Martin L. Stephens Obituary

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Martin “Marty” L. Stephens, PhD, a thought leader in the field of humane science and animal alternatives, passed away at his home in Clarksburg, MD, on February 17, 2024. Throughout his esteemed career, Marty dedicated himself to the advancement of alternatives across research, education, and safety testing. His professional positions included Vice President of Animal Research Issues for the Humane Society of the United States, Founding Director of the Evidence-Based Toxicology Collaboration (EBTC), and Senior Research Associate at the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Outside of his professional roles, Marty Stephens was widely known for being a remarkably kind, committed, and curious person.

Marty’s worked extended well beyond scientific study to include legislation and animal advocacy initiatives. He played a crucial role in the National Research Council committee, driving governmental initiatives aimed at reducing the use of animals in toxicity testing and making instrumental contributions to the uptake and advancement of non-animal testing methodologies. Marty was not only a gifted scientist but also a skilled diplomat able to bring together scientists, activists, academics, and industry professionals to effect positive change in the pursuit of more humane science.

Among his many achievements, the Russell and Burch Award in 2014, which honored a lifelong commitment to advancing the 3Rs, specifically targeting industry and regulatory acceptance, stands out. Interestingly, Marty was the creator of this award and personally traveled to the United Kingdom to meet The Principles of Humane Experimental Technique authors William Russell and Rex Burch and request their permission to name the award after them. In doing so, he not only reconnected these two colleagues, who had lost touch, but introduced them to the profound impact their early work had had and prompted their enthusiastic engagement with the passionate community that had grown out of their seminal text.

Marty’s impact extends well beyond his professional achievements; he was a beloved figure in the field, admired for his gentle nature and unwavering commitment to the welfare of both humans and animals. An avid hiker, kayaker, biker, and birdwatcher, Marty found joy in the natural world he worked so tirelessly to protect.

As we mourn the loss of Marty Stephens, we also celebrate his extraordinary life and legacy. His work has undoubtably laid the foundation for more humane approaches in scientific research to flourish. Marty’s spirit, passion, and unyielding commitment to this cause will certainly continue to inspire those who choose to dedicate themselves to advancing a more humane world.

Marty will be remembered in a virtual seminar on April 17; see CAATfeed in this issue for more information. Marty will be honored as one of the first inductees into the newly created Hall of Honor announced in this issue of ALTEX. The Evidence-Based Toxicology Collaboration (EBTC) has announced it will dedicate a new award to the memory of Marty, see CAATfeed in this issue.

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“Martin L. Stephens Obituary” (2024) ALTEX - Alternatives to animal experimentation, 41(2). Available at: (Accessed: 29 May 2024).