FP7 logo euThe ESNATS project has received funding from the European Community's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement n° HEALTH-F5-2008-201619

Embryonic Stem cell-based Novel Alternative Testing Strategies

Partners: Commission of the European Communities - Directorate General Joint Research Centre JRC (JRC)

Joint Research CentreECVAM is a part of the IHCP of the DG JRC. ECVAM is the European Commission reference Centre for the development and validation of alternative testing methods to replace, reduce or refine the use of laboratory animals in biomedical sciences with an emphasis on toxicology assessment. ECVAM has experience in the culture of hESC and their differentiation into neural and cardiac cells. The main tasks of ECVAM in ESNATS are to develop teratogenicity testing based on hESC lines for drug safety screening), provide expertise in the design of the tests for modelling and predictive purposes, and validation. A close collaboration with other partners will allow proteomic and epigenetic analysis of the drug treated cells, in order to define toxicological patterns. ECVAM will bring expertise in the use of hESC for establishing in vitro embryotoxicity tests; supervisory expertise in the evaluation of the tests and development of statistical models, the development of in vitro tests according to the ECVAM’s Modular approach; and it will make recommendations for intended use of tests in a testing strategy.

Key staff involved in the project

Susanne BremerSusanne Bremer, Dr. rer nat, is holding a PhD degree in biology obtained from the Charite University Hospital Berlin in Germany. After post-doctoral research at the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment in Germany, S. Bremer joint the Institute for Health & Consumer Protection (IHCP) at the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) and became a team member of the European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods (ECVAM) in 1995. Currently S. Bremer is coordinating ECVAM’s activities in the area of reproductive toxicity testing involving the validation on several tests for assessing endocrine disrupter activity of chemicals and the development of in vitro toxicity tests based on murine/ human embryonic stem cells. In particular, S.Bremer is interested in the use of alternative methods in testing batteries/strategies for complex human health endpoints Further information on ECVAM’s activity can be found at: http://ecvam.jrc.it/


  1. The European Partnership for Alternative Approaches to Animal Testing (EPAA) is a joint initiative from the European Commission and a number of companies and trade federations active in various industrial sectors. S.Bremer is Member of the working group "Prioritisation, promotion and implementation of future research based on the application of the 3Rs."
  2. OECD Validation Management Group for Non-Animal Testing
  3. OECD expert group: Expert group on the extended one generation reproductive toxicity study
  4. Member of the European projects: "ReProTect", "InVitroHeart", "ESNATS"

Dimitra Zagoura is holding a PhD degree in stem cell biology obtained from the Medical School of the University of Athens in Greece. More particularly she received her Bachelor degree in Biology from the University of Athens and further continued her studies in the field of Molecular Biology in the University Hospital of Freiburg in Germany. Afterwards, she performed her MSc in "Molecular Medicine" which was held by the Medical School of the University of Crete and further she performed her PhD thesis with the title "Investigation of the differentiation properties of human mesenchymal stem cells", in Cell and Gene Therapy Laboratory of the Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens (BRFAA). The main focus of her work was the isolation and characterization of fetal mesenchymal stem cells, the detailed study of their differentiation potential and the investigation of their therapeutic properties in disease models such as acute hepatic failure. From 2012 she joined the Systems Toxicology Unit of the IHCP at the JRC in Ispra with main research purpose the evaluation of embryonic-stem cell-based novel alternative testing strategies in the field of neurotoxicity.

Martina Klari? has graduated in biology from the University of Ljubljana in 2004. After training in the field of molecular biology at the Université Catholic de Louvain in Belgium she has worked for 4 yeas at the Jožef Stefan Institute in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Her research topic was the role of cathepsins in programmed cell death. During this time she has acquired experience in the field of cell culture of primary and tumour cells. In 2009 she has joined the Reproductive toxicity group of the In Vitro Methods Unit at the Joint Research Centre and she is working on the differentiation of hES cells in cardiomyocytes for the development of alternative test methods.



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