IIVS Team

The IIVS team of study directors, biologists, quality assurance and client services professionals is committed to providing more than just testing services for our clients. Our staff members actively engage in the field — participating in societies and committees to keep up to date on regulations and best practices.

Whether you have questions about how to implement in vitro assays or if you would like to attend one of our training sessions, our team is ready to help.

Study Directors

Allison Hilberer, MS, DABT

Senior Toxicologist
Study Director, Photosafety, Ocular & Dermal Assessment
Allison Hiberer

Allison joined IIVS in 2004 as a Biologist I and is now part of our team of Study Directors. Allison’s primary area of focus is the photosafety programs at IIVS. She also oversees ocular and dermal safety assays, as well as specialized 96-well based assays such as the Short Time Exposure (STE) assay.

Allison is dedicated to our international training workshops, and has provided training on alternative safety methods in Brazil, China, and Vietnam. She continues to interact with colleagues who are looking to implement or are using in vitro  in their laboratories.

Allison earned her Master’s Degree in Biology from George Mason University in 2011, and received certification as a Diplomate of the American Board of Toxicology (DABT) in 2016.

Allison’s CV

Argel Islas-Robles, PhD

Toxicologist II
Study Director, Ocular & Dermal Assessment

Dr. Argel Islas-Robles joined the IIVS team in 2019 to serve as Toxicologist I/Study Director for the assessment of ocular toxicology and nociception. Dr. Islas-Robles’ main focus is the development of toxicology commercial and research projects using test systems based on in vitro three dimensional (3D) models.

His expertise includes the development of a 3D multi-compartment organ-on-a-chip platform for the in vitro assessment of metabolite-induced toxicity. Additionally, he has participated in multiple projects aiming to understand the molecular mechanism of toxicity induced by metabolites of hydroquinone.

Dr. Islas-Robles obtained his Ph.D. in Pharmacology and Toxicology from The University of Arizona, and a Bachelor’s degree in Biopharmaceutical Chemistry from the University of Guanajuato (Mexico). He has presented various posters, and authored several manuscripts published in highly ranked peer-reviewed toxicology journals. Dr. Islas-Robles is an active member of the Society of Toxicology, and the Hispanic Organization of Toxicologists.

Dr. Islas-Robles’s CV

Dr. Careen Khachatoorian, PhD

Toxicologist I
Study Director

Dr. Careen Khachatoorian joined the IIVS team in 2021 to serve as Toxicologist I/Study Director for the assessment of ocular toxicology. Dr. Khachatoorian’s main focus is the development of toxicology-based commercial and research projects using test systems based on in vitro three dimensional (3D) models.

She has participated in multiple projects identifying chemicals in electronic cigarette exhaled aerosol residue (ECEAR) and aiming to understand the molecular mechanism of toxicity induced by electronic cigarette refill fluids and ECEAR to the Epiderm™.

Dr. Khachatoorian obtained her Ph.D. in Cell, Molecular, and Developmental Biology from The University of California, Riverside, and a Bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology with a minor in Chemistry from California State University, Northridge. She has presented various posters, and authored several manuscripts published in highly ranked peer-reviewed tobacco and toxicology journals. Dr. Khachatoorian is an active member of the Society of Toxicology holding various leadership roles in the dermal toxicology specialty section. She is also an active member of the Armenian Engineers and Scientists of America.

Dr. Careen Khachatoorian’s CV

Vivek Patel, PhD

Toxicologist II
Study Director, Respiratory Toxicology

Dr. Vivek Patel joined IIVS as Toxicologist I/Study Director, bringing his expertise in inhalation toxicology and immunotoxicology to the Respiratory Toxicology team. He leads the laboratory efforts for client studies and oversees the in vitro method and assay development programs, so that new or existing in vitro assays become useful tools for industrial safety or efficacy programs.

Dr. Patel got his Bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy from North Maharashtra University (India), and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Toxicology from St. John’s University, NY. He worked as a postdoctoral fellow at University of Tennessee and Louisiana State University, where he conducted research on particulate matter air pollution associated respiratory toxicity and its effects on lower respiratory tract infections.

