Department Environmental Toxicology

Humpback Whale - cell lines

In collaboration with the Griffith University (Brisbane) we developed the first humpback whale cell lines. HuWawild-type were established from skin samples of wild animals, and TERT-transfected HuWaTERT express telomerase enabling long-term maintenance.

HuWa cell lines are used in ecotoxicology to study the impact of relevant chemicals in vitro, and thus, enable rapid and cost- effective toxicity risk assessment.


Maner, J.; Burkard, M.; Cassano, J. C.; Bengtson Nash, S. M.; Schirmer, K.; Suter, M. J. -F. (2019) Hexachlorobenzene exerts genotoxic effects in a humpback whale cell line under stable exposure conditions, RSC Advances, 9(67), 39447-39457, doi:10.1039/C9RA05352B, Institutional Repository
Burkard, M.; Bengtson Nash, S.; Gambaro, G.; Whitworth, D.; Schirmer, K. (2019) Lifetime extension of humpback whale skin fibroblasts and their response to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and a mixture of polychlorinated biphenyls (Aroclor), Cell Biology and Toxicology, 35(4), 387-398, doi:10.1007/s10565-018-09457-1, Institutional Repository
Burkard, M.; Whitworth, D.; Schirmer, K.; Nash, S. B. (2015) Establishment of the first humpback whale fibroblast cell lines and their application in chemical risk assessment, Aquatic Toxicology, 167, 240-247, doi:10.1016/j.aquatox.2015.08.005, Institutional Repository


Prof. Dr. Kristin Schirmer Head of department Tel. +41 58 765 5266 Send Mail

Team members

Jenny Maner PhD Student Tel. +41 58 765 5576 Send Mail

Former team members

Dr. Michael Burkard
Gessica Gambaro
Valeria Maria Casa

In collaboration with

Susan Bengston Nash, Griffith University
Deanne Whitworth, The University of Queensland