2015 Prize Shortlist

This year we had a record number of nominations to the Lush Prize and 51 projects were shortlisted.

The shortlist shows the wide range of activities happening around the world to end animal testing: Young Researchers in Brazil, Europe, USA and Malaysia; training of scientists in alternatives to animal testing in Belarus, Ukraine and South Korea; undercover investigations, cruelty-free blogs and protests.

The Lush Prize brings together a variety of actions – science, regulatory lobbying and public awareness campaigns – that is required to replace cruel and unreliable animal testing with 21st century humane and relevant science.



Beagle Freedom Project – USA
The Beagle Freedom Bill, passed in four states so far, mandates that any laboratory that receives taxpayer support (which is almost all of them due to governmental subsidies and tax-incentives) must offer post-research dogs and cats up for public adoption through non-profit rescue organizations. In addition to saving animals lives, the rescue of these animals increases knowledge and concern about animal testing generally.

Eurogroup For Animals – Belgium
For engaged and strategic lobbying and dialogue with relevant stakeholders across the European Commission and Parliament to replace animal testing.

Pro Anima – France
Lobbying to oppose a primate research facility in France and implementation of REACH (chemical testing) regulations to reduce animal testing.

SAFE – New Zealand
For its work to use the introduction of the Animal Welfare Act as an opportunity to end animal experiments in specific areas such as cosmetics testing and testing of recreational drugs.

Mojo Mathers MP – New Zealand
A Green Party MP, Mathers has been a leading figure in the political campaign to ban cosmetics testing on animals in NZ.

Finnish Centre for Alternative Methods – Finland
Working to promote alternatives to animal testing through lobbying, meetings with politicians, members of different ministries, interviews with TV, radio and newspapers, and presentations in scientific and public meetings.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Foundation – UK
Reducing animal testing due to REACH (European chemicals testing regulations) through: intervening in appeal cases before the ECHA (European Chemicals Agency) Board of Appeal; lobbying ECHA, the European Commission, and the European Parliament; and submitting a successful complaint against ECHA to the European Ombudsman.



Public Awareness

Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics – UK
The Centre pioneers ethical perspectives on animals through academic research, teaching, and publications. Its 2015 report, backed by more than 150 academics, intellectuals, and writers calls for the ‘de-normalisation’ of animal experimentation, recognising it as “one of the major moral issues of our time”. This report was followed by an academic Summer School on the Ethics of Using Animals in Research.

SOKO Tierschutz e.V. – Germany
For its major undercover investigation and expose of invasive brain research on primates at the Max-Planck-Institute for Biological Cybernetics, which resulted in widespread media coverage and protests against animal experiments.

ACTAsia – China
For education programmes aimed at consumers, schools and professionals, to raise awareness of compassion towards animals, including promotion of cruelty-free cosmetics.

Pro Anima – France
Poster campaign, media attention and protests to highlight various issues relating to animal testing.

Igualdad Animal – Spain
For its undercover investigation into animal experiments in Spanish universities and hospitals.

Beagle Freedom Project – USA
For its Identity Campaign to highlight the suffering of dogs and cats in taxpayer-funded laboratories in the USA and encourage the public to use freedom of information legislation to advocate on behalf of those animals.

Svoboda zvířat (Freedom for Animals) – Czech Republic
Promotion of the Humane Cosmetics Standard (HCS) and Humane Household Products Standard (HHPS) certificates; campaign to prohibit all experiments on primates; promotion of alternatives to dissection and animal tests in education establishments.

Animal Defenders International – USA
For its global investigations and campaigns to end animal testing.

Naoki.nl – Netherlands
Beauty blog encouraging people to buy only cruelty-free cosmetics.




Andreas Natsch, Givaudan in vitro Toxicology Lab – Switzerland
Research to develop and validate non-animal test methods for the assessment of the skin sensitization potential of chemicals, a key toxicological endpoint in the cosmetic field.

