Two UNSW PhD students have been given scholarships for their research which works towards the replacement of animal experimentation in the lab.

Rashmi Fotedar has been awarded a three-year scholarship worth $75,000 from the Medical Advances Without Animals Trust (MAWA).

Rashmi, who is undertaking a PhD in Public Health through the School of Public Health and Community Medicine at UNSW, is working towards producing an animal blood-free medium for the culture-based diagnosis of human gonorrhoea, which would be beneficial for countries that are poor in resources.

"Apart from stopping animal cruelty, this work could have benefits for humans too," said Rashmi. "In some countries it is difficult to get the blood and if we had an alternative way of diagnosis, it would mean that people could get treatment more quickly and easily."

Eric Han's work centres on a suite of problems known as human entrapment neuropathy. It includes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, a painful progressive condition caused by compression of a key nerve in the wrist.

The PhD student, who is also in the Faculty of Medicine, will be studying nerve pain and altered function caused by compressive interruption of the oxygen supply. He is developing a mechanical compression device for use in humans to replace experiments on animals.

MAWA trustee Elizabeth Ahlston said Eric Han's project has promise.

"Dogs which have been subjected to injuries have often been used in these studies but have proved unsatisfactory research models because they cannot describe the type of pain they were experiencing," she said.

For more information, go to the MAWA website