ESOF2022 & SciCom & Johns Hopkins Universit

Johns Hopkins University Technical Press Briefing

EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF), Leiden, The Netherlands 13 – 16 July, 2022
11h00 – 11h30, Thursday 14 July, JW Schaapzaal, Stadsgehoorzaal.


This technical press briefing is being given exclusively, as a world first, to Euroscience Open Forum 2022 Leiden by Johns Hopkins University (JHU) Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing & Microphysiological Systems Center (MPS).

On behalf of a growing global network of experts, one JHU speaker is joined remotely by a senior research colleague and live in Leiden by a leading scientist from technology provider Hesperos. Flown in especially for this event, the latter will demonstrate how they achieved the first human drug trial based on MPS models without animal data (bios below).

This technical briefing will discuss, amongst others:

  • Breakthroughs of microphysiological systems (MPS) for COVID-19 and autism research;
  • MPS in space research;
  • The first drug candidate moving into human trials without animal efficacy data based on MPS testing (Hesperos);
  • The ongoing creation and organisation of this new field of science, including the announcement of a series of World Summits and an International Society; &
  • The role of funding, the continuing support of the US Federal Drug Administration, and prospects for the EU and other global partners.

Biomedicine depends on models to study physiology and disease and develop drugs to cure. We are not 70kg rats! The goal of relevant human models has become attainable in recent years via advances in 3-dimensional tissue models from stem cells and bioengineering. These are called microphysiological systems (MPS), as they realise organ architecture and functionality on a micro-scale. This includes organoids, organ-on-chip and multi-organ-on-chip models.

Why this matters, is that unlike the limited relevance of human tumor cell lines and the limited supply of human cells from surgical materials, MPS from stem cells through bioengineering allow us to now reproduce physiology and increasingly, pathophysiology.

Speakers will explain and demonstrate this novel science to media. They will equally give their views on how these disruptive technologies are reshaping how biomedical research is advancing worldwide. Johns Hopkins University, via its emerging Microphysiological Systems (MPS) Center and its existing Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT), is driving this change.

Technical Briefing Presenters:

Thomas Hartung German Flag {Thomas Hartung (Germany/ USA)::
MD PhD, Director CAAT, JHU: Hartung (
>Hartung (
James Hickman US Flag James Hickman (USA):
PhD, Hesperos:
James "J" Hickman, Ph.D. - Hesperos Inc.
Deok-Ho Kim US Flag Deok-Ho Kim (USA):
PhD, leader JHU MPS center (online):
Deok-Ho Kim - Johns Hopkins Biomedical Engineering (

Further information: Roth A and MPS-WS Berlin 2019 [Marx U, Vilén L, Ewart L, Griffith LG, Hartung T, Ingber DE, Mendrick DL, Steger-Hartmann T and Tagle DA]. Human microphysiological systems for drug development. Science 2021, 373:1304-1306. Available at:

MPS World Summits:

Press release: Hesperos Shows Potential for In Vitro Approach to Replace Conventional Animal Efficacy Studies for Rare Neuromuscular Disorders

Contact person & media enquiries: Thomas Hartung, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. & WhatsApp +1 443 9837311