Cell Viability, Proliferation and Toxicity Tests

Content & Learning Objective

What exactly are cell viability, cell proliferation, and cytotoxicity? Can toxicity be measured with a proliferation assay? These and other questions are answered in this course. You also learn to correctly use various detection systems and methods and find out more about their applications.

The theoretical part includes:

Basics of viability and vitality:

  • Relevant proliferation parameters
  • Review of commonly used colorimetric, fluorometric and luminometric detection methods

In the practical part, we then perform tests to determine:

  • Cell viability
  • Cell proliferation
  • Cytotoxicity
  • Cell death

The test results, as well as possible sources of error when performing assays and how to avoid them, are then discussed.

Target Group

Technical and scientific staff with or without prior knowledge of cell assays


Associate professor Dr. Rüdiger Arnold  teaches at the University of Heidelberg as a lecturer in several life science education programs. Dr. Arnold studied biology in Giessen and worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the Max - Planck - Institute of Physiology and Clinical Research in Bad Nauheim. Afterwards he joined the German Cancer Research Center and habilitated at the medical faculty of the Ruprecht-Karls - University of Heidelberg in immunology where he worked in the area of activation, differentiation, and apoptosis in leukocytes and lymphoma. Between 2011 and 2015 he headed the student research laboratory of the Heidelberg Life - Science Lab at the German Cancer Research Center.

Recommended advanced courses

Compact Lab Course on Apoptosis Assays; Bioassays