The Alternatives in Research Challenge

The Alternatives in Research (AiR) Challenge is a program intended to stimulate innovative research that advances medical progress through the use of methods that do not involve animals.

The program focus is on biomedical research, given that animal use in this area far exceeds that in safety testing and scientific education.

It is anticipated that the winning projects will be those involving new disease models, new applications of existing models, or new or modified techniques (as in monoclonal antibody production). Prize winners will be chosen with the aid of a scientific advisory committee.

The competitions are open to researchers in any job sectors (e.g., industry, academia, and government) in the U.S. (only).

The AiR Challenge Grants will be $20,000 each, intended to provide seed funding for promising avenues of research. Up to five grants will be awarded in February, 2018.

In a later phase, launching in 2018, an AiR Challenge Prize will award up to $350,000 to a single awardee who presents a research plan that is most likely to succeed in having an impact on a biomedical research field and an impact on replacing animal use.

The AiR challenge program is intended not only as a means of rewarding scientists, advancing biomedical progress, and sparing animals from suffering. It is also intended to help dispel the outdated notion that an interest in medical progress and a concern for animals are inexorably in opposition; indeed, finding better non-animal approaches to researching human disease is a win-win for humans and animals. The ARDF is also seeking to broaden the understanding and appreciation for alternative methods not only among scientists, but also among the general public, thought-leaders, media representatives, and patients and patient-advocates.


Scientific Advisory Committee

ARDF is grateful to members of the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) for the AiR Challenge program, which advises ARDF on criteria and selection of grants and prizes. Members of the SAC serve as individuals and volunteers, and their affiliations are listed for identification purposes only. ARDF is responsible for all final decisions and activities of the AiR Challenge program.

Chairman, Raymond R. Tice, PhD

Dr. Tice received a PhD in Biology in 1976 from Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD). He was employed by the Medical Department at Brookhaven National Laboratory (Upton, NY) from 1976 to 1988, by Integrated Laboratory Sciences, Inc. (Durham, NC) from 1988 to 2005, and by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) from 2005 to 2015. At NIEHS, her served as the first Deputy Director of the National Toxicology Program (NTP) Interagency Center for the Evaluation of Alternative Toxicological Methods (NICEATM) and in 2009 as the first Chief of the Biomolecular Screening Branch within the NTP, where he was the NTP lead on the US interagency Tox21 initiative. Dr. Tice retired from NIEHS in January, 2015. Among his achievements and awards, he served as president of the Environmental Mutagen and Genomics Society, was one of the recipients in 2008 of the North American Alternative Award from the Humane Society of the United States and Proctor & Gamble, and he received in 2016 the William and Eleanor Cave Award for Advancing Alternatives from the Alternatives Research and Development Foundation.

Rebecca Bascom, MD, MPh

Rebecca Bascom is a professor of medicine at the Penn State College of Medicine, and a member of the Graduate Faculty at Pennsylvania State University. As a specialist in pulmonary medicine practicing at Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, her primary clinical focus is caring for patients with serious diseases of the lung. She directs Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center's Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation Care Center and has enrolled patients with advanced lung diseases in clinical trials for the past 10 years. Dr. Bascom conducts research on lung disease and inhalation toxicology, and is committed to multidisciplinary translational research, connecting basic scientists to her lung disease patients. She has performed controlled human exposure studies using air pollutants and sidestream tobacco smoke and evaluated mechanisms of upper respiratory injury. She has served as an academic board member of the Johns Hopkins CAAT (Center for Alternative to Animal Testing) for over 20 years. She has served on research study sections for the National institutes of Health, for CAAT, and the Health Effects Institute. She has served on several National Research Council committees, including the Committee on the Evaluation of the Department of Defense Comprehensive Clinical Evaluation Protocol, the Committee on Emergency and Continuous Exposure Guidance Levels for Selected Submarine Contaminants, and the Committee on Health Effects of Indoor Allergens, the Institute of Medicine Committee on Scientific Standards for Studies on Modified Risk Tobacco Products and the National Academies Committee on Assessing Toxicologic Risks to Human Subjects Used in Controlled Exposure Studies of Environmental Pollutants. She trained in internal medicine, as well as pulmonary and critical care medicine at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. Dr. Bascom earned an M.D. from the University of Oregon Health Sciences Center and an M.P.H. in occupational medicine from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Kim Boekelheide, MD, PhD

Kim Boekelheide is Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the Brown University School of Medicine. He received his BA from Harvard University, and MD and PhD from Duke University. His research examines fundamental molecular mechanisms by which environmental and occupational toxicants induce cellular injury and male reproductive effects. Current projects include the development of novel in vitro approaches to safety assessment and the discovery of sperm molecular biomarkers that reflect testicular injury. He is Associate Director of the Brown University Superfund Research Program and Director of the Brown University Center to Advance Predictive Biology. His research has been continuously funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences since 1985 and he has received several awards including a Burroughs Wellcome Toxicology Scholar Award (1994-1999), and the Lifetime Achievement Award (2015) from the Reproductive and Developmental Toxicology Specialty Section of the Society of Toxicology.

