Action AAVS Making a Difference for Animals Innovation has its Awards ARDF Announces 2010 Alternatives Research Grants As part of its mission to end the use of animals in research, testing, and education, AAVS’s affiliate, the Alternatives Research & Development Foundation (ARDF), supports scientists who develop methods of investigation that can replace animal models. Over $2 million in grants have been awarded to date. Through ARDF’s Alternatives Research Grant Program, scientists are conducting innovative research that provides solutions to the problems associated with animal experimentation. ARDF is proud to announce the recipients of the 2010 Alternatives Research Grants: Haojie Mao, Ph.D., Wayne State University, Detroit, MI Development of a 3-Dimensional Computer Mouse Brain Model and Analysis of Virtual Traumatic Brain Injury Experiments for Minimizing the Use of Mice Traumatic brain injury is typically studied using a mechanism to induce brain damage in animals. However, different ways to cause brain damage used by different researchers make it difficult to compare experimental findings, and tremendous animal suffering is often involved. In this study, Dr. Mao will utilize a computer mouse brain model to perform a series of virtual cranial impacts and responses that will be calculated using computer technology. Not only will this analysis serve as a general platform for comparison studies, but it will also save animals from redundant, invasive laboratory experiments. 32 2010 Animal Sanctuaries Luca Cucullo, Ph.D., Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH A New Dynamic In Vitro Model of the Human Cerebrovascular Network Many nuero-inflamatory diseases, like meningitis, Alzheimer’s disease, and multiple sclerosis, involve an overactive immune response affecting the brain. Typically, research studies use purpose bred or transgenic animal models to mimic these illnesses. Dr. Cucullo has developed an alternative using hollow fibers that mimic the blood-brain barrier and brain circulatory system, allowing researchers to investigate the causes of inflammation on the brain without using animals. Melissa Herbst-Kralovetz, Ph.D., Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ Human 3-Dimensional Vaginal Models for In Vitro Analyses of Resilience and Homeostasis to Microbicides There is a need for biological models to study infection of the female reproductive tract (FRT) that are both practical and representative of the human condition. The FRT has a complex physiology designed to create a natural barrier to disease, which makes it difficult to recreate in the laboratory. Dr. Herbst-Kralovetz aims to design a primary tissue-equivalent model that can be used in lieu of animals to study infection and disease, as well as treatments, for the FRT. C. Anthony Hunt, Ph.D., University of California, San Francisco, CA Development of Virtual Rat Liver for Pharmacological and Toxicological Investigations Due to its job of filtering toxins out of the body, the liver is often involved in studying disease and evaluating various drug treatments. This ambitious project aims to create a virtual liver, using known information about rat physiology, that provides a mechanism for study that does not use animals. The hope is to create a computer model that can be used in experimental studies and not just predictive testing, which is already in practice. PHOTOS Courtesy of The Institute for In Vitro Sciences (THIS PAGE) COURTESY OF ANIMALEARN AND By Veer (OPPOSITE) Stuart K. Williams, Ph.D., University of Louisville, Louisville, KY Medical Device Testing in Human Blood Vessel Mimics Implanted medical devices are tested and evaluated using animal models such as rabbits, dogs, calves, pigs, and sheep. The focus of this study is on testing cardiovascular devices that are implanted in humans using minimally invasive techniques. There is a need to assess these devices and their abilities to support tissue ingrowth and formation of a cell lining on their surfaces. Dr. Williams will create a blood vessel equivalent that will replace animals but still support tests for safety, toxicity, and efficacy.