The Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Germany will award the Animal Welfare Research Prize 2019 to Wiebke Albrecht, a PhD student at the Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors (IfADo), Dortmund in the group of Jan G. Hengstler, on October 23rd. The prize, which is awarded each year, entails €25,000.

The multi-author publication that was recognized introduces novel test performance metrics to systematically assess and optimize in vitro systems to predict drug-induced liver injury (DILI) and to define the acceptable daily intake of drugs. In the development of in vitro tests to replace animal models, one major challenge is the extrapolation of in vitro cytoxicity results to drug doses that can cause liver toxicity in humans upon oral intake. The performance metrics developed in the study quantify how well a test differentiates between hepatotoxic and non-hepatoxic compounds and how well in vivo hepatotoxic blood concentrations can be estimated. These metrics were employed to optimize test performance on a training set of compounds such that the in vitro concentrations could be extrapolated to in vivo blood concentrations in humans that would be associated with a specific probability of hepatotoxicity, and corresponding oral doses were obtained by reverse modeling. The method also allows the estimation of acceptable daily intake for food additives.