Department Environmental Toxicology

Physiologically based toxicokinetic modeling

Environmental risk assessment is essential but often relies on ethically controversial and expensive methods. One of the biggest current challenges in ecotoxicology is to replace animal testing with in vitro methods, for example based on cell cultures. However, evaluating whether a cell line is a suitable replacement involves testing many substances in animals and cell cultures in biologically similar conditions, i.e. the same amount of the chemical needs to be available to the cells in the culture and in animal tissues to expect the effect to be comparable. We develop physiologically based toxicokinetic (PBTK) models in fish and toxicokinetic models in cell cultures to computationally determine the chemical concentrations needed for a comparable test. Our PBTK models include physiological uptake of the chemical via breathing or food, stratification of the chemicals into vital organs and metabolization of the chemical therein. We have recently shown that, for some chemicals, exposure tests performed on the rainbow trout RTgill-W1 cell line and combined with the modeling approach can replace growth tests with juvenile fish.


Stadnicka-Michalak, J.; Schirmer, K. (2019) In vitro-in vivo extrapolation to predict bioaccumulation and toxicity of chemicals in fish using physiologically based toxicokinetic models, doi:10.1007/7653_2019_34, Institutional Repository
Stadnicka-Michalak, J.; Weiss, F. T.; Fischer, M.; Tanneberger, K.; Schirmer, K. (2018) Biotransformation of benzo [a] pyrene by three rainbow trout (Onchorhynchus mykiss) cell lines and extrapolation to derive a fish bioconcentration factor, Environmental Science and Technology, 52(5), 3091-3100, doi:10.1021/acs.est.7b04548, Institutional Repository
Stadnicka-Michalak, J.; Schirmer, K.; Ashauer, R. (2015) Toxicology across scales: cell population growth in vitro predicts reduced fish growth, Science Advances, 1(7), 1-8, doi:10.1126/sciadv.1500302, Institutional Repository
Stadnicka-Michalak, J.; Tanneberger, K.; Schirmer, K.; Ashauer, R. (2014) Measured and modeled toxicokinetics in cultured fish cells and application to in vitro - in vivo toxicity extrapolation, PLoS One, 9(3), e92303 (10 pp.), doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0092303, Institutional Repository
Stadnicka, J.; Schirmer, K.; Ashauer, R. (2012) Predicting concentrations of organic chemicals in fish by using toxicokinetic models, Environmental Science and Technology, 46(6), 3273-3280, doi:10.1021/es2043728, Institutional Repository


Prof. Dr. Kristin SchirmerHead of departmentTel. +41 58 765 5266Send Mail

Team members

Fabian BalkPhD StudentTel. +41 58 765 6478Send Mail
Gayathri JaikumarPhD studentTel. +41 58 765 5578Send Mail
Dr. Julita StadnickaPostdoctoral ScientistTel. +41 58 765 5533Send Mail