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

News and Updates from CAAT


Thomas Hartung to Speak on "The Role of Non-Animal Approaches in COVID-19 Related Research" Webinar (European Parliament)

Wednesday, May 20th, 2020
10am Brussels (4am EDT)

Public Webinar via European Parliament

Register Here

Harnessing the power of novel animal-free test methods for the development of COVID-19 medicines and vaccines
Thomas Hartung
Director of the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing CAAT
Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA
Overcoming the gaps in non-animal approaches in COVID-19 research
Pieter Hiemstra
Head of the Laboratory for Respiratory Cell Biology and Immunology
Leiden University, the Netherlands
The Innovative Medicines Initiative’s experience in the 3Rs and relevance to COVID-19 R&D
Pierre Meulien
Executive Director, Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI)

Zoom webinar.
When: May 20, 2020 10:00 Brussels
Topic: Intergroup Webinar: The role of non-animal approaches in COVID-19 related research
Register in advance for this webinar here.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

SaferWorldByDesign Online Seminar: How to Submit a Successful Read-Across Justification Report

Available on YouTube 

This virtual meeting included a perspective by Costanza Rovida (Scientific Officer and Senior Regulatory Specialist, CAAT) followed by a discussion session.
Presented by a partner of the recently established EU-ToxRisk Commercial Platform for New Approach Methods (NAMs) in Safety Assessment.  
Watch Now

3rd Pan-American Conference for Alternative Methods

May 12-14, 2021
Windsor, Ontario

Beginning in 2016 in Baltimore, moving to Rio in 2018, and coming to Canada in 2021, the Pan-American Conference for Alternative Methods brings South, Central, and North America together to further alternatives to animal testing and build collaboration for the exchange of scientific ideas.

The next Pan-American Conference for Alternative Methods will take place in Windsor, Ontario, Canada on May 12-14, 2021. Be sure to save the date, and look for details in upcoming CAATwalk newsletters! If you are interested in sponsorship, please contact Camila Januario

Paper by EBTC's Katya Tsaioun Among Top 10% Downloaded 

Quantitative Systems Pharmacology for Neuroscience Drug Discovery and Development: Current Status, Opportunities, and Challenges, co-authored by EBTC's Katya Tsaioun, was among the top 10% downloaded papers from CPT: Pharmacometrics & Systems Pharmacology between January 2018 and December 2019.

You can read the paper here.

CAAT's Newest Research Associate: Carolina Romero

The main focus of Carolina Romero's research is developing a testing strategy for Developmental Neurotoxicity (DNT). This strategy will be based on a human 3D iPSC-derived brain model with knocked-in fluorescent tags for neural markers, where six key events of neurodevelopment and their perturbations will be assessed in one assay. The main techniques involved in this project are CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing technology, high-content imaging, and electrophysiological recording. This new in vitro assay, relevant for the assessment of human toxicity, will reduce the costs and accelerate the prioritization and testing of environmental chemicals, hazard identification and characterization within a risk assessment context.


ALTEX t4 Report 2020: MPS Stakeholders are All Pulling in the Same Direction

In June 2015, a CAAT Transatlantic Think Tank on Toxicology (t4) came together in Berlin for the first time to discuss the capabilities, hurdles and promises of microphysiological systems (MPS). The Center for Alternative to Animal Testing in Europe (CAAT-Europe) situated at the University of Konstanz, Germany, is supporting the 3R’s principle of replacing, reducing, and refining animal research, among other things, by hosting various workshops. Organized by Adrian Roth from Roche, Switzerland, Thomas Hartung from the Johns Hopkins University, USA and Uwe Marx from TissUse, Germany, the CAAT workshop brought together all stakeholders in the field of MPS to address the roadblocks on the way to industrial adoption and regulatory FDA/EMA/ICH acceptance. This resulted in the first t4 report on "Biology-Inspired Microphysiological System Approaches to Solve the Prediction Dilemma of Substance Testing“ published in ALTEX in 2016. [1]

Now 4 years later, MPS systems are considered “an enabling technology for the development of approaches to reliably predict the safety and efficacy of novel drug candidates prior to their use in humans.” As a result of a subsequent CAAT workshop organized by the same team 46 representatives of all different stakeholders published a new t4 report on “Biology-inspired Microphysiological Systems to Advance Patient Benefit and Animal Welfare in Drug Development.” in February 2020. Together, the experts analyzed the hurdles that MPS systems have to overcome to be adopted by the pharmaceutical industry and ultimately reach acceptance in regulatory approval processes. On top of that, the report summarizes information about the different systems and assays currently used in industry for internal portfolio decision-making. All stakeholders, involving academia, suppliers, end user industries, and regulatory bodies from all over the world were pulling in the same direction of global regulatory acceptance. Now, the recommendations and solutions have to be implemented to impact the replacement of animal models and reduce drug attrition rates in clinical trials by MPS tools in life science research and drug development.

