FRAME Life President and editor of its journal ATLA, Professor Michael Balls, has been chosen to receive the 2015 Björn Ekwall Memorial Award.
The Award honours the memory of Swedish researcher Björn Ekwall (pictured) by recognising scientists who have substantially contributed to the field of animal-free safety testing , for example by developing new in vitro tests, or via mechanistic or validation studies.
Professor Balls’s citation says: “In recognition of his pioneering work in promoting animal welfare and alternatives to animal testing. Professor Balls has significantly contributed to the field of in vitro toxicology by promoting the use of non-animal tests to replace and reduce animal experiments.”
The Award is worth SEK 20,000 (about £1,500) and is presented each year at the scientific workshop of the Scandinavian Society for Cell Toxicology, where the award winner delivers “The Björn Ekwall Memorial Lecture”.
Michael Balls studied zoology at Oxford University, where he graduated in 1960. After postdoctoral research at the University of California in Berkeley, USA, and Reed College, Portland, Oregon, USA, he lectured in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of East Anglia, Norwich. In 1975, he moved to the University of Nottingham Medical School, as Senior Lecturer in the Department of Human Morphology. In 1985, he became Reader in Medical Cell Biology, and in 1990 he was promoted to Professor of Medical Cell Biology. Since 1995, he has been an Emeritus Professor of the University of Nottingham.
In 1979, he became a Trustee of FRAME, and in 1981 became Chairman. During that time FRAME became a leading organisation in promoting alternatives to animal experimentation. He retired from the Trustees in 2013. Since 1983 he has been editor of Alternatives to Laboratory Animals (ATLA) FRAME’s scientific journal.
He was also head of ECVAM (European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods) from 1993 to 2002. He has received several awards for his work on laboratory animal welfare and alternatives to animal testing, including the Russell and Burch Award and the Marchig Animal Welfare Award. In 2002, he was appointed a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
His publications include numerous papers and articles, and in 2009, he published The Three Rs and the Humanity Criterion, an abridged version of the 1959 Principles of Humane Experimental Technique, by Russell and Burch that first set out the Three Rs principle of Replacement, Reduction and Refinement.
FRAME Trustee Dr Richard Clothier also won the Björn Ekwall Award in 2010.