The National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS) is pleased to announce the winners of their 2017 Humane Science Award. The awards were presented on May 18 at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Los Angeles.
The Humane Science Award is given to students whose projects show scientific excellence as well as advance science through the use of alternatives to animal experimentation, especially through the replacement of live animals with non-animal methodologies. Projects that include non-invasive observation of animals are also considered for recognition.
Each year, NAVS has the unique honor of presenting its annual Humane Science Award at Intel ISEF, the largest international pre-college science competition in the world, which this year drew approximately 1,800 young scientists selected from affiliate fairs in more than 75 countries, regions and territories. NAVS is the only animal advocacy organization allowed to present an award at this prestigious event.
NAVS established the Humane Science Award in 2001 to recognize scientific endeavors that have the potential to reduce or replace animal use in research, further our understanding of animal behavior, or discover solutions to animal health problems without harming animals. In giving this award, NAVS has also provided an important incentive to dozens of young scientists to continue their work without harming animals.
The recipients of the 2017 Humane Science Award are:
1st place: Andrea Teo, Translational Medical Science: Developing a High-throughput Platform for Drug Toxicity Screening
This project used human-induced pluripotent stem cells to develop a reliable method for accurately assessing the toxicity of pharmaceuticals. Teo chose to use a human-based model because of the “substantial differences between human and animal genomes,” which “have resulted in numerous tests failing to correlate drug toxicity when advancing from animal studies to human clinical trials.”
2nd place: Katherine Miles, Cellular and Molecular Biology: Autism and Genetics: Understanding the Role of AUTS2 in the Pathology of Autism Spectrum Disorder
This project sought to understand the effect that the gene AUTS2, a genetic component of autism, has on neurodevelopment. This was done by creating an in vitro model in which an AUTS2 mutation was introduced into human stem cells. An animal advocate, Miles chose to conduct her research using a human-based model rather than a traditional mouse model.
3rd place: Vishakk Rajendran, Meena Ravishankar and Jeremy Wang, Animal Sciences: Developing a Novel 3D-Printed Solution to Aid Healing Fractured Wing Bones of Wild Birds
This project was aimed at finding “an affordable, non-invasive and easily adaptable solution to fixing broken radius and ulna bones in a bird wing.” To achieve this, the three-person team created a 3-D printed prosthetic splint that could be held in place with magnets. The test was initially conducted on dead Great Horned Owls, and proved so successful that the team has begun working with a veterinarian with the intent of putting their solution to use on live, injured birds.
Judging for this year’s awards was conducted by NAVS Executive Director Peggy Cunniff, Director of Legal/Legislative Programs Marcia Kramer, Science Advisor Pam Osenkowski, Ph.D., and John Harbell, Ph.D., who serves as a member of the scientific advisory board for the International Foundation for Ethical Research. The evaluation process included interviews with students and an independent review of projects by the NAVS team. Winners will receive a cash prize of $5,000 for first place, $2,000 for second place and $1,000 for each member of the third place team.
NAVS congratulates all of these exceptional students for their hard work toward the advancement of better, more humane science.