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

News and Updates from CAAT



Lena Smirnova Featured in UNESCO's Open Science Forum on Women in Science

As of 2020, women represent less than 30% of researchers worldwide, with well-documented bias built-in to a STEM career, top positions often beyond their reach and manifest pay gaps, particularly for women of colour. Women have won only 5.4% of Nobel Prizes in physiology or medicine, 3.8% in chemistry, and 1.9% in physics. Even in fields with greater gender-balance, the pipeline leaks as women leave and more men reach the top.

Multiple barriers stymie the careers of women, particularly those that decide to have children. These include everyday work-place sexism, role stereotyping, devaluing, appearance judging, micro-aggressions and harassment dressed up as banter. The disappearance of older women at work is a visible trend. And in today’s pandemic, survey after survey demonstrate how COVID-19 has adversely affected women across all professions the most, citing forced unemployment and negative impacts in mental and physical well-being and work/life balance.

This panel discussion spotlights five truly inspiring women offering insights into their specific journeys in the world of science-related work. Interviewed by Mozambique’s first female science minister (now UNESCO regional leader for the Latin America & Caribbean Region), we unravel their personal and career anecdotes, while distilling their best advice.

We meet Lena Smirnova, a Belarusian bench scientist researching autism and the brain, now throwing her entire team at COVID-19 pandemic responses for Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. We experience first-hand how Lena and these remarkable women have zigzagged around the world. They moved abroad for education, work and love. They raised families while leaving others behind. They won promotions and demotions, awards and slap-downs in equal measure. They just keep going. With no slides or corporate logos, only unflinching honesty, we learn about these conscious choices made and why.

The common thread is that each, in her own way, has had to overcome and, indeed, continues to overcome, the seen and unseen challenges of gender discrimination and lack of recognition in what remains a who-you-know, male-dominated world, particularly in science, technology and innovation. Some women pull the ladder up after them too. And as our speakers will testify, these challenges also apply to science journalism and communication, science business and the not-for-profit, academia and the direct and indirect civil service.

Video (YouTube)

Updates on Activities Related to 21st Century Toxicology

May 12, 2021
10am-12:30pm (US Eastern)
Online (Zoom)

Webinar hosted by the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing and the Animal-Free Safety Assessment Collaboration

Please join CAAT and the Animal-Free Safety Assessment Collaboration for our annual meeting on advancing toxicity testing in the 21st century (TT21C). This informal event will provide updates on cutting edge approaches in toxicology, and leave ample time for Q&A and discussion.

The meeting is part of an annual series of events that, to date, have been held as satellite meetings of the Society of Toxicology (SOT) conventions. This year, however, with the SOT convention held virtually, it was decided to hold the TT21C meeting virtually as well, and to do independently from the SOT meeting.

The tentative program of the TT21C meeting is as follows:
  • Welcome, Martin Stephens (Johns Hopkins University) (10 minutes)
  • Brief, informal updates (80 minutes)
  • ToxCast – Maureen Gwinn (EPA)
  • Tox21 – Anton Simeonov (NCATS)
  • Organ-on-a-chip & Predictive Toxicology Roadmap – Suzanne Fitzpatrick (FDA)
  • Progress in implementing NAMs under TSCA – Louis (Gino) Scarano (EPA)
  • ICCVAM/NICEATM – Nicole Kleinstreuer (NICEATM)
  • EU-ToxRisk - Bob van de Water (Leiden University)
  • AI, iPSC and MPS Projects for Systemic Toxicity – Hajime Kojima (JaCVAM)
  • CAAT Activities - Thomas Hartung (Johns Hopkins)
  • Evidence-Based Toxicology Collaboration – Katya Tsaioun (Johns Hopkins
  • Animal-Free Safety Assessment Collaboration - Kate Willett (HSI)
  • Commentary – Daniel Krewski (U. Ottawa)
  • Q&A and discussion (60 minutes)
Details and Registration

Call for Abstract Submissions

Microphysiological Systems World Summit

Virtual Conference 
June 24, 202
Towards Regulatory Acceptance


Abstract Submission Deadline: May 14, 2021, 11:59pm EDT

Abstracts are invited on the topic of microphysiological systems (MPS) and regulatory acceptance. The top six abstracts will be selected for oral presentations, and all accepted abstracts will be invited for an electronic poster. 

