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S5E5: Animal Testing and its Alternatives with Thomas Hartung

Claudia talks to Thomas Hartung about animal testing in pharmacology and toxicology. They discuss how animal testing involves a weighing of values as well as some of the disruptive technologies that are providing alternatives to animal testing – including stem cell technologies and artificial intelligence.

Thomas Hartung

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, Baltimore, with a joint appointment at the Whiting School of Engineering. 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 52 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 620 scientific publications with more than 41,000 citations (h-index 105). His toxicology classes on COURSERA had more than 15,000 active learners. Connect with Thomas on Twitter (@ToxmasHartung).

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Recorded: 5 October 2022

Featured Readings:

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Animal Highlight: Rats

Watercolor Turkey 2

In this animal highlight Amanda talks about one of the most tested on animals in the world, rats. She discusses how rats have been used in labs and the standardization of their experiences. She contrasts that with the rich lifeworlds of rats who live freely and in multispecies communities.


"The difficulty lies, not with new ideas, but in escaping from the old ones." - John Maynard Keynes, the General Theory of Employment

Drawing of Squirrel

Thank you to Animals in Philosophy, Politics, Law and Ethics (A.P.P.L.E) for sponsoring this podcast; the Biosecurities and Urban Governance Research Collective for sponsoring this season; Gordon Clarke (Instagram: @_con_sol_) for the bed music, Jeremy John for the logo, Christiaan Menz for his editing work, and Amanda Bunten-Walberg for the Animal Highlight

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