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Facility to boost research into animal and human health

Large Animal Research and Imaging Facility builds on animal science expertise at Easter Bush campus.

LARIF Opening
From left, Dr Ian Campbell, Lyndsay Chapman, Professor John Loughhead, Professor Jonathan Seckl and Professor David Argyle mark the opening of the LARIF.

A newly opened world-leading research facility will provide unprecedented insights into livestock and human health.

The University’s Large Animal Research and Imaging Facility (LARIF), situated close to the Roslin Institute at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies' Easter Bush Campus, was officially opened by Professor John Loughhead, Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

The LARIF will enhance food security and the health and welfare of farmed animals, through research aimed at producing livestock that are genetically more resistant to disease and by the development of improved vaccines.

Research will additionally safeguard human health by helping to tackle food-borne infections and developing strategies against antimicrobial resistance.

Specialist facilities

Development of this purpose-built facility is supported by a £25 million investment from the University of Edinburgh and the Centre for Innovation Excellence in Livestock (CIEL), which includes £10.6 million of funding from Innovate UK, the UK’s Innovation Agency.

The LARIF houses an unparalleled combination of imaging, surgical, gene editing and infection containment facilities.

It offers exceptional specialist capability for in-depth studies into the health and wellbeing of all major farmed livestock.

Also housed at the LARIF is the Wellcome Trust-funded Critical Care Laboratory for Large Animals, which supports the study of large animal biology with all the resources of a human hospital.

Highly skilled specialists in veterinary anaesthesia will provide round-the-clock care for animals involved in studies.

Broad expertise

Advanced medical imaging equipment on site, including CT, MRI, fluoroscopy and ultrasound, enables detailed understanding of anatomy and body composition in livestock, as well as monitoring progression of disease processes in different organs, and their response to treatment.

Studies at the LARIF will also investigate human conditions. Large animal species are valuable biomedical models for studying human diseases and developing new medical technologies.

This new facility is situated close to CIEL-partnered livestock investments. Collectively, the Easter Bush Campus represents the largest concentration of animal science-related expertise in Europe.

The LARIF is a unique and world-leading facility that significantly enhances our ability to study human and animal health. Taking this multidisciplinary approach is a key focus for the University and can lead to significant advances in medicine, veterinary medicine and agricultural science.

Professor David ArgyleHead of the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies

Agricultural technologies are a sometimes unrecognised but important component in supporting the agriculture industry to cut its emissions and develop sustainable farming practices – helping to meet the Government’s ambitions to reach net zero emissions by 2050. The LARIF illustrates the positive effects of successful collaboration between academia, industry and the Government in spreading knowledge and expertise while developing the technologies of the future.

Professor John LoughheadChief Scientific Adviser to the UK Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Innovate UK has a strong track record of supporting the UK’s agriculture sector. The four Agri-Tech Centres that we have funded across the UK are crucial to our mission to boost this vital sector of our economy. The world-leading LARIF facility which we are inaugurating today will help the UK remain at the cutting edge of innovation in agriculture.

Dr Ian CampbellInterim Executive Chair, Innovate UK

Our partnership in the LARIF brings a new dimension of expertise to CIEL’s extensive network of livestock research capability. It’s an exciting opportunity for industry to capitalise on the extraordinary work undertaken by the University of Edinburgh to deliver on the ‘One Health’ agenda.

Lyndsay ChapmanChief Executive Officer, CIEL