The Lush Young Researcher Prize aims to recognise and reward those working to eliminate animal testing in science and cosmetics through their research. Kimberly Norman, from the Institute for In Vitro Sciences, has won one of this year’s 13 prizes for her work using alternative testing methods to predict the effects of test substances on humans.
Kimberly works alongside previous Lush Prize winners the Institute for In Vitro Sciences (IIVS) - a non-profit scientific organization committed to replacing the use of animals in toxicology safety testing through scientifically sound non-animal based testing methods.
A key aim of Kimberly’s research is distinguishing between substances that react with the skin and substances that react with the respiratory system using in vitro testing methods - specifically Direct Peptide Reactivity Assay (DPRA).
Being able to predict in what way a chemical will react with different elements of the human body, like the skin or respiratory system, means chemicals can be quickly and effectively safety tested - crucially, without the use of animals.
She says: “I have been so pleased to be a part of the innovative approaches and novel scientific methods that are providing scientifically sound and ethical alternatives to the traditional animal-based tests to assess the safety of cosmetic and personal care products.
“I am passionate about providing animal-free test strategies based on robust methods that protect consumers and do not involve any animals being used for testing purposes.”
After winning the Lush Prize Kimberly aims to optimise and further her research.
She explains: “I propose to experimentally evaluate a set of test chemicals, including known respiratory and skin sensitizers, in the DPRA. Then separately evaluating reactivity with Lys- and Cys- peptides and assess preferential reactivity.”
If successful this will further strengthen the mounting evidence against the use of ineffective and unreliable animal testing methods.