Announcements Sent to the NICEATM News List in 2017

These announcements were originally distributed via the NICEATM News email list. Subscribing to the NICEATM News email list will notify you directly of publication of NICEATM Federal Register notices, availability of ICCVAM reports, notices of upcoming meetings, requests for public comments or data, and other events of interest to our stakeholders.

December 22: ICCVAM Co-chair Lowit to Receive SOT Enhancement of Animal Welfare Award

Anna Lowit of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be awarded the Society of Toxicology (SOT) 2017 Enhancement of Animal Welfare Award. Lowit, a Senior Scientist in the EPA Office of Pesticide Programs, has been serving as co-chair of ICCVAM since 2013. She has played a key role in advancing EPA initiatives to reduce and eventually replace animal use for the “six-pack” of required acute toxicity tests for pesticide registration. During her tenure as ICCVAM co-chair, she has supported ICCVAM efforts to increase communication and collaboration with stakeholders, and played a key role in advancing international harmonization of non-animal tests for skin sensitization.

The Enhancement of Animal Welfare Award is presented annually to an SOT member to recognize contributions made towards development and application of methods that replace, refine, or reduce the need for experimental animals. Lowit will receive the award at the SOT annual meeting in March 2017 in San Antonio, Texas.

December 22: ICCVAM Communities of Practice Webinar January 23

The fourth ICCVAM Communities of Practice webinar will be presented January 23, 2018, on the topic “Machine Learning in Toxicology: Fundamentals of Application and Interpretation.” NICEATM is organizing this webinar on behalf of ICCVAM.

This webinar will explore the fundamentals of machine learning approaches, including how they work, how they are interpreted, and precautions that should be taken when evaluating their output. Two experts in the use of machine learning in toxicity testing applications will address issues specific to machine learning approaches used in a regulatory context. Case studies will highlight where such techniques have been successfully applied both nationally and internationally.

The January 23 webinar will be held from 1:00-2:30 p.m. Eastern Time. It is free and open to the public, although registration is required to attend. A link to registration and more information are available on the NICEATM website.

December 22: Grants Offer Support for Tissue Chip Development

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has announced several funding opportunities for research and development of microphysiological systems (MPS; “tissue chips”) for studying human physiology and assessing toxicity and safety of new drugs and other substances. All of these funding opportunities are open to U.S.-based for-profit, non-profit, academic, and government institutions.

  • NIH is offering 1-2 year(s) of support for later stage research and development activities necessary support commercialization of MPS devices for drug efficacy and safety assessment prior to clinical trials. Details of this funding opportunity are available on the NIH Grants website. Applications are due March 21, 2018, and only one application will be accepted from an institution.
  • New and renewal cooperative agreement applications are invited for the Tissue Chip Testing Center MPS Data Center, which supports the NIH Tissue Chip Consortium. The MPS Data center will be the central clearinghouse for tissue chip data management and will incorporate novel approaches and technologies for data management, data mining, and data sharing across many organs and tissues, diseases, data types, and tissue chip platforms. Details of this funding opportunity are available on the NIH Grants website. Applications are due March 21, 2018, and only one application will be accepted from an institution.
  • NIH and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) are funding opportunities for conducting tissue chip research onboard the International Space Station. The NIH-CASIS Coordinated Microphysiological Systems Program for Translational Research in Space promotes the development of tissue chips to study human physiology in space and to assess biomarkers, bioavailability, efficacy, and toxicity of therapeutic agents prior to entry into clinical trials. Information about this grant opportunity is available on the NIH Grants website. The deadline for submitting proposals has been extended to February 8, 2018.

December 22: USDA Releases Guidance Documents on Animal Health

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) administers the Animal Welfare Act, which sets standards for the humane care and treatment of animals used in research. USDA Animal Care has developed two Tech Notes for Animal Welfare Act licensees and registrants to help improve adherence to animal welfare standards.

  • “Incentives for Identifying, Reporting, Correcting, and Preventing Noncompliance with the Animal Welfare Act” describes resources available to help facilities address compliance challenges.
  • “Daily Observation” provides helpful tips and spotlights best practices used in daily observation of animals to assess health and well-being.

Publication of the two Tech Notes was announced in a December 15 USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service bulletin. The recent Tech Notes and other publications relevant to animal welfare are available on the USDA Animal Welfare website.

December 19: Prediction Data Available: Predictive Models for Acute Oral Toxicity

The prediction data set is now available for the ICCVAM-sponsored global project to develop in silico models of acute oral systemic toxicity. The goal of this project is to develop in silico models that will predict five specific endpoints needed by regulatory agencies. Endpoints of interest include identification of “very toxic” chemicals (LD50 less than 50 mg/kg), “nontoxic” chemicals (LD50 greater than or equal to 2000 mg/kg), point estimates for rodent LD50s, and categorization of toxicity hazard using the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling (GHS) classification schemes. Modelers may build predictive models for any or all of these endpoints.

Models will be developed and evaluated using rat acute oral toxicity data collected by NICEATM and the EPA National Center for Computational Toxicology. Models meeting criteria defined by the project organizing committee will be used to generate consensus predictions for the acute oral toxicity endpoints of interest. A summary of the project and developed models will be submitted for publication in the peer-reviewed literature, and the toxicity predictions generated by the models will be made available via EPA’s Chemistry Dashboard.

Resources available on the project page include data files, timeline, and a downloadable document that specifies project objectives and scope, details on the data and processing steps, model evaluation criteria, and additional considerations for project participants. Model prediction results for both the training and prediction sets must be submitted by February 9, 2018. Project results will be presented at a workshop to be held at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, on April 11-12, 2018.

December 19: EPA Requests Nominees for Scientific Advisory Panel

EPA is seeking nominations of ad hoc members for its Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act Scientific Advisory Panel (FIFRA SAP). The FIFRA SAP will meet in 2018 to consider physiologically based pharmaokinetic models to address species differences in pharmacokinetics for pesticide active ingredients. The request for nominees was published in a December 18 Federal Register notice.

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. Nominees to serve on the FIFRA SAP for the upcoming 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. Nominations should be submitted by January 17, 2018; the meeting will be scheduled and details announced after the panel members are selected.

December 18: NIDDK Offers Support for Development of Tissue Chips

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) is establishing a new research consortium "Microphysiological Systems for Modeling Diabetes." This consortium will support the development and validation of human tissue chips that closely mimic the normal physiology of key metabolic tissues, including the pancreatic islet, liver, skeletal muscle, and white adipose tissue. An essential feature of this consortium will be a multidisciplinary approach that brings together basic science experts and physician scientists in stem cell biology, bioengineering, computational biology, pharmacology, liver biology, islet biology, adipose biology, metabolism and diabetes.

To establish the consortium, NIDDK intends to commit up to $3 million per year for Fiscal Years 2018 through 2019, and up to $6 million per year for Fiscal Years 2020