• Question: sarah, so, do you do any experiments with animals or humans???daisybelinda12

    Asked by daisybelinda12 to Sarah, Austin, Kirsty, Nicola, Nike on 14 Jun 2012. This question was also asked by hunterjumper100.
    • Photo: Sarah Hart

      Sarah Hart answered on 14 Jun 2012:

      Hi Daisy, I have worked with human samples, in particular in working on the pregnancy-related syndrome pre-eclampsia, where I worked with blood and urine samples taken (with consent) from women during their pregnancies.
      As an undergraduate I worked on a project where we used frog eggs to look at proteins from blood cells using RNA techniques (RNA is ribonucleic acid, to use an analogy, if DNA is the blueprint, RNA is like the builders’ plans, and proteins are the buildings). In order to get the eggs it was necessary to sacrifice a frog for a batch of eggs (which kept the entire lab going for a few weeks). The proteins we were studying were involved in life-altering kidney diseases. I struggled a little with this, as a long-term vegetarian, but ultimately I felt that getting to the root of kidney disease which kills many people and ruins lives for lots of others was worth the sacrifice. It is a very tough moral question though, and I have chosen to work on projects with minimal animal involvement since then. Human samples are typically less difficult – you can ask permission!

    • Photo: Kirsty Ross

      Kirsty Ross answered on 21 Jun 2012:

      I use animal models of arthritis in my work, although I keep numbers as low as possible and try to use cells wherever possible.