UC-Davis vet Jamie Peyton, keynoter at the Charles River Short Course, talks about an innovative burn treatment for wild animals

During the devastating wildfires in California last year, veterinarian Jamie Peyton and her team at UC-Davis treated burned wild animals with sterilized tilapia skins. The fish skin sped up the animals’ recovery and allowed the team to release them back into the wild quickly.

Tilapia skin, like human skin, can transfer collagen, a healing protein. It can also reduce pain. So when she heard that doctors in Brazil used fish skins to treat human burn victims, she decided to try the approach on animals.  Her team was delighted to see that the “biological bandages” worked.

“When you think about a burn injury, you have this open wound, and instead of using a regular type of bandage, we can look into something that can function like a fake skin,” says Peyton.

Peyton will be a keynote speaker at the Charles River Short Course, which will be held June 24-26 in Carlsbad, CA. Peyton is also the featured guest on this month’s podcast, where she speaks about her innovative burn treatments for animals. To listen to Peyton’s story, just click on the link above.

Peyton’s story is not only interesting in its own right, but will remind people in the lab animal research world the value of innovative thinking in science and medicine. Who could have predicted that tilapia skin could treat a burned black bear?

Some Short Course topics will be more personal, like speaker Mark Dant’s presentation on the Ryan Foundation. Mark’s son Ryan Dant was born with mucopolysaccharidos 1 (MPS I), a rare genetic disease that causes patients to not be able to break down glycosaminoglycans, which then build up in the system and lead to organ damage. The life expectancy for kids like Ryan was 10 years. Not only were there no treatments for Ryan’s condition, there was nothing remotely in the pipeline that might have given the family hope.  However through fundraising, finding a scientist with an idea who needed research money, and attending the FDA hearing to approve their drug candidate, the Dants have gained an extra 20 years and counting with their son. Ryan earned his bachelor’s degree in 2017.

Other Short Course topics are more technical. For example, Charles River’s Ken Henderson will present on the topic of the lab animal microbiome. From standard mice to germ-free models, researchers are paying more attention to the ways in which the model’s gut bacteria can change the outcome of a study. Ken will discuss preventing microbial drift in order to ensure that colonies stay clean and useful.

Finally, participants will have the opportunity to take a practice version of the International American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine (ACLAM) board certification exam. This is valuable for those who are prepping for the exam, but can also be useful for seasoned professionals who want to test their knowledge to identify gaps.

Tune in next month, when Sounds of Science talks open science with Antti Nurmi, Managing Director of Charles River Neuroscience Discovery site in Finland.