Mission Statement

The YOU-WC11 is designed for early career scientists that already work or plan to work in the field of the 3Rs. We want to encourage the dialogue of early career scientists among themselves and with experienced peers that have been working in the field for a long time, thereby creating the opportunity for establishing new professional networks. For this, we want to provide a free and open atmosphere for the exchange of scientific ideas and career experiences alike and to simply have some fun!

Eligibility criteria to participate

An Early Career Scientist must be currently either enrolled as a Master or PhD student or must not have more than the equivalent of 5 years of active research experience beyond completion of the PhD. Exceptions can be made for scientists without a PhD (e.g. industry, staff scientists) but with no more than 8 years of active training experience after their final master’s degree or equivalent.

Planned Events

1. Mentorship Journey

The YOU-WC11 Mentoring Program will accompany the whole congress to allow intensive discussions, fruitful scientific exchanges, and a unique mentoring experience for early career scientists. Therefore, we invite interested scientists who are already well established in their field and are willing to mentor a group of 5-6 mentees throughout the whole congress. This includes a meeting at a given time before the congress to get to know each other and to decide on topics of interest. Moreover, we expect the mentors to arrange at least two interactive meetups with the mentees during the congress (e.g. attending sessions or poster presentations together).
Mentors will provide motivation, openness and expertise in a specific field - at least more than 5 years of active research experience (e.g. academia or industry) beyond completion of the Ph.D. (e.g. senior scientist, group leader, professor, institute director…).
Mentees will provide a general interest in sciences and 3R, natural curiosity and a positive attitude. Mentees/mentor matching will be performed based on the following fields of interest: Safety; Innovative Technologies; Ethics-Welfare and Regulation; Disease; Entrepreneurship/Spin-off Company

Meet-the-Mentors - Tuesday, August 24 - 6.30 -7.30 PM CEST

Register as Mentee until August 16 here.


Tuesday, August 24, 7:30 - 8:30 PM CEST - The Speed Collaborating session will be open to all young investigators! This is a unique opportunity for first-time attendees, but also other early-career scientists to connect, ask questions, and exchange experiences. Sign up for the Speed Collaborating to get to know other early-career scientists directly from the beginning, this is meant to further improve your personal congress experience, especially in this challenging time.


Quiz Night

Thursday 26 August 2021 - Day 4

6.30 - 8.30 PM

Join us for our Quiz Night, get connected, and just have fun with other early career scientists in a relaxed atmosphere. 3R-related, science-related and general knowledge-related questions in pleasant equilibrium. Are you ready for the challenge?



1. “Publishing - For Beginners and Advanced”

Wednesday 25 August 2021 - Day 3
3.00 - 5.00 PM

One major challenge throughout the scientific career is publishing. Therefore, this workshop will focus on the questions – How does publishing work? Why do we need peer reviewing and how do I review appropriately? What do I need for a high-quality publication? Three experts will present their perspectives, insights, and experiences which will be followed by an interactive discussion round in three separate virtual rooms each guided by one of the experts.

Insights into the world of Scientific Journals - What is the role of an Editor/Section Editor?

Judith Madden (Editor-in-Chief ATLA)

Prof. Judith Madden obtained a dual honours degree in chemistry and pharmacology from the University of Sheffield in 1991 before completing a PhD in computer-aided drug development at Liverpool John Moores University in 1995. She worked as post-doctoral research associate at the University of Manchester investigating pharmacokinetics of drugs and other compounds of interest. Currently her work is focused on the in silico prediction of activity/toxicity and ADME properties of drugs, cosmetics and other chemicals. Furthermore, she is currently the editor-in-chief for the journal Alternatives to Laboratory Animals and was previously a guest editor for the journal of Computational Toxicology

The Importance of Peer Reviewing and the Art of Reviewing

Annemarie Lang (Editor-in-Chief Laboratory Animals)

Dr. Annemarie Lang, DVM - is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Pennsylvania and the Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin. Her research focuses on i) the development of sophisticated and complex human based in vitro models to simulate musculoskeletal disorders and ii) the active implementation of the 3R principle (Replace, Reduce and Refine) in science. Since the beginning of 2021, Annemarie has been assigned as one of five Editors-in-Chief for Laboratory Animals.

Successful Publication Strategies and the Boon and Bane of Preprints

Peter Loskill (University Hospital Tübingen, Germany)

Prof. Dr. Peter Loskill graduated in 2012 from Saarland University with a PhD in Physics and thereafter worked as a postdoctoral fellow at UC Berkeley. In 2015, he was named as one of Technology Review’s “Innovators under 35 Germany” and awarded a Fraunhofer ATTRACT starting grant. He is a W3-Professor for Organ-on-Chip Research at the Eberhard Karls University Tübingen and the Natural and Medical Sciences Institute (NMI) as well as Chair of the European-Organ-on-Chip-Society (EUROoCS). He heads the µOrgano-Lab and the 3R Center Tübingen for in vitro models and alternatives to animal testing.


