The highest honor given by the Society for In Vitro Biology is the Lifetime Achievement Award. It is presented to scientists who are considered pioneers or highly influential researchers to the science and art of cell culture. They are men and women who have devoted their careers to exemplary research and/or teaching. The recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award are selected by vote of the Board of Directors from a list of nominations recommended by the Awards Committee. The Society for In Vitro Biology honored Dr. John Harbell, Dr. Ray Shillito, and Dr. Bill Gordon-Kamm with the SIVB Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2023 In Vitro Biology Meeting. This issue of the In Vitro Report highlights Dr. John Harbell’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr. Shillito’s Lifetime Achievement award was highlighted in the last issue of the In Vitro Report. Dr. Gordon-Kamm’s Lifetime Achievement Award will be highlighted in a future issue of the In Vitro Report.

Dr. John W. Harbell

2023 SIVB Lifetime Achievement Award

Dr. Maria M. Jenderek

Dr. John W. Harbell
2023 Lifetime Achievement Awardee

Dr. John W. Harbell, cellular toxicologist and invitro biologist, was recipient of the Society for In Vitro Biology 2023 Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award.  Dr. Harbell was recognized for his national and international recognized pioneering scientific advances and contributions in cellular toxicology, regulatory compliance and policy for in vitro alternatives to animal testing in the medical, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries.

The scientific career of Dr. John W. Harbell spans over 40 years of significant contributions to the development of bioassays for cellular toxicity and mutagenicity to validate medical devices, pharmaceutical and cosmetic products, and to assess regulatory compliance.  His scientific contributions include, but are not limited to:

  • Leading the international pre-validation effort for the validation of the EpiOcular Eye Irritation Assay for Alternative Methods;
  • Developed the Bovine Corneal Opacity and Permeability Assay system to determine the depth and duration of ocular tissue injury
  • Developed in vitro bioassays programs to evaluate toxicology, efficacy and regulatory compliance for the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries;
  • Established 60 carcinoma and sarcoma cell lines to test pharmaceutical chemotherapeutic sensitivity and drug interactions;
  • Developed vitro toxicology methods and modernized risk assessment programs for national and international pharmaceutical and cosmetic product registration;
  • Developed a Good Laboratory Practice compliant cell and immunogenicity system to test and validate medical product process and characterize implantable medical materials,

Dr. Harbell is President, J Harbell Consulting and Adjunct Professor, Department of Dermatology, University of Texas Southwestern.  He has held key biotechnology industry positions to include: Product Safety & Principal Scientist, Mary Kay Inc; Co-Founder, Vice President & Chief Scientific Officer, Institute for In Vitro Sciences and Program Manager In Vitro Alternatives, Microbiological Associates.

During his US Army active-duty tour in Operation Desert Shield & Desert Storm, he served as Senior Military Liaison, Panamanian Medical Ministries Operations and Chief of the Cellular & Genetics Branch, Division of Toxicology, Letterman Army Institute of Research.

As a national and international cellular toxicologist Dr. Harbell has contributed and served on the European Cosmetic Association (COLIPA) Eye Irritation & Systemic Toxicity Task Forces, the Organization for Economic Co-Operations & Development (OECD) Skin Irritation Task Force for the adoption of in vitro methods for regulatory applications; European Center for the Validation of Alternative Methods (ECVAM) Ocular Irritation Task Force and the OECD Test Guideline Task Force supporting in vitro methods in regulatory applications.

Dr. John Harbell, 2023 Lifetime Awardee and Dr. Addy Holland, SIVB President

Dr. Harbell’s scientific publications include numerous peer-reviewed articles and presentations.  He is Associate Editor and Associate Reviews Editor of In Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology-Animal.  Since 1990, Dr. Harbell has served in significant society positions as: President, Board Member, Chair Cellular Toxicology and Vertebrate Sections, Program Committees, Convener, and member of the Laboratory Materials & Biosafety Committee.  Dr. Harbell is Fellow Vertebrate Biology and has received numerous Distinguished Service Awards.  He is Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board for the International Foundation for Ethical Research and he serves the Society of Toxicology as a member of Dermal Toxicity, Ocular Toxicity and In Vitro Specialty sections.

The Lifetime Achievement Award (LTAA) is the highest honor and award given by the SIVB to recognize scientists who have achieved academic excellence in their field of study and made significant contributions in the advancement of in vitro biology.  Dr. John Harbell has pioneered and contributed significantly to the advancement of in vitro alternatives to animal testing.  These scientific advancements, in cellular toxicity and mutagenic bioassays, have contributed to the medical, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industry regulatory and therapeutic product compliance.

The emeritus scientists that nominated and supported Dr. Harbell’s Lifetime Achievement Award include: Dr. Barbara Doonan, Dr. Cynthia Goodman, Dr. Brian Jones, Dr. Paul Price, Dr. Denry Sato, Dr. Sandra Schneider, Kenneth Kandaras, J.D., and Sue Leary. The International Foundation for Ethical Research and Alternatives Research & Development Foundations generously sponsored Dr. Harbell’s Lifetime Achievement award.

Submitted by
Sandra L Schneider, DrPH, EMBA

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