University of Birmingham > Talks@bham > Artificial Intelligence and Natural Computation seminars > Building Confidence in Computer Simulations as Tools for Replacing Animal Experimentation in Biological Research

Building Confidence in Computer Simulations as Tools for Replacing Animal Experimentation in Biological Research

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Leandro Minku.

Host: Dr. Shan He

Recently there has been an explosion of interest in the gut micro-environment, driven by a realisation of the profound effect the environment (the microbiota) and species interacting with and living within it may have on the health of the host. Growing interest in the gut will most likely lead to a further rise in animal experimentation where the microbial environment is manipulated, making efforts to provide alternative and complementary experimental techniques more urgent. The School of Biosciences here at the University of Birmingham is at the forefront of efforts to provide computational tools that model the molecular interactions within the microbiota, with the aim of reducing or replacing the need for particular animal experiments. In this talk I will describe the techniques we are using to develop eGUT (Electronic Gut), an agent-based computer simulation that, once validated and accepted for a range of applications, is able to address the need for alternative experimental techniques. Yet in a recent study our funding body (NC3Rs) found that just 11% of surveyed researchers agreed that computer simulation could one day accurately represent a host and thus be useful in their research. For our aim to become reality, we need to establish confidence in simulation as a robust scientific tool. My talk will touch on robust simulation design, use of structured argumentation approaches to demonstrate that a simulation is an adequate representation of the system it captures, and use of statistical approaches to fully understand the behaviour of a developed simulator. When applied together these strategies build confidence in results and hypotheses generated through simulation.

==== Tea and cookies at 3.15pm in the coffee room ====

This talk is part of the Artificial Intelligence and Natural Computation seminars series.

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