2. “Career Development - Creating a Convincing Personal Profile for different Fields of Activity”

Friday 27 August 2021 - Day 5
3.00 - 5.00 PM

To follow a successful career in research, the development and maintenance of a strong research portfolio is imperative and comes with several challenges. This session covers the perspectives and experiences of different researchers at various career stages including the transition from Ph.D. to postdoc or independent group leader as well as the possibilities for further development even after a professorship is reached? Moreover, we want to provide insights into industrial and editorial paths that are not only an alternative to academia. Five experts will present their perspectives, insights, and experiences which will be followed by an interactive discussion round in five separate virtual rooms each let by one of the experts.

From Ph.D. to postdoc: Journey towards scientific self-realization

Anne Kienhuis (National Institute for Public Health and the Environment - RIVM, the Netherlands)

Anne Kienhuis is a senior scientist at the RIVM - National Institute for Public Health and the Environment – and projectleader “3Rs”. After her PhD in the field of toxicogenomics and alternatives to animal experiments in hepatotoxicity, she works as a postdoc at the “Centre for Society and Genomics” and later as scientific manager at the “Arts and Genomics Center” at the University of Leiden. In 2008, Anne Kienhuis moved to RIVM, where she started as a scientist at the “Center for Health Protection, Department of Innovative Testing Strategies”.

How to find the balance between scientific motivation and being focused?

Vijay Pal Singh (SIR-Institute of Genomics & Integrative Biology, India)

Vijay Pal Singh is Veterinarian at the CSIR - Institute for Genomics and Integrative Biology and assistant professor at the Academy for Scientific and Innovative Research. As specialist in laboratory animal science and animal welfare and was educated at Utrecht University in the Netherlands and Cambridge University U.K. Vijay Pal Singh has more than a decade of animal welfare experience. He was tremendously involved in the development of three international laboratory animal science courses to improve laboratory animal research in a more ethical and humane way. In 2019, Vijay Pal Singh was awarded the bronze medal of the Global Animal Welfare Award for his commitment to the protection and welfare of animals and his outstanding and exemplary achievements in relation to animal welfare.

Industry: As alternative path or first choice?

Gladys Ouedraogo (L'Oréal)

Gladys Ouedraogo is a program manager in alternative methods development and has been at L’Oréal for more than 18 years. Her research focuses on the development and implementation of non-animal methods. Due to her work with other experts from industry, academia and NGOs, she is passionate in contributing to a world without animal testing.

Scientific editing: Behind the scenes of a scientific journal

Sonja von Aulock (Editor in chief, ALTEX)

Sonja von Aulock is CEO and Editor-in-Chief of ALTEX – Alternatives to Animal Experimentation. Already during her studies, she was a part-time editor for English articles at ALTEX. After her habilitation in the field of biochemical pharmacology at the University of Konstanz, she took over as editor-in-chief of the journal in 2011. In 2018, Sonja von Aulock also became CEO of ALTEX Edition, the non-profit organization that owns ALTEX, ALTEX Proceedings and TIERethik, and is working intensively on animal welfare, research quality, and open communication on an international level.

Finally professor - What comes next?

Thomas Hartung (Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore)

Thomas Hartung is the director of CAAT - the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing - and professor at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Due to his background as head of the European Center for the Validation of Alternative Methods of the European Commission, he was involved in the implementation of the 2007 NRC vision document “Toxicity Testing in the 21st Century – a vision and a strategy”. He has a broad background in clinical and experimental pharmacology and toxicology and focuses on a paradigm shift in toxicity testing to improve public health.

Anne Kienhuis
Workshop 2_Gladys Ouedraogo

3. “Challenges and Opportunities for Expanding the 3Rs”

Monday 30 August 2021 - Day 6
6.30 - 8.30 PM

Debate 1: Dropping an R: Is it Time to Retire Refinement? 

Speakers: Charu Chandrasekera (Canadian Centre for Alternatives to Animal Methods); Lars Lewejohann (Bf3R, Berlin, Germany)

Evidence suggests that pain and suffering can alter an animal’s behavior, physiology, and immunology, which can lead to variation in experimental results that compromise the reliability and repeatability of animal studies. Refinement refers to methods that minimize the pain, suffering, distress, or lasting harm that may be experienced by animals in research to improve scientific results gained by animal experimentation. Furthermore, evidence is mounting that animals are poor models for human disease research, drug development, and safety assessment. Yet, they are still widely used in research and testing. In this debate, speakers will take a stance on whether the time is right to move beyond the principle of refinement and towards more reliable, human-relevant models for biomedical research and toxicology. Speakers will discuss the limitation of animal experiments, scientific advancements that can replace rather than refine the use of animals, if and how these replacement methods are being used and implemented by the scientific community, and if a paradigm shift is inevitable to improve scientific methodologyto ensure improved human health and safety.

