ESTIV Congress 2024 > Keynote speakers and debaters

Keynote speakers and debaters

Name: Dr. João Barroso , PhD
Debate: Future of the validation process – where do we stand?

João Barroso is a Scientific Officer at the European Union Reference Laboratory for Alternatives to Animal Testing (EURL ECVAM) of the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC). He graduated in 1999 as a biochemist at the University of Coimbra, Portugal, and holds a doctoral degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology since 2005. He joined EURL ECVAM in 2008, where he stayed for three years, returning in November 2013 as a permanent official. Between 2011 and 2013, João worked as a senior toxicologist consultant at SeCAM Services & Consultation on Alternative Methods and acted as Cosmetics Europe Project Manager on Alternatives to Animal Testing, being responsible for managing research activities and implementation of New Approach Methodologies (NAMs) in the areas of eye irritation, genotoxicity, skin tolerance and systemic toxicity. At EURL ECVAM, he coordinates and conducts scientific and policy support activities in the area of non-animal approaches, including the identification and validation of promising NAMs for regulatory and biomedical applications and their translation into EU legislation and international standards (e.g., OECD Test Guidelines, UN GHS). João also coordinates the ESAC, a scientific advisory committee responsible for conducting independent scientific reviews on non-animal methods and approaches on request of EURL ECVAM, as well as the issuing of EURL ECVAM Recommendations on the basis of ESAC Opinions. João is currently co-leading (on behalf of the EU and together with the Netherlands and the US) the revision of OECD Guidance Document 34 on the validation and international acceptance of methodologies for hazard and risk assessment. In 2009 and 2016, João was presented with JRC Awards for Excellence in the category Policy Impact in recognition of significant scientific achievement. He was Vice-President of ESTIV between 2018 and 2022.

Name: Prof. Dr. Paul Carmichael
Debate: Future of the validation process – where do we stand?

Prof. Dr. Paul Carmichael has worked in the Safety & Environmental Assurance Centre (SEAC) of Unilever in the UK since 2004, where he is responsible for the development and implementation of novel non-animal-based approaches for assuring human and environmental health; that is to say, how can consumer and environmental safety be assured without using and harming animals? He has over thirty years’ experience in toxicology and cancer research, largely in the academic arena, and prior to Unilever, he was a Senior Lecturer at Imperial College London in the Faculty of Medicine, where he taught pharmacology and toxicology and conducted research into advances in toxicology. A graduate of Surrey University with a B.Sc. in Biochemistry/Toxicology and a Ph.D. from King’s College London, he was a postdoctoral scientist at the Institute of Cancer Research (Royal Marsden Hospital) for seven years, exploring mechanisms of chemical genotoxicity and carcinogenicity. He currently has close academic links with Peking University in China (the School of Public Health) and is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Brown University in the USA. He has been an Endowed Professor at Wageningen University, Division of Toxicology in the Netherlands, since March 2020.

He has published over one hundred research papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals and has served or serves on many external committees in the UK, US, EU and China. His passion is the advancement of new safety assessment approaches using the inspiration of ‘Toxicity Testing in the 21st Century’ – this can be termed ‘next generation risk assessments’ or NGRA.

Name: Anne Gourmelon
Debate: Future of the validation process – where do we stand?

Anne Gourmelon is the principal administrator of the Test Guidelines Programme, within the Environment Directorate at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. Anne started working at the OECD in 2002, initially on projects related to endocrine disrupters testing and assessment methodologies. She also worked for some years on the OECD Cooperative Chemicals Assessment Programme. She took over the lead of the Test Guidelines Programme in 2013. Many Test Guidelines using alternatives to animal testing have been developed in the last two decades, to meet evolving regulatory needs and address ethical questions, but many challenges remain to improve chemical safety and ensure sufficient protection of human health and the environment. Prior to OECD, she worked at the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Rome from 2000 to 2002. She has Master’s degree in environmental sciences from the University of Wageningen in the Netherlands, obtained in 1999.

Name: Prof. Thomas Hartung
Keynote lecture: Probabilistic Risk Assessment  only becomes beautiful by AI

Thomas Hartung, MD PhD, is the Doerenkamp-Zbinden-Chair for Evidence-based Toxicology in the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Whiting School of Engineering, Baltimore. He also holds a joint appointment for Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the Bloomberg School. He is adjunct affiliate professor at Georgetown University, Washington D.C.. In addition, he holds a joint appointment as Professor for Pharmacology and Toxicology at University of Konstanz, Germany; he also is Director of Centers for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT, of both universities. CAAT hosts the secretariat of the Evidence-based Toxicology Collaboration ( and manages collaborative programs on Good Read-Across Practice, Good Cell Culture Practice, Green Toxicology, Developmental Neurotoxicity, Developmental Immunotoxicity, Microphysiological Systems and Refinement. As PI, he headed the Human Toxome project funded as an NIH Transformative Research Grant and the series of annual Microphysiological Systems World Summits starting in 2022 by 60+ organizations. He is Field Chief Editor of Frontiers in Artificial Intelligence. He is the former Head of the European Commission’s Center for the Validation of Alternative Methods (ECVAM), Ispra, Italy, and has authored more than 675 scientific publications with more than 47,000 citations (h-index 115). His toxicology classes on COURSERA had more than 19,000 active learners.

Name: Erin Hill
Debate: Future of the validation process – where do we stand?