Larry Carbone, DVM, PhD

Larry Carbone is the Director of the University of California Animal Care and Use Program, and Senior Veterinarian in the UCSF Laboratory Animal Resource Center. He has worked in laboratory animal care in the academic setting as animal care staff, veterinarian, researcher and IACUC member for over 35 years and is specialty board-certified in Animal Welfare (ACAW) and Laboratory Animal Medicine (ACLAM). Following his DVM training at Cornell University, he stayed on as laboratory animal veterinarian and as PhD candidate in Science and Technology Studies. His dissertation on the intersection of ethics, history and epistemology in laboratory animal welfare policy became his 2004 book What Animals Want: Advocacy and Expertise in Laboratory Animal Welfare Policy (Oxford University Press). His research in animal welfare science and policy focus primarily on pain management for laboratory animals, and on how scientists write about animal pain in their research publications.

Suzanne Fitzpatrick, PhD

Dr. Suzanne Fitzpatrick is the Senior Advisor for Toxicology in the Office of the Center Director at Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition at the US Food and Drug Administration. Dr. Fitzpatrick is a board certified toxicologist here in the US and in Europe. She is the FDA lead for Tox 21 and is also an FDA Representative to ICCVAM. She is in charge of all toxicology research at CFSAN. Dr. Fitzpatrick represents CFSAN on several FDA Committees and Work Groups including the FDA Biomarkers Group, the NIH FDA Biomarkers Group, the FDA Senior Toxicology Workgroup, the HHS Environmental Justice Committee, and the FDA/NCATS/DARPA Collaboration on Organs/Human on a Chip. She represents FDA at several outside committees, including ILSI HESI Emerging Issues, ILSI North America, NRC Emerging issues Committee, and the OSTP Subcommittee on Toxics and the Environment. Dr Fitzpatrick is the FDA representative to the Federal Children's Environmental Health Task Force. Dr. Fitzpatrick is an FDA representative to several OECD Committees including the Work Group on Non-Genotoxic carcinogens, OECD Validation Management Group-Non-Animal and the OECD Advisory Group on Molecular Screening and Toxicogenomics. She is very active in the Society of Toxicology including serving on the planning committees for Future Tox I, II, III, and IV. She is on the planning committee for the 10th World Congress on Alternatives. Dr. Fitzpatrick is a Past President of the American College of Toxicology. Dr. Fitzpatrick is an Adjunct Professor at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Fitzpatrick received her BA from the University of California at San Diego and her PhD from Georgetown University.

Thomas Hartung, MD, PhD

Thomas Hartung is the Doerenkamp-Zbinden-Chair for Evidence-based Toxicology with a joint appointment for Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore. He holds a joint appointment as Professor for Pharmacology and Toxicology at University of Konstanz, Germany; he also is Director of Centers for Alternatives to Animal Testing of both universities with the portal AltWeb.

CAAT hosts the secretariat of the Evidence-based Toxicology Collaboration, the Good Read-Across Practice Collaboration, the Good Cell Culture Practice Collaboration, the Green Toxicology Collaboration and the Industry Refinement Working Group. As PI, he heads the Human Toxome Project, funded as an NIH Transformative Research Grant.

He is the former Head of the European Commission's Center for the Validation of Alternative Methods (ECVAM), Ispra, Italy, and has authored more than 500 scientific publications.

Jeffrey Kahn, MPH, PhD

Jeffrey Kahn is the Andreas C. Dracopoulos Director of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics. He is also Levi Professor of Bioethics and Public Policy, and Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management in the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. His research interests include the ethics of research, ethics and public health, and ethics and emerging biomedical technologies. He speaks widely both in the U.S. and abroad, and has published four books and over 125 articles. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and a Fellow of the Hastings Center, and has chaired or served on committees and panels for the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control, and the Institute of Medicine/National Academy of Medicine, where he is currently chair of the Board on Health Sciences Policy. His education includes a BA in microbiology (UCLA, 1983), MPH (Johns Hopkins, 1988), and PhD in philosophy (Georgetown, 1989).

Karin Gabrielson Morton

Karin is a senior policy advisor at the Swedish Fund for Research Without Animal Experiments, with 25+ years of experience of funding research to replace animal experiments as well as communication and lobbying in this field. Karin also lectures about replacing animal experiments at Lab Animal Science and other courses at several universities. She is a member of the Swedish Central Animal Experimental Ethics Committee and the Swedish National Committee on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes which serves as the steering committee of the new (2017) Swedish National Center for 3Rs. Karin served on the Supervising Board of ReProTect, a project funded by the European Commission to develop and evaluate alternatives to animal experiments in reproductive toxicology testing. Karin has also served as a board member of ecopa (the European consensus platform on alternatives) and chaired the Swecopa.

Maurice Whelan, PhD

Prof. Maurice Whelan is head of the Chemical Safety and Alternative Methods Unit of the Directorate for Health, Consumers and Reference Materials of the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC), based in Ispra, Italy. He also heads the European Union Reference Laboratory for Alternatives to Animal Testing (EURL ECVAM) of the JRC, established under EU Directive 2010/63 on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes, which builds on the 20 years of activities of ECVAM, the European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods. Priorities of his work include the development, validation and promotion of alternative approaches to animal testing both for regulatory safety assessment of chemicals and for applications in biomedical research. Whelan is the EU co-chair of the OECD Advisory Group on Molecular Screening and Toxicogenomics that is responsible for the OECD programme on Adverse Outcome Pathways, and he is a member of the Steering Committee of the European Partnership for Alternative Approaches to Animal Testing (EPAA).