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National Anti-Vivisection Society and International Foundation for Ethical Research Announce New Research Grants for Promising Young Investigators

Chicago, IL (PRWEB) November 11, 2014

The National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS) and the International Foundation for Ethical Research (IFER) are pleased to announce three first-time recipients of IFER Graduate Fellowships as part of the 2014-2015 grant cycle. By funding early career researchers with an interest in developing innovative alternatives to animal testing, NAVS and IFER hope to seed the scientific field with talented individuals prepared to integrate scientific discovery with ethics and respect for animals.

Recipients of IFER Graduate Fellowships, selected by IFER’s Scientific Advisory Board, have the potential to positively change the course of science by working to promote the advancement of humane methodologies that can spare animal suffering.

The investigators who are receiving first-time IFER Graduate Fellowships for 2014-2015 are:

Bryan Hassell, a Ph.D. candidate working in Dr. Donald Ingber’s laboratory at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, has received funding for his project, “Human Cancer-on-a-Chip as a Replacement for Animal Testing.” Bryan seeks to develop an organ-on-a-chip platform to determine how lung cancer cells respond to chemotherapy depending on their organ-specific microenvironment, as well as to identify new anticancer therapies. Bryan’s physics and engineering background, in combination with the extensive biological training that he is receiving in the Ingber lab, will allow him to take a multidisciplinary approach toward developing an innovative model that has the potential to replace the use of animals in cancer research.

Erica Schlesinger, a Ph.D. student at the University of California San Francisco working in Dr. Tejal Desai’s lab, received support for her project, “In-vitro 3D Flow Through System for Improved Intestinal Permeability Model.” Erica aims to develop a model in which human intestinal cells are grown on a tubular scaffold to better mimic the microenvironment of the intestine. Using this approach, experimental drugs can be flowed through the system, enabling drug absorption to be assessed. This new model has the potential to improve upon existing in vitro approaches to study drug absorption while reducing the need for more complex animal experimentation.

Sun Nee Tan, a Ph.D. candidate in the Graduate Program in Neuroscience at the University of British Columbia under the mentorship of Dr. Martin McKeown, will be using state-of-the-art brain imaging techniques on human subjects for her project, “Structural and Functional Neuroplasticity of Parkinson’s Disease Following a Sensori-Motor Contingent Musical Walking Intervention (Ambulosono).” Her study will determine the effectiveness of a music-contingent walking exercise program as an intervention for Parkinson’s disease subjects. Neuroscience studies traditionally rely heavily on animal models, despite their limited translatability to human populations; therefore the use of imaging techniques on human subjects to study neuroplasticity may replace conventional research which uses animal testing for this purpose.

IFER Graduate Fellowships are awarded annually in amounts up to $ 15,000 to early career scientists who are developing alternatives to the use of animals in product testing, biomedical research and education. Fellowships are renewable for up to three years. More information on the IFER Graduate Fellowship Program can be found at


Founded in 1929, the National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS) promotes greater compassion, respect and justice for animals through educational and advocacy programs based on respected ethical, scientific and legal theory. NAVS works to increase public awareness about animal testing and experimentation, to promote positive solutions that advance science, to support the development of alternatives to the use of animals, and to effect changes that will help end the unnecessary suffering of laboratory animals. For more information, visit


Founded in 1985, the International Foundation for Ethical Research (IFER) supports the development, validation and implementation of innovative scientific methodologies that advance science and replace the use of animals in research, testing and education. IFER is funded primarily by a grant from the National Anti-Vivisection Society.

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