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Funding animal-free projects with €20,000 each

The Herbert Stiller Research Grant is awarded by Doctors Against Animal Experiments (DAAE) for outstanding, innovative scientific work. The most important criteria are that the projects do not involve any animal experiments or materials of animal origin such as fetal calf serum (FCS/FBS), Matrigel or animal-derived antibodies. The projects should also use innovative technologies and provide significant advances in medical research.

The grant, named after one of the organisation’s co-founders, Dr Herbert Stiller (1923-1984), medical specialist in neurology, psychiatry and psychotherapy, was awarded a total of 7 times in the 1990s and 2000s. Since 2019, earmarked sponsorship funds have allowed a new edition every two years.

Two prices

Once again, there were many applications for our latest call for proposals in the beginning of 2023. A scientific jury selected two outstanding projects, each of which was funded with €20,000.

The two Herbert Stiller Research Grants 2023 were financed by the sponsors Florian Buchner, Viviane Frey, Ed Destrée, Margrit Vollertsen-Diewerge, Ralf Hennig, Nina Rettberg and three other people who wish to remain anonymous.


Dr Peter Loskill from the Eberhart Karls University of Tübingen

On 12th October 2023, Prof. Peter Loskill, Professor of Organ-on-Chip (OoC) Research at the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen and Head of the 3R Center Tübingen, received one of this year's two equivalent Herbert Stiller Research Grants for his outstanding project Breast-Cancer-on-Chip.

At the award ceremony at the NMI Natural and Medical Sciences Institute at the University of Tübingen in Reutlingen, Prof. Loskill presented his state-of-the-art project. Together with his research group, MicroOrganoLab, Prof. Loskill has already developed several human organ-on-a-chip models.

In this project, funded by the Herbert Stiller Research Grant, Prof. Loskill aims at developing a completely animal-free breast cancer-on-chip model. Samples from different patients (e.g. healthy, obese, menopausal) are used to study specific cancer processes and test cancer therapies and drugs.

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Herbert Stiller Research Grant award ceremony in Reutlingen; from left: Dr Silke Keller (scientist at the MicroOrganoLab), Prof Dr. Katja Schenke-Layland (Director of the NMI), award winner Prof. Dr Peter Loskill, Dr Rosmarie Lautenbacher and Dr Dilyana Filipova (both DAAE).

Umbilical cord model

Dr Stephan Harm from the University for Continuing Education Krems, Austria

Dr Stephan Harm from the University for Continuing Education Krems, Austria, received the second of the two equivalent Herbert Stiller Prizes on 10th November 2023, for his innovative project “Umbilical cord blood vessel model”.

He studies human blood vessels and has been working in the field of sepsis research for over 10 years. At the award ceremony at the Department of Biomedical Research at the University for Continuing Education Krems, he presented his unique, promising project. Pieces of umbilical cord containing intact human veins and arteries are kept alive within a blood vessel chamber – a type of bioreactor – for several weeks. The model will enable the study of important immunological reactions and regeneration processes of human blood vessels and will be used for research of cardiovascular diseases and sepsis.

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Award ceremony in Krems, Austria; from left: Dr. Dilyana Filipova (DAAE), Dr. Corina Gericke (DAAE), Dr. Stephan Harm (award winner), Univ.-Prof. Dr. Viktoria Weber (Director of the Department).