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AstraZeneca Senior Scientist Wins Award for Poster on ActualHCA

AstraZeneca Senior Scientist Dr Karen Tse recently won the Junior Investigator Travel Award at the Safety Pharmacology Society’s 15th Annual Meeting for her recent research featuring ActualHCA technology.

The Safety Pharmacology Society (SPS) “promotes knowledge, development, application, and training in Safety Pharmacology”. The annual meeting, now in its fifth year, facilitates discussion on “hot topics”, offers networking opportunities, and exhibits cutting-edge research from a global community of scientists.

Dr Tse presented the winning poster, titled: “Rodent Big Brother: A Home Cage Automated Behavioural Monitoring System for Safety Pharmacology and Toxicology Studies”. Dr Tse et al. demonstrate the capabilities of ActualHCA, a system created under the NC3Rs’ inaugural CRACK IT scheme. The scheme identified the necessity of studying rodent behaviour within the true, group housed home cage and challenged participants to find a solution. Actual Analytics won the grant and has been developing the technology progressively ever since.

As Dr Tse states: “The measurement of locomotor activity has been available for several decades, but requires rats to be singly-housed in bespoke arenas for brief recording periods. Behavioural analysis generally requires manual observation by experienced observers, usually limited to ‘snapshots’ during the light phase when rats are less active (e.g. FOB, Irwin test). Body temperature can be measured manually at intervals, or continuously using surgically implanted telemetry transducers. These conventional approaches are not always compatible with 24-hour continuous monitoring or with being performed concurrently in a repeat-dose study. The Rodent Big Brother system was developed to provide unobtrusive technology that can be incorporated into standard IVC racks rather than as a bench top system.” Tse et al., 2015


The poster, which can be viewed and downloaded here, highlights the value of ActualHCA in a range of fields, including safety pharmacology; it also illustrates the practical benefits of the technology in terms of experimental design and data robustness. According to the University of Strathclyde, ActualHCA delivers 90% more data using 50% fewer rodents than standard testing methods. This is a huge advantage in terms of budgeting, and it offers considerable potential when working to produce statistically significant results.

The Junior Investigator Travel Award is presented as part of a drive to encourage participation at the meeting of student and junior investigators who work in safety pharmacology. Dr Tse was a member of the Central Nervous System Safety Pharmacology group at Pfizer before obtaining her PhD and assuming her current role at AstraZeneca. This award demonstrates that Actual Analytics and its partners are not only making strides forward in the field of drug discovery; we are also receiving valued recognition for doing so.

To view or download Dr Tse’s poster, click here. To learn more about the SPS Annual Meeting, click here. If you would like more information about ActualHCA, visit our Product Page or get in touch today.