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Summer Student 2019: Samantha Lindsay

Summer Student 2019: Samantha Lindsay

Supervised by Professor Matthew Hardman at the University of Hull, Samantha will develop a human skin-wound and infection model to help replace experiments on pigs, mice and rats in skin disease research. 

The skin is the largest organ in the human body. It is essential for life, providing a barrier to the external environment, preventing dehydration and penetration of chemicals and germs. Under normal circumstances our skin is able to rapidly and efficiently repair damage. However, sadly for 1 in 20 people, their skin wounds fail to heal – as a result of diabetes, advanced age or infection.

Unfortunately, skin repair experiments typically involve painfully cutting open animals and examining how their wounds heal over time. This is despite the fact that animal skin is different to human skin in terms of its structure, the way it functions and how it protects the body from infection. Experimenting on animals to study skin disease therefore does not accurately replicate human skin disease.

In her summer project, Samantha will develop and evaluate a fully animal-free whole human skin culture model to more accurately study wound repair and infection in humans. She will replace serum taken from animals by growing human skin tissue kindly donated from patients undergoing plastic surgery with entirely human-relevant materials. She will then wound and infect this skin and evaluate its ability to repair and respond to infection.

Samantha’s human skin culture model could increase the reliability of testing disease treatments and has worldwide potential to be used by researchers who are looking for a more accurate way to find treatments for wound healing, skin disease and skin infection.

As a scientist, I am frustrated to see such an insignificant decrease in the number of animals used in medical research over the past few years. I passionately believe in finding innovative replacements to the use of animals, to more accurately test the effectiveness of drugs on the human body. I believe eliminating animals from scientific research will not only reduce the unjust waste of precious animal lives, but also lead to advances in clinical research. Modern science is no longer in need of animal testing, particularly as the animals used only have small resemblances to human systems.

Page last modified on February 5, 2020 4:19 pm