Marcel Leist studied biochemistry in Tübingen (Germany), and then obtained an MSc in toxicology (Guildford 1989), a PhD in pharmacology (Konstanz 1993), and a habilitation in toxicology/cell biology (1998).
Since 2006, he has been head of the department of in vitro toxicology and biomedicine at the University of Konstanz (inaugurated by the Doerenkamp-Zbinden foundation), and director of the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing in Europe (CAAT-Europe), a joint venture with Johns-Hopkins University. Before that, Marcel Leist worked as ‘Head of Department of Disease Biology’ on the discovery of neurology and psychiatry drugs in the Danish pharmaceutical company Lundbeck A/S from 2000-2006.
The research of the department addresses stem cell differentiation to neuronal lineages as well as the pharmacological and toxicological characterization of test systems and in vitro disease models. The novel test methods are used both to reduce the use of animals in scientific research and to shift research applications towards the use of human cells. The lab is particularly well-known for its test methods for developmental toxicity and neurotoxicity.
The research output is documented by > 200 publications, cited over 15,000 times, and awarded with many national and international research prizes. This research experience is also used for a teaching program that offers courses in biochemistry (BSc), toxicology and pharmacology (BSc and MSc levels), human biology/disease biology (BSc and MSc levels) and new animal-free approaches in pharmacology and toxicology (MSc).
During leisure time, Marcel Leist loves to listen to audio books, and he may sometimes be observed jogging through a forest, clinging to a rock face or exploring the nearby alps or exotic countries with his family.