Dr. Patel’s CV

Elizabeth Willier, M.S.

Toxicologist I
Study Director, Ocular & Dermal Assessment

Elizabeth joined IIVS in 2021 as a Toxicologist I/Study Director and was formerly employed by IIVS as a Biologist. Her experience as a Biologist allowed her to gain experience on a variety of assays, and her primary focus is in the dermal safety assays. 

Elizabeth has participated in projects through IIVS designed to research or improve different assay systems. Her work has been featured on posters and she has participated in training through internal workshops.

Elizabeth earned her Master’s Degree in Applied Biology from Salisbury University in 2013.

Elizabeth’s CV

Nathan Wilt, BS

Nathan Wilte

Senior Toxicologist
Study Director, Ocular & Dermal Assessment

Nathan serves as Toxicologist and Study Director for our Ocular and Dermal Assay Systems, including the EpiOcular™, BCOP and Corrositex™ assays.

Nathan joined IIVS in 2001 as a Biologist and quickly learned and worked with multiple assay systems before taking on the role as lab manager, and ultimately Toxicologist and Study Director.

Nathan has contributed to multiple posters and manuscripts for his work. He has also been one of the primary leaders for our international training workshops, contributing to training programs in Brazil, Vietnam, Japan, and China.

Nathan graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in Biology.

Nathan’s CV

Management

Rodger D. Curren, PhD

Rodger D. CurrenChief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board

Dr. Rodger Curren co-founded IIVS and currently serves as CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors.

After more than 10 years of specializing in genetic toxicology and chemical carcinogenesis, Dr. Rodger D. Curren created an In Vitro Toxicology Division as part of the contract research organization Microbiological Associates (now BioReliance) in 1988. This activity was subsequently incorporated as its own non-profit Institute, the Institute for In Vitro Sciences, Inc. (IIVS) in 1997. The goal was — and still is — to provide educational and laboratory-based resources for non-animal safety testing to industry, government, and animal welfare organizations, as well as the general public.

In addition to Dr. Curren’s work with IIVS, he serves on many national and international committees and science advisory boards of organizations focused on the development, validation, and practical use of alternative methods to whole animal testing. Among other activities, he is past president of the American Society for Cellular and Computational Toxicology (ASCCT), and a former member of both the Scientific Advisory Committee for the European Center for the Validation of Alternative Methods (ECVAM) and the Scientific Advisory Committee for Alternative Toxicological Methods in the U.S. He currently serves on the Advisory Boards of the Center for Responsible Science and the International Foundation for Ethical Research.

Dr. Curren’s efforts in optimizing and promoting new alternative methods have earned him several honors in the in vitro field, including the Russell and Burch Award, the Bjorn Ekwall Memorial award, and the William and Eleanor Cave award for outstanding achievements in the development, validation and advancement of humane alternatives for product testing.

Dr. Curren received his B.S. (Biology) from Purdue University, followed by an M.S. from Ohio University and a Ph.D. in microbial genetics from the Institute of Microbiology at Rutgers University. His post-doctoral work (human cell mutagenesis and DNA repair) was conducted at the Michigan Cancer Foundation and Michigan State University.

Erin H. Hill

Erin H. HillPresident

Ms. Hill co-founded IIVS in 1997 with Dr. Rodger Curren where she is currently President and a member of the Board of Directors. As President, Ms. Hill is responsible for planning, directing and coordinating activities to achieve IIVS’ mission of increasing the use and acceptance of in vitro methods. She also interacts with other groups, both domestic and international, who are involved the advancement of non-animal alternative methods with the intent of coordinating efforts leading to the regulatory acceptance of these methods.

Prior to co-founding IIVS, Ms. Hill worked for a tissue engineering company (Advanced Tissue Sciences) where she assisted with the marketing and sales of 3-Dimensional human skin constructs to the personal care and household products market. Ms. Hill then expanded her interest in in vitro methods during work for a developer of hollow fiber bioreactors for the production of mono clonal anti-bodies. In 1995 she joined the In Vitro Toxicology Unit at Microbiological Associates with Dr. Rodger Curren.

