific institution.

The University of Bremen is a Member of the DFG's Transparency Agreement for Transparent Information and Open Communication about Animal Research in Germany

The Permanent Senate Commission on Animal Protection and Experimentation at the German Research Foundation (DFG) founded the Transparency Agreement for Transparent Information and Open Communication about Animal Research in Germany initiative in summer 2021 - together with the Understanding Animal Research initiative. The aim is to promote transparency and open discussion on research involving animals. The University of Bremen together with numerous other German universities and non-university research institutions is a member of this initiative.

"The University of Bremen seeks to gain knowledge and impart knowledge for the benefit of all living beings and for the protection of our planet. This is not possible in the foreseeable future without research and teaching with animals. There are not always alternatives for all methods. Our researchers are committed to the 3 Rs principle - Replace, Reduce, and Refine - and to high standards for animal housing and experimental procedures."

Professor Jutta Günther, President of the University of Bremen

Regular Appraisals and Ethical Frameworks

All conducted studies have been reviewed with regard to their scientific importance and the applied methods and procedures by the ethics committee responsible for animal testing. They have been approved by the competent authority and fully comply with the requirements specified by the EU Directive 2010/63, the German Animal Welfare Act (Tierschutzgesetz), and the German Ordinance on the Protection of Animals in Experiments (Tierschutz-Versuchsverordnung). The animals are kept in species-appropriate housing and are examined daily by expert personnel with regard to their health and well-being.


Tierschutzbeauftragte und Tierschutzausschuss

Every public and private institution in Germany where researchers are allowed to conduct experiments on animals is required by law to appoint an animal welfare officer and an animal welfare committee. The Animal Welfare Officer (TSchB) advises the researchers conducting animal experiments on all issues concerning animal welfare and animal health. The Animal Welfare Officer is supported by the Animal Welfare Committee.t.


Information on the Individual Research Areas

Brain Research Institute

At the University of Bremen, we conduct basic research with mice, rats, and macaques in the field of brain research. Our scientists want to understand how the brain works. Until now, science has only been able to explain very inadequately how perception, attention, or memory develop in the brain. However, this knowledge is a prerequisite for better treating the many serious brain diseases, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), epilepsy, dementia, or the numerous psychiatric diseases, in the future. The brain is the most complex human organ and its functioning is still poorly understood.

Cognitive Neurophysiology Research Group

In the Cognitive Neurophysiology group, fundamental research is carried out with rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) in the field of brain research. The researchers hope to gain a better understanding of the physiological basis of attention, memory, perceptual decision-making, and perception. Knowledge of the physiology of processing in the healthy brain is a prerequisite for being able to better treat the many forms of brain diseases and impairments in the future.


Synthetic Biology Research Group

The Synthetic Biology research group uses mice to investigate the basic functions of the messenger substance serotonin. This messenger substance is found in the gastrointestinal tract as well as in the central nervous system. In the brain, serotonin is an important neurotransmitter that influences many functions and behaviors and seems to play a major role in regulating our emotions and motivation. In addition, various diseases, such as depression, anxiety disorders, and also neurodegenerative diseases, are associated with disturbances in the serotonin balance.


Neuropharmacology Research Group

In the Neuropharmacology research group, basic research is conducted with rats. The researchers hope to gain a better understanding of the neurobiological basis of important brain functions such as learning and memory, attention and behavioral flexibility. Since information processing in the brain takes place predominantly through chemical messengers (neurotransmitters), the focus of their research is on the pharmacological manipulation of these cognitive functions.


Laboratory for Molecular Diabetology

Why does diabetes develop? Why does the β-cell die and how can we prevent this? This is what researchers at the Laboratory of Molecular Diabetology at the University of Bremen are investigating. Diabetes mellitus affects more than 430 million people worldwide; the number of sufferers will continue to rise each year unless urgent measures are taken to combat the disease. For their research, the scientists use mice that develop diabetes, the mechanisms of which are similar to the disease in humans.


Information about the Court’s Ruling on April 17, 2024

The experiments conducted by the neuroscientist Professor Andreas Kreiter were deemed legal. The Bremen Administrative Court upheld the researcher’s urgent appeal. Information about the decision can be found in the Bremen Administrative Court’s press releases: (in German only).

Information about the Court’s Ruling on February 4, 2022

The Bremen Administrative Court ruled in early February 2022 that the experiments conducted by brain researcher Professor Andreas Kreiter (Cognitive Neurophysiology research group) are legal.

Read the detailed press release of the University of Bremen here:

Here you can find the court ruling (in German), 5 V 2285/21, decided on February 03, 2022:


Media Coverage

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