Abstract submission deadline: May 14, 2021, 11.59 pm 

There is no submission fee and no conference registration fee. 

The broader MPS symposium series also includes two other events (virtual in December 2021 and hybrid in June 2022)—calls for abstracts will be going out for those events separately. To be informed of those calls for abstract submissions, please email: or visit the MPS World Summit website.

Abstract submission guidelines: 

  • Abstracts must be in English.

  • All abstracts will be evaluated and selected by the MPS Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC).

  • 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 abstracts as a PDF or Word doc.

  • Include no more than five references.

  • All abstracts accepted will be published in an abstract 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 hybrid meeting in New Orleans), to be held May 30-June 3, 2022. Please note if you wish to be considered for the Travel Award for young scientists.

Email abstracts submissions to:

Please note “Abstract” in the subject field. Also, note in your submission if you wish to be considered for the Travel Award for young scientists (you must be 35 or younger) to attend the hybrid conference in New Orleans on May 30-June 3, 2022. 

Applicants will be informed of acceptance/non-acceptance by June 1st 2021.

The MPS World Summit series also includes another virtual conference (December 9, 2021) and a hybrid in-person/virtual conference in New Orleans (May 30-June 3, 2022). Full Details at the MPS World Summit website

Chemical Watch Annual Biocides Symposium

May 5-6, 2021

Chemical Watch’s annual Biocides Symposium brings together leading figures from industry, member state competence, and regulatory authorities. including representatives from ECHA and EFSA.

This event is focused in the EU Regulation 528/2012 concerning the market availability and use of biocidal products (BPR). The implementation of this regulation is still ongoing with many pending authorizations of active substances, creating new challenges, such as the high level of demand for disinfectants due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the separate GB BPR scheme after Brexit.

In addition, new criteria for the identification of endocrine disruptors will be soon introduced.
In the session about the assessment of endocrine disrupting (ED) chemicals, CAAT-Europe's Costanza Rovida will discuss “Challenges for the acceptance of New Approach Methodologies (NAMs) in ED assessments under the BPR.”


Kathrin Herrmann: "Replacement, Reduction, & Refinement in Practice: Are We Doing All We Can?"

Friday, May 7, 2021
12:00-1:15 PM PDT

Co-sponsored by UCI Center for Medical Humanities, Jain Innovation Network, and UCI Program for Religious Studies. 

Opening Remarks by:
Kunal Parikh: Center for Nanomedicine at the Wilmer Eye Institute and Center for Bioengineering Innovation & Design in the Biomedical Engineering Department at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (JHU); co-founder of the Jain Innovation Network.

Moderated by:
Aaron Kheriaty, Professor of Psychiatry, School of Medicine; Director, Medical Ethics Program, UCI Health
Brianne Donaldson, Shri Parshvanath Presidential Chair in Jain Studies, Philosophy and Religious Studies



Incorporating Non-Animal Alternatives into Toxicity Testing Under TSCA (with Paul Locke)

May 13, 2021

In January 2020, California’s ban on the sale of cosmetics tested on animals went into effect. The Environmental Protection Agency announced similar efforts in September 2019 to minimize the testing of potentially harmful chemicals on most vertebrate animals by implementing New Approach Methodologies (NAMs) by 2035. While the California ban does not include certain ingredients, such as pharmaceuticals, cleaners, or other chemicals, and those required to be tested on animals by agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it is seen by some as a significant step in transitioning toward toxicity testing that is more relevant to the human body.  

