Professor Ritskes-Hoitinga's research focuses on systematic reviews (SR) and meta-analysis (MA) of animal studies. SRs and MAs of preclinical studies promote the evidence-based choice of animal models, improve the implementation of the 3Rs (Refinement, Reduction and Replacement), stimulate scientific quality and increase patient safety. When performing SRs of preclinical animal studies next to clinical studies, better translational transparency will be created. Her group develops and publishes tools and guidelines for making this methodology more broadly available, and these tools and guidelines are also incorporated in the teaching programs of SYRCLE (see www.SYRCLE.nl). The Ministry of Economic Affairs (EZ) and the Dutch Health Foundation ZonMW have funded the development of tools, guidelines and teaching programs.
After graduating as a veterinarian, Merel became a laboratory animal scientist with the goal to improve scientific quality and welfare of laboratory animals simultaneously. After one year in Japan, doing biomedical research, she did a PhD on Refinement at Utrecht University and was trained to become Animal Welfare Officer. From 1990 to 1996 she worked at the Unilever Research laboratory, as the head of the animal unit and as Animal Welfare Officer. From 1996-2005 she was professor in Laboratory Animal Science and head of the Biomedical Laboratory of the University of Southern Denmark in Odense. Since 2005 she is professor in Laboratory Animal Science and head of the Centraal Dierenlaboratorium (CDL) at the Radboud University Medical Centre. In 2006, Merel founded the 3R Research Centre. This was later transformed into SYRCLE, the SYstematic Review Centre for Laboratory animal Experimentation.
National & International Personal Prizes & Awards
- 2010 Price by SGV (Swiss Association for Laboratory Animal Science) for the Gold Standard Publication Checklist, as best publication in Laboratory animal science.
- 2011 Lef in't Lab prijs, Dierenbescherming (Dutch Organisation for the Protection for Animal Welfare).