Public Release: 

Early-career scientist wins PETA International Science Consortium Award

Toxicologist Kristin Bircsak awarded funding to attend the prestigious 20th International Congress on In Vitro Toxicology, ESTIV2018

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)

Gaithersburg, MD -- The results are in for the PETA International Science Consortium Ltd.'s contest to fund an early-career scientist to attend the four-day in vitro toxicology conference, ESTIV2018. The winner, Kristin Bircsak, a toxicologist working for the organ-on-a-chip company, MIMETAS, stood out amongst a number of highly qualified applicants from around the world. The conference, held in October in Berlin, Germany, includes lectures by experts in the field of in vitro (or non-animal) toxicology as well as giving early-career researchers like Bircsak the opportunity to present their work, and collaborate with other like-minded scientists. The award covers the cost of conference registration, as well as contributing towards travel and accommodation expenses.

Bircsak, who recently transitioned to the in vitro field, is working for MIMETAS, in collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh, to develop a high-throughput 3D in vitro model of the human liver. Liver injury is one of the most common, unforeseen adverse effects in human drug development. Bircsak's human-relevant model is intended to replace the rats used in liver toxicity tests.

"The future of toxicology lies in animal-free testing methods and in pioneering scientists like Dr Kristin Bircsak," says Science Consortium Director Dr Gilly Stoddart. "The PETA International Science Consortium is delighted to be able to help this innovative early-career scientist on her path toward advancing animal free research." While human-relevant, animal-free research methods are vital to a career in toxicology and are being widely adopted by industry leaders, students and other early-career scientists often are not provided with a comprehensive background on these methods. This award helps to bridge that gap.

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In addition to awards, the Science Consortium offers free educational materials on non-animal test strategies, including factsheets, tutorials, webinars, and videos.

The PETA International Science Consortium works to accelerate the development, validation, and global implementation of animal-free science. It was established in 2012 to coordinate the scientific and regulatory expertise of its members--PETA, PETA U.K., PETA Germany, PETA India, PETA Netherlands, PETA France, PETA Asia, and PETA Australia. The Science Consortium and its members have donated millions to help reduce and replace animal use.

For more information, please visit PISCLtd.org.uk.

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