Debate 2: Funding and Regulation: Does One Post a Greater Threat to Advancement

Speakers: Elizabeth Baker (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine); Rebecca Ram (Lush Prize)

In this debate, speakers will take a stance on which barrier, funding, or regulations, present the biggest challenge for progress on the use and acceptance of NAMs (new approach methodologies).  Speakers will discuss: 1) how practices and procedures have been encoded in legislation or regulations and how outdated regulations challenge the validation, acceptance, and implementation of NAMs, and ongoing efforts to implement NAMs by changing regulations, and 2) how lack of funding of NAMs is impeding scientific progress, how institutionalized bias favors animals research, the responsibilities of funding bodies to advance NAMs through improving funding and transparency, and current efforts to overcome this barrier.

Charu Chandrasekera (Canadian Centre for Alternatives to Animal Methods)

Dr. Charu Chandrasekera is the Founder and Executive Director of the Canadian Centre for Alternatives to Animal Models. Dr. Chandrasekera obtained her Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary, followed by postdoctoral training at the University of Michigan Medical School and the School of Medicine at Wayne State University. During her 15+ years of research in the areas of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, she experienced firsthand the limited applicability of animal studies to human disease and is dedicated to making human biology the gold standard in biomedical research, education, and regulatory testing through 21st-century science, innovation, and ethics.

Lars Lewejohann (Bf3R, Berlin, Germany)

Prof. Dr. Lars Lewejohann is a professor for animal welfare and refinement at the Freie Universität Berlin and the Head of Unit "Laboratory Animal Science" at the German Center for the Protection of Laboratory Animals (Bf3R) at the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), Berlin. Dr. Lewejohann earned his Ph.D. in biology and philosophy from the University of Muenster. In his lab, Dr. Lewejohann develops new concepts of social and environmental enrichment to counteract boredom in laboratory animals. His research focuses on investigating individual differences, the interplay of cognition and emotion, and the animals' point of view regarding better housing conditions and experimental designs.

Elizabeth Baker (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine)

Elizabeth Baker, Esq., is the Regulatory Policy Director for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a nonprofit working for more effective, efficient, and ethical medical research, product testing, and training. Elizabeth leads the Physicians Committee's work to modernize policies to support the use of scientifically valid nonanimal and human biology-based testing for regulatory purposes. Elizabeth has authored numerous science blogs, regulatory petitions, op-eds, and manuscripts, including publication in Drug Discovery Today, ALTEX, Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, ATLA, The Hill, STAT News, the Food and Drug Law Institute Policy Forum, the North Carolina Central University School of Law Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Law Review and the Physicians Committee’s Good Science Digest regarding regulatory policy and innovative human-based science. Elizabeth is a member of the California Bar Association, the American Society for Cellular and Computational Toxicology, the Society of Toxicology, the European Society for Alternatives to Animal Testing, and the Parenteral Drug Association.

Rebecca Ram (Lush Prize)

Rebecca Ram is a scientific research consultant with an MSc in Toxicology and BSc in Applied Biology. After a decade working in phase 1-IV clinical trials in the pharmaceutical industry, she became a consultant to focus on alternatives to animal experiments and the campaign to end animal use in research, as well as continued work in some clinical research projects, for example, the 100,000 Genomes Project. Rebecca has worked or provided scientific support for several organizations, including GSK, AstraZeneca, University College London Hospital, Simugen, Genomics England, Cruelty-Free International, PETA, Animal Defenders International, Vier Pfoten (Four Paws), Animal Aid, TRACKS Investigations, One Voice France and most recently, the Lush Prize and Safer Medicines Trust.

Workshop 3_Charu Chandrasekera
LewejohannMaislabyrinth (1)
Elizabeth headshot Hill
Rebecca Ram headshot

4. “Conflict Management and Imposter Syndrome - you are not alone!”

