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ARU scientist takes her research to Parliament

Published: 7 March 2023 at 13:00

Dr Alice Lapthorn

Researcher presented work on repurposing anti-fungal drugs to prevent scarring

A researcher at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) is calling for the removal of barriers preventing anti-fungal drugs being repurposed to prevent severe scarring after burns injuries, and presented her research in Parliament yesterday (March 6). 
Dr Alice Lapthorn, 26, a Research Fellow in the Fibrosis Research Group at ARU, attended Parliament to present her biosciences research to a range of politicians and a panel of expert judges, as part of STEM for BRITAIN on Monday. 
The research, which looked at how a class of anti-fungals (called hydroxypyridones) could be repurposed for preventing severe scarring after burn injury was judged against dozens of other scientists’ research in the only national competition of its kind. 
Dr Lapthorn, who is from Chelmsford, was shortlisted from hundreds of applicants to appear in Parliament, and her research was entered into the biosciences session of the competition. 
Dr Lapthorn said:

“I am honoured to have been chosen to present my research at Parliament as part of the STEM for Britain competition. I have spent the last six years working to identify a drug that could be used to prevent scar formation and I am now trying to get it into the clinic.  
“Unfortunately, despite hydroxypyridone anti-fungals having been shown to be a safe and well-tolerated drug, we still face several issues when trying to gain approval for repurposing. I raised these issues with Members of Parliament in attendance at the event, to bring to their attention the barriers scientists are facing when trying to repurpose drugs for new indications.” 

Stephen Metcalfe MP, Chairman of the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee, said: 

“This annual competition is an important date in the parliamentary calendar because it gives MPs an opportunity to speak to a wide range of the country’s best young researchers.  
“These early career engineers, mathematicians and scientists are the architects of our future and STEM for BRITAIN is politicians’ best opportunity to meet them and understand their work.” 

The Parliamentary and Scientific Committee runs the event in collaboration with the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Institute of Physics, the Royal Society of Biology, The Physiological Society, the Nutrition Society and the Council for the Mathematical Sciences, with sponsorship from Dyson Ltd, Clay Mathematics Institute, United Kingdom Research and Innovation, Warwick Manufacturing Group, AWE, British In Vitro Diagnostics Association, the Society of Chemical Industry, Institute of Biomedical Science, the Heilbronn Institute for Mathematical Research, and the Biochemical Society.