Updates from the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT)
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February 13, 2020

News and Updates from CAAT


TODAY! Paul Locke Featured Speaker at Briefing on The HEARTs Act: Advancing Humane Science in NIH Funded Research

Washington, DC
2043 Rayburn HOB
9:30am - 10:30am
Thursday, February 13, 2020

In conjunction with Representatives Lucille Roybal-Allard and Ken Calvert, Cruelty Free International, invites you to attend a briefing on legislation that encourages the use of existing, humane, and effective alternatives to animals in experiments funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). 

Currently, the NIH spends at least $12 billion a year on animal testing, but research shows that the return on investment is often low, and the results inaccurate. NIH reports that approximately 30 percent of promising medications have failed in human clinical studies despite promising pre-clinical studies in animal models. Prioritizing the use of non-animal methods in taxpayer-funded research could improve the cost efficacy of our federal research investment and spare thousands of animals from pain, suffering and death. 

To RSVP or for more information, please contact Monica Engebretson at (reservations not required to attend) 

CAAT and EBTC at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting

Bioinformatics and AI: Innovative Approaches to Research and Data Storage

Friday, February 14, 2020
Seattle, WA

The challenges of maintaining population health in a rapidly-changing environment are evolving faster than researchers can respond. Climate change, shifting disease patterns, population demographics, and environmental pollution present multiple interacting threats which require urgent, evidence-based responses. However, traditional models of research conduct, publication, and analysis can take years to provide policy-makers with decision-critical information.

This symposium presents three expert perspectives on how the AI revolution in bioinformatics is transforming our conception of how scientific research should be stored, published and accessed. They describe how next-generation knowledge systems will optimize the use of existing scientific data, vastly increasing the accessibility of scientific evidence for the development of effective health policy.

Session participants will learn about the following themes: how social media platforms and AI could revolutionize research and data storage; how big data allows scientists to better-anticipate health risks posed by an increasingly polluted environment, and an introduction to an in silico biological system for developing and testing medical treatments.

Information and Registration

Green Toxicology

Friday, February 14, 2020
Seattle, WA

The Green Chemistry revolution, which seeks to design chemical products and manufacturing processes that substantially reduce or eliminate hazardous substances, has made enormous strides in motivating chemists to focus their efforts on benign-by-design. However, while chemists are using the principles of Green Chemistry to design 21st century materials, safety is still being determined based on toxicology tests that were created in the early 20th century. Chemists cannot design safer chemicals without toxicologists, but toxicologists cannot use the old tools of 20th century toxicology for benign design. 

Green Toxicology seeks to develop new tools to make toxicology part of the research and development process, from improved in vitro assays based on human tissues to advanced, AI-driven in silico methods that can rapidly establish a hazard, often based on structure alone, and provide chemists with a clear link between molecular structure and toxic outcomes in a way that is useful to a synthetic chemist and allows them to correct for undesired human health and environmental effects. Equally important, Green Toxicology seeks to establish a culture where toxicologists and chemists working together, since safer chemicals cannot happen without this collaboration.

Information and Registration

CAAT Satellite Meeting at Society of Toxicology Annual Meeting

March 19, 2020
Anaheim Convention Center
Anaheim, California 
Sponsored by CAAT and the Human Toxicology Project Consortium

Join CAAT and the Human Toxicology Project Consortium (HTPC) for our annual satellite meeting on advancing 21st century toxicology activities. The satellite meeting provides an informal setting in which interested stakeholders can update each other on this important topic. 
The meeting will feature a number of invited presentations but also leave time for an open microphone segment in which participants are welcome to make announcements or to comment on germane topics, with or without a few slides. Full details and registration information will be forthcoming.

Registration and Information

Other CAAT Activities at SOT

More details on the SOT program page


8am - 10:45am
Helena Hogberg
Oligodendrocytes/Schwann Cells: Major Targets in Neurotoxicity and Neurological Diseases
CC Room 303C

10:05am - 10:35am
Isobel Scarisbrick (Mayo Clinic), CAAT Collaborator
Discovery of New Therapeutic Targets for Myelin Regeneration Using Murine and Human Models
CC Roon 303C

11am -12:20pm
Thomas Hartung
Mechanistic Read-Across of Chemical Toxicants Based on Big Data
CC Room 204B

11:10am - 11:20am
Thomas Hartung
Artificial Intelligence: A New Kid on the Block of Toxicology
CC Room 204B


8am - 10:45am
Lena Smirnova
Cellular Recovery and Resilience: A New Perspective on Toxicity Testing
CC Ballroom D

10:45am -12:30pm
Vy Tran
Poster: How Complete Is Our Map of the Human Toxome? Functionally Enigmatic Genes as Targets of Chemical Perturbations
Abstract Number/Poster Board number: 2007/ P324
CC Exhibit Hall

1:30pm - 4:15pm
Katya Tsaioun (EBTC), co-chair
Mechanisms and Multiple Exposures: Methods to Tackle Toxicology's Most Difficult Challenges Using Systematic Review Frameworks
CC Ballroom C

Katya Tsaioun
Mechanistic Safety Tests in Decision-Making in the Absence of Human Data: Using a Systematic Review Framework

Daniele Wikoff (ToxStrategies, In., EBTC Scientific Board)
Case Study Applications in the Identification, Assessment, and Integration of Mechanistic Evidence in Human Health Assessments: Consideration of Exposure in Developing Weight of Evidence Conclusions


Speaker for Fenna Sille (TBD)
How Sex-Specific Arsenic Immunomodulation Influences Infectious Disease and Cancer Risk
CC Room 304C

Abstract submission is now open—apply to participate with a poster or speed talk!

