Animal-Free Research Wins Big at Collegiate Inventors Competition

Published by Heather Moore.

Here’s to a more compassionate future! Graduate students at the University of Pennsylvania were finalists in this year’s Collegiate Inventors Competition, where they displayed an “eye-on-a-chip” technology, which features a 3-D–printed, motor-driven eyelid that simulates blinking and all the necessary channels and membranes that allow corneal cells to grow.

The students, who worked with researchers at Harvard University’s Wyss Institute, demonstrated that the device is a more reliable, accurate, and ethical alternative to animal testing.

The Penn students aren’t the only ones promoting ethical and effective scientific methods, though. Harvard Ph.D. student David Kolesky received the graduate gold medal—and $15,000—for inventing 3D Bioprinting Vascularized Human Tissue, which has been used to build human tissue and blood vessels. According to Kolesky, the invention can create skin for use in grafts, allow for in vitro drug testing before clinical trials, and generate various types of tumors for study—all without using animals.

PETA sent the University of Pennsylvania team and Kolesky vegan holiday chocolates to thank and congratulate them for their efforts to help humans and animals alike.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind