The 9th Annual Scientific Sessions and International Conference of the Sri Lanka Association for Laboratory Animal Science (SLALAS) were held on the 28th and 29th of January 2022 at the Galle Face Hotel, Colombo, Sri Lanka with the theme ‘The Way Forward: Integrating Science, Policy and People for Reproducible Animal Research‘. The International Council for Laboratory Animal Science extended its support for conducting the event.

Professor SJBA Jayasekera, Vice-Chancellor of the Horizon Campus was the chief guest while Prof. Vidya Jyothi Vajira H. W. Dissanayake, Dean, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo was the Guest of Honour. Prof. Cynthia Pekow, Secretary-General for the International Council for Laboratory Animal Science and Clinical Professor, Chief of the Veterinary Medical Unit, University of Washington, USA was the Keynote speaker. She delighted the audience with her talk on “Culture of Care”. Dr Krishanthi Premarathne, The President of SLALAS delivered the presidential address on “Fostering a reproducible and reliable research culture for scientific integrity“. 

On day one of the conference the invited speakers, Dr Montip Gettayacamin, Senior Director for South-East Asia, AAALAC International delivered her speech on “Occupational Health and Safety Program for personnel working with Research Animals”; Dr Natasha Karp, Director Preclinical Statistics AstraZeneca shared her insights on “Sex Bias in Preclinical Research, why it exists and how to drive change” and Dr Esther Pearl, Programme Manager for Experimental design, National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (the NC3Rs), UK persuade the audience with her experience on “Designing Rigorous Animal Experiments”. In addition to the invited speeches, the session was enriched with a panel discussion on “Way forward of SLALAS and Animal research” and a young scientist forum.

Day two of the conference commenced with the invited speech by Prof. Anura Jayasooriya, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, University of Peradeniya by sharing his experience on “New Role of an Old Molecule: animal model paved the way for a scientific breakthrough”. There were three free paper sessions in which a total of thirteen free papers were presented.  Prof. Anura Jayasooriya, Prof Nayana Wijewardena and Prof. Charitha Goonasekara judged oral presentations to award the “Dr. Sharmini Jayasekera award for best oral presentation”. 

Dr. K.K. WijesunderaFaculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, University of Peradeniya won the award for the research work done on “Comparison of macrophages and glial fibrillary acidic protein (gfap) expression in thioacetamide (taa)-induced acute rat liver injury.