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

April 5-8, 2020
Konstanz, Germany

submission deadline has been postponed to the 15th of March! We invite you to apply to participate at the conference with a poster or speed talk!

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.

Invitation to the Satellite Workshop "Rodent thyroid toxicity and potential adverse child neurodevelopment"

Hosted by ECETOC (European Centre for Ecotoxicology and Toxicology of Chemicals)
Sunday, April 5th, 2020
14:00 – 17:00 (Meeting starts with Lunch served at 13:00)
Konzil-Konstanz, Untersaal

Panel discussion: What are the key experimental data needed to determine if liver enzyme induced thyroid toxicity could result in adverse human neurodevelopment?
More details on the event’s website.


7th Annual Symposium: 3Rs: Practical Solutions and Success Stories (formerly Social Housing Symposium)

June 4-5, 2020
USDA National Agricultural Library 
Beltsville, MD

The 7th Annual 3Rs symposium, co-hosted by the USDA Animal Welfare Information Center (AWIC), NIH Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW), the Johns Hopkins Department of Molecular and Comparative Pathobiology, and the Johns Hopkins Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT), will be held June 4-5, 2020 in Beltsville, Maryland. The goal of this year’s symposium is to bring together experts in replacement, reduction, and refinement of animal experimentation to exchange information with scientists, IACUC members, veterinarians, and animal care technicians about practical solutions and recent success stories to reduce the use of animals in research and improve their welfare.

The format includes 1.5 days of lectures and panel discussions with interactive breakout sessions in the afternoon on day two. These lectures give participants a strong foundation in the relevant research underlying breakthroughs in the 3Rs, while the breakout sessions allow participants to receive feedback specific to their own facilities from experts and colleagues. A half-day tour of labs and research centers at the Agricultural Research Service is planned for June 3, 2020 as an optional pre-symposium event.


Summer School on Innovative Approaches in Science

Deadline Extended to May 22, 2020! Apply Now to Reserve a Space!

June 22-25, 2020
Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health
Baltimore, MD

Hosted by CAAT, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, and The European Commission Joint Research Centre

Calling all students and early-career scientists interested in innovative approaches in toxicology and biomedical sciences

In response to a growing need to be conversant in innovative approaches in toxicology and biomedical sciences, this Summer School will share knowledge and experience with a new generation of scientists on research and testing methods. The program will highlight modern alternatives to the use of animals—including in vitro and computational modeling—in toxicology and biomedical sciences. The state of scientific research will be explored through lectures and discussion.

The Summer School will be separated into two tracks: toxicology and biomedical science. The program will combine lectures from experts in the field of toxicology and biomedical science with interactive sessions to encourage discussion and facilitate networking among participants.

This program will offer:

  • Information about modern alternatives to the use of animals in toxicology and biomedical sciences
  • Diverse presentations from all major stakeholders
  • Opportunity to present your work at a poster session
  • Welcome and networking reception dinners
  • Laboratory visits
  • Travel awards and more
Who can participate?

This Summer School is geared towards students and early-career scientists who are interested in working with non-animal approaches and their application in various fields such as toxicology and biomedical science.

The program will incorporate a variety of sessions including joint and track specific lectures. Students and early-career researchers can choose to apply to either the toxicology or the biomedical science track.

In general the toxicology track is designed for post-graduate students and early-career scientists and the biomedical science track may be of interest for undergraduate students through early-career scientists.


No registration fee will be charged. Participants will need to cover the costs of their travel, accommodation, and daily subsistence.

Full Details

Downloadable Flyer (PDF) - Please print and share!



Deadline for abstract submissions has been extended to February 15, 2020. Details and Registration


HSUS Soliciting Nominations for 2020 Russell and Burch Award

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is once again soliciting nominations for the Russell and Burch award. The 2020 award will be presented at the 11th World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences, which takes place on August 23 to 27 in Maastricht, the Netherlands. HSUS welcomes nominations of scientists who have made outstanding contributions to the advancement of alternative methods in the areas of research, testing or higher education for the Russell and Burch Award. The award is named in honor of William Russelland Rex Burch, the scientists who formulated the Three Rs approach of replacement, reduction and refinement. The award recognizes those who have played an important role in limiting the use and suffering of animals in laboratories.

If you would like to nominate a scientist to be considered for the 2020 Russell and Burch award, please read this web announcement for details on how to do so. All nominations should be submitted by April 10th, 2020


Program Available for 11th World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences

the program for the 11th World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences (WC11) which will be held from August 23-27th, 2020 in the MECC in Maastricht, The Netherlands has been finalized and is now available on the official congress website. You can view your session in the program here.

