HeMiBio International Symposium

Biology meets technology for liver toxicity testing 

2. - 3. December 2015 in Leuven, Belgium


beguinage 2Refinement, Reduction and Replacement of the use of animals in toxicity testing is of particular importance for the biotechnology, pharmaceutical and cosmetics industry in Europe. Although important efforts have been made to decrease the need for animals in toxicity testing, the assessment of toxic effects of chronic exposure still requires the use of a relatively high number of animals. Aside from the ethical considerations, there is also a great need for suitable human cells to be used in toxicity testing, due to the often poor concordance seen between animal models and toxic effects in humans. In view of the complete ban of animal testing in Europe for cosmetic products and individual cosmetic ingredients in March 2013, the European Commission and Cosmetics Europe have thus jointly launched a European research initiative called SEURAT-1 (Safety Evaluation Ultimately Replacing Animal Testing) in January 2011 including six European collaborative research projects to develop innovative scientific in vitro tools for repeated dose toxicity testing. As one of the six research projects funded under the SEURAT-1 umbrella HeMiBio aimed at developing a hepatic microfluidic bioreactor mimicking the complex structure and function of the human liver which would be suitable to carry out repeated dose testing.

The symposium will highlight the results obtained within the HeMiBio consortium, including the development and differentiation of iPSC reporter lines and hepatic differentiation protocols, microfluidic bioreactor design and construction and development of sensors capable of evaluating hepatocyte function in repeated dose toxicity settings; and the creation of an in vitro model hepatocyte-stellate cell co-culture model for assessment of liver fibrosis. In addition, sessions will also highlight topics covered by other SEURAT-1 funded consortia, aside from state of the art lectures by experts in these areas of research.

Organising Committee: Catherine Verfaillie (KULeuven), Aernout Luttun (KULeuven), Leo van Grunsven (VUB), Mathieu Vinken (VUB), Yaakov Nahmias (HUJI), Pau Sancho Bru (IDIBAPS), Christiane Dascher-Nadel (IT)



  • SESSION 1 - Development of liver bioreactors for drug development and therapeutics
    The objective of the session is to give a state-of-the-art overview of liver-on-chip technology and to provide clinical perspectives on bioartifical liver projects.
  • SESSION 2 - Implementation of the adverse outcome pathway concept in HeMiBio
    The objective of the session is to give a state-of-the-art overview of the AOP area with focus on liver toxicity and to present the HeMiBio contribution
  • SESSION 3 - Combining pluripotent stem cell differentiation and genome engineering to create liver tissue in vitro
    In this session we will describe the cardinal features of the different liver cells, including hepatocytes, but also the non-parenchymal cells, including hepatic stellate cells, hepatic sinusoidal endothelial cells, kupffer cells and liver resident innate immune cells.


Invited Speakers
Mark Cronin, Liverpool John Moores University, UK
Robert Freedman, Hurel Corporation, US

Markus Grompe, Oregon Health & Science University, US
Jan Hengstler, Leibniz-Institut für Arbeitsforschung, Germany

Dan Kaufman, University of Minnesota, US
Brigitte Landesmann, Joint Research Centre, Italy
Michael Schwarz, Universität Tübingen, Germany
Robert Schwartz, Cornell University, US


  Participating HeMiBio members
  Catherine Verfaillie, KULeuven, Belgium
  Yaakov Nahmias, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
  Danny Bavli, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
  Sebastian Prill, Fraunhofer Institut, Germany
  Aernout Luttun, KULeuven, Belgium
  Leo van Grunsven, VUB, Belgium
  Pau Sancho-Bru, IDIBAPS, Spain
  Mathieu Vinken, VUB, Belgium
  Tony Cathomen, UKL-FR, Germany


Registration closed

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The symposium is funded by the European Commission and Cosmetics Europe through the HeMiBio project.
Grant Agreement N°


The Symposium has received additional financial support from



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