Tuesday 31 August 2021 - Day 7

6.30 - 8.30 PM

Although being a researcher stands for creating new knowledge by following personal curiosity and seeking ground-breaking findings, it is also accompanied by stressful responsibilities, frequent rejection, and continuous competition and comparison with others. We are measured based on our accomplishments and these determine how far we are allowed to follow our desired career paths. Self-doubts and interpersonal conflicts are permanent companions in the competitive world of an early career scientist. This environment results in experiencing “imposter syndrome” which is characterized by feelings of inadequacy, despite evidence of success, and the fear of being exposed as a “fraud”. Moreover, as early career scientists, we require support on how to properly face conflicts that can, for example, build up between a student and their peers or even for independent junior group leaders struggling between being a focused leader and an emphatic mentor. In this workshop, speakers will provide insights on the causes and effects of imposter syndrome as well as areas of conflict potential. In addition, they will share their own experiences and potential solutions and strategies. The presentations will be followed by interactive discussion rounds to exchange perspectives and experiences. The overall goal of this session is to highlight the importance of communication, active search for help, and formation of talk rounds of early career scientists to foster exchange and mutual support - you are not alone!

Surviving conflicts in the academic world: the smarter wins

Riccardo Gottardi (Children’s Hospital Philadelphia & University of Philadelphia, US)

Dr. Riccardo Gottardi graduated in 2003 in Applied Physics at the University of Pisa and obtained his PhD in 2007 from the University of Genova (Italy). In 2011 he moved to the University of Pittsburgh with a postdoctoral fellowship to work with Dr. Rocky S. Tuan and Dr. Steven R. Little. His research focused on tissue engineering/regenerative medicine of cartilage and joint soft tissues leveraging biomaterials and drug delivery, and he has developed innovative synthetic tissue models to study tissue cross talks in health and disease. Since January 2019, Dr. Gottardi has been leading the Bioengineering and Biomaterials laboratory at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania, the first pediatric lab of its kind focused on engineering new approaches to treat airway disorders. Riccardo is known for his exceptional mentoring skills and he is actively involved in several Diversity support groups.



Contextualizing the Impostor “Syndrome” - It is not just you!

Sanne Feenstra (University of Groningen, Netherlands)

Dr. Sanne Feenstra graduated in 2020 from University Groningen with a PhD in Human Resource Management and Organizational Behavior. She is currently working as an assistant professor at the University of Groningen at the faculty of Economics and Business, where she is additionally a lecturer and course coordinator of organizational behavior. One of her recent publications in Frontiers in Psychology: Contextualizing the Impostor "Syndrome", draw our attention and we are very happy to have her as a speaker for this highly important topic.

Mentorship vs. leadership - The growing up of the early career scientist

Bettina Seeger (University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Germany)

Prof. Bettina Seeger is a Veterinary Specialist for Pharmacology and Toxicology and a European Registered Toxicologist. She is currently a Junior Professor for Alternatives and Complementary Methods to Animal Experiments at the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover (TiHo) and leads the Research Group: “Food Toxicology and Alternative/Complementary Methods to Animal Experiments”. Her research focuses on the development of in vitro methods to study impairment of neuropeptide and neurotransmitter release in neuronal subpopulations and host-pathogen interaction in intestinal organoids.

Performance pressure and self-invention in academia - The dream of the gold(en) medal

Anna Löwa (harité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany)

Dr. Anna Löwa is a biotechnologist by training and graduated from Freie Universität Berlin in 2020 with additional graduation from the BB3R graduate school and a research residency at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Her main research focuses on the establishment of human in vitro models. She has experience with in vitro skin models as well as mini-brains, on which she researched at the Berlin Institute for Medical Systems Biology, part of the Max-Delbrück Center. Currently, she is working as a postdoc researcher at the Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin with the focus on lung organoids.

Pic_Riccardo Gottardi
Foto_Sanne Feenstra
Bettina Seeger

5. “Let the Stars shine - Fire Presentations given by the 3R Early Career Scientist Award Finalists”

Wednesday 1 September 2021 - Day 8

3.00 - 5.00 PM

We will provide two 3R Early Career Scientist Awards in two different categories (Refine/Reduce & Replace). Therefore, the jury will pre-select 6 finalists for each award based on the quality and 3R-relevance of the submitted abstracts and given the own registration as early career scientist. Finalists will be invited to pre-record their presentations which will presented during this workshop. Each presentation will be followed by a short Q&A. The audience will vote for the best presentation which will be included in the final decision on the finalists. The Award winners will be announced during the official WC11 Award Ceremony!


The Awards are sponsored by

  • AniMatch UG (haftungsbeschränkt) - Refine/Reduce
  • Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine - Replace


YOU-WC11 Organizing Team

Dr. Annemarie Lang, PhD - Postdoctoral Researcher

Department for Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany

McKay Research Laboratory, University of Pennsylvania, US

Bioengineering and Biomaterials Laboratory, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, US

Alexandra Damerau & Moritz Pfeiffenberger - PhD Students

Department for Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany


Dr. Frank Schulze - Postdoctoral Researcher & Julia Scheinpflug - PhD Student

German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), German Centre for the Protection of Laboratory Animals (Bf3R), Berlin, Germany

Janine McCarthy, MPH - Research Policy Specialist

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine