Updates from the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT)
October 4, 2021

News and Updates from CAAT

Join us for our second MPS World Summit Virtual Conference

Systems engineering of Microphysiological Systems
December 9th 2021, 9 am – 1 pm EST

In preparation of the first MPS World Summit, we are meeting on-line on December 9th to discuss the advances in MPS technology. 

9:00 am - Welcome, Thomas Hartung, JHU
9:05 am - Keynote Address: Donald Ingber, Wyss Institute, Harvard University
9:35 am - "MPS Hardware and Enabling Technologies" (short talks from submitted abstracts)
10:55 am - Break and poster voting
11:00 am - "Cell Models and Applications for MPS" (short talks from submitted abstracts)
12:20 pm - Panel discussion and Q&A

Panel participants:
Adrian Roth, Roche - moderator
Linda Griffith, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Alysson Moutri, University of California San Diego
Peter Loskill, Tuebingen University
Uwe Marx, TissUse
Hiroshi Kimura, Tokai University

12:50 pm - Young Investigator Travel Award announcement and closing remarks

Registration is open! Click here to register.



DEADLINE OCTOBER 21, 2021 (11:59 pm EST)

Theme: Systems engineering of Microphysiological Systems

Abstracts are invited on the topic of new developments in MPS: new cellular models (from bio-printing to organoids, etc.) and new approaches in bioengineering of MPS devices.
Describe your newest developments: breakthroughs, advantages, challenges and the field of applications. The top abstracts will be selected for oral presentations in one of two sessions: (1) MPS hardware and enabling technologies; (2) Cell models and applications for MPS.

All accepted abstracts will be invited for an electronic poster. There is no submission fee and no conference registration fee. 

Abstract submission guidelines:
• Abstracts must be in English.
• All abstracts will be evaluated and selected by the MPS Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC).
• Please limit abstracts to 300 words.
• References must be cited in the text as (First author et al., Year).
• Pictures, figures, attachments are not permitted - text only.
• Please submit abstract as Word document.
• Include no more than five references.
• All abstracts accepted will be published in an abstract/poster book (PDF) and distributed
digitally to all registered attendees.
• Young scientists (35 or under) can apply for consideration for the Travel Award (free
registration at the upcoming hybrid meeting in New Orleans), to be held May 30 - June 3,
2022. Please note in the e-mail if you wish to be considered for the Travel Award for young

E-mail abstracts to:

Please note “Abstract” in the subject field. 
Applicants will be informed of acceptance/non-acceptance by November 25, 2021.


Please join the Center for Clinical Trials and Evidence Synthesis in welcoming Daniele Wikoff, PhD, for her talk, “Survey of Evidence-Based Toxicology Applications: Use of systematic mapping and systemic review to evaluate adverse effects and risk assessment.”

Date: Thursday, October 7 at 8:30a

Zoom and Registration:

Note: Please register for this zoom session in advance, and the link for the zoom room will be sent to you. 

Next Generation Humane Science Award:
Extended deadline! Completed Applications
Due by 11:59pm EST on October 24, 2021

The Next Generation Humane Science Award is available annually to young scientists to acknowledge and encourage researchers who focus on replacing the use of animals in experiments. The 2021 award will be a prize of up to $5,000 to recognize the work of one young scientist; this may be shared among two or more young scientists. Please email completed application to

Qualification Criteria

The work must be focused on the replacement of animals used in experimentation. Excellence of research outcome as demonstrated by publications and presentations at scientific meetings. The review committee will also take into account:
  • The significance of the potential to replace animal experiments in the future.
  • Providing an inspiration to others (fellow students, members of the research group) and outreach to wider audiences.
  • The potential for the replacement methodologies to be used in a regulatory context.

2021 Eligibility Criteria

  • The candidate must be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States working at a US-based institution.
  • The candidate should not have received a PhD or similar degree earlier than 2012.
  • Current and former employees (or their family members) of the Center of Alternatives to Animal Testing at Johns Hopkins University cannot apply.
Full Details and Application

2-day Early Career Scientists Online Workshop on NAMs in Biomedical Research 
November 22-23, 2021, 9am-12pm EST/ 3-6pm CET Online Workshop (via Zoom)
Deadline for applications: 7 November 2021 
More information:
CAAT and the Animal Protection Commissioner of Berlin are inviting early career scientists for a two-day Online Workshop focusing on animal-free New Approach Methodologies (NAMs) in biomedical research. The program will include presentations and interactive sessions. Following the call for abstracts, up to ten early career scientists will be selected to present their own research involving NAMs. The program will also include a session with established scientists from academia, industry, government, and NGOs who will answer the participants’ questions and share advice and guidance on future careers in the field of non-animal methods. In another session, we will discuss topics such as how to tackle the ‘publish or perish’ trap, and where to find funding as well as ongoing training opportunities in NAMs.

The Workshop is free of charge. Please use the form on the website to apply and to submit your abstract (if you would like to present your research) via email to Dr. Kathrin Herrmann at . Deadline is November 7th, 2021.


New article in Frontiers in Public Health “Evidence Integration in the Era of Information Flooding—The Advent of the Comprehensive Review”

Thomas Hartung describes how different types of review and evidence integration add to each other and can be combined (emphasis added):
“So far, the scientific community employed two principal mechanisms to help digest whatever topic, the narrative and the systematic review. In case of a narrative review, more or less eminent researchers summarize their views often broadly covering an area. The inclusion and exclusion of work is more or less complete, rarely quality-controlled and the integration of findings usually follows the views of the authors. Enormous biases with respect to overrepresentation of own work and those of close collaborators are common. Still, these narrative reviews are very valuable as they condense at least one school of thinking and highlight contributions, which experts in the field have chosen and pre-digested for the reader. They can, however, also represent the roadblocks for novel and unconventional findings as they tend to focus on the well-established and accepted body of literature, though this depends strongly on the standing and attitude of the authors.
While the narrative review is almost unavoidably biased and opinionated, this aspect is typically disguised, very different from the editorial or commentary type of articles. The author believes strongly that personal opinion has a place in science, especially when backed by facts and references. …
Taking a very different approach, a systematic review is aiming to avoid all these biases and non-objective aspects of science. This type of review has evolved out of evidence-based medicine and is typically addressing only one very well-defined question. …  It lays out a comprehensive search strategy with inclusion and exclusion criteria and typically a strategy for quality assessment and data integration. While hailed for its transparency and objectivity, the generation of systematic reviews has also some shortcomings: the process itself is relatively rigid, and articles fall through the grid if the search strategy was not well-tuned. In addition, they can create tremendous work sieving through thousands of abstracts and later articles. The quality scoring and risk-of-bias analyses are demanding. Typically, the number of qualifying articles in the end are quite few. The challenge of integrating the remaining evidence can be daring, especially when different types of studies are included. …
In this context, the concept of evidence mapping has been developed. An “evidence map is a systematic search of a broad field to identify gaps in knowledge and/or future research needs that presents results in a user-friendly format, often a visual figure or graph, or a searchable database”. …
More recently, artificial intelligence (A.I.) and especially its subcategories of machine learning and natural language processing have entered this field. They can extract and annotate data, if documents are presented in machine-readable formats, which can be expanded by Optical Character Recognition (OCR), a key example of A.I. use “reading” documents and converting them into text. As many, especially older, publications are only available as pictures not as text files, this is an important technology to compute their contents. This is not error-free but as in so many A.I. applications the increase in data outweighs the quality concerns of the pieces. In fact, the big data approach is exactly opposite to the approach taken in systematic reviews: While the systematic review identifies the best pieces of information by rigorous criteria, big data are defined by the 3 V of Volume (as much as possible), Variety (different types of data) and Velocity (fast and often continuous addition of new data). Scientific literature represents an example of big data and the three characteristics. …
For the future of Comprehensive Reviews, I hope that we strengthen both the systematic review character and the opinion part. It would be nice to learn explicitly what the authors opinions are after the enormous evaluation of sometimes controversial and incomplete facts. We will also need to rethink the peer-review process as time and expertise requirements for such Comprehensive Reviews are difficult to be met by individual reviewers; current parallel evaluations of entire papers might be replaced by assigned parts and aspects. Furthermore, the communication and dissemination of such major “capstone” analysis of an area needs to be rethought, which might involve graphical and layman versions, journalistic, social media, and editorial accompanying publications. Ultimately, a journal offering a home, visibility and the necessary support with respect to peer-review and dissemination would leverage Comprehensive Reviews as a mean to survive information flooding.”
Hartung T (2021) Evidence Integration in the Era of Information Flooding—The Advent of the Comprehensive Review. Front. Public Health 9:763828. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2021.763828

The ALTERTOX Newsletter is available!

Best Wishes,

The CAAT Team


hand holding centrifuge tubes

Upcoming Events

ASCCT Annual Meeting
October 12-14

Advances in Cell and Tissue Culture 2021 Virtual Conference
Part 2: November 3, 2021

EU-ToxRisk Final Symposium
November 3-4, 2021
Brussels, Belgium

EBTC 10th Anniversary Symposium
November 11, 2021

Altertox: Skin Sensitization
25-26 November 2021
Hamburg, Germany

MPS World Summit Virtual Conference
Systems Engineering of Microphysiological Systems
December 9, 2021

Microphysiological Systems World Summit
May 30-June 3, 2022
New Orleans

June 13-14, 2022
Nice, France 

ICT 2022
September 18-22, 2022
Maastricht, The Netherlands

21st International Congress of the European Society of Toxicology In Vitro (ESTIV2020)
November 21-25, 2022

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