Scientist Awarded David Sainsbury Fellowship
Dr Adjanie Patabendige from the University of Liverpool has been awarded the David Sainsbury Fellowship in recognition of her work in developing cell culture models to reduce the numbers of animals used in brain infection research.
Dr Patabendige will use the Fellowship, awarded by the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs), to build a three-dimensional model of the protective barrier that separates the blood from the brain, which in healthy individuals prevents viruses from entering the brain.
Viral infections such as Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) can disrupt the protective barrier of the brain – the blood-brain barrier – allowing virus particles and immune cells into the brain, resulting in inflammation and swelling.
Almost all experiments to study viral brain infections have to be carried out on animals or animal cell cultures as it is difficult to study the disease mechanisms in human subjects. According to the University of Liverpool, it is estimated that more than 120,000 animals have been used to study encephalitis in the last 10 years, but Dr Patabendige’s work in developing in vitro models to study how these viruses enter the brain could significantly reduce the numbers of animals needed for research.
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