In 2010 Erin co-founded the American Society for Cellular and Computation Toxicology (ASCCT) where she serves as Treasurer. She is also a board member of the In Vitro Testing Industrial Platform. Erin received her bachelor’s degree in 1990 in Cell Biology and Biochemistry from the University of California, San Diego.

Hans A. Raabe, MS

Hans RaabeChief Operating Officer and Treasurer

As Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Raabe is responsible for the development, design, operation and improvement of the systems that create and deliver in vitro testing services. Mr. Raabe has served as an expert on several OECD Test Guideline panels, has been an invited presenter at ICCVAM Workshops and review panels, and has participated in multiple ECVAM and ICCVAM validation studies.

Mr. Raabe joined the newly-formed IIVS in 1997 as Study Director for GLP-compliant ocular and dermal irritation assays. Prior to joining IIVS, Mr. Raabe worked for Microbiological Associates, Inc. (now BioReliance Corp.) in the Genetic Toxicology Division where he conducted and supervised in vitro and in vivo toxicity and DNA damage detection assays.

His research interests include modeling ocular and dermal irritation and wound healing events in vitro using complex 3-D tissue constructs and ex vivo tissues. He has been an SOT member since 2008.

Mr. Raabe received his BS degree in Zoology from the University of Maryland in 1984 and a MS in Biotechnology Management at the University of Maryland, University College in 1996.

Amanda K. Ulrey, RQAP-GLP

Vice President, Business Operations

Ms. Ulrey previously served as Director of Quality and Compliance for IIVS, assuming responsibility for instituting and fostering a culture of quality management and compliance throughout the organization. She provides leadership, training, and oversight of the Quality Assurance Unit, and institutes and maintains policies and procedures for regulatory compliance and organizational quality management.

Ms. Ulrey is a member of the Society of Quality Assurance (where she is currently a member of the Mentoring Program Committee, Computer Validation Initiative Committee, and GLP Specialty Section) and the American Society for Quality. She has given several presentations and authored posters on the topics of the application of GLPs to in vitro studies and the importance of supplier qualification programs.

Holger P. Behrsing, PhD

Principal Scientist
Director – Respiratory Toxicology

Bringing 20 years of experience in in vitro toxicology and expertise in the use of models for pulmonary toxicology, Dr. Behrsing conducts and oversees IIVS laboratory studies, as well as teaches and serves as an industry resource for workshops, webinars, and other educational activities. He serves as the Principal Investigator for the respiratory toxicology workshop series.

Dr. Behrsing attended the University of California at Santa Barbara for his undergraduate degree, majoring in both Biology and German Studies. He completed his Doctoral degree in Pharmacology and Toxicology at University of California Davis. He has spoken at internationally-recognized meetings and has experience with numerous in vitro and ex vivo models systems, with a well-documented background in the use of pulmonary models.

Dr. Behrsing’s CV

Gertrude-Emilia Costin, PhD, MBA, ATS, ERT

Director of Laboratory Services
Study Director, Dermal Safety & Efficacy Assessment

Dr. Costin joined IIVS in 2007 and currently oversees a wide range of safety and efficacy commercial studies and research projects using in vitro testing strategies. Her primary area of expertise is in the use of in vitro test methods for the dermal safety assessment of ingredients and final formulations manufactured by cosmetic, personal care or pharmaceutical industry, or products to be registered under US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). She also specializes in the use of non-animal methods to address the safety assessment of feminine care products or medical devices registered under the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In addition, Dr. Costin promotes the use of in vitro efficacy assays to support anti-inflammatory or skin lightening claims of actives or finished products.

Dr. Costin is heavily involved with IIVS educational workshops on non-animal research and in vitro assay systems. In addition, she is the coordinator of the review process for the Alternatives Research Grants, awarded annually by the Alternative Research and Development Fund (ARDF), serves as Board member and Newsletter Editor for the National Capital Area Chapter of Society of Toxicology (NCAC-SOT) and the PanAmerican Society for Pigment Cell Research (PASPCR), and is a Board Council member of the American Society for Cellular and Computational Toxicology (ASCCT).

