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August 29, 2011

Johns Hopkins Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing Awards Recognize Alternatives to Animal Use in the Life Sciences

The Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT), part of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, recognizes scientists for advances in finding and improving alternatives to animal use in life sciences with three awards: the CAAT Recognition Award, the Charles River Laboratories’ Excellence in Refinement Award and the Henry Spira Award. The awards are presented annually at the World Congress on Alternatives, which was held this year in Montreal, Canada, August 21-25.

CAAT Recognition Award

The CAAT Recognition Award honors an organization or individual that has made an outstanding contribution to the field of the 3Rs (reduction, refinement, replacement), the development of alternative methods, or the field of in vitro science. The 2011 recipients of this award are Kevin Crofton, PhD, and Manfred Liebsch, PhD.

Crofton was chosen from a list of international nominees for an exceptional body of work in the field of neurotoxicology, especially in the area of developmental neurotoxicology (DNT).
He is an acting assistant director in the National Health and Environmental Effects Laboratory, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. Crofton has worked as a toxicologist at EPA since 1986, receiving Scientific and Technological Achievement Awards and a Gold Medal for Commendable Public Service.  

Crofton’s interests and expertise include areas such as developmental neurotoxicity, the cumulative risk of thyroid disruptors and development of alternative testing methods. He served as the leader of the Developmental Neurotoxicity Team for many years, with the goal of fostering the development of alternative models for screening chemicals for developmental neurotoxicity. His current efforts include development of in vitro and alternative methods for detecting thyroid disrupting chemicals.

His professional activities include membership in several scientific societies and participation on many professional review boards. He has presented invited lectures for a variety of government agencies in Europe, Canada and the U.S., and for professional societies and universities. He has authored or coauthored over 125 peer reviewed publications.

Crofton earned his PhD in Toxicology from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He is currently an adjunct associate professor in the Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology at North Carolina State University and the Curriculum in Toxicology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  

Manfred Liebsch was selected from a list of international nominees for outstanding expertise in and dedication to the assessment, validation and promotion of alternative methods.
 
Liebsch is the Scientific Director of Germany’s Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) and head of the Centre of Alternative Methods to Animal Experiments (ZEBET) at the BfR. He has served as main contractor, co-coordinator, participant or consultant on a variety of successful validation studies of alternative in vitro methods, both at the national and the European level. His work has focused on the fields of topical toxicity (eye- and skin-irritation and corrosion, phototoxicity and skin absorption) and ecotoxicology (acute aquatic toxicity). Liebsch also provides Expert Consultancy in the validation of new toxicological methods for hazard identification in National, European, and International Working Groups, including the ECVAM Scientific Advisory Board, the OECD Test Guidelines Program, and ISO 194. He also played a key role in convening the Working Group M12 for Biological Evaluation of Medical Devices. He has published numerous papers and is a frequent invited speaker at conferences.
 
Liebsch earned his diploma in biology (zoology, biochemistry, microbiology) and his doctorate at the University of Hamburg, Germany.  He carried out postgraduate research in parasitology at Hamburg and also served as a lecturer in zoology, physiology and parasitology.

Charles River Laboratories’ Excellence in Refinement Award

Alicia Z. Karas, DVM, was the 2011 recipient of the Charles River Laboratories’ Excellence in Refinement Award for her expertise and dedication in enhancing the well-being of laboratory animals and in alleviating the pain and distress they may experience.

Sponsored by Charles River Laboratories, in cooperation with the Johns Hopkins Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT), the award honors an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the development, promotion and/or implementation of refinement alternatives. “Refinement,” one of the “3Rs of alternatives,” refers to methods aimed at minimizing pain and distress for laboratory animals.

Karas, currently assistant professor of Clinical Sciences in anesthesia at Tufts School of Veterinary Medicine, has devoted her career to easing the life of laboratory animals.  Her primary research interests include the assessment and treatment of pain or distress in laboratory animals, animal well-being, pain management and pain medicine.

The Charles River Laboratories’ Excellence in Refinement Award, which includes $5,000 to further the recipient’s scientific endeavors, was established in 2005. The first award, presented at the 5th World Congress in Berlin, was given jointly to Dr. Bert van Zutphen and Dr. Georgia Mason. Linda Toth received the 2007 award, and Dr. Paul Flecknell was the 2009 awardee. For more information about CAAT awards, see http://caat.jhsph.edu/programs/awards.

Henry Spira Award

Emily McIvor, senior policy adviser for Humane Society International/Europe, received the 2011 Henry Spira Award. She has worked on animal welfare issues at European Union level for many years, specializing in the use of animals in research and testing. As one of the lead animal welfare lobbyists in political negotiations of the EU Cosmetics Directive 7th Amendment, the Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals (REACH) regulation, and most recently the revision of Europe’s legislation for the protection of animals used for scientific purposes, McIvor has extensive experience with regulatory test issues and the development and validation of alternative, non-animal methods.

McIvor represents HSI/Europe on the stakeholder “mirror group” of the European Partnership for Alternative Approaches to Animal Testing, and on the management panel of the European Union-funded AXLR8 (pronounced “accelerate”) project.

On broader animal welfare issues, McIvor has contributed to discussions relating to the current and future Community Action Plans on the Protection and Welfare of Animals and has addressed the European Parliament’s Animal Welfare Intergroup.

McIvor’s dedicated efforts to improving animal welfare reflect the criteria presented by Peter Singer in the book Ethics into Action: Henry Spira and the Animal Rights Movement. Singer distills the methods Henry used over the years into “Ten Ways to Make a Difference.”

Media contact: Tim Parsons, director of Public Affairs, at 410-955-7619 or  tmparson@jhsph.edu.