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High quality science in alternative methodologies

A 3Rs-Innovation Centre at VUB

Why Alternative methods?

The 3Rs principle (Refinement, Reduction & Replacement) is a central tenant for high quality science that incorporates innovative non-animal methodologies wherever possible. It is explicit in EU and international legislation, and the application of 3Rs is a desirable framework for meaningful biomedical insights. In this context, there is a growing focus in both academic and industrial sectors, on the development of alternative approaches which reduce or avoid the use of animals. A driving force is the urgent need for better models that reflect human biology and physiology with greater accuracy.

The establishment of IC-3Rs

Over the last 25 years, the team of In Vitro Toxicology and Dermato-cosmetology (IVTD), under the direction of Prof. Vera Rogiers at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), has spearheaded the development of alternative methods that reflect the 3Rs principle for toxicology and safety applications. With the formation of the Innovation Centre-3Rs (IC-3Rs) we aim to increase the visibility of alternative methods by enhancing communication, building the local network and supporting the development of in vitro methodologies, throughout the Belgian region and Europe.

Inaugural symposium: 25th September 2017

To kick-off IC-3Rs, an inaugural symposium was held, with a focus on the alternative methods developed at the VUB, Jette. Cross disciplinary talks, from key VUB experts, highlighted how cutting edge research can work hand-in-hand with alternative strategies – delivering high quality and relevant science in line with a humane approach.


Symposium Tuesday 8th May 2018

with EURL-ECVAM, European Commission & the Francqui Foundation


Stem cell-based in vitro models:
where are we today?

Human skin stem cell-derived hepatic cells and their potential use in toxicity testing and drug discovery    



3D-in vitro models of liver fibrosis

2PP-printing to create innovative 3D-culture models

Testicular organoids from primary cells:
an important step towards human in vitro



CRISPR/Cas9-based gene editing: an emerging platform for in vitro research

In silico methods to prioritize potentially genotoxic substances used in food contact materials

Cellular and molecular imaging to reduce and refine animal experiments

Chip for animal-free genotoxicity testing 

Venue: Brussels Health Campus, VUB, Laarbeeklaan 103, 1090 Jette

Programme will follow shortly.

IC-3Rs administration

In Vitro Toxicology and Dermato-Cosmetology (IVTD)

The IC-3Rs platform builds on the research activities of the In Vitro Toxicology and Dermato-cosmetology (IVTD) group of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). IVTD constitutes a hub for many promising R&D projects within a broad scientific scope. They all share one common goal, namely an improvement of human health and safety ( A key activity of the department is Developing robust and human-relevant liver-based in vitro models to discriminate between safe and toxic drug candidates, and consequently reduce human exposure to liable products and safety-related drug attrition.  

The group is headed by Prof. Vera Rogiers, doctor in Pharmaceutical Sciences and Master in Applied Toxicology. She is a professor at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) in the faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy. She is the organiser of the annual postgraduate course "Safety assessment of cosmetics in the EU“ and co-organiser of the annual postgraduate course "Intensive Course in Dermato-Cosmetic Sciences" at the VUB. At the European level, she is co-chair of the SCCS (Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety) and member of the mirror group of EPAA (The European Partnership for Alternative Approaches to Animal Testing).
EU activities in research: Coordinator and research partner in FP6/FP7 projects (CONAM, Predictomics, carcinoGENOMICS, Liintop, ESNATS, START-UP, DETECTIVE, HemiBio ...).  

Information request

Request more information about the: IC-3Rs platform, symposium and Sponsorship opportunities.  

Please note, attendance at the symposium is free of charge. Registration is obligatory as places are limited and will be on a first-come first-served basis. Registration also includes a walking lunch, a networking reception.

Certificates of attendance are available, upon request at the event.