Updates from the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT)
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August 16, 2019

News and Updates from CAAT


Food Safety Symposium

September 5, 2019
The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Baltimore, MD

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

Full program listing and guests in progress, but please register now! If you are interested in sponsorship, please contact

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. 

Invited speakers include Michael Balls, Roger Curren, Julia Fentem, Horst Spielmann, Alan Goldberg, Andrew Rowan, and Marty Stephens. 

We will have an exciting roster of the biggest names in the history of alternatives—look for details in an upcoming CAATwalk, but be sure to save the date now!



Lena Smirnova Receives EPA Star Grant

CAAT's Lena Smirnova is a recipient of a EPA STAR award on Advancing Actionable Alternatives to Vertebrate Animal Testing for Chemical Safety Assessment (EPA-G2018-STAR-C1). Her project “Multiplexed human BrainSphere Developmental Neurotoxicity test for six key events of neural development” will be focused on development of a CRISPR/CAS9 modified fluorescently-tagged multi-fusion 3D BrainSphere model derived from iPSC to assess developmental neurotoxicity. It will be carried out in collaboration with Dr. Cynthia Berlinicke, Wilmer Eye Institute (JHU), and Dr. David Gracias, Whiting School of Engineering (JHU).

In this context we are looking for Postdoctoral fellow (three year, full-time). Interested individuals with a PhD in molecular or cell biology and ideally with experience with iPSC/ES and neuronal cell cultures as well as gene editing, please see the item directly below. 

Postdoc Position Available at CAAT

Where: Baltimore, MD USA
Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health

Offering: Competitive Salary and excellent benefits

Area: Developmental Neurotoxicology (autism), 3D organoid models, high-content imaging, CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing

Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT) at Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, USA, is looking for a Postdoctoral fellow. Three-year full-time PostDoc position at one of the top universities and excellent international working environment.

We are looking for a highly motivated, hard-working, communicative researcher with PhD in molecular or cell biology, preferably with neuroscience background. Training in toxicology is desired but not required. The project’s focus is on the development of a New Approach Methodology (NAM) for Developmental Neurotoxicity Testing based on iPSC-derived 3D organotypic brain model. Our group was one of pioneers of such mini-brain development for substance testing (Pamies et al., ALTEX 2017).

The candidate will be responsible for designing several CRISPR/Cas9-modified iPS cell lines, generate 3D brain organoids from them and perform screening of chemicals using high-content imaging. Thus, the candidate should ideally demonstrate extensive knowledge in gene-editing using CRISPR/Cas9 technology and have experience with iPS/ES and neuronal cell cultures. In addition, the candidate will collaborate with a bioengineering group in developing electrophysiology recording platform. Bioengineering knowledge is not required. Post-doc will be encouraged to lead the project independently, resulting in high-impact publications, present at conferences and prepare for long-term career in academia or industry. Competitive salary and excellent benefits and work environment are offered.

The intellectual environment at Johns Hopkins is extremely rich. As the first independent, degree-granting school of public health in the world, the Bloomberg School has the largest public health training facility in the U.S. Within the Bloomberg School, the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering (EHE) has established outstanding research programs on molecular and translational toxicology and provides an extremely supportive environment for research and professional development. The EHE Department has established extensive track records in conducting top-notch research and in training pre-doctoral and post-doctoral trainees, as well as mentoring junior faculty members, in environmental health sciences. CAAT is for 38 years the leading think tank for new approaches in safety sciences in the US. Translational activities include workshops (transatlantic think tank for toxicology) and the world-wide secretariat of the Evidence-based Toxicology Collaboration, the Good Cell Culture Practice Collaboration, the Green Toxicology Collaboration and the Industry Refinement Working Group. Our center’s research activities are mainly focused on developmental neurotoxicology and gene environmental interactions in neurodevelopmental disorders by using in vitroand computational tools. We are collaborating with several groups within Hopkins University but also nation- and world-wide on a variety of projects. 

All interested in the position please send your CV and your motivation letter to Dr. Lena Smirnova,


New Publication

Karreman C, Kranaster  P, Leist M. (2019SUIKER: quantification of antigens in cell organelles, neurites and cellular sub-structures by imaging. ALTEX 36, 518-520
This work, within the BenchMarks series of practical laboratory applications, describes a new software that is freely available. It was developed at the University of Konstanz, to make it particularly easy for users to quantify changes of cultures cells, relevant to toxicity or biomedical problems. The software has a narrow applicability domain—the quantification of co-localized areas, but is particularly user-friendly and solves some commonly encountered problems e.g. in neurotoxicology and research on neurodegeneration. For instance, it can quantify changes occurring on the membranes of neurites, auttomatically neglecting the cell bodies (somata).

