Summer Student Elisa Ali
Supervised by Dr Ewelina Hoffman at the University of Hertfordshire, Elisa Ali is developing a human in vitro model to help replace rats and mice in pulmonary (lung) fibrosis research.
Lung fibrosis is a chronic, progressive and irreversible disorder with poor prognosis. Scar tissue builds up in the lungs of sufferers, resulting in respiratory symptoms, exercise limitation, poor quality of life, and ultimately death.
Elisa combined the main players of pulmonary fibrosis development – fibroblasts, epithelial cells and immune cells – to create a functional human in vitro model of lung fibrosis. Her non-animal model could be used to improve researchers’ understanding of the disease. Future use of the model could assess the safety and efficacy of new therapies in pre-clinical studies of novel treatments, thereby helping to reduce the number of animals experimented on in pulmonary fibrosis research.
I believe that animal cruelty is unethical, outdated and not necessary to carry out important research. During my summer research project I have contributed towards building a better future in medicine by gaining invaluable experience of working with other professional scientists to carry out research that can be used to improve patient safety and quality of life.