Erin Hill, President and CEO, comes to ICCS with over 30 years of experience promoting the widespread use and acceptance of animal-free safety testing methods. She has fostered collaborations with industry, animal protection organizations, and regulatory agencies, both foreign and domestic, to help coordinate efforts to advance the use of New Approach Methodologies (NAMs) in decision-making. Erin is widely known for co-founding the non-profit Institute for In Vitro Sciences (IIVS) in 1997, where she most recently served as president. In addition to her pioneering work in the field, Erin is actively involved in various boards and associations dedicated to NAMS and reducing reliance on animal testing methods. She sits on numerous boards and committees, including ESTIV and ASCCT, leveraging her expertise and experience to further the adoption and implementation of ethical testing practices. Her contributions and dedication to the cause have earned her numerous awards and recognition within the scientific and animal protection communities.

Name: Prof. Dr. Theo M. de Kok, ERT
Keynote lecture: Safety assessment of the food additives without animal testing: Case study – E171 (titanium dioxide) .

Prof. Dr. Theo M. de Kok graduated in 1988 as a biologist at the Catholic University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands, with Microbiology and Toxicology as majors. He received his PhD in 1992 at the University of Limburg, after 4 years of investigating the relationship between dietary habits, the endogenous formation of carcinogenic compounds and colorectal cancer risk. From 1992 until 1997 he was appointed at the Open University of the Netherlands and was at the same time involved in several research projects at Maastricht University in the field of environmental health sciences and Toxicology. In 1997, he was appointed as an assistant professor at this University and became coordinator of the Environmental Health Sciences programme. He continued his research in the field of genetic toxicology and gene-environment interactions. In 2008, he was appointed as an Associate Professor at the Department of Health Risk Analysis and Toxicology of Maastricht University. Currently, he is appointed as a full Professor at the Department of Toxicogenomics and focussing on the application of systems toxicology in human population studies, as well as the development of in vitro cellular systems as an alternative for animal tests applied for the prediction of toxicity of chemical exposures.
He has been the coordinator of the FP7 project PHYTOME, focusing on the prevention of human colorectal cancer risk by the introduction of innovative meat processing methodologies. Furthermore, he has been involved in a significant number of EU projects, including ECNIS, NewGeneris, BRAFO, CarcinoGENOMICS, EnviroGenoMarkers, DETECTIVE, EXPOsOMICS, TransQST and ONTOX. As such he is well experienced and familiar with the tasks and responsibilities that come along with the coordination of (larger) research consortia. He has also been involved in the setup of the interfaculty Maastricht Centre for Systems Biology (MaCSBio) as coordinator of a research programme on Systems Biology Approaches for Personalized Prevention, which started in September 2014. He is currently supervising 9 PhD-students.

Name: PD Dr. Robert Landsiedel, DABT, FATS
Keynote lecture: Star Wars on Ceres. Episode I – The irreproducibility menace
Debate: Future of the validation process – where do we stand?

Dr. Robert Landsiedel is Vice President of special toxicology at BASF SE in Ludwigshafen am Rhein, Germany. He had previously worked for BASF in development and management in the USA and in Japan. He is an associate professor (Privatdozent) at the Free University of Berlin and has further teaching positions in Leipzig and Landau. He is also the chairman of the German Toxicology Society (GT) and President of the German Society for Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology (DGPT). His team at BASF is performing more than 500 regulatory toxicological studies per year under GLP, GIVIMP and ISO17020 as well as screenings for product development. In addition, they are developing new toxicological methods and testing strategies. They have received more than 20 external grants (German and EU-funded). Their work has been recognized by several awards, including the German Research Award for the development of alternative methods, the German GT-Toxicology Award, the Responsible Care Award of the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic) and the Herbert E. Stokinger Awards of the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH). Robert received a postgraduate doctorate degree in chemistry (Dr. rer. nat.), a postgraduate degree in toxicology, and a habilitation in pharmacology and toxicology. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Toxicology (DABT) and a Fellow of the American Academy of Toxicological Sciences (FATS). He was appointed member of the European Commission’s Scientific Committee for Occupational Exposure Levels (SCOEL) where he chaired the methodology working group until the Committee’s decommissioning in 2019. Currently, he is the chair for human toxicology of the German National Hub within the “Partnership for the Assessment of Risk from Chemicals (PARC).

Name: Prof. Mathieu Vinken, Ph.D., Pharm.D., E.R.T.
Keynote Lecture: Ontologies as the basis for setting up animal-free test batteries: liver toxicity as a case study

Mathieu Vinken is a professor affiliated with the Vrije Universiteit Brussel-Belgium. He has a background in pharmaceutical sciences (Pharm.D.), holds a doctoral degree in experimental in vitro toxicology (Ph.D.), is a European registered toxicologist (E.R.T.) and a trained chemical risk assessor. His research focus is situated in the fields of experimental hepatology (cellular communication as a drug target for the therapy of liver disease), in vitro toxicology (mechanistic modelling of liver toxicity and set-up of liver-based in vitro systems) and space toxicology (effects of space conditions on the liver). He is author of more than 230 papers published in international peer-reviewed journals (h-index 47). He is editor of 3 books. He is editor-in-chief of Toxicology, associate editor of Archives of Toxicology and European editor of Applied In Vitro Toxicology. He coordinates several national and international projects, including the European Horizon 2020 project ONTOX. He is a regularly invited speaker on international conferences in the area of toxicology. He is past-president of ESTIV, executive committee member of EUROTOX and founder of the In Vitro and In Silico Toxicology Speciality Section of EUROTOX. He has received several research grants of the excellent science pillar of the European Union’s research and innovation frameworks, including from the European Research Council, the Future and Emerging Technologies program and the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions program. He also received a number of scientific awards, among which the Galen Award for Pharmacology.