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Monday, 21 September 2020

CHARITY TODAY AWARDS

New trustee for Nottingham scientific research charity

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In the latest of a string of appointments to its Board, scientific research charity Fund for the Replacement of Animals in Medical Experiments (FRAME) has recruited Dr Lesley Gilmour, the Named Training and Competency Officer (NTCO) at the University of Glasgow, as a trustee.  

In her role at the University of Glasgow, Lesley is responsible for the design and delivery of the training and competency framework for those working with research animals across the organisation, helping researchers to achieve the highest possible scientific and welfare standards and promoting the 3Rs principles of replacement, reduction and refinement.

FRAME is committed to replacing the use of animals in scientific experiments and is dedicated to the development and implementation of new and scientifically valid methods that will replace the need for laboratory animals in medical and scientific research, education, and testing.

Its Board of Trustees provides strategic direction and governance and works alongside the charity’s team that is led by CEO Celean Camp. Dr Gilmour joins FRAME’s Trustees Gary Thomson, Professor David Kendall, Mary Newman, Dr Carol Treasure and the Chair of Trustees, Dr Anna Cadogan.

Lesley explained:

“I wanted to be involved in something that encourages a change in the mindset of scientists towards the use of and reliance on animal models for research and strengthens their belief in non-animal alternatives. Despite the fact that my academic career and current role involves the use of research animals, I believe that the use of animals for research can and should change towards the use of non-animal alternatives where possible.

“In my current role, I successfully led an initiative to change rodent handling practice from tail-handling to non-aversive methods, which resulted in a new policy on handling being endorsed by the Animal Welfare Ethical Review Board (AWERB) and Establishment License Holder in 2019.

“With scientific capability and technological advancements, we have the potential to develop complex and robust assays that are equal to or better than animal models. My scientific background and years of experience working with animal models under the UK legislative system as both a researcher and in a compliance role, will contribute to the knowledge of the FRAME Board of Trustees and help us to tackle challenges researchers face in implementing non-animal methods. I hope that my expertise will provide a fresh perspective on the limitations of animal models and potential topics of research for the FRAME Alternatives Laboratory to pursue.”

Lesley’s academic career focused on cancer drug discovery and preclinical magnetic resonance imaging. Following this, she worked as a Senior Research Scientist at the Cell Biology Group in the Department of Functional Pharmacology at Cancer Research Technology Ltd, before becoming Laboratory Manager for the Translational Radiation Biology Group at the Institute of Cancer Sciences at the University of Glasgow.

Lesley is also a member of the University of Glasgow AWERB and the co-chair of its Culture of Care Committee, as well as a member of the ScotPIL (personal license) Committee.

FRAME, which celebrated its 50th-anniversary last year, was instrumental in developing and establishing a validation process for in vitro assays (test tube experiments) for assessing toxicities of chemicals. The move to validated in vitro assays by the cosmetics industry has been highly successful and FRAME has collaborated with many well-known cosmetics and household product companies, including L’Oréal, Gillette, Avon and Marks & Spencer.

Dr Andrew Bennett was appointed as Director of the FRAME Alternatives Laboratory in 2006 and research now focuses on using samples obtained with full ethical approval and under licence from the Human Tissue Authority, from operations at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, to construct in vitro models of human cells and organs for biomedical research.

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