This half day workshop brings together toxicity data generators, users, and a wide variety of stakeholders to discuss and make recpmmendations on the opportunities and challenges in minimizing chemical tests on vertebrate animals, including effectively communicating with relevant stakeholders and the role of NAMs in improving the assessment of chemicals on vulnerable populations. These and other topics will be discussed by participants through breakout groups:

  • Regulatory flexibility
  • Information gaps NAMs can fill
  • Engaging with stakeholders
  • EPA's 2035 Directive
  • Metrics

Tim Malloy, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Co-Moderator
Kristie Sullivan, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Co-Moderator
Paul Locke, Johns Hopkins University
Rusty Thomas, Environmental Protection Agency
Joel Tickner, Association for the Advancement of Alternatives Assessment
Lauren Ziese, Ph.D., California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment



IVAMSS and CTSS Webinar: State of the Science: QSAR Modeling of Skin Sensitization

May 19, 2021
11am EDT

Registration Required

Pred-Skin: A Web Portal for Accurate Prediction of Human Skin Sensitizers
Speaker: Vinicius Alves, PhD, Researcher Assistant Professor
Division of Chemical Biology and Medicinal Chemistry
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Evaluation of the Global Performance of Eight In Silico Skin Sensitization Models Using Human Data
Speaker: Emily Golden, MS Graduate Student
Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing
Johns Hopkins University

Skin Sensitization In Silico Protocol
Speaker:Glenn Myatt, PhD, CEO
Leadscope, Inc.


8th Annual 3Rs Symposium: Pandemic-Driven Advances

June 3-4, 2021

The 8th 3Rs Symposium, jointly organized by the Johns Hopkins University Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT), the USDA Animal Welfare Information Center (AWIC), the NIH Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW), and the Johns Hopkins Department of Molecular and Comparative Pathobiology, will take place via Zoom on June 3rd and 4th, 2021. 

This year’s virtual Symposium will, among other things, focus on current, pandemic-driven developments in refinement, reduction and replacement of animal use in science. Together with international experts and practitioners we will aim attention at challenges faced during the pandemic as well as at successes in effectively applying the 3Rs Principles to maximize both biomedical discovery and animal welfare.

Event Website (Agenda, abstracts, and speaker bios)

Registration closes on June 1st 2021. 

Register Now


Altertox April Newsletter

The April Altertox newsletter is now available

Footage capturing unacceptable cruelty and abuse on animals in a Spanish testing facility has recently made headlines. The 24th of April is celebrated as the World Day of Animals in Laboratories. Its objective is to promote alternatives to animal testing that are currently revolutionizing toxicology, a domain of research where the European Union (EU) is investing 60 M€ over the next 5 years in three international projects to advance chemical safety assessment: PrecisionTox, ONTOX and Risk-Hunt3r.

More from the newsletter, including new team members, training updates, and the new podcast, may be found here. And be sure to subscribe!

Altertox Article Featured in The Parliament Magazine  

The European Parliament must protect the animal testing ban on cosmetics

CAAT-US, CAAT-Europe, and Altertox are proud to be involved in this project. This is the first article about the new EU cluster of non-animal method projects. 

Excerpted from The Parliament:

Three years ago, the European Parliament  adopted a Resolution calling for a global ban on animal testing for cosmetics by 2023. Already in 2013, the EU had put an end to animal testing on ingredients used exclusively in cosmetic products, setting an example worldwide that moving away from animal experimentation was possible. 

The EU’s own cosmetic ban is however being shredded by the application of the Regulation on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), to fulfil requirements for risk assessment of worker exposure or to evaluate ecotoxicity.

In November, a joint statement co-signed by more than 400 companies and animal welfare organisations, including L’Oréal, Unilever and the ONG Human Society International, condemned several ECHA Board of Appeal’s decisions requiring unnecessary animal tests for occupational safety assessment of single used cosmetic ingredients. Symrise, a German company, recently seized the European Court of Justice to appeal a similar decision by the Board.

