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Summer Student 2022: William Gane

Summer Student 2022: William Gane

Computational analysis of the interactions between psychoactive substances and the key receptors in the brain to contribute to the development of animal free chemical sensing platforms

Supervisor name and institution: Dr Michelle Botha, University of Hertfordshire

Project summary:

Psychoactive substances pose a serious threat to public health, particularly in the United States. Approximately 100,000 people died of a drug overdose between April 2020 and April 2021 in the USA. There is also growing concern that the UK, Scotland in particular, is experiencing increases in drug overdose rates.

Current drug detection techniques include immunoassays, a type of test that uses monoclonal antibodies to look for the presence of molecules of interest. Monoclonal antibodies are often animal-derived.

For my project I will take a closer look at how psychoactive substances act in certain receptors in the brain. I will look for trends in the way they interact with the receptors responsible for regulating serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline levels. This will be done using computer software to model the receptors and the substances I am analysing, which is an example of an In Silico process that can be used to replace animal testing in drug discovery.

Animals project will replace: Mice, monkeys, rats, cats and dogs

Get to know William…

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

I am excited to partake in the Summer Studentship Programme as I believe it is important that we discontinue the usage of animal testing in modern science, as it is a cruel and unnecessary action to carry out. By taking part in the programme, I will be able to get first-hand experience in methods that can replace animal testing, helping me to become a more ethically conscious scientist in the future.

Research without the use of animals is important to me, as my family and I are all animal lovers, and have all adopted previously mistreated animals in order to give them a better and more loving home. Because of this, I find it absolutely heart breaking that so many animals are mistreated when there are so many other options available.


You can take action for animals, by uniting with us now!

Many human relevant approaches have been introduced into the scientific world, but unfortunately, the use of animals in medical research is entrenched and institutionalised, with many researchers still viewing animal experiments as the gold standard. This is our time to make change happen. Our work is funded entirely by your generous support, so please make a donation today to help us free animals from laboratories for good.

Support the next generation of scientists who are innovating the future of research, and join us in building a brighter future for humans and for the animals.




Page last modified on July 11, 2022 9:13 am