Updates from the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT)
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September 11, 2019

News and Updates from CAAT



EPA Awards Nearly $850,000 to Johns Hopkins CAAT to Advance Research on Alternatives to Animal Testing

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded $849,276 to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, as part of a total of $4.25 million in funding to five universities to research the development and use of alternative test methods and strategies that reduce, refine, and/or replace vertebrate animal testing. Furthering these efforts, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler signed a memo today titled, “Directive to Prioritize Efforts to Reduce Animal Testing.” 
“The memo directs the agency to aggressively reduce animal testing, including reducing mammal study requests and funding 30% by 2025 and completely eliminating them by 2035,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler.“ We are also awarding $4.25 million to advance the research and development of alternative test methods for evaluating the safety of chemicals that will minimize, and hopefully eliminate, the need for animal testing.”
“Johns Hopkins University has long been an important partner to EPA in conducting research to protect human health, as well as helping tackle global environmental challenges through their research and academic programs,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Cosmo Servidio“We congratulate the university for being selected to contribute to the field of research on alternatives to animal testing.”
“For nearly 40 years, the Johns Hopkins Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing’s mission has been to promote humane science and human-relevant, modern approaches in the field of toxicology and risk assessment. I’m glad to be part of the Center’s team and working in the field of alternatives for a decade,” said CAAT's Dr. Lena Smirnova.
Johns Hopkins University will use the grant to develop a test strategy based on a human cell-derived brain model to assess the mechanism by which environmental chemicals might cause developmental neurotoxicity and to screen the chemicals for their developmental neurotoxicity potency.
Administrator Wheeler has called for the agency to aggressively pursue a reduction in animal testing. The memo states, EPA will reduce its requests for, and funding of, mammal studies by 30% by 2025 and eliminate all mammal study requests and funding by 2035. Any mammal studies requested or funded by EPA after 2035 will require administrator approval on a case by case basis. It directs leadership and staff in the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention and the Office of Research and Development to prioritize ongoing efforts and to direct existing resources toward additional activities that will demonstrate measurable impacts in the reduction of animal testing while ensuring protection of human health and the environment. 
In accordance with the memo, EPA will hold an annual conference on new approach methods beginning in 2019. 
Read the full EPA memo here.

Related coverage: NPR, Science

WATCH ONLINE: Food Safety Symposium

Hosted by CAAT and The Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF)

This event, which took place September 5th, is now available to view online

Special guest speakers included: 
  • Bernhard Url (European Food and Safety Authority (EFSA)—Executive Director) (pictured above)
  • Marta Hugas (EFSA—Chief Scientist)
  • Martin Bloem (Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF)—Director)
  • Keeve Nachman (CLF—Director of Food Production and Public Health Program)
  • Thomas Hartung (CAAT—Director)
  • Katya Tsaioun (Evidence-based Toxicology Collaboration (EBTC)—Director)



60 Years of the 3Rs: Lessons Learned & the Road Ahead

November 22, 2019
The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Baltimore, MD

Join us as we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the publication of The Principles of Humane Experimental Technique by W. M. S. Russell and R. L. Burch. 

Draft Agenda:

60 years of 3Rs: Lessons Learned

10 am – Opening Remarks - Andrew Rowan
10:10 – 10:30 am - Julia Fentem
10:35 – 10:55 am - Roger Curren
11:00 – 11:20 am – Michael Balls
11:25 – 11:45 am – Horst Speilemann
11:50 – 12:10 pm – John Parascandola 
12:10 – 12:30 pm - Alan Goldberg
1pm – 2 pm Lunch

CAAT’s Role on 3Rs for the 21st Century

2:05 – 2:20 pm – Martin Stephens
2:25 – 2:40 pm – Katya Tsaioun
2:45 – 3:00 pm - Kathrin Herrmann
3:05 – 3:20 pm – Thomas Hartung

Looking Forward: The Future with 3Rs

3:25 pm - 4:20 pm - Guests to be Determined
5:00 pm - Reception

We will have an exciting roster of the biggest names in the history of alternatives, celebrating at the accomplishments of the past and forward to the breakthroughs of the future—look for details in an upcoming CAATwalk, but be sure to save the date now!




Next Generation Humane Science Award Winner: Danielle Ireland

Danielle Ireland, of the Department of Biology, Swarthmore College, is the recipient CAAT's 2019 Next Generation Humane Science Award. 

This award is presented annually to young scientists to acknowledge and encourage researchers who focus on replacing animal experiments.

Please join us in congratulating Danielle!

More: Next Generation Humane Science Award

5th International Conference on Developmental Neurotoxicity (DNT) Testing (DNT5)

April 6-8, 2020
Konstanz, Germany

The effects of chemical exposure on the susceptible developing human nervous system can cause severe lasting neurological deficits. 

This conference will bring together diverse stakeholders from around the globe, including research scientists, regulators, industry representatives, academics, and pediatricians to discuss the actions to take for: 

  • improving the development of time- efficient and human-relevant predictive in vitro DNT methods, and;
  • boosting their use in the risk assessment regulatory decision-making process.


