My PhD research focused on improving the welfare of laboratory rodents through changes in their environments, which I evaluated using measures of natural behaviour and emotional states. I am also more broadly interested in the topics of environmental 'enrichment', animal agency and welfare, the 3 Rs, validity and reproducibility of research involving animals, and policy surrounding animal use.
Photo by Lexis Ly
I have extensive experience working with rats and mice as an animal husbandry technician and as an animal welfare researcher. Prior to my PhD, I was involved in research on refining euthanasia methods for laboratory rats (particularly focused on rat aversion to carbon dioxide) in collaboration with Dr. Lucia Améndola and Professor Dan Weary.
Bodnar, M., Ratuski, A.S., & Weary, D.M. (2023). Mouse isoflurane anesthesia using the drop method. Laboratory Animals. 0(0). https://doi.org/10.1177/00236772231169550
Ratuski, A.S., & Weary, D.M. (2022). Environmental Enrichment for Rats and Mice Housed in Laboratories: A Metareview. Animals, 12(4), 414. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12040414
Ratuski, A.S., Makowska, I.J., Dvorack, K.R., Weary, D.M. (2021). Using approach latency and anticipatory behaviour to assess whether voluntary playpen access is rewarding to laboratory mice. Scientific Reports, 11(18683). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-98356-3
Ratuski, A.S., & Weary, D.M. (2021). A break from the pups: The effects of loft access on the welfare of lactating laboratory rats. PLoS One, 16(6), e0253020. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0253020
Améndola, L., Ratuski, A.S., & Weary, D.M. (2021). Individual differences in rat sensitivity to CO2. PLoS One, 16(1), e0245347. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0245347
Améndola, L., Ratuski, A.S., & Weary, D.M. (2019). Variation in the onset of CO2-induced anxiety in female Sprague Dawley rats. Scientific Reports, 9(1), 1-8. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-55493-0
Projects in progress
Public perceptions and cultural acceptability of rodeo events in Canada and the United States (manuscript in preparation)
How does the presence of a human observer impact mouse behaviour? (ongoing)
Effects of resource distribution on aggression between male mice in laboratory cages (ongoing)
Stakeholder perspectives surrounding barriers to implementing refinements for laboratory animals (ongoing)
Stay tuned for upcoming publications!