A Call for More Human-Relevant Research at NIH

For decades, animal experimentation was considered the “gold standard” of biomedical research, but today a growing number of well-known scientists and researchers begin to challenge that assumption. It is clear that the underlying molecular, cellular, and physiological mechanisms of animals being distinct from humans can lead to poor predictions in humans. This unreliability is the […]

Horror Movies and Zoonotic Disease: What’s the Connection?

In the wake of a global pandemic, Dystopian films depicting rampant disease leading to the end of the world take on a new patina of realism.  The horror narrative that includes zombies, quarantines, and even the farming of humans for consumption as told through books, movies, and even video games remain timeless and successful.  Despite […]

Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics Summer School: Animals, Scholarship, and Zombies?

The Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics held its Eighth Annual Oxford Animal Ethics Summer School in early August. This year’s theme was Animals and the Media: Communicating Ethical Perspectives on Animals. Merton College at the University of Oxford provided the perfect environment for scholars from all over the globe to meet, learn, and discuss ethical […]

What We Are Made For: A Contemporary Take on Barbie

Unless you live under a rock, you’ve probably seen or at least heard about Barbie, directed by Greta Gerwig. Love it or hate it, Barbie is the highest grossing film directed solely by a woman, coming in at $1.28 billion worldwide to date. The hype was real. I could write a tome on the clever […]

Organoids, Digital Twins, and the Law: A Case for Alternatives to Animal Testing

CEO and Co-founder of the Center for Contemporary Sciences, Dr. Aysha Akhtar M.D., M.P.H., was interviewed by Dr. Erika Gebel Berg Ph.D., Director and Science Editor of the Science Custom Publishing Group. This podcast interview was originally broadcasted and transcribed by the Science Podcast. The conversation included context around the historic achievement of the FDA […]

The Public Health and Animal Protection Connection

COVID-19 changed lives. We lost loved ones and missed out on moments like weddings and graduations. Since March 2020, the term “once in a lifetime” to describe the public health event has been used more than once. But the stark reality is that for many of us, it will not be once in a lifetime. […]

A Review of Human Disease Models in Drug Development

In the article Human disease models in drug development published in Nature, the authors delve into the critical role of human disease models in drug development, emphasizing the importance of bridging the gap between bench and bedside. They shed light on the challenges and opportunities associated with leveraging human disease models to accelerate the discovery […]

The Milieu of Zuzalu

The sun began its slow descent into the Adriatic Sea when we arrived in Montenegro on May 2, 2023. Picture a 2-month long (non) Burning Man off the glittering coast celebrated by futurists in the fields of longevity, cryptocurrency, AI, and The Network State. That was the phenomenon that was Zuzalu.   Originally conceived by Vitalik […]

Medical Countermeasures: More Potential for the FDA Modernization Act

In December 2022, the FDA Modernization Act 2.0 was passed by Congress as part of the FY2023 Omnibus bill. The FDA Modernization Act updated the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act (FFDCA) by lifting the requirement for animal testing and allowing applicants for market approval for a new drug to use the best methods available […]

What If We Could Do Clinical Trials Before We Do Clinical Trials?

Originally appeared in Clinical Leader: Alternatives To Animal Testing In Preclinical Research (clinicalleader.com) I’m a doctor, but I hate wearing my car seat belt. And it’s not for the reason you might think. Rather than comfortably crossing over my shoulder as it’s intended, the seat belt agonizingly crosses right over the most tender spot in […]

The Role of Animal Experimentation in Endangering Species

On May 19th we celebrated Endangered Species Day, dedicated to learning about and taking action to protect endangered and threatened species. 2023 also marks the 50th anniversary of the landmark Endangered Species Act—a silver lining in the face of a sixth mass extinction. The Endangered Species Act (ESA): Establishes protections for wildlife (including fish) and […]

The Animal Welfare Act Protects Animals, Right?

Small chimpanzee hang holding on to human fingers.

Few federal laws are considered household names. One of these is the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). The AWA was the first United States federal law to regulate animals used in research. The law was initially called the Laboratory Animal Welfare Act (1966) and was enacted to combat theft of pets to be sold into research. […]

Join Us for World Day for Animals in Laboratories

Today, April 24th, is World Day for Animals in Laboratories—a day for honest and open discussion about the suffering animals experience in laboratories. And make no doubt, animals in labs do suffer every day of their lives. Having worked at the Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Army for more than a decade, I have […]

It’s Time to Modernize Medical Science

Stacked away in my basement is an old 8-track cassette player that I used as a kid in the late 1970’s. I keep it to remind me how far science can advance if there is the will to do so. The 8-tracks first hit the market in the mid-1960’s and were considered state of the […]