Preclinical, Imaging and Research Laboratories (PIRL)

Supporting quality preclinical research
Preclinical, Imaging and Research Laboratories (PIRL)

We offer preclinical research support and expertise to a broad range of local and international clients including universities, biomedical and pharmaceutical companies and grant funded scientists.

Our staff have extensive experience in preclinical and veterinary research.

Covering 35 acres, our facility is the only purpose-built large and small animal NATA-accredited Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) research facility in Australia where surgical theatres and imaging equipment sit side-by-side with quality indoor and outdoor animal holding facilities.

Located 13 km northeast of the Adelaide CBD, we are ideally placed for easy access to both our local and visiting interstate and international clients.

The Gilles Plains site has existed to support animal research since 1971.

PIRL joined SAHMRI in September 2012 and since then has continued to grow and adapt to the needs of local, national and international researchers.

The scope and scale of facilities available for animal research was given a major boost by the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) funding process in 2008. This Federal Government Programme provided the funds to allow PIRL to expand the services it can provide to the research community.

Facilities include: 

  • Five large surgical theatres
  • Advanced imaging capabilities including 3T Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Computed Tomography/Positron Emission Tomography (CT/PET), mobile radiography and fluoroscopy, multipurpose fluoroscopy/cardiac catheterisation laboratory
  • Surgical support areas
  • 20 acres of paddocking for the holding of large animals
  • BC1/PC2 certified paddocks, indoor holding and surgical theatres for projects involving imported material or genetically modified animals requiring this level of containment by Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) and/or Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR)
  • Post-surgery progress from indoor pen holding, to undercover pens, to paddocks.
  • Designated post-mortem room
  • 45-person meeting room with AV equipment
  • Computer access, office space and access to amenities (kitchen and shower) for researchers

Our small animal capabilities include: 

  • Small Animal Facility (SAF; conventional housing)
  • Gnotobiotic facility

The level of support and service provided is tailored to each individual project. We can provide support at all stages of the research process, including:

  • Preparation of applications to Animal Ethics Committees
  • Approval from regulatory bodies including the Office of Gene Technology Regulatory (OGTR) and Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF)
  • Advice on experimental design and development of surgical techniques
  • Teaching, training and workshops

PIRL offers a range of services for biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies wishing to establish safety or efficacy of their investigational new drugs and devices, in preparation for regulatory submission. Our research can be conducted to OECD Principles of Good Laboratory Practice (GLP).

Some examples of the services we provide include: 

  • Medical device safety and efficacy testing
  • Acute and chronic toxicity studies
  • Range finding studies
  • Repeat dose studies
  • Pharmacokinetic studies
  • Consulting services

At PIRL, we pride ourselves on conducting rigorous, transparent, and reproducible preclinical research. SAHMRI (including PIRL) has implemented a documented Quality Management System that is compliant with AS/ZS ISO 9001 (2015), thereby ensuring operational and management efficiency and effectiveness.

Our research can be conducted to OECD Principles of Good Laboratory Practice (GLP). We can provide advice on regulatory requirements for TGA/FDA approval requirements.

The PIRL site has both indoor and outdoor Quarantine Approved Arrangements (AA). An AA is a facility approved by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry for the purpose of receiving, storing and dealing with materials that are subject to quarantine. Our research support team can offer advice for import requirements and applications.

Quarantine AA and OGTR accredited facilities include:

  • BC1/PC2 Surgical theatres
  • BC1/PC2 Indoor large animal holding
  • BC1/PC2 large animal grazing facility (paddock)
  • BC1 laboratory space and storage
  • BC2/PC2 Small animal holding
  • BC2/PC2 laboratory space including a biosafety cabinet

Gnotobiotic Rodent Facility

Established in 2018, the on-site Gnotobiotic Rodent Facility (Germ-Free) provides resources to breed, house and perform procedures under sterile conditions.

Within the PIRL site at Gilles Plains sits the Large Animal Research and Imaging Facility (LARIF). LARIF was created as a South Australian node of the National Imaging Facility (NIF). LARIF provides state-of-the-art imaging of large animals for the Australian research community under the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) scheme. National Imaging Facility Fellows are available to assist in protocol development, execution of imaging, post-processing and analysis of imaging data.

Large animal imaging: 

  • Siemens Skyra 3T MRI
  • Siemens CT/PET
  • Siemens fluoroscopy and multipurpose surgical suite/cardiac catheterisation laboratory
  • Plain film mobile radiography
  • Philips ‘Veradius/Endura’ image intensifiers (C-Arm)
  • 4D Medical ‘Permetium’ (preclinical small animal lung scanner)
  • Dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) unit

Working closely with Bioresources (located at SAHMRI's North Terrace campus) we also offer comprehensive small animal imaging within a Specific Opportunistic Pathogen Free (SOPF) facility.

Small animal imaging:  

  • Bruker Albira PET/SPECT
  • Bruker 1T Icon MRI
  • Bruker SkyScan microCT (µCT)
  • IVIS Spectrum optical imaging
  • echoMRI body composition

ComPath is located within PIRL and is an integral part of Health Monitoring and Disease Surveillance Programmes in laboratory animal research facilities. ComPath has adapted and grown to suit the needs of the Biomedical Research Industry and offer services Australia-wide and within the Asia-Pacific region.

Visit the ComPath page for more information.

We specialise in large animal research using domesticated animals such as sheep, goats, alpacas, cattle and pigs, as well as having the facilities to preform small animal research using rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs, rats and mice.

We have veterinary, scientific and technical staff experienced in all aspects of animal research and husbandry and can assist in animal model development.

We can also source and order species from reputable suppliers (sheep, pigs, rabbits, guinea pigs, GM rodents, alpacas etc) upon request.

We are a School of Anatomy and have the capacity to support a range of Surgical Workshops.

Our team has extensive experience working with local surgeons and international companies to run surgical workshops in a range of fields, including trauma, cardiology, gynaecology, ENT and device testing.

Contact us for more information.


  • Access to on-site Veterinary advice and surgical expertise
  • 5 large surgical suites fully equipped to simulate a clinical setting
  • Multiple surgical suites for concurrent training
  • High-speed internet connection (for international viewing)
  • Conference room with laptop, projector and screen for presentations
  • Catering for workshops can be organised upon request
  • Direct supply of research sheep, mice and rats (SAHMRI-Bioresources)
  • Ability to source and order other species from reputable suppliers upon request
  • Da Vinci Surgical System

101 Blacks Road
Gilles Plains, SA 5086

P: +61 8 8128 4627