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13 November 2023

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St Hugh’s Fellow awarded two major research grants

Professor Rachel Tanner, Tutorial Fellow in Biology, has been awarded two major research grants. The first, from the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs), aims to reduce the number of cattle used in vaccine research. In collaboration with the Animal and Plant Health Agency, Rachel’s team will develop immune organoids from bovine lymph node tissue to screen vaccine candidates ‘in vitro’ (in a test-tube) as an alternative to vaccinating animals.

The second award, from the Medical Research Foundation, is a sub-Saharan Africa-UK Partnership Grant to tackle the health impacts of climate change alongside Dr Begna Tulu Eticha at Bahir Dar University, Ethiopia. The project will investigate possible consequences of climate change on a type of bacteria known as ‘mycobacteria’ that can persist in environmental niches such as soil and water. Rates of mycobacterial disease and associated deaths are increasing rapidly, so this work will be essential for informing control measures such as improved vaccinations and therapies that can be effective in a changing world.

Rachel and Begna met through the VALIDATE Network and recently attended a course on Equitable Research Partnerships run by the Africa Research Excellence Fund in Nairobi, Kenya to kick-off their project. Rachel said “This course challenged those of us from universities in the global North to examine our preconceptions about international research relationships and strive to go beyond equity to support transformative collaborations. Our work together is important not only from a scientific perspective, but we are also advocating to redress the multitude of power imbalances between Africa and the global North in scientific knowledge production”.

Rachel is pictured on the right with Begna Tulu Eticha.

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Rachel Tanner with Begna Tulu Eticha, Victor Mogre and Dari Da at the National Park

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