Yet, REACH requires the replacement of animal models with New Approach Methodologies (NAMs) when they exist. In vivo testing should apply as a last resort.

Full Article by Altertox's Jeanne Laperrouze


Transparency in Risk Assessment: A New Era Begins in Food Safety

Beginning March 27th, 2021, the new regulation on the transparency and sustainability of the EU risk assessment in the food chain (Regulation EU 2019/1381) will go into effect. This represents a revolution in risk assessment: the dossiers submitted to the Authority from companies receiving the authorization for marketing a new Plant Protection Product (PPP) will be fully accessible by anyone, including the data contained in the toxicological studies.

Among other things, the new regulation will:

  • Allow citizens access to scientific studies and information submitted to EFSA by industry early in the process of risk assessment
  • Embed public consultations in the process for assessing applications for approval of regulated products
  • Ensure that EFSA is notified of all commissioned studies in a particular area to guarantee that companies applying for authorisations submit all relevant information
  • Give the European Commission the option of asking EFSA to procure additional studies

This regulation represents a revolution in the management of PPP authorisation and EFSA is organizing training sessions and webinars to explain the new procedures.

For more information, visit the EFSA website.

New Publications

Kamel Mansouri, Agnes L. Karmaus, Jeremy Fitzpatrick, Grace Patlewicz, Prachi Pradeep, Domenico Alberga, Nathalie Alepee, Timothy E.H. Allen, Dave Allen, Vinicius M. Alves, Carolina H. Andrade, Tyler R. Auernhammer, Davide Ballabio, Shannon Bell, Emilio Benfenati, Sudin Bhattacharya, Joyce V. Bastos, Stephen Boyd, J.B. Brown, Stephen J. Capuzzi, Yaroslav Chushak, Heather Ciallella, Alex M. Clark, Viviana Consonni, Pankaj R. Daga, Sean Ekins, Sherif Farag, Maxim Fedorov, Denis Fourches, Domenico Gadaleta, Feng Gao, Jeffery M. Gearhart, Garett Goh, Jonathan M. Goodman, Francesca Grisoni, Christopher M. Grulke, Thomas Hartung, Matthew Hirn, Pavel Karpov, Alexandru Korotcov, Giovanna J. Lavado, Michael Lawless, Xinhao Li, Thomas Luechtefeld, Filippo Lunghini, Giuseppe F. Mangiatordi, Gilles Marcou, Dan Marsh, Todd Martin, Andrea Mauri, Eugene N. Muratov, Glenn J. Myatt, Dac-Trung Nguyen, Orazio Nicolotti, Reine Note, Paritosh Pande, Amanda K. Parks, Tyler Peryea, Ahsan H. Polash, Robert Rallo, Alessandra Roncaglioni, Craig Rowlands, Patricia Ruiz, Daniel P. Russo, Ahmed Sayed, Risa Sayre, Timothy Sheils, Charles Siegel, Arthur C. Silva, Anton Simeonov, Sergey Sosnin, Noel Southall, Judy Strickland, Yun Tang, Brian Teppen, Igor V. Tetko, Dennis Thomas, Valery Tkachenko, Roberto Todeschini, Cosimo Toma, Ignacio Tripodi, Daniela Trisciuzzi, Alexander Tropsha, Alexandre Varnek, Kristijan Vukovic, Zhongyu Wang, Liguo Wang, Katrina M. Waters, Andrew J. Wedlake, Sanjeeva J. Wijeyesakere, Dan Wilson, Zijun Xiao, Hongbin Yang, Gergely Zahoranszky-Kohalmi, Alexey V. Zakharov, Fagen F. Zhang, Zhen Zhang, Tongan Zhao, Hao Zhu, Kimberley M. Zorn, Warren Casey and Nicole C. Kleinstreuer
CATMoS: Collaborative Acute Toxicity Modeling Suite, Environmental Health Perspectives 129:4 CID: 047013

Reich M, Paris I, Ebeling M, Dahm N, Schweitzer C, Reinhardt D, Schmucki R, Prasad M, Köchl F, Leist M, Cowley SA, Zhang JD, Patsch C, Gutbier S, Britschgi M.
Alzheimer's Risk Gene TREM2 Determines Functional Properties of New Type of Human iPSC-Derived Microglia. Front Immunol. 2021 Feb 3;11:617860. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2020.617860. 

