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Crowd Packs UnQuarked To Hear About ATHENA

on February 22, 2018 - 7:35am

LANL scientist Jennifer Harris discusses the ATHENA project during Wednesday evening's Science on Tap event at Unquarked in Central Park Square. Courtesy photo

A crowd packs Unquarked in Central Park Square Wendesday evening the hear about the ATHENA project underway at LANL. Courtesy photo

LANL's ATHENA is designed to simulate organ systems such as liver, heart, lung and kidney. Courtesy photo

Creative District News:

Despite snowy weather conditions Wednesday night, more than 50 people attended the Science On Tap to hear Jennifer Harris talk about the ATHENA project underway at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Harris discussed with the group gathered at UnQuarked at 145 Central Park Square, the fact that while new drugs are under constant development, most fail in clinical trials. Why do so many drugs pass animal testing, but fail in Phase 1 clinical trials in humans? Are animal models of human diseases ultimately really a good model for humans?

Harris presented the research being carried out at the Laboratory in this very important field. She spoke about ATHENA, which stands for Advanced Tissue-engineered Human External Network Analyzer and said it is designed to simulate organ systems (such as liver, heart, lung, and kidney) and can be used as a first-line test for potential toxicity analysis since the system can mimic the response of actual human organs.

Such research could lead to faster approval and fewer potential side effects for new medications coming onto the market.

Science On Tap is sponsored by the Los Alamos Creative District and hosted by the Bradbury Science Museum. The On Tap series begins each evening with an informal 10-15 minute lecture followed by a lively group discussion. All ages are welcome! On Tap is a way for people to get out and about in the community, learn something new, and meet people with similar interests. The “On Tap” series happens twice a month. The discussions are supported by Bradbury Science Museum, Fuller Lodge Art Center, Los Alamos Historical Society and PEEC at The Los Alamos Nature Center. 

The Los Alamos Creative District is a program of Los Alamos Commerce & Development Corporation, a private, not-for-profit economic and community development organization serving the Los Alamos area since 1983. LACDC serves as the umbrella organization for the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce, Los Alamos MainStreet, Discover Los Alamos, Los Alamos Small Business Center, project Y Cowork Los Alamos and the Los Alamos Research Park.