All of our course speakers are carefully selected to meet the criteria of both being top experts in their fields as well as being great communicators. Find the speaker’s short profile below with a link to their personal or academic webpage.


Bas Blaauboer

Bas Blaauboer received an MSc in biology and a PhD in toxicology at Utrecht University-The Netherlands. He led a group on in vitro toxicology at Utrecht University-The Netherlands. In 2008, he was appointed the Doerenkamp-Zbinden Chair on Alternatives to Animal Testing in Toxicological Risk Assessment. His research is focused on the use of in vitro toxicity data in combination with computer modelling as tools in risk assessment. He is author or co-author of over 200 scientific papers, editorials and book chapters. He received a number of scientific awards. Since his retirement, he acts as a consultant, giving advice on the implementation of non-animal methods in risk and safety assessment strategies.
More at: www.uu.nl/staff/BJBlaauboer


Diana Cervantes

Diana Cervantes received an honorary PhD degree in Biomedical Sciences at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), her work was focused on metabolic therapy against cancer at the preclinical stage. In 2016, she started a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Gothenburg studying genetic changes in neuroblastoma patients that could be used as therapeutic targets. She has published her academic work in scientific journals such as Science Signaling. In 2019, she started to work at CELLINK as an application scientist, working in collaboration with other teams in the R&D department to develop cutting-edge instruments. Currently, she works at CELLINK as a senior cell biologist developing 3D bioprinted tissue models that can replace animal models.
More at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/diana-cervantes-madrid-013185108


Sandra Coecke

Sandra Coecke is a senior scientist at EURL-ECVAM. In 1989, she earned a Degree of University Engineer Biotechnology followed by PhD degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences. She joined in 1993 the Pharmaceutical Company Janssen Pharmaceutica in Beerse-Belgium, leading the In Vitro Toxicology laboratory. In 1994, she was awarded the European Price from the Foundation for the Substitution of Animal Experimentation in Luxembourg. She published over 100 in vitro toxicological papers. At the EC-JRC, she established international accepted quality standards and good in vitro method practices. She managed the European Union Network of Laboratories for the Validation of Alternative Methods (EU-NETVAL), 35 high-quality laboratories across Europe and coordinates and coordinated a large validation study with 17 mechanistic methods for the detection of chemicals that may disrupt normal thyroid function. She has received the Björn Ekwall Memorial Award (BEMA) winner 2020/2021 for the development and validation of new in silico & in vitro cell- and tissue-based NAMs methods for toxicity testing. At the EC JRC, she currently acts as a multi-stakeholder horizontal team leader for Farm to Fork (Feed & Food) models and methods for One Health. She published over 100 peer scientific publications and book chapters and lectured around the globe and published recently a major EC JRC study exploring how by using new innovative technologies based on human biology cell and tissue and mathematics-based methods better understand the Covid19 disease.
More at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sandra-coecke-00b68542/


Chantra Eskes

With a background in food sciences engineering obtained in France and a Ph.D. on in vitro neurotoxicity obtained in Switzerland, Chantra Eskes has over 20 years of experience in the development, optimization, validation, peer-review, and regulatory acceptance of alternative methods to animal testing. Working initially at EURL-ECVAM, Chantra then provided consultation services on alternative methods for intergovernmental organizations, regulatory bodies, industry associations, and academia. Her activities contributed among others to the successful validation, peer-review, and international acceptance of over 15 alternative methods and approaches to animal testing. Chantra is the chairwoman of the EURL-ECVAM Scientific Advisory Committee (ESAC) and also acts as a Swiss Nominated Expert for OECD expert groups related to alternative methods to animal experimentation. She has been the president of ESTIV from 2012 to 2016. Finally, she is editor, author, and co-author of over 60 scientific publications, including the following books published by Springer: ‘Validation of Alternative Methods for Toxicity Testing’ (2016) and ‘Alternatives for Dermal Toxicity Testing’ (2017).
More at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chantra-eskes-85667315/?originalSubdomain=ch


Ellen Fritsche

Professor Ellen Fritsche, MD, holds a professorship for Dermatotoxicology within the Clinic for Dermatology and Allergology at the RWTH Aachen. She has a joint affiliation with the Institut für Umweltmedizinische Forschung (IUF) in Dusseldorf where she leads the group of Molecular Toxicology. Within her two research topics (brain and skin) she focuses for the first on the effects of xenobiotics (e.g. endocrine disruptors) on human brain development in vitro by applying a ‘neurosphere model’. Moreover, Pr. Fritsche investigates the molecular grounds for species differences in neural progenitor cell development and responses to xenobiotics. In skin, she investigates enzymatic activities of xenobiotic metabolizing enzymes in human skin and skin cell-derived in vitro models. Additionally, she investigates the consequences of arylhydrocarbon receptor activation in skin cells. For this research she uses mainly primary human cells and employs modern techniques like shRNA-based gene silencing.

