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Animal models are one of the most accurate tools to study various human diseases.  In vitro approaches are poorly predictive of the behaviour of a complex system like a whole organism. This is why animal models represent an  essential step  before the knowledge obtained in basic research can be successfully applied to humans. The extraordinary progress in genetic manipulation has recently allowed the development of a large number of animal models, in particular GEM (Genetically Engineered Mice), that enable investigation of the effects of specific genetic changes on the development of precise pathological processes. In this evolving and complex scenario, experimental pathology represents a necessary step for validation of animal models by indicating the potential predictivity of the model towards the human disease. Veterinary (also known as animal or comparative) pathology is the scientific study of morphological changes (lesions) of tissues and organs associated to the animal's diseases. It allows the formulation of diagnosis (morphological, etiological) and prognosis. Moreover,  if signature lesions are present experimental pathology aims to generate aetiopathogenetical hypotheses, integrating its judgements with indications supplied by other research areas (genomics, proteomics, epigenetics). In this context, important synergies emerge between experimental pathology and morphofunctional aspects examined by innovative techniques, such as in vivo imaging. Traditional pathology plays a key role in the early validation stages of these novel technologies, ensuring the precision and the accuracy of the findings. Therefore, collaboration between pathology laboratories and other disciplines involved in biomedical research is required. Milan is establishing itself as an important site for the biomedical research community, both on a national and European scale. Many scientific groups from academia, hospitals, public and private research centers and pharmaceutical companies, are interested in the use of animal models to study human diseases. As a consequence, experimental pathology can provide an invaluable scientific contribution to translational research from bench to bedside.

The mission

The mission of the Mouse & Animal Pathology Lab (MAPLab) is to perform integrated research and service activities based on veterinary pathology, aimed at studying and using animal models as support for biomedical research. MAPLab aims to offer its services to research groups, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies involved in animal model studies.

Activity of MAPLab

• Research
• Training and education:

        o graduation theses
        o PhD & residency programs
        o Seminars and Courses for scientists/technicians working in
           the field of experimental pathology

• Services

        o necropsy of laboratory animals
        o histology on animal tissues
        o immunohistochemistry
        o image analysis
        o consultancy in the field of veterinary pathology.


Eugenio Scanziani

Dean of Veterinary Medicine Faculty, Università degli Studi di Milano