Symposium and Workshop: Replacing Fetal Bovine Serum (FBS) in Research & Testing


Symposium and Workshop: Replacing Fetal Bovine Serum (FBS) in Research & Testing

21 September 2020
Deutscher Tierschutzbund
Fetal bovine serum (FBS) is used as an additive for cell and tissue culture media in biomedical research and testing to enhance cell growth. The symposium will take place online on 3 November.

However, there is massive underlying animal  suffering in FBS production: To obtain the serum of unborn calves, blood is collected by syringe  from the beating heart of fetal calves without anaesthesia, even though there are clear indications that calf fetuses are already capable of suffering. In addition to the ethical dilemma,  scientific problems speak against the use of FBS: The exact composition of the serum is unknown  and there is a risk of contamination with pathogens that may be present in animal sera. This can compromise cell culture performance and subsequent experiments. 

Thus, switching to FBS-free medium is both an ethical and a scientific necessity. Alternatives to FBS exist and are already used in many cell cultures.  

Our online symposium aims to draw the attention to this topic – to increase the acceptance  of alternative media already available and to present techniques how cells can be easily switched to FBS-free media. 

International experts from universities, industry, regulatory authorities and animal welfare are  going to present the current status of the use of fetal bovine serum (FBS) and the ethical and  scientific advantages of FBS-free alternatives. Furthermore, the suitability of serum-free  medium for cell cultures will be demonstrated by Dr. Joachim Wiest (cellasys GmbH). 


  • Tilo Weber (Animal Welfare Academy; Department for Alternatives to the use of animals  in research, testing and education) 
  • Dr. Jan van der Valk (3Rs-Centre Utrecht Life Sciences) 
  • Dr. Karen Bieback (Heidelberg University; German Red Cross Blood Service Baden Württemberg - Hessen gGmbH) 
  • Dr. Aline Chary (Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology) 
  • Dr. Sandra Coecke (Joint Research Centre of the European Commission) 
  • Dr. Joachim Wiest (cellasys GmbH) 


  • TARGET GROUP: Undergraduate, graduate and PhD students, lab technicians (MTA,  BTA), post-docs and working group leaders in the fields of biology, life sciences medicine, veterinary medicine and related fields of study.  
  • REGISTRATION & FEES: Participation fee: 25 Euro; Reduced fee for Undergraduate,  Graduate and PhD students: 10 Euro (it is mandatory to present a current certificate of matriculation/confirmation about the current work as a PhD student to obtain the reduced fee). Register here until October 25th, 2020. 


  • 08:30 Log-in Participants, Pre-Web-Seminar – Sonja Korff 
  • 08:45 Greetings & Opening – Kristina Wagner 
  • 09:00 Session 1 (incl. Questions) – Tilo Weber 
  • 09:30 Session 2 (incl. Questions) – Dr. Jan van der Valk 
  • 10:15 Coffee Break 
  • 10:30 Session 3 (incl. Questions) – Dr. Karen Bieback 
  • 11:00 Session 4 (incl. Questions) – Dr. Sandra Coecke 
  • 11:45 Lunch Break 
  • 12:30 Session 5 (incl. Questions) – Dr. Aline Chary 
  • 13:00 Session 6 (incl. Questions) – Dr. Joachim Wiest 
  • 13:45 Coffee Break 
  • 14:00 Panel Diskussion – All Speakers 
  • 14:30 Introduction Serum-free Workshop – Dr. Joachim Wiest 
  • 15:00 Protocol Video – Dr. Joachim Wiest 
  • 15:15 Questions – Dr. Joachim Wiest 
  • 15:45 Follow-up Information & Fare Well Speech - Kristina Wagner & Sonja Korff
  • 16:00 End of the event 


For further questions please contact us via +49 89 600 291-27 or 

MORE INFORMATION: rohstofflieferanten/ 


Renate Benthlin-Stiftung für Nutztierschutz 


Deutscher Tierschutzbund e.V. and cellasys GmbH

The post 'Symposium and Workshop: Replacing Fetal Bovine Serum (FBS) in Research & Testing' is modified from an article published by Deutscher Tierschutzbund in their original language.