Reduce, Refine, Replace. Developed over 50 years ago, the 3Rs provide a framework that urges researchers to think carefully about methods used to investigate scientific questions. In this episode of EASL Studio, we took a closer look at the third R, Replace. With the World Day for Laboratory Animals fast approaching, we discussed how to propel liver cell biology into the third dimension.

  • What are the advantages of 3D cultures?
  • Can liver cell types be studied in representative manner using 3D cultures?
  • More importantly, which part of animal research can be replaced by 3D cell culture experiments?

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Philipp Schwabl

Philipp Schwabl is a young physician-scientist, focusing on end-stage liver disease, portal hypertension and translational research. He had his training at the Medical University of Vienna and is currently an EASL Sheila Sherlock research fellow at the UCL Institute for Liver & Digestive Health in London. Being part of the EASL YI Task Force, he engages in making liver research more accessible and exciting for young investigators. 


 Krista Rombouts Krista Rombouts PhD is Professor at the Institute for Liver and Digestive Health, Regenerative Medicine and Fibrosis Group, Head of Centre for Tissue Repair and Regeneration, University College London (UCL), UK. Her current research interests are fibrogenesis with focus on Hepatic Stellate Cell behaviour; liver cancer cell biology with focus on fibrotic stroma cell interaction; NAFLD-NASH and innovative 3D cell culture systems for improvement of new target identification and drug development. Prof Rombouts was Editorial Board Member of AJP and Journal of Hepatology. She has international academic collaborators and industrial partners and is shareholder and consultant of UCL Spin-out Engitix Therapeutics Ltd since 2016.


Ludovic Vallier Professor Ludovic Vallier was the manager of the NIHR Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells core facility between 2009-2022 and co-deputy director of the Wellcome and MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute until 2022. He recently joined the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH) as Einstein Professor of Stem Cells Biology. His group based at BIH Center for Regenerative Therapy (BCRT) takes advantage of human pluripotent stem cells and primary organoids to generate liver cells with a clinical interest for disease modelling and cell-based therapy. More precisely, they investigate the molecular mechanisms controlling cell fate decisions during human liver development and exploit the resulting knowledge to produce hepatocytes and cholangiocytes. The resulting cells are currently used to study metabolic disorders and to develop regenerative medicine applications against liver diseases.
Pedro Baptista Prof. Pedro Baptista is currently a Group Leader at the Aragon Health Research Institute (IIS Aragon) in Zaragoza, Spain and the founder of the Organ Bioengineering and Regenerative Medicine Laboratory at the Aragon Biomedical Research Institute (CIBA), Zaragoza, Spain. He is also an Assistant Professor at the Biomedical and Aerospace Engineering Department of University Carlos III of Madrid, Spain. His current research focuses on investigating liver stem cell biology, developing novel methods to expand fetal and adult human stem/progenitor cells and in making the long-term transplantation of these lab-grown organs a reality. Prof. Pedro Baptista is also interested in applying bioengineered hepatic tissues and organs to study developmental biology, physiology and drug discovery.