Full Article

2020 Next Generation Human Science Award: Application Deadline May 31, 2020

This award is available annually to young scientists to acknowledge and encourage researchers who focus on replacing animal experiments. The 2020 award will provide a prize of up to $5,000 recognizing the work of one young scientist, or may be shared among two or more young scientists. 

Qualification Criteria

The work must be focused on the replacement of animals used in experimentation and exhibit 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
  • 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
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 2010.
  • Current and former employees (or their family members) of the Center of Alternatives to Animal Testing at Johns Hopkins University may not apply.
Apply Now!

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


Updated Agenda and Abstracts Now Online
June 4-5, 2020

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 online on June 4-5, 2020. 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. We hope to offer RACE credits for online participation as we have in the past (check back for confirmation). 


Summer School on Innovative Approaches in Science: NOW ONLINE
Poster Submission Deadline: May 15th

June 22-25

Join other students and early-career scientists this summer for FREE lectures, in-depth training, virtual laboratory tours, and e-posters on cutting-edge methods to reduce and replace animal tests in toxicology and biomedical science.

Applications are being accepted on a rolling basis until June 10. 

To be considered for a poster presentation, submit your application by May 15.

Details and Registration

Rescheduled: November 15-18, 2020

The 5th international conference on developmental neurotoxicity testing (DNT5) has been rescheduled to 15-18 November 2020 in the Konzil historical building (Konstanz, Germany). More information about the upcoming deadlines for registration and abstract submission will be published on the event website in the following weeks. Stay tuned!

LIVe2020: Lung In Vitro Event for Innovative & Predictive Models

September 17-18, 2020
Nice, France

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-the-art of in vitro lung models, and to map out the route for its future development and use.

Register here
(Early bird tickets until 30 of June)

Abstract Submission here
(Deadline 28 of June)

More Hands-On Training and Events at Altertox Academy

ARDF Annual Open Grant Program: Deadline Friday, May 15th

ARDF's Annual Open grant program was established to fund research projects that develop alternative methods to advance science and replace or reduce animal use. Proposals are welcome from any nonprofit educational or research institution worldwide, although there is a preference for U.S. applications in order to more quickly advance alternatives here. 

Expert reviewers evaluate proposals based on scientific merit and feasibility, and the potential to reduce or replace the use of animals in the near future. Proposals are considered in fields of research, testing, or education. The maximum grant is $40,000, with an average 21% funding rate from 2015 to 2019. 

Since 1993, ARDF has provided over $3.5 million in funds for projects in 30 states and 5 countries. Scientific reviews are coordinated by the Institute for In Vitro Sciences, Gaithersburg, Maryland.

Details and Application

Best wishes from all of us,

The CAAT Team


hand holding centrifuge tubes

Upcoming Events

Integrated Approaches to Testing and Assessment: The Future of Regulatory Toxicology Assessment
May 28, 2020
Details will be available here

Altertox 3D Skin Models (Master Class)
June 3-4, 2020
Host: Episkin Academy
Lyon, France

3Rs Symposium: Practical Solutions and Success Stories
(formerly Social Housing Symposium)
June 4-5, 2020

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

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

LIVe2020 Lung In Vitro Event
September 17-18, 2020
Nice, France

Altertox Skin Sensitization
October 1-2, 2020
Hamburg, Germany

Altertox PBPK Modeling and Quantitative In Vitro-In Vivo Extrapolations 
October 15-16, 2020
Wageningen, The Netherlands

Altertox Assessing Endocrine Disruptor Compounds with In Vitro Methods
October 22-23, 2020
Helsinki, Finland

Altertox Novel In Vitro Methods and AOP Approaches in Genetic Toxicology
November 5-6, 2020 
Leiden, The Netherlands

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

TestSmart DNT5: Developmental Neurotoxicity
November 15-18, 2020
Konstanz, Germany

Altertox Multi-Organs-Chip (TissUse)
April 21-23, 2021
Berlin, Germany 

Pan-American Conference for Alternative Methods
May 12-14, 2021
Ontario, Canada

Altertox training on Skin SensitiZation at WC11 (Organised on behalf of EPAA)
August 22, 2021
Maastricht, The Netherlands

Full Listing of CAAT Programs
and Activities

Copyright © 2020 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
POB 600 78457 Konstanz, Germany
Phone: +49-531-882233 • Fax: +49-7531-884156