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Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public HealthCAAT

Curriculum Vitae -- Thomas Hartung, MD, PhD


The Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health
615 N. Wolfe St., W7035
Baltimore, MD 21205
Phone: 410-614-4990
Fax: 410-614-2871


Director, CAAT
Professor, Evidence Based Toxicology
Joint Appointment: Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology


As a biochemist and physician, I pursue cellular and molecular research into diseases to ultimately support testing strategies for drugs and chemicals. My work spans from pharmacology / toxicology to molecular microbiology and immunology with a special focus on the development of cellular methods and their quality control. As professor of pharmacology at the University of Konstanz (1994-), I have worked on supportive therapies to cancer treatment (Neupogen), inflammatory processes infectious diseases and cytokine therapies. With the experience of leading the European Commission’s validation body for alternatives methods (2002-2008) and holding since 2009 a chair for Evidence-based Toxicology, I am interested in the development and quality-control of in silico and in vitro tools and their integration into testing strategies. As PI, I headed until 2017 the Human Toxome project funded as an NIH Transformative Research Grant, which develops the tools for pathway identification from multi-omics approaches. We focus on organotypic cell cultures (microphysiological systems) of the brain, the integration of metabolomics and transcriptomics and making sense by bioinformatics of the “big data” to deduce pathways of toxicity. A key development was a highly standardized human brain organoid, developed with NIH NCATS funding, which is currently commercialized via AxoSim, New Orleans, which took over my spin-off Organome LLC. The model has been used for a number of viral, neurodevelopmental, neurodegenerative, neurotoxic and other disease models. Most recently, we showed first with this model that SARS-CoV-2 infects human brain cells. Our work toward Good Read-Across Practice led us to create the largest toxicological database to date and employing machine learning, we recently developed a novel read-across-based structure activity relationship (RASAR), which outperformed the reproducibility of nine OECD guideline animal tests. I have hosted a number of conferences (WC7, PanAm 1 & 2, DNT-4, ESTIV 2018, MPS World Summit 2022) with 200 – 1000 participants and authored more than 625 scientific publications, which were cited more than 40,000 times (h-factor 104). My toxicology classes on COURSERA were taken by more than 15,000 active learners.


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 350 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.


  • 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
  • 2005 16th most cited German pharmacologist, 30th most cited German immunologist (Laborjournal)
  • 2006 US Society of Toxicology Enhancement of Animal Welfare Award
  • 2008 / 2009 / 2010 ALTEX award for the article series "Food for thought…"
  • 2009 2nd most cited German pharmacologist, 6th most cited German immunologist (Laborjournal)
  • 2009 Russell & Burch award of the Humane Society of the US
  • 2010 ALTEX award for voted best article
  • 2010 Agilent Thought Leader award
  • 2014 ACT4ANIMALS 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
  • 2020 Ursula Händel Animal Welfare Prize 2020 for Alternative Methods to Animal Experiments by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation)
  • 2020 Doerenkamp-Zbinden Award
  • 2020 Honorary membership Swiss Ärztinnen und Ärzte für Tierschutz in der Medizin (ATM) – physicians for animal protection in medicine
  • 2020/2021 Merit Award by EuroTox

Thomas Hartung's Publications