Summer Student Zhuo Song
Supervised by Dr Yubing Shi at Northampton University, Zhuo Song is using computer modelling to help replace sheep and pig experiments in the clinical study of artificial hearts.
Heart failure is a common, costly, and potentially fatal disease. People with serious heart failure must be treated with heart transplantation. Artificial hearts are used to provide mechanical circulation support for heart failure patients where there is no suitable donor heart available for transplantation. Sadly, dogs, sheep and cows are widely experimented on in artificial heart research.
To help replace these animal experiments, Zhuo used computer modelling to study blood flow response in the human body under heart failure conditions, with and without an artificial heart. His research could help doctors choose the most suitable artificial heart support for patients, thereby significantly improving the outcome of treatment. It may also help manufacturers design and upgrade the new generation of artificial heart devices, without experimenting on animals.
Computer modelling has much potential to reduce and replace animal experiments in medical studies. I have learnt this technique in my research project and hope to use it in my future research career. I also hope to have done my part in reducing the use of animals in scientific research. Using animals in medical research is cruel in many situations – my summer project has also provided me with a unique platform to make more friends who share my passion for animal protection.