LIVe2020: Lung In Vitro Event

After a successful first edition in 2018, we are back for LIVe2020 in a bigger locationHyatt Regency, Nice, France from Thursday 2nd to Friday 3rd of July 2020. This edition will be a full two-day congress.

LIVe2020 intends to be a unique exchange platform for scientists interested in in vitro respiratory research, stakeholders from academia, pharma, biotech, chemical, tobacco, consumer goods, medical devices industries, CROs, and regulatory agencies.

The meeting will focus on predictive in vitro lung models designed for basic research, efficacy and toxicity testing. It aims to present the state-of-art of in vitro lung models and to map out the route for their future development and use.

Go to the registration form  for the early bird rate

Submit your abstract for oral or poster communication (Deadline May 1st, 2020).

Postdoc Position at Swarthmore College

The Collins lab at Swarthmore College is looking for a highly motivated postdoctoral researcher with excellent communication skills and a PhD in toxicology, pharmacology, computational biology, neurobiology, biomedical engineering, molecular biology, or closely related field. Training in toxicology is preferred but not required. Applicants with strong computational skills and/or an interest in instrumentation are especially encouraged to apply.

This NIH-funded position is for a research project aimed at using freshwater planarians as a New Approach Methodology (NAM) for developmental neurotoxicity studies of organophosphorus pesticides (OPs). The Collins group has pioneered the planarian system for high-throughput neurotoxicology (Zhang et al., Tox. Sci 2019; Hagstrom et al., Tox. Sci 2019). The successful candidate will be responsible for conducting a medium-size screen testing individual OPs, binary mixtures, and control compounds using our custom screening platform. Candidates will perform computational image and data analysis and statistics, and thus the candidate should ideally demonstrate extensive experience with computational analyses and bioinformatics. Interest in instrumentation is preferred but not required.

The successful candidate will work closely with undergraduate students at Swarthmore College. Therefore, demonstrated team work ability and a strong interest in mentoring undergraduate students is preferred. The postdoctoral fellow will be encouraged to lead the project, collaborate with the PI and undergraduate students on high-impact publications, and present at key conferences in the field.
Located in the immediate suburbs of Philadelphia and just 20 miles from Wilmington DE, Swarthmore College is a highly selective liberal arts college whose mission combines academic rigor with social responsibility. Swarthmore College actively seeks and welcomes applications from candidates with exceptional qualifications, particularly those with demonstrable commitments to a more inclusive society and world. Swarthmore College is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.  

To read the full job posting and to apply, candidates should submit their application materials, including a Cover letter, CV, most relevant publication, and email addresses of three references through the Swarthmore College Job Portal

This is a limited term position and is on an annual renewal basis, with a maximum duration of 3 years. Applications will be considered immediately and on a rolling basis until the position is filled. Please feel free to contact Eva-Maria directly with any questions.

3-Year Postdoc on In Vitro Toxicity Testing Methods at Griffith Uni's Gold Coast (Australia)

The Australian Research Council has funded a project looking at replacing conventional (whole animal) methods to test wastewater toxicity with in vitro methods instead. This three-year position available for a postdoc with expertise in EBM and cell-based toxicology. Applications close February 17th, 2020.
Details and application


Correction to Article on Australian Government and UL Chemoinformatics Took Kit 

A colleague sent in a correction on the item in February 4th's CAATwalk, Australian Government Includes UL Chemoinformatics Tool Kit (Based on CAAT Research) as Appropriate In Silico Model:

"Unfortunately, whilst the government 'encourages' the use of non-animal methods for dual use cosmetics substances, the animal testing ban (or reliance on animal test data to be perfectly accurate) doesn’t fully extend to those chemicals. The restrictions in place pretty much follow the same line as REACH by allowing the use of new animal test data where necessary to protect human health (such as workers exposed to the chemical in high concentrations) and where there is no available alternative test."'

Thanks to several of our readers who pointed out the error. CAAT apologizes for the error. 

Best wishes from all of us,

The CAAT Team


hand holding centrifuge tubes

Upcoming Events

CAAT and EBTC at AAAS Meeting
February 14, 2020
Seattle, WA
Two Sessions:
Bioinformatics and AI:
Innovative Approaches
to Research and Data Storage
Green Toxicology 10-11:30am

Register Now!
CAAT Tox21 Satellite Meeting at
Society of Toxicology Annual Meetin
March 19, 2020
Anaheim Convention Center
Anaheim, California 

Altertox Academy Lunch talk: Artificial Intelligence in toxicology, reinventing the wheel? 
March 27, 2020 

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
(formerly Social Housing Symposium)
June 4-5, 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

Summer School on Innovative Approaches in Science
June 22-25, 2020

Live 2020: Lung In Vitro Event for Innovative and Predictive Models
July 2-3, 2020
Nice, France

Annual Conference EUROoCS 2020
Uppsala, Sweden
July 8-9, 2020

Hands-on training In Vitro Lung Models 
November 12-13, 2020 
Geneva, Switzerland

Full Listing of CAAT Programs
and Activities

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