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The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences is funding grants to U.S. small businesses for development of medium- to high-throughput assays. Assays developed under these grants should evaluate the effects of toxicants on pluripotent or induced pluripotent cells with respect to cell differentiation and the resulting differentiated cell populations. The ability to incorporate genetic diversity in these assays would be useful. Results from these assays should help identify mechanisms of chemically induced biological activity, prioritize chemicals for more extensive toxicological evaluation, and support more predictive models of in vivo biological response.
Letters of intent for this funding opportunity are due September 4, with applications due October 4.
Full funding announcement on NIH website (posted June 23)
A computational toxicology postdoctoral fellowship is available at NIEHS. The successful candidate will develop and apply computational methods, tools, and applications across projects in the areas of computational toxicology, bioinformatics, and computational biology. Candidates should have a Ph.D. in computational biology, computer science, biomedical engineering, bioinformatics, or a related discipline. Programming skills are required, ideally in R and/or Python. Experience in Bayesian modeling, deep belief networks, and the application of computational methods to high throughput screening data are highly desirable. Excellent verbal and written communication skills and the ability to simultaneously work on a variety of diverse projects are essential.
The position is in the Computational Toxicology group in the Biostatistics and Computational Biology Branch of the NIEHS Division of Intramural Research. The Computational Toxicology group is led by NICEATM Deputy Director Nicole Kleinstreuer. To apply, send curriculum vitae including publication list, brief summary of past/current research, and the names of three references to email@example.com.
The Department of Health and Human Services has released a new solicitation of Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer applications for grants funded by the National Institutes of Health and other agencies. Included in this solicitation are funding opportunities for technologies to improve predictivity in toxicology testing offered by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
More information about the grant solicitation and other funding opportunities is available on the NICEATM website. An informational webinar about the 2017 HHS omnibus grant solicitation will be presented on Thursday, June 29, at 2:00 p.m. EDT.
The Environmental Protection Agency will hold two meetings of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act Scientific Advisory Panel (FIFRA SAP) in the coming months. Both meetings will be held at EPA in Arlington, Virginia. The FIFRA SAP provides scientific advice, information, and recommendations to the EPA Administrator on pesticides and pesticide-related issues impacting health and environmental regulatory actions. EPA is requesting nominations for experts to serve as ad hoc members of the FIFRA SAP for each of these meetings. Nominations for either panel should be submitted by July 21.
The Oct. 24-27 FIFRA SAP meeting will consider and review physiologically based pharmacokinetic modeling to address pharmacokinetic differences between and within species. Nominees to serve on the expert panel for the meeting should have expertise in areas including physiologically based pharmacokinetic modeling, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamic modeling, in vitro to in vivo extrapolation, human health risk assessment, neurotoxicity, and exposure assessment.
Read the Federal Register notice containing the meeting announcement and request for nominees
The Nov. 28-30 FIFRA SAP meeting will consider and review the “Continuing Development of Alternative High-Throughput Screens to Determine Endocrine Disruption, Focusing on Androgen Receptor, Steroidogenesis, and Thyroid Pathways.” Nominees to serve on the expert panel for the meeting should have training and experience in computational model development, high-throughput assay development, biostatistics and performance-based validation, as well as general expertise in toxicology, physiology, biochemistry, endocrinology, and epidemiology.
Read the Federal Register notice containing the meeting announcement and request for nominees
FDA has signed an arrangement with the Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources recognizing that their food safety systems are comparable. This recognition means that the FDA and Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources are confident that they can leverage each other’s science-based regulatory systems to ensure food safety, and establishes a framework for regulatory cooperation in a variety of areas ranging from scientific collaboration to outbreak response. FDA has similar agreements with New Zealand and Canada.
On April 11, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a multi-year research and development agreement with Emulate, Inc., to evaluate the company’s “Organs-on-Chips” technology in laboratories at the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. The project will focus first on developing a liver chip, but the agreement may expand in the future to kidney, lung, and intestine models. The ultimate goal is to predict how specific organs will respond to potential chemical hazards found in foods, cosmetics, or dietary supplements more precisely than with current methods.
More details about the agreement are available in an FDA blog article by FDA ICCVAM representative Suzanne Fitzpatrick.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology has joined ICCVAM. NIST participation will provide ICCVAM with interest and experience in the study of process controls, measurement artifacts, and interlaboratory testing.
ICCVAM was established to facilitate and promote development and regulatory acceptance of new toxicological tests with the potential to replace, reduce, or refine animal use. The expertise within NIST will benefit ICCVAM, especially in the development of validation studies to assess the appropriateness of new test methods for specific purposes. In particular, NIST has experience with cell-based and small model organism assays, which are becoming increasingly important as alternatives for traditional animal tests. NIST also brings to ICCVAM additional expertise in experimental design and statistical analysis.
This event represents the first time ICCVAM has expanded its membership to include a new member agency since its inception in 2000. NIST, which is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, has been interacting with ICCVAM since 2015. The agency submitted an official request to join ICCVAM in January 2017, which was approved in February by National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Director Linda Birnbaum.
NICEATM and ICCVAM will be participating in two exhibitor-hosted sessions.
In other SOT activities, ICCVAM representatives will serve as co-chairs for five platform sessions, NICEATM scientists are co-authors on 10 poster or platform presentations, and ICCVAM members are co-authors on 18 presentations. Visit the NICEATM webpage summarizing SOT 2017 activities.
A NICEATM webinar series on “Using Informatics to Improve Data Analysis of Chemical Screening Assays Conducted in Zebrafish” begins on February 2. This three-part webinar series will consider the issues of protocol variability in zebrafish screening studies and how some of these issues might be addressed by implementation of standardized nomenclature systems.
The webinars are free and open to the public, although registration is required to attend. The webinar series is being organized by NICEATM in support of the National Toxicology Program’s Systematic Evaluation of the Application of Zebrafish in Toxicology (SEAZIT) program. A link to registration, details about all webinars, and more information about SEAZIT can be found on the NICEATM website.
On December 20, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency launched a voluntary pilot program to evaluate the usefulness and acceptability of a mathematical tool that estimates the toxicological classification of a chemical, and published guidance on how pesticide companies can submit data for the program. This program is another step toward EPA’s goal of reducing animal testing by adopting better testing methods, as described in the March 2016 Letter to Stakeholders issued by Office of Pesticide Programs Director Jack Housenger.
The mathematical tool, known as the GHS Mixtures Equation, is used in the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). Use of the GHS Mixtures Equation can reduce animal use for oral and inhalation toxicity studies of pesticide formulations.
To evaluate the GHS Mixtures Equation, EPA requests submission of acute oral and acute inhalation toxicity study data paired with mathematical calculations (GHS Mixtures Equation data) to support the evaluation of pesticide product formulations. EPA expects that the pilot will run for approximately six months but will begin data analysis sooner if enough data is received.