Next month offers a chance to hear about exciting 3Rs research first hand, as we take part in Pint of Science, a worldwide science festival that brings researchers to your local pub to present their scientific discoveries.
We are sponsoring three 3Rs-themed evenings in Newcastle, Birmingham and London this year. Tickets are just £4 and you can find out more about each one (including how to purchase your ticket) by clicking on the event titles below. We hope to see you there!
Newcastle, Monday 20 May
Dr Tom Smulders, who works on an NC3Rs Skills and Knowledge Transfer grant, will discuss how stress and anxiety caused by picking up laboratory mice by the base of the tail can be minimised by instead using a tunnel or a cupped hand. He will speak about the scientific and animal welfare benefits of the recent refinements in handling of mice.
Dr Matt Leach will explain his NC3Rs-funded work on assessing pain and distress in animals using facial expressions (grimace scales). The audience will learn how the scales are used to improve the welfare of research animals, and they will get a chance to try using the scoring systems themselves.
Birmingham, Tuesday 21 May
NC3Rs Training Fellow Dr Scott Davies will discuss how he is making use of diseased livers obtained from patients undergoing transplants. He employs advanced microscopy techniques to study liver disease in live human tissue without the use of animals.
Another NC3Rs Training Fellow, Dr Alexandra Iordachescu, will explain her work on understanding bone loss. Alexandra uses in vitro bone models for studying the molecular and cellular responses to reduced weight loading conditions such as in ageing and osteoporosis.
Laura Feather, an NC3Rs-funded PhD student, will speak about the use of animals in vaccine development and opportunities to reduce or replace this.
London, Wednesday 22 May
This event will focus on the work form our recent 3Rs Prize winner, Dr Rickie Patani, and his team, who use stem cells to understand human disease, replacing the use of animal models.
Rickie will take the audience through the journey from stem cells to fully differentiated cells of the nervous system, showing their capacity to uncover the basis of devastating human neurodegenerative diseases such as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).
The pathology of ALS involves progressive degeneration in motor neurons. PhD student Jacob Neeves will explain how by modelling the disease using cells directly acquired from patients and investigating nerves at the earliest stages can lead to identifying the mechanisms of the disease and help in the discovery of effective therapies.
PhD Student Ben Clarke will then speak about ‘the nervous system’s social network’, a myriad of different cell types that interact with neurons and support them. There is evidence that dysfunction of these supportive cells can play a role in ALS. Ben and his colleagues seek to uncover the contribution of the supportive cells, which is readily studied in their established stem cell-based model.