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Summer Student 2022: Toba Shahbaz

Summer Student 2022: Toba Shahbaz

Development and validation of animal free in vitro lung-immune cell interactions model called ImmuPHAGE

Supervisor name and institution: Dr Nilab Haydare, University of Hertfordshire

Project summary:

Alveolar macrophages are immune cells found in a specific lung region called alveoli – small air bags with thin walls that allow oxygen to enter the blood. They play an important role in maintenance of healthy lungs, as well as are the first line of defence against diseases. They are involved in development of many lung diseases, as well as they contribute to the lung recovery.

ImmoPHAGE is an in vitro model that resembles human alveolar macrophages. This model is used for toxicity studies, as well as drug development. Currently, ImmuPHAGE is not fully animal free, as cells are grown with animal-derived products, such as foetal bovine serum.

The aim of my project is to make this model fully human relevant to be applied in wide range of respiratory toxicity studies.

Better, human relevant, standardised in vitro models to understand macrophage biology in lungs will lead to better understanding of the interactions between alveolar cells, which may result in better screening of new inhaled drugs, appearance of new drugs to market and overall better treatment of airway diseases in humans.

Animals project will replace: Mice, rats, pigs and dogs

Get to know Toba…

Why do you want to participate in animal replacement summer studentship?

I am a second-year Pharmaceutical Science student at Hertfordshire University. My love for research stems from the fact that it propels the expansion of scientific knowledge, which in turn lays the groundwork for the development of novel medicines and therapies. Since participating in a lab work experience at the University of Hertfordshire, I’ve grown increasingly interested in research, particularly those using in vitro cell culture techniques. It would be an honour for me to do a summer studentship with Animal Free Research UK. It will aid in the development of a variety of abilities, including practical, research, IT, data collecting, analysis, and academic writing. Working under the guidance of an experienced researcher will allow me to gain a thorough understanding of research technique.

How will the Summer Student Programme help to kick-start your career as an animal free researcher?

This research studentship will assist me in moving closer to my professional objective and performing very well in my third-year project. In the future, I hope to work in the pharmaceutical sector, earn a master’s degree, and contribute to scientific progress. I want to contribute to the discovery of a disease remedy that does not include the use of animals, benefiting many people throughout the world while also protecting the dignity of animals. When I accomplish things that improve the lives of patients, I will consider my job a success.

Why is research without the use of animals important to you?

Animal and human models are different, they cannot be used interchangeably in toxicology. The use of animals cannot be utilised as predictive models for humans, hence animal experiments are superfluous and can be exceedingly misleading. Even minor genetic changes can result in dramatically divergent outcomes.

What are your future plans and career aspirations?

I am so curious to explore more in-depth organic chemistry and take further academic study and research.



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Page last modified on August 5, 2022 9:38 am