The publication addresses the need for human microglial cells, the brains immune and inflammatory component, to support human-based model systems for disease research, toxicology and pharmacology. Several genes, mainly expressed in microglia cells have been associated with the risk for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Here, TREM2, one of the most prominent AD-related genes was deleted from stem cells (iPSC). Then microglia were generated from normal and gene modified iPSC and compared in their function. The study shows how this special human brain cell type (microglia) is generated from iPSC, and how they may be used for in vitro disease research.

Methods and Models in Biomedical Sciences: Building Bridges

June 14-15, 2021

The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) is co-organising an online workshop with Champalimaud FoundationFRESCICONGENTO and QuantOCancer focused on scientific methods and models used in biomedical research.

The workshop aims to create an open cross-disciplinary environment to discuss how the combination of different models can contribute to the development of biomedical sciences.

Scientific advancement is fuelled by increasingly sophisticated models and methods that emerge, evolve and ultimately thrive. Often their full potential is not exploited since these models and methods are applied only by scientists of a defined area of research.

We believe that methods or models can become a bridging vehicle across different scientific communities. As discussed in the JRC BeAMS report, they can break silos, stimulate cross-collaboration, and increase scientific relevance of the generated knowledge.  

The event will foster interaction and discussion between participants and comprises the following sessions:

  • Session A: Sharing state-of-the art non-animal alternative methods: Immuno- oncology as a case study
  • Session B: Breakout World Café – All participants
  • Session C: Making the most of your (animal) data
  • Session D: Panel discussion – Building trust and sustainable bridges

In these sessions examples on how to successfully combine different methods and models to generate knowledge will be presented and discussed.

The event is open to scientists interested in biomedical sciences with any relevant professional profile.

Details and Registration


56th Congress of the European Societies of Toxicology (EUROTOX 2021)

September 26 - October 1, 2021

Deadline for Registration at Early Bird Fee: May17, 2021, 24h00 CEST

Details and Registration


Best wishes from all of us,

The CAAT Team


hand holding centrifuge tubes

Upcoming Events

Chemical Watch Annual Biocides Symposium
May 5-6, 2021

Kathrin Herrmann: "Replacement, Reduction, & Refinement in Practice: Are We Doing All We Can?"
May 7, 2021

Updates on Activities Related to 21st Century Toxicology
May 12, 2021
10am-12:30pm EDT
Online (Zoom)

Incorporating Non-Animal Alternatives into Toxicity Testing Under TSCA (with Paul Locke)
May 13, 2021

IVAMSS and CTSS Webinar: State of the Science: QSAR Modeling of Skin Sensitization
May 19, 2021

8th Annual 3Rs Symposium: Pandemic-Driven Advances
June 3-4, 2021

60th Annual CALAS/ACSAL Virtual Symposium: Looking Back, Looking ForwardCanadian Association for Lab Animal Science
June 4, 7, 11, 18, 2021

Methods and Models in Biomedical Sciences: Building Bridges
June 14-15, 2021

Digital LIVe2021
June 15, 2021
Nice, France

MPS World Summit Virtual Conference
Towards Regulatory Acceptance
June 24, 2021

11th World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences
August 22-26, 2021
Maastricht, The Netherlands

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

September 26-October 1

Lung In Vitro Model Training
November 18-19, 2021
Geneva, Switzerland

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 

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

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