Setsuya Aiba, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine – Japan
Developing a reporter assays system using human cell lines that may provide alternatives to animal tests for detecting the immunotoxicity of chemicals.

Sebastian Hoffmann – Germany
For the assessment of non-animal test methods and testing strategies to support their regulatory acceptance, ultimately leading to the replacement of the standard animal test.

Prof Ellen Fritsche, Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine – Germany
Development of an in-vitro method to investigate chemical substances and their harmful effects on neurotoxicity.

Kyung-Min Lim, Ewha Womans University – South Korea
For research employing human 3D tissue models to fuel the replacement of animal experiments in the development of cosmetics in Korea and an alternative to the rabbit draize eye irritation test.

Oncotheis – Switzerland
Oncotheis have engineered an innovative human lung cancer tissue culture model to test in vitro both the effectiveness and the toxicity of investigational therapeutics while sparing the lives of animals.

Prof Michael Coleman, Aston University – UK
Adapting the NTERA human teratoma cell model as the most relevant and realistic platform for human neurotoxicological study.

DILIsim Initiative – USA
Developing a computational model capable of completely replacing traditional animal toxicity studies to assess the liver safety liabilities of new drug candidates. The model uses human cells and expressed human protein systems and does not involve live animals or animal derived products of any kind.

Prof Brett Lidbury, Australian National University – Australia
The revolution in Information Technology has provided researchers interested in the absolute replacement of animal tests access to mass human data. This provides a valuable and ongoing resource for understanding human biology in health and disease.

The team’s research has used mass diagnostic pathology (laboratory medicine) data and the application of machine learning algorithms to identify predictive patterns associated with a disease or infection response, and includes questions of responses to toxins.

The COSMOS Project – UK
Developing computational alternatives for repeat dose toxicity, centered on cosmetics materials.

Blanca Rodriguez, University of Oxford – UK
The Computational Cardiovascular Science research group investigates the different response of human hearts from different persons to pharmaceutical compounds and potentially toxic substances using experimentally calibrated computational models of the heart.

Prof Michael L. Shuler & team – USA
Body-on-a-Chip systems, operated with tissues derived from human cell sources, are capable of simulating the human metabolism, including toxic side effects. They can play a significant role in determining the success of new pharmaceuticals without the use of animals.




Institute for In Vitro Sciences (IIVS) – USA
For promoting the use and regulatory acceptance of non-animal test methods.

Mahatma Gandhi-Doerenkamp Center – India
Training in replacement of dissections and experiments in medical, pharmacy and life sciences education.

Byung In Choe and Gwi Hyang Lee, The Catholic University of Korea – South Korea
Having conducted national surveys on attitudes of Korean veterinary professors and students regarding animal use, the researchers have applied animal alternative programs to laboratory practical courses at Konkuk University and arranged international workshops and symposiums.

PETA International Science Consortium Ltd. – UK
Minimising animal testing under REACH (European chemical testing regulations) through a series of scientific webinars and face-to-face training sessions for regulators, company representatives and contractors.

Dr Paul Jennings and Dr Anna Bal-Price – Austria/Italy
For publication of the book ‘In Vitro Toxicology Systems’, which brings together important issues and considerations needed in order to develop a workable, reliable, integrated testing strategy for the replacement of animals in toxicity testing regimes.

NSPCA – South Africa
The NSPCA’s Animal Ethics Unit promotes alternatives to animal testing.

Dmitry Leporsky – Ukraine
Campaigning for replacement alternatives in the Ukraine, Belarus, Russia and Kyrgyzstan. Over 18,000 animals have been replaced in 2014-2015.

Dr Candida Nastrucci – The Alternatives – Italy
Provides training on Replacement Alternatives and non-animal methods to be used in basic research and in toxicology at undergraduate and post-graduate levels. Dr Nastrucci is the creator and Course coordinator of a Replacement Alternative Course financed by the Tuscany Regional Authority in Italy, entitled: “Corso sui Metodi Alternativi Sostitutivi alla sperimentazione su animali…” (Course on Replacement Alternatives to animal experiments).