Dr. Costin received her PhD (Cum laude) from the Institute of Biochemistry of the Romanian Academy, followed by postdoctoral training at the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health (NIH). Prior to joining IIVS, Dr. Costin worked as Senior Research Scientist for Avon Products, Inc. – Global R&D.

Dr. Costin’s CV

Brent Gilbert, M.Tox, MBA

Brent Gilbert, M.Tox, MBA – Business Development Manager

Mr. Gilbert joined IIVS in 2017 as our Business Development Manager bringing with him more than 15 years of experience working with Contract Research Organizations. Twelve of those years have been spent in the field of in vitro toxicology. Brent has worked with clients in the US ranging in size from small start-up organizations to Fortune 100 companies and has also established himself with a broad international client base as well.

Brent received his B.S. in Microbiology with a certificate in Biotechnology from the University of Rochester, an MBA from the University of Delaware and a Master of Toxicology from North Carolina State University. Brent is an Associate Member of the Society of Toxicology and maintains business-level proficiency in German.

G. Frank Gerberick, PhD

Chief Scientific Advisor

Dr. G. Frank Gerberick is an independent consultant and owner of GF3 Consultancy, LLC. He was employed at the Procter & Gamble Company from 1986 – 2018. Prior to joining P&G, he was a postdoctoral fellow at The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine working in the field of pulmonary immunology. While at P&G, Dr. Gerberick focused his career working in the field of dermatotoxicology. In 2004, he was appointed to the Procter & Gamble Victor Mills Society which is the highest technical honor for P&G scientists.

Dr. Gerberick’s primary research focus has been in the field of skin allergy, although he has also been active in the field of phototoxicology.He has over 175 publications and has co-authored a book entitled Toxicology of Contact Dermatitis. His laboratory’s research was focused primarily on elucidating the chemical, cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying skin allergy in hope of developing in vitro test methods for skin sensitization testing.

Dr. Gerberick was also active in research efforts in the area of respiratory allergy and understanding the role of the microbiome in human health. In the past, his laboratory was actively involved in the development and validation of the LLNA. For his effort, he was a co-recipient of two prestigious international awards: the SmithKline Beecham Laboratory Animal Welfare Prize and the Society of Toxicology’s Animal Welfare Award. He was also awarded the William and Elenor Cave Award and Lush Black Box Prize for advancing skin sensitization alternatives.

The Direct Peptide Reactivity Assay developed in Dr. Gerberick’s laboratory has been successfully evaluated by the European Union Reference Laboratory for Alternatives to Animal Testing and adopted as OECD test guideline. Finally, he was selected as the 2017 Alexander A. Fisher Lecturer which is the highest honor given by the American Contact Dermatitis Society.

Board of Directors

Rodger D. Curren, PhD
Chairman of the Board

Erin H. Hill
President

Hans A. Raabe, MS
Chief Operating Officer and Treasurer

Jack Fowle

Dr. John R. “Jack” Fowle III is the principal of Science to Inform, LLC, serving as an independent consultant advising clients on the use of science to inform decisions regarding environmental risk and in the development and use of alternatives for animal testing.

Prior to 2012, he was the Deputy Director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Health Effects Division in the Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) in Washington, DC. He was responsible for directing the health risk assessment activities supporting the re-registration of existing pesticides as well as managed the integration of new toxicological approaches into OPP’s human health risk assessments.  Before OPP, he was Director of EPA’s Neurotoxicology Division, as well as Assistant Laboratory Director, at the National Health and Environmental Effects Research Lab (NHEERL) in Research Triangle Park, NC helping to develop alternatives to animal approaches and to establish the Agency’s computational toxicology program. He has served as Deputy Director of EPA’s Science Advisory Board and as the Science Advisor to U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

Since retiring from EPA, he serves on the Board of Directors for the Institute of In Vitro Sciences in Gaithersburg, MD, is President of the Board of Trustees for the Evidence Based Toxicology Collaboration at Johns Hopkins University and a member of the Board of Directors for the Center for Alternative Animal Testing also at Johns Hopkins University.  He is President of the American Society for Cellular and Computational Toxicology as well as Past President of the Society of Toxicology’s In Vitro and Alternative Methods Specialty section. He received his baccalaureate and doctoral degrees in genetics from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and he is a board certified toxicologist.

