Archive Department News

December 2017

Our PhD student Fabian Fischer’s first paper on an exposure model in high-throughput bioassays was featured by Chemical Research in Toxicology, with an Editor’s Choice Award and the journal title page of Issue 5:

Fischer, F., Henneberger, L., König, M., Bittermann, K., Linden, L., Goss, K.-U. and Escher, B. (2017). Modeling exposure in the Tox21 in vitro bioassays. Chemical Research in Toxicology, 30: 1197−1208.

May 2017

An international workshop brought together a goup of scientist working in the area of environmental toxicology and ecotoxicology to discuss how mechanistic understanding of the causal links between exposure and adverse effects on human health and the environment can be improved by integrating the exposome approach with the adverse outcome pathway (AOP) concept. This proposal supports the IP Exposome as well is a core component of the strategic goals of the department cell toxicology.

Escher, B.I., Hackermüller, J., Polte, T., Scholz, S., Aigner, A., Altenburger, R., Böhme, A., Bopp, S.K., Brack, W., Busch, W., Chadeau-Hyam, M., Covaci, A., Eisenträger, A., Galligan, J.J., Garcia-Reyero, N., Hartung, T., Hein, M., Herberth, G., Jahnke, A., Kleinjans, J., Klüver, N., Krauss, M., Lamoree, M., Lehmann, I., Luckenbach, T., Miller, G.W., Müller, A., Phillips, D.H., Reemtsma, T., Rolle-Kampczyk, U., Schüürmann, G., Schwikowski, B., Tan, Y.-M., Trump, S., Walter-Rohde, S. and Wambaugh, J.F. (2017). From the exposome to mechanistic understanding of chemical-induced adverse effects. Environment International, 99: 97-106.

The paper can be downloaded at

April 2017

The project "Paving the way for QIVIVE: from nominal to free to cellular concentrations in in vitro assays” funded by CEFIC LRI is a collaboration between our department, Dr. Nynke Kramer from Utrecht University and Prof. Philipp Mayer from Technical University of Denmark. The project was launched in February and involves Beate Escher, Luise Henneberger, Fabian Fischer and Rita Schlichting from the department Cell Toxicology.

January 2016

We welcome two new members to our Celltox family: Andreas Baumer will do a PhD project and Eva Reiter will write her final report with our support.

October 2016

We welcome two new members to our Celltox family: Isabel Keddi and Madlen Landmann will write their final reports with our support.

March 2016 

Our group is advancing the the use of polymer-based passive sampling and dosing. In the last weeks three new papers have been published that (a) outline a new approach for determination of polymer-water partition rations for superhydrophobic compounds, (b) a modified polymer with higher srptive capacity and (c) an application of the new partition constant for the determination of surfactant-water partition ratios of dioxins.

(a) Grant, S., Schacht, V., Escher, B.I., Hawker, D.W. and Gaus, C. (2016). Experimental Solubility Approach to Determine PDMS−Water Partition Constants and PDMS Activity Coefficients. Environmental Science & Technology, in press: 10.1021/acs.est.1025b04655.
(b) Durig, W., Blakey, I., Grant, S., Chambers, L., Escher, B.I., Weijs, L. and Gaus, C. (2016). New Polymer Passive Sampler for Sensitive Biomonitoring of Lipid-Rich Matrices. Environmental Science & Technology Letters, 3(2): 52-56.
(c) Schacht, V., Grant, S., Escher, B.I., Hawker, D.W. and Gaus, C. (2016). Solubility enhancement of dioxins and PCBs by surfactant monomers and micelles quantified with polymer depletion techniques. Chemosphere, 152: 99-106.

January 2016

This article outlines various strategies for quantifiable transfer of mixtures of organic contaminants from environmental samples into cell-based in vitro and low-complexity in vivo bioassays. We cover chemicals in water, sediment and biota processed using total extraction or polymer-based passive sampling combined with either solvent spiking or passive dosing.
Jahnke, A., Mayer P., Schäfer,S., Witt G., Haase N., Escher, B.I. (2016). Strategies for Transferring Mixtures of Organic Contaminants from Aquatic Environments into Bioassays. Environ.Sci.Technol.

