National Anti-Vivisection Society Recognizes Excellence at Intel International Science and Engineering Fair

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NAVS gives Humane Science Award to youth projects that advance science without harming animals

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The National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS) is pleased to announce the winners of its 2015 Humane Science Award. The awards were presented on May 14 at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Pittsburgh.

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 nearly 1,700 young scientists selected from 422 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 2015 Humane Science Award are:

  • 1st place: Anisha Valluri, "Biomedical and Health Sciences: 3D Tumor Model for Testing Anticancer Drugs"

This project optimized and characterized a simple three-dimensional spheroid culture using human brain cells to test anti-cancer drugs for glioblastoma—a particularly malignant form of brain cancer—and identified promising treatment strategies.

  • 2nd place: Ralph Lawton, "Biomedical and Health Sciences: Don't be Led Ashtray: Toxicological Effects of Electronic Cigarettes on Inflammation and Lung Cell Viability with Comparison by Brand, Flavor, and Generation"

This project assessed the effects of different brands of e-cigarette vapor on human lung cell viability and inflammation compared to traditional cigarettes and demonstrated that both e-cigarette vapor and traditional cigarette vapor caused significant damage to lung cells and increased inflammation compared to untreated samples.

  • 3rd place: Karina Schmidt, "Biomedical and Health Sciences: Diabetic Stem Cell Derived Cardiomyocytes in Disease Modeling and Therapeutic Discovery"

This project studied the link between diabetes and heart disease by using induced pluripotent stem cells from diabetic and non-diabetic patients to generate cardiomyocytes (cardiac muscle cells). The study revealed that the two types of cardiomyocytes responded differently to stress, and identified a number of differentially-expressed genes linked to cardiovascular disease that may help explain these findings.

Judging for this year’s awards was conducted by NAVS’ Executive Director Peggy Cunniff; Director of Legal/Legislative Programs Marcia Kramer; Director of Science Programs Pam Osenkowski, Ph.D.; and Science Advisor Sherry Ward, Ph.D. 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 third place.

NAVS congratulates all of these exceptional students for their hard work toward the advancement of better, more humane science.

Founded in 1929, the National Anti-Vivisection Society is dedicated to ending cruel, wasteful and scientifically-flawed animal experiments through the advancement of smarter, human-relevant research and the promotion of animal-friendly changes to laws and policies. For more information, visit or call 1-800-888-NAVS (6287).

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Garett Auriemma
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