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International 3Rs Prize now open for applications. £30k prize (£2k personal award) for outstanding science with demonstrable 3Rs impacts.

NC3Rs | 20 Years: Pioneering Better Science

Understanding mechanisms driving lung disease caused by environmental particulate matter


At a glance

In progress
Award date
January 2023 - January 2025
Grant amount
Principal investigator
Dr Nicholas Hannan


University of Nottingham


  • Replacement
Read the abstract
View the grant profile on GtR



Why did we fund this project?

This award aims to develop an animal-free multi-cell type model of lung alveoli to replace the use of animals in respiratory pathology experiments.

Research into respiratory disease has increased significantly over the last 30 years, in line with increasing incidence due to inhaled chemicals such as cigarette smoke and environmental pollution. Animal inhalation studies are widely used as current cell-based models focus on lung epithelial cells and do not capture the whole lung organ response to inhaled substances. Dr Nicholas Hannan aims to combine human alveolar epithelial cells derived from stem cells with macrophages, fibroblasts and endothelial cells to create an immune competent model of lung alveoli. The multiple cell types will be suspended in a synthetic hydrogel to recapitulate tissue stretching, which is important for lung function. This model will encompass the cellular interactions and signalling, immune environment and extracellular matrix modifications which contribute to respiratory pathology, allowing researchers to replace the use of mice in some respiratory studies. To help other scientists replace animals, Nicholas will develop a training course on the model and host a conference on animal-free models of human disease.

This award was made as part of the BBSRC/NC3Rs joint call for the development of next generation non-animal technologies (NATs).