SET for BRITAIN encourages, supports and promotes Britain's early-career research scientists. Nominees stand to win a cash prize and the overall winner is awarded the Westminster Medal.
Dr Maria Vinci, Post Doctoral Training Fellow in the Institute for Cancer Research's (ICR) Cancer Therapeutics division, was shortlisted for an award for her research aiming to improve tumour modelling and reduce reliance on animal research.
Maria's poster highlights the NC3Rs-funded research at the ICR to validate 3D tumour assays for rapid and accurate quantification of key aspects of the malignant phenotype, providing a way to significantly improve drug target validation and evaluation. Standard 2D monolayer cultures do not adequately mimic the complexity of a tumour in vivo, and current 3D techniques are time consuming and lack reproducibility. The highly reproducible 3D assays increase the translational predictive value of in vitro drug evaluation studies and reduce the reliance on in vivo studies.
Kamar Ameen-Ali, an NC3Rs PhD student at Durham University, was shortlisted for her work on a new testing paradigm for assessing complex memory in rats.
Many tests of memory use large numbers of animals to provide sufficient data for analysis. Kamar and Durham colleagues have developed a new apparatus which uses less than a third of the number of rats typically required for traditional memory tests. The apparatus also provides the opportunity to study the neurobiology of complex forms of memory in rats studies normally performed on non-human primates.
Both posters were displayed at the House of Commons event on 18 March, which presents and discusses ground-breaking and frontier UK research and R&D to Members of both Houses of Parliament at Westminster.