ECOPA Award to be Presented at EuroTox 2019

CAAT-Europe is the secretary of ecopa, the European consensus-platform for alternatives.

The mission of ecopa is to promote the culture of 3Rs, therefore the board has decided to assign a special award to a young scientist participating in the next EuroTox 2019 (Helsinki, September 8-11th, 2019) and presenting a poster or an oral communication on the topic of the 3Rss and, in particular, a research activity focused on New Approach Methods (NAMs) without animal testing.
The winner will be announced by the ecopa Board during the Congress on the basis of the quality of the contribution (poster or oral presentation) and compatibility with ecopa’s mission.

The amount of the Award is €500.

Ecopa vice president Tuula Heinonen and secretary Costanza Rovida will announce the winner during the official closing ceremony of the congress and they will both personally give the award to the promising scientist. 
More Information

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.

Lorna Ewart Joins CAAT as Senior Advisor for Microphysiological Systems

Lorna Ewart has joined CAAT as a senior advisor for its microphysiological systems research. 

Lorna obtained an honors degree in Pharmacology from the University of Aberdeen and a PhD at The William Harvey Research Institute, Queen Mary University of London. Twenty years ago, she joined the Respiratory and Inflammation research area within AstraZeneca as a lead biologist bringing forward drug projects to candidate drug nomination before moving into pre-clinical drug safety, where she led a safety pharmacology team delivering GLP studies across multiple therapeutic areas. Lorna then spent two years in Gothenburg, Sweden as the therapy area lead toxicologist for Respiratory and Inflammation before moving to Cambridge, UK, where she established the Centre of Excellence for Microphyisological Systems within AstraZeneca’s R&D Biopharmaceuticals Unit. 

Regarded as pioneers of the field, Lorna established AstraZeneca at the leading edge of industrial adoption of these models and as a valued partner in multiple external collaborations involving academic institutions, regulatory bodies, and technology developers. Scientifically, Lorna is passionate about the translation of preclinical science to patient outcome to improve lives. She has over 30 peer reviewed publications, is a fellow of the Royal Society of Biology and British Pharmacological Society, and channels her infectious personality towards the development and mentoring of more junior scientists. Lorna has now established herself as an independent consultant in the field of preclinical drug discovery, translation and application of technology to scientific advancement.  

8th Annual Meeting of the ASCCT

Computational Toxicology: Peeking into the Clouds while Keeping our Feet on Solid Ground

September 24th-26th, 2019
Doubletree by Hilton
Washington DC North/Gaithersburg

The full program is now available, and registration open, for the 8th Annual ASCCT meeting. The meeting will include:
  • Expert plenary lectures each morning:
    • Dr. Glenn Myatt, Leadscope: Protocols describing the combined use of experimental data and in silico results for the assessment of toxicological endpoints
    • Dr. Nicole Kleinstreuer, NICEATM: The march toward big data in toxicology: Striking a balance between machine learning and mechanistic modeling
  • Panel discussion on data and methodology quality and transparency
  • Social reception and networking event
  • More than 40 poster and oral presentations drawn from submitted abstracts
  • A mentoring event September 24th, and awards for young scientists
Visit the website to view additional meeting and logistics information and register, including:
  • Venue and hotel information
  • How to apply for travel awards
  • A post-meeting training the afternoon of September 26th
Online registration will close September 13th; in-person registration possible—so join us!


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

ASCCT/ESTIV August Webinar: Developmental Neurotoxicity Evaluation: On the Road to Regulatory Acceptance
August 28, 2019

Food Safety Symposium
September 5, 2019
Baltimore, MD

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

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

60 Years of the 3Rs: Lessons Learned & the Road Ahead
November 22, 2019
Baltimore, 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

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.

US Office: 615 N. Wolfe St. W7032 • Baltimore, MD 21205
Phone: 410-614-4990 • Fax: 410-614-2871

European Office: University of Konstanz
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Phone: +49-531-882233 • Fax: +49-7531-884156