A. Wallace Hayes

A. Wallace HayesDr. Hayes holds appointments at Spherix Consulting, Harvard University, Michigan State University and University of Massachusetts. Previous positions include Vice-President at the Gillette Company and RJR Nabisco, and Director at Rohm & Haas, a specialty chemical manufacturer. Dr. Hayes was also a professor at Alabama, Mississippi and Wake Forest Universities. Dr. Hayes currently serves on the FDA Food Committee and is registered toxicologist in EU and certified nutrition specialist.

Throughout his career, Dr. Hayes has served on numerous boards and committees, including the NAS, NIH, FDA, EPS and DOD. He is past Secretary-General of IUTOX, past treasurer of American Board of Toxicology, past president of the American College of Toxicology, the Toxicology Education Foundation, the Academy of Toxicological Sciences and past councilor of Society of Toxicology. He is diplomate of the American Board of Toxicology, the Academy of Toxicological Sciences, the American Board of Forensic Medicine, the American Board of Forensic Examiners, and Fellow of the Academy of Toxicological Sciences, the Royal Society of Biology, the American College of Forensic Examiners, and the American College of Nutrition.

Dr. Hayes has authored 260 peer reviewed publications, and was editor of Hayes’ Principles and Methods of Toxicology, Human and Experimental Toxicology, Cutaneous and Ocular Toxicology, Toxicology Research and Application, and editor emeritus for Food and Chemical Toxicology.

Well recognized in the field, Dr. Hayes has received many industry awards, including the Society of Toxicology Merit Award, the Mid-Atlantic Society of Toxicology Ambassador Award, the American College of Toxicology Distinguished Scientist Award, and the International Dose-Response Society Outstanding Leadership Award. Dr. Hayes was named a Distinguished Fellow by the American College of Toxicology and a Fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Dr. Hayes holds degrees from Auburn University and Emory University, was NSF Fellow at Auburn, NIH Individual Fellow at Vanderbilt, NATO Senior Scientist in UK, and NIH Research Career Development Awardee.

James Hoffman

James HoffmanJames M. Hoffman, Esq., a 15 year member of the IIVS Board of Directors, filed the original documents to establish IIVS as a legal entity in the State of Maryland as well as prepared the documentation with the Internal Revenue Service for IIVS to hold its 501(c)(3) status. Mr. Hoffman is a business attorney who represents various types of closely held entities. As such, he has represented clients in purchases and sales of assets and businesses, leases, contractual matters, employment issues and day to day operational issues for clients. He also has a broad range of experience in litigation including complex commercial litigation, bankruptcy issues, intellectual property disputes and collection actions in state court and Bankruptcy Court. Mr. Hoffman received his J.D. from the University of Maryland in 1985, and he is licensed to practice law in Maryland and the District of Columbia.

Richard Kouri

Richard KouriDr. Richard E. Kouri is the Chief Evangelist, Center for Innovation Management Studies, and Adjunct Professor, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (Biotechnology and Genetics), and the College of Engineering (Biomedical Engineering), North Carolina State University (NCSU). He is a Principal at CIMSLogic, Inc. He recently retired as Professor and Executive Director of the BioSciences Management program, Jenkins Graduate School of Management, NCSU. Dr. Kouri helps companies working in the life sciences to learn and practice innovation management; of special interest is the use of big data analytics to inform decision-making. He has helped co-found eleven start-up companies; with three going on to their IPO and three being acquired. Dr. Kouri has helped raise over $221M in private capital for these companies and has written and has been awarded over $24M in research funds including $4.5M in Small Business Innovation Research grants. The value of the six companies that have had exits to date totaled $775M.

Dr. Kouri received the BS degree (Microbiology) from Ohio State University, MS and Ph.D. degrees (Radiation Biology) from the University of Tennessee and was a fellow at Hoffman-LaRoche Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Kouri is an author of 109 publications, 62 abstracts, six patents and four books.