Skip to main content


Doerenkamp-Zbinden Chair
Thomas Hartung

Departmental Affiliations

Whiting School of Engineering

Thomas Hartung, MD, PhD, steers the revolution in toxicology to move away from 50+ year-old animal tests to organoid cultures and the use of artificial intelligence.

Contact Info

615 N. Wolfe Street, Room W7035

Research Interests

toxicology; pharmacology; infectious disease; alternatives to animal testing; microphysiological systems; cell culture; validation; pyrogen testing; big data; artificial intelligence; metabolomics; developmental neurotoxicity; mini-brains
Experiences & Accomplishments
The main goal of my work is toward a paradigm shift in toxicity testing to improve public health. Due to my background as head of the European Center for the Validation of Alternative Methods of the European Commission (2002-2008), I am involved in the implementation of the 2007 NRC vision document “Toxicity Testing in the 21st Century – a vision and a strategy”. I have furthered the translation of concepts of evidence-based medicine to toxicology (evidence-based toxicology). This aims for systematic assessment of the quality of all tools for regulatory toxicology and the development of new approaches based on annotated pathways of toxicity (the Human Toxome).
I have a broad background in clinical and experimental pharmacology and toxicology documented in more than 550 publications. Previous work centered on the immune recognition of bacteria, including pyrogen testing, and the induced inflammatory response. In experimental and clinical approaches, the pharmacological modulation of these responses was studied. I have relocated to the US early 2009 and established beside the directorship for the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT) a laboratory for developmental neurotoxicity research based on genomics and metabolomics the respective technologies were made available by a Thought-Leader Award from Agilent. Recent advances use big data and artificial intelligence for predictive toxicology.
Honors & Awards
1993 Research Award for replacing animal experiments from the German Ministery of Health
1993 Research Award for replacing animal experiments from the European F.I.S.E.A. Foundation, Luxembourg
1995 Sandoz Award for therapeutically relevant pharmacological research
1996 Doerenkamp/Zbinden Award for replacement of animal experiments
2001 Business Innovation Award of the region lake Konstanz for the development of an alternative pyrogen test
2002 RIVM Award at the World Conference on Animal Use and its Alternatives
2003 Environment Award of the Landesbausparkasse Baden-Wuertemberg
2004 Steinbeis Technology Transfer Award
2005 Paula and Richard von Hertwig-Preis for interdisciplinary collaboration
2006 US Society of Toxicology Enhancement of Animal Welfare Award
2009 Russell & Burch award of the Humane Society of the US
2010 Agilent Thought Leader award
2014 EuroGroup for Animals – Animal Welfare Award
2014 LUSH award: Lobbying Prize
2017 Björn Ekwall Memorial Award of the Scandinavian Society for Cellular Toxicology
2018 Award of the Hellenistic Society of Toxicology
Select Publications
October 2019 560 Papers (in Medline-listed Journals with Impact-Factors 2013: total 2069.6) h-factor: 90 (Google Scholar), over 24,000 (ResearchGate) / 31.000 (Google Scholar) citations Statistics Top-10 journals Nature (IF 38.6): 3 articles Circulation (IF 15.2): 1 article J. Exp. Med (IF 13.2): 2 articles Angew. Chem. (IF 13.7): 1 article Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews (12.9): 1 article Hepatology (IF 12.0): 1 article Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (IF 11.5): 1 article J. Hepatology (IF 9.9): 1 article PNAS & Trends Biotechnology (IF 9.7): 4 & 1 articles Blood (IF 9.1): 4 articles Nature protocols (IF 8.0): 1 article 10 most frequent journals ALTEX (IF 4.1): 140 articles ATLA (IF 1.4): 33 articles J. Immunol. (IF 5.5): 19 articles Infect. Immun. (IF 4.1): 11 articles Human Exp. Toxicol. (IF 1.5): 10 articles Toxicol. In Vitro (IF 2.7): 9 articles J. Biol. Chem. (IF 4.7) 9 articles J. Immunol. Meth. (IF 2.2): 8 articles J. Inf. Dis. (IF 5.9) / Eur. J. Immunol. (IF 5.0) / Immunobiol. (IF 2.8): 6 articles each J. Endotox. Res. (now Innate Immunity) (IF 2.7): 5 articles Some recent publications below
  • Plummer S, Wallace S, Ball G, Lloyd R, Schiapparelli P, Quiñones-Hinojosa A, Hartung T and Pamies D. A Human iPSC-derived 3D platform using primary brain cancer cells to study drug development and personalized medicine. Scientific Reports 2019, 9:1407.
  • Luechtefeld T, Marsh D, Rowlands C and Hartung T. Machine learning of toxicological big data enables read-across structure activity relationships (RASAR) outperforming animal test reproducibility. Toxicological Sciences, 2018, 165:198-212. doi: 10.1093/toxsci/kfy152.
  • Maertens A, Tran V, Kleensang A and Hartung T. Weighted gene correlation network analysis (WGCNA) reveals novel transcription factors associated with Bisphenol A dose-response. Frontiers in Genetics, section Bioinformatics and Computational Biology 2018, 9:508. doi: 10.3389/fgene.2018.00508.
  • Pamies D, Block K, Lau P, Gribaldo L, Pardo C, Barreras P, Smirnova L, Wiersma D, Zhao L, Harris G, Hartung T and Hogberg HT. Rotenone exerts developmental neurotoxicity in a Human Brain Spheroid model. Toxicol Appl Phramacol 2018, 354:101-114. doi: 10.1016/j.taap.2018.02.003.
  • 70. Maertens A, Bouhifd M, Zhao L, Odwin-DaCosta S, Kleensang A, Yager JD and Hartung T. Metabolomic network analysis of estrogen-stimulated MCF-7 cells: a comparison of over-representation analysis, quantitative enrichment analysis and pathway analysis versus metabolite network analysis. Arch. Toxicol. 2017, 91:217-230. DOI: 10.1007/s00204-016-1695-x