More at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ellen-fritsche-b7292714b/?originalSubdomain=de


Arno Gutleb

Arno Gutleb graduated from the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna-Austria, holds a PhD in Environmental Sciences from Wageningen University-The Netherlands and is a European Registered Toxicologist. He is Distinguished Professor at the University Iuliu Hatieganu at Cluj-Romania and Visiting Professor at the Universidad Andrés Bello at Santiago de Chile-Chile. He is author of more than 180 journal publications. Currently, he is Group Leader Environmental Health at the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology.
More at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/arno-gutleb-22220b4/?originalSubdomain=lu


Helena Kandárová

Helena Kandárová is a senior scientist at CEM, Slovak Academy of Science and at the Faculty of Chemical and Food Technology, STU. Her scientific interest is focusing on the development and validation of in vitro methods. She has been involved in international projects aiming at the validation of 3D reconstructed human tissue models for topical toxicity testing of chemicals, cosmetics, pesticides and medical devices. Helena is a President of ESTIV, chair of the Slovak National Platform for 3Rs, former chair of the EUROTOX  communication committee and member of the In2TOX Specialty Section of EUROTOX. She established and led MatTek IVLSL in the EU for 10 years. Helena is the recipient of the 2021 Doernkamp-Zbinden Prize (DZP) and the Björn Ekwall Memorial Award (BEMA) 2022, both for her contribution to the development and validation of NAMs for topical toxicity testing
More at: www.helenakandarova.com


Theo de Kok

Theo de Kok is a professor in population-based toxicogenomics affiliated to Maastricht University-the Netherlands, where he is active in the school of Oncology and developmental Biology and the Maastricht Center of Systems Biology. He has a background in toxicological sciences and is a European Registered Toxicologist. His expertise lies in  the field of human exposome research and toxicological studies in human cell cultures, particularly liver and colon. His research addresses exposures related to food, environment, drugs and cosmetics. He has been involved in several (inter)national (in vitro) toxicology projects, initiatives and societies.
More at: https://toxicogenomics-um.nl/staff/Theo-de-Kok


Silvia Letasiova

Silvia Letasiova is the managing director and senior scientist at MatTek In Vitro Life Science Laboratories at Bratislava-Slovakia. She has a background in biochemistry and microbiology, and holds a doctoral degree in biochemistry. Since 2008, she actively works on the development and validation of assays aiming at the reduction and replacement of in vivo testing. She is a member of US SOT, ESTIV, SETOX and EUSAAT. She is a co-author of more than 30 publications and has presented the innovative science in more than 75 oral and poster presentations at national and international meetings.
More at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/silvia-letasiova-406236b6/?originalSubdomain=sk


Jochem Louisse

Jochem Louisse works as a toxicologist at Wageningen Food Safety Research-The Netherlands. He has a background in biology, holds a doctoral degree in Toxicology and is a European Registered Toxicologist. In his research, he combines in vitro toxicology data and physiologically-based kinetic modelling to predict in vivo toxicity. Also, he works on the application of mode-of-action-based bioassays to detect and prioritize chemicals in food.
More at: https://www.wur.nl/en/Persons/Jochem-dr.ir.-J-Jochem-Louisse.htm


Jan Markus

Jan Markus is production manager and senior scientist at MatTek In Vitro Life Science Laboratories at Bratislava-Slovakia. He has a background in molecular biology and virology, and holds a doctoral degree in experimental oncology. He is responsible for the production and further development of reconstructed tissue models of small intestine. Also, he is actively involved in the development and validation of new tests aimed at the reduction of in vivo testing. His areas of expertise include cell and tissue cultures, molecular biology, transcriptional gene regulation and oncology.
More at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jan-markus-7701527/?originalSubdomain=sk


Isabel Rütschle

Isabel Rütschle is Technology Specialist and Team Lead Central Laboratory at TissUse GmbH, Germany. She obtained her Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering at the TU Berlin, Germany. Since 2016, Isabel has been involved in the development of a Multi-Organ-Chip/ Human-on-a-Chip platform technology for culture analysis of drug candidates, cosmetics, chemicals and consumer products. Her work includes the support in executing various customer projects, developing as well as adapting different organ models on the “HUMIMIC Chips” and conducting global product training courses with technology transfer for customers.

More at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/isabel-r%C3%BCtschle-32183273/


Silvia Scaglione

Silvia Scaglione is the founder and chief scientist of React4life, an Italian biotech company that develops organ-on-chip technologies, and Senior Researcher at the National Council of Research (CNR). Author of more than 100 international peer-reviewed papers, author of 7 patents. Ambassador of the European Innovation Council (EIC), for her capacity to bring basic research results to the market, generating impact for the society. She has also recently won the innovative start-up award of Gamma Donna 2021.
More at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/silvia-scaglione-25784237/


Meike van der Zande

Meike van der Zande works at the Toxicology team at Wageningen Food Safety Research – The Netherlands. She has a background in biology and holds a doctoral degree in tissue engineering. She has worked in the field of toxicology for over ten years working on strategies for hazard assessment and prioritization of chemicals in food and feed. She specializes in the development and application of mode-of-action-based bioassays and complex in vitro models (particularly for the intestine and liver) aiming at the reduction and replacement of in vivo testing.
More at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/meike-van-der-zande-1140421b/?originalSubdomain=nl


Philippe Vanparys

Philippe Vanparys is biologist and obtained his Master in Sciences at the Free University Ghent-Belgium and PhD in Sciences at the Catholic University Louvain-La-Neuve-Belgium. During his 30 year career at Janssen Phamaceutica-Belgium, he was Senior Director Genetic and In vitro Toxicology and Senior Director Mechanistic Toxicology. The last ten years, he was guest professor at the Catholic University Leuven-Belgium. He is European Registered Toxicologist and was involved in several (inter)national genetic and in vitro toxicology societies, and in several workgroups at ECVAM.
More at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/philippe-vanparys-31039030/?originalSubdomain=be


Mathieu Vinken

Mathieu Vinken is a full professor affiliated with the Vrije Universiteit Brussel-Belgium and a visiting professor at the University of São Paulo-Brazil. He has a background in pharmaceutical sciences and in vitro toxicology, is a European registered toxicologist and past-president of ESTIV. His research focus is situated in the field of mechanistic and in vitro modelling of liver toxicity. He is editor of a couple of toxicology journals and published more than 200 papers. He coordinates a number of European projects, among which ONTOX, which intends to set up animal-free approaches for predicting chronic toxicity induced by chemical compounds.
More at: www.mathieuvinken.com