QSAR 2020: From QSAR to New Approach Methodologies

June 8-10, 2020
Durham, NC

The 19th International Workshop on (Quantitative) Structure-Activity Relationships in Environmental and Health Sciences (QSAR2020) will take place on June 8-11, 2020 at the Durham Convention Centre, Durham, NC, U.S. QSAR2020 aims to broaden its scope from QSARs underpinned by traditional (eco)toxicity data to New Approach Methodologies (NAM). NAM is a broadly descriptive term for any non-animal technology, methodology or approach or combination thereof that can be used to provide information on chemical hazard and risk assessment.To that end, we are collaborating with International Council of Chemical Associations' Long-Range Research Initiative (ICCA-LRI) and American Society of Cellular Computational and Toxicology (ASCCT) to widen outreach to interested stakeholders.
This workshop aims to bring together scientists from around the world along with developers and users of predictive models and their underlying data, to foster discussion and debate around the practical implementation of these approaches. QSAR2020 will focus on answering questions such as:
  • How should we view and account for the assumptions of the traditional toxicity data in risk/safety assessment?
  • How should we be applying and interpreting NAM data?
  • How should we be benchmarking the performance and characterising both confidence and uncertainty of new predictive models?
  • How can the level of curation of data used to build predictive models be made explicit?
  • What are the short and long-term research and development needs? 
The Workshop will include:
  • Confirmed Keynote speakers: Dr. Rusty Thomas, US Environmental Protection Agency and Professor Mark Cronin, Liverpool John Moores University, UK
  • Three Travel awards for students/postdocs available courtesy of ICCA-LRI
  • An optional ½ day hands training session on specific computational tools will take place on the 11th June.  
  • Poster presentation and exhibiting opportunities
  • Opportunities for networking and social activities
Further information can be found at


Submission deadline: 15th December 2019
The Program Committee invites submission of abstracts of original work. Abstracts can be submitted for consideration of an oral/poster presentation in one or more of the following themes:
  • Application of New Approach Methodologies (NAM) including QSARs for regulatory purposes (risk-based prioritization, risk assessment) 
  • Thresholds for Toxicological Concern
  • Cheminformatic approaches to employ ‘big data’ including data curation
  • Development, Evaluation and Application of QSARs to fill data gaps including complex toxicological endpoints such as reproductive toxicity
  • Progress and barriers in the 3 Rs e.g. Replacement of 6 pack acute tests
  • Case studies of how QSARs have been used for ICH-M7
  • Adverse Outcome Pathways, Integrated Testing and Assessment Approaches (IATA) and Defined Approaches 
  • Complex substances (UVCBs, PFAS) and emerging issues
  • Quantifying uncertainty in model development and the underlying data
  • Biological activity profiling using high throughput screening data and high content data (e.g. high throughput transcriptomics, high throughput phenotypic profiling)
  • Read-across approaches -transitioning from expert driven assessments to algorithmic approaches for regulatory purposes
  • Green Chemistry
  • Non-targeted and suspect screening approaches to characterise exposure  
Submit abstracts online at www.qsar2020.orgpaying special attention to the instructions provided. Presenters can indicate preference for an oral or poster presentation and up to two theme categories. Presenters will have the opportunity to contribute a manuscript to a special issue of Computational Toxicology. Instructions will be sent to presenters in 2020.
Important Dates
Deadline for abstract submission: 15th December 2019
Notification of abstract acceptance: February 2020
Early bird registration deadline: 1st April 2020
Deadline for manuscript submission: 20th June 2020
For general enquiries regarding QSAR2020, please contact
For sponsorship enquiries regarding QSAR2020, please contact with the subject heading QSAR2020
Hosts: Grace Patlewicz, US EPA, Kristie Sullivan, ASCCT, Richard A. Becker, ICCA-LRI

11th World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences 2020 (WC11)

Stay updated via the official website and subscribe to the official WC11 newsletter for important news and developments.


Best wishes from all of us,

The CAAT Team


hand holding centrifuge tubes

Upcoming Events

FDA Public Workshop on Predictive Toxicology Roadmap
September 17, 2019
Online Webinar

ASCCT/ESTIV Webinar: Nerve-on-a-Chip Platform for Assessing Chemotherapy-induced Peripheral Neuropathy
September 17, 2019

8th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Cellular and Computational Toxicology
September 25-26th, 2019
Gaithersburg, MD

ALTERTOX Academy Training:
PBPK Modeling and Quantitative In Vitro-In Vivo Extrapolation
October 3-4, 2019
Wageningen, Netherlands

Linz 2019/EUSAAT 2019
October 10-13, 2019
Linz, Austria

ALTERTOX Academy Training:
Novel In Silico Models for Assessment of Cosmetics
October 17-18, 2019
Milan, Italy

ALTERTOX Academy Training:
Good In Vitro Methods in Practice
November 6-7, 2019
Gothenburg, Sweden

ALTERTOX Academy Training:
In Vitro Lung Models
November 14-15, 2019
Geneva, Switzerland

ALTERTOX Academy Training:
Acute and Chronic Cardiotoxicity: CiPA (In Silico & In Vitro) Assays
November 14-15, 2019
Leiden, The Netherlands

ACT 2019 Annual Meeting
November 17-20, 2019
Phoenix, Arizona

ALTERTOX Academy Training:
Irritation Oculaire In Vitro
November 21, 2019
Lyon, France

ALTERTOX Academy Training:
Skin Sensitization
November 21-22, 2019
Trier, Germany

60 Years of the 3Rs: Lessons Learned & the Road Ahead
November 22, 2019
Baltimore, MD
Practical Methods for In Vitro Toxicology
January 13-16, 2020
Gaithersburg, MD

ESTIV Applied In Vitro Training Course
April 5-10, 2020

5th International Conference on Alternatives for Developmental Neurotoxicity (DNT) Testing
April 6-8, 2020
Konstanz, Germany

3Rs Symposium: Practical Solutions and Success Stories
June4-5, 2020
USDA National Agricultural Library
Washington, DC

QSAR 2020: From QSAR to New Approach Methodologies
June 8-10, 2020
Durham, NC

ESTIV 2020
June 8-11, 2020
Full Listing of CAAT Programs
and Activities



Copyright © 2019 Johns Hopkins Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing, All rights reserved.

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Phone: 410-614-4990 • Fax: 410-614-2871

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Phone: +49-531-882233 • Fax: +49-7531-884156