Björn Ekwall Memorial Foundation (BEMF)


Who was Björn Ekwall?

Dr. Björn Ekwall was a pioneer in the field of in vitro toxicology. In the early 1970s, he performed extensive studies, which indicated that cell cultures could be used to evaluate the toxic effects of chemicals. B. Ekwall formulated (1983) the “basal cytotoxicity concept”, a theory that substantially speeded up the progress of in vitro toxicology seen today. In the mid-eighties, B. Ekwall initiated the international Multicenter Evaluation of In Vitro Cytotoxicity (MEIC) project, with the aim of evaluating the usefulness of in vitro tests for the estimation of human acute systemic toxicity. The results of this project significantly contributed to the development of in vitro testing strategies for the replacement of animal experiments by alternative tests.

Ref.: Kolman, A., Walum, E. (2010) Björn Ekwall, an outstanding Swedish cell toxicologist. Toxicology In Vitro, 24, 2060-2062.

Ref.: Walum, E, Tähti, H,, Kolman, A. (2011) The 10th Anniversary of the Björn Ekwall Memorial Foundation. ATLA, 39, 389-402.

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The Björn Ekwall Memorial Foundation (BEMF) and the Björn Ekwall Memorial Award

The main goals of the BEMF is to honour the memory of Björn Ekwall by giving a reward to the scientists who have substantially contributed to the field of cell toxicology, e.g. by developing new in vitro tests, or via mechanistic or validation studies. To be able to grant the award, the BEMF is dependent on contributions from companies, organisations and private donors.

The Björn Ekwall Memorial Award (SEK 30,000) is given yearly at the scientific workshop of the SSCT or other relevant toxicological meeting, where the award winner is obliged to deliver “The Björn Ekwall Memorial Lecture”.

Dr. Björn Ekwall received many international awards, including Hjerrilds Prize, Research Award of the Swedish Fund for Research without Animal Experiments, Nordic Research Prize.

B. Ekwall published 69 articles/book chapters on in vitro toxicology, including 8 articles about MEIC project published in ATLA. In addition, he published about 60 abstracts, and 65 MEIC monographs on the human acute toxicity of chemicals.

Some important references

Ekwall, B., Ekwall, K. (1983) Screening of toxic compounds in mammalian cell cultures. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 407, 64-77.

Ekwall B., Ekwall, K. (1988) Comments on the use of diverse cell systems in toxicity testing. ATLA, 15, 194-200.

Bondesson, I., Ekwall, B. et al. (1989) MEIC – a new international multicenter project to evaluate the relevance to human toxicity of in vitro cytotoxicity tests. Cell Biology and Toxicology, 5 (3), 331-347.

Ekwall, B., Ekwall, Ba., Sjöström, M. (2000) MEIC evaluation of acute systemic toxicity. Part VIII. Multivariate partial least squares evaluation, including the selection of a battery of cell line tests with a good prediction of human acute lethal peak blood concentration for 50 chemicals. ATLA, 28, 201-234.