THE NEXT GENERATION OF SCIENTISTS
Published on September 18, 2020
Part of our mission at Animal Free Research UK is to inspire and support scientists. We want to train a new generation of scientists who are excited to develop animal free techniques and create a step change in the culture of research.
Our Summer Student Programme and Summer Schools give early career scientists valuable laboratory experience in animal free medical research. It helps to show them the importance of human relevant, non-animal science to tackle human diseases. Supporting our scientists of the future to develop their career entirely without animal experiments and make real breakthroughs in medical research will create long-lasting change for both people and animals.
Meet one of our next generation of scientists.
Did you always want to get into the field of medical science for your degree and your career?
Interestingly no. I have always had a scientific and analytical sort of mind. When I was really little I wanted to be a geologist. Gemstones and planet formation really interested me. More than anything, I just liked collecting pretty rocks. I guess it was the processes of chemistry and change I was fascinated by, which is fortunate, as molecular biology contains these same aspects, albeit on a smaller scale.
And what motivated you to go into that field of work?
When I was 15, I was diagnosed as type 1 diabetic. There is nothing like a selfish and deeply personal reason to be hooked on a topic. Since then, I knew I wanted to study human physiology. We know so little about ourselves, which to me meant there would be plenty of *new* things to discover for myself. Or even about myself. As part of my A-levels I got involved in an education-related medical research project. Following that I knew only research would satisfy my curiosity.
How did you first get involved with Animal Free Research UK?
During the summer between my first and second year of my degree I attended the first Animal Free Research UK summer school as part of a research internship with Prof Lorna Harries. Already being a passionate environmentalist and conservationist, working with like-minded individuals drew me to the most noble of causes. Advancing humanity shouldn’t cost us our moral compass. Longevity for one species shouldn’t equal the suffering of another. Animal-free research has also proven on many occasions to be safer and more accurate for treating and understanding human disease – as well as enabling clever new technology to be discovered and created. For me, if we can work in the kindest possible way, we should at least try.
You’re currently working with Professor Lorna Harries at the University of Exeter on the animal free COVID-19 test funded by Animal Free Research UK – tell us about your experience so far?
My experience so far has been incredible. This feels odd for me to say, as my post is the direct result of a global pandemic. There are better ways to get a job, not that I wish to complain! Working with Lorna has taught me so much already. Her enthusiasm and support is infectious (sorry for the pun), and is allowing me to develop towards the career path of medical research with great focus. Not only that, but the wealth of knowledge and experience from her and her team makes for a great working and learning experience. The work itself is majorly lab based – which I love. Not only is that, but the data we have generated is very interesting.
What advice would you give someone who wants to go into animal free research?
More than anything, just remember that we are a kind and positively acting community aimed at guiding better research which doesn’t use animals, or at least reduces their use. This means we like sharing our knowledge and offering support to find animal free methods. Have a couple of cute animal pictures on your phone when you meet other animal free research enthusiasts!
You can take action for animals, by uniting with us now!
Our work is funded entirely by your generous support, so please make a donation today to help us free animals from laboratories for good.