European Society of Toxicology In Vitro – Netherlands
Promotes in vitro toxicology, both scientifically and educationally, in all countries of Europe. Includes summer schools and training courses.

Center for the Ethical Attitude Towards Nature – Belarus
For promotion of alternatives to animal experiments through seminars, co-operation with universities and translation of texts about humane alternatives.

University Grants Commission – India
The UGC makes decisions concerning the curriculum that apply to thousands of colleges and universities. It has ended zoology and other dissections and experiments in education across the country. This could save up to 60 million animals annually.



Young Researcher

Che Azurahanim Che Abdullah – Malaysia
For research using a novel sago starch hydrogel as scaffold which offers 3D cell culture system for predictive testing of anti-cancer, anti-metastatic compounds and a number of other pharmaceutical products such as, antibiotics and vaccines. In addition, 3D culture based sago starch hydrogel also can be a model for scientists investigating major disease in Malaysia and worldwide for example diabetes and cancer.

Elena Kummer – Italy
For work contributing to understanding the extent and quality of allergic sensitization. The goal is to provide a simple assay based on the use of a commercially available cell lines able to provide potency information, which is required for full replacement of animals in the assessment of the allergenic potential of xenobiotic.

Ayten Kalfe – Germany
Analysing 3D in vitro cell culture models because they are authentic model systems which successfully bridge the gap between 2D cell cultures and live tissue or animal models.

Kumiko Kusumoto – Japan
Kusumoto seeks to develop in vitro systems using human cells in 3D cell cultures for the evaluation of chemical-induced hepatotoxicity.

Bianca Marigliani – Brazil
For research to replace the use of fetal bovine serum (FBS), obtained from bovine fetuses during slaughter of pregnant cows. FBS is the most common animal-derivative used as a medium supplement but has both ethical and technical problems.

Jeremy Caplin – USA
For work on an alternative to animal testing through the design and use of a “placenta-on-a-chip”. This chip is a 3D microfluidic device that serves as an improved method for drug testing and toxicology.

Neil Daily – USA
To support the development and advancement of assays using functional 3D engineered heart tissues which can assess the toxicity of drugs, compounds, chemicals and cosmetics without the use of animal testing.

Jenia Danailova – Italy
Working on the assessment of new alternative in vitro methods for the evaluation of the biological potential of chemical compounds by designing multidisciplinary approaches in order to replace animal testing.

Ilka Maschmeyer – Germany
Working on the long-term systemic interconnection of different organs with each other, focusing on the skin tissue, providing the dermal application route for cosmetics and drugs, replacing animal tests.

Laura Bray – Germany
A proposed project to provide three key developments to animal replacement in cancer research and patients: a toolbox for medical researchers to study acute myeloid leukemia in vitro; a method for high throughput drug screening to accelerate clinical trials; a model system to test patient blood samples, for the purpose of individualising their treatment program.

Bertrand Caron – Australia
The primary aim of the research is to improve the accuracy of the computational methods and atomic interaction functions used to describe the interactions of organic molecules (primarily potential drug and antibiotic compounds) with proteins and biological membranes.

Harsha-Deepti Devalla – Netherlands
For research involving the use of human pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (hPSC-CMs) for studying cardiac development and disease.

Dr Lena Smirnova – USA
For research on 3D organotypical human in vitro brain model development in combination with multi-omics technologies for (developmental) neurotoxicity testing (DNT). The reasearch goal is to establish a high-throughput testing platform for in vitro chemical testing.



A note on shortlisted nominations in the Science, Training and Young Researcher categories:

Lush Prize seeks to reward individuals and teams which are committed to working only on projects which do not involve the use of animals. Although we prefer to support animal-free projects, we understand the practical difficulties currently faced working in this field and eliminating the use of all animal parts, including sera and cell lines.

Inclusion on our shortlists does not necessarily mean a project is completely animal-free, or that scientists working on it may not have used animals in the past.  Our judges will always consider such issues when making their final decisions for the awards each year.