Over £1m committed to training new 3Rs-minded PhD students

We are pleased to announce we have awarded 13 new PhD studentships totalling £1.17m. Enabling scientists to engage with the 3Rs at every career stage is critical to sustain the development of knowledge, technologies and skills that underpin the 3Rs. Our Studentship scheme supports the professional growth of students, embedding 3Rs skills throughout their training across a range of disciplines.

This year funded projects include an in vitro method to purify haematopoietic stem cell cultures replacing the need for in vivo transplantation to confirm cellular identity and the development of a 3D microphysiological model of the human placenta to replace pregnant mammals used in some infection studies. We have also made an award that aims to quantify the response of large fish and sharks to commonly used electronic tagging protocols providing an evidence base to refine these procedures.

One joint award was made with Unilever for a project within non-animal safety assessment. This award will use body-on-a-chip technology to model plasma recirculation and test multiple organ toxicity on a single chip replacing some PK/PD studies in rodents.

The awards are made directly to the principal investigators. Interested students should contact the respective supervisors. For full details and how to apply, visit the studentship vacancies page.

Awarded studentships

Dr Joseph Bateman, King’s College London – Understanding how altered brain metabolism causes mitochondrial disease

Dr Eileen Gentleman, King’s College London – Combining a fully synthetic hydrogel with human intestinal organoids to model pathological matrix remodelling in Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

Professor Ingeborg Hers, University of Bristol – Targeted protein degradation as a novel approach to study protein function in human platelets

Dr David Kent, University of York – A novel in vitro reporter system for blood stem cell activity

Dr Michelle Lawson, University of Sheffield – Development and validation of 3D in vitro dormant myeloma cell models to reduce and replace animal studies

Dr Ronan McCarthy, Brunel University – Insects as models to study wound healing, infection and the wound microbiome

Dr Rachel Oldershaw, University of Liverpool – Replacement of animal use in measuring cardiomyocyte response to drug safety profiling using a novel NMR metabolomics technology

Dr Deepali Pal, Northumbria University – 3D bioprinted microtissues to develop patient-specific non-animal technologies (NAT) in cancer drug development

Dr Katarzyna Pirog, Newcastle University – Investigating biomechanical responses in healthy and diseases ageing cartilage, a tissue engineering approach

Dr Adriana Tavares, University of Edinburgh – Drug risk assessment and repurposing using biomimetic chromatography and body-on-chip technology (Joint award with Unilever)

Dr Helen Weavers, University of Bristol – A novel Drosophila model of chronic inflammatory lung disease to explore airway damage, inflammation and infection in vivo

Dr Matthew Witt, University of Exeter – Refining the tagging of wild fish and sharks

Dr Marie Yang, University of Liverpool – A 3Rs approach to investigate the feto-maternal interface: visualisation of pathogen and antibody in a 3D in vitro human placental model

The British Heart Foundation requested we suspend our agreement to make joint PhD Studentship awards for the 2020 competition in light of COVID-19 and the impact it is having on their activities. For further information, please see BHF’s Research Position Statement'.

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