The paper can be downloaded at

February 2016 

We have evaluated the cellular toxicity pathways of 50 structurally diverse drinking-water disinfection byproducts with a battery of reporter gene assays.
Stalter, D., O'Malley, E., von Gunten, U. and Escher, B.I. (2016). Fingerprinting the reactive toxicity pathways of 50 drinking water disinfection by-products. Water Research, 91: 19-30.
The paper can be downloaded at

December 2015 

We developed a passive dosing method which determines the sorption capacity of fat extracted from 5 species, which differ only very slightly. The paper can be downloaded at, Jahnke, A., Holmbäck, J., Andersson, R.A., Kierkegaard, A., Mayer, P. and MacLeod, M. (2015). Differences between Lipids Extracted from Five Species Are Not Sufficient To Explain Biomagnification of Nonpolar Organic Chemicals. Environ. Sci. Technol. Letters, 2: 193-197.

As of 1 December 2015 we welcome a new member to the Celltox family: Luise Henneberger has started as a postdoctoral researcher. She will work in an industry-funded research project that improves the quantitative exposure assessment in HTS cell-based bioassays and develops and implements methods for quantitative in vitro to in vivo extrapolation (QIVIVE).Welcome!

October 2015 

We designed an quantitative silicone sampling system to extraction bioaccumulative chemicals from blood. The paper can be downloaded at, Jin, L., Escher, B.I., Limpus, C. and Gaus, C. (2015). Coupling passive sampling with in vitro bioassays and chemical analysis to understand combined effects of bioaccumulative chemicals in blood of marine turtles. Chemosphere, 138: 292-299.

June 2015 

The SOLUTIONS team in our Australian Celltox lab has demonstrated that apparent antagonism can be observed in estrogenicity reporter gene assays if the binding between natural organic matter and estrogens, which decrease the available agonist concentrations in the assay are not accounted for.
For more information
Neale, P., Escher, B.I. and Leusch, F. (2015). Understanding the implications of dissolved organic carbon when assessing antagonism in vitro: An example with an estrogen receptor assay. Chemosphere, 135: 341-346.

As of 1 June 2015 we welcome two new members to the Celltox family: Dr. Rita Schlichting will support the implementation of the high-throughput platforms CITEPro and Lisa Brückner will do a PhD project within the framework of the EU project Intelligence-led Assessment of Pharmaceuticals in the Environment (iPiE).Welcome!

April 2015 

Our young department has its first own PhD student since April 1, 2015 . Nora Haase will seek to bridge the gap of polymer -based extraction of a complex mixture of environmental chemicals from fish tissues for characterization of mixture toxicity in cell -based bioassays. Welcome , Nora !

April 2015

Tattoo inks are considered to contain mainly insoluble pigments but simple experiments indicated that toxic components may be mobilised and induce adaptive stress responses in cell-based bioassays. Black ink contained polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and induced genotoxicity and oxidative stress responses but greatest response was found for red and yellow tattoo inks. For more information Neale, P.A., Stalter, D., Tang, J.Y.M. and Escher, B.I. (2015) Bioanalytical evidence that chemicals in tattoo ink can induce adaptive stress responses. Journal of Hazardous Materials 296, 192-200.

February 2015 

Our department has been participating in the project IPiE (intelligence-led assessment of pharmaceuticals in the environment) since February 2015.  25 partners from academia, public authorities and the pharmaceutical industry work together to improve prediction of the environmental effects of medicinal products that are still in the development process. In addition they want to establish prioritized lists for the risk assessment and the environmental (bio)Monitoring of pharmaceuticals which are already on the market. The project is funded with a budget of 10.2 million euros for 4 years  by the EU and the pharmaceutical industry through its innovative finding Initiative (IMI).

October 2014 

Beate Escher has been Head of Department of Cell Toxicology since 10.October 2014. She holds a professorship in Environmental Toxicology at Eberhard Karls University Tübingen.

August 2014 

Dr. Annika Jahnke started as new group leader in the Department Cell Toxicology. Annika’s research focuses on the combination of passive sampling of complex matrices with chemical analysis and bioanalytical tools. Welcome to the team, Annika!

June 2014

The new department of Cell Toxicology is presently hosted in the laboratories of Bioanalytical Ecotoxicology and Effect-Directed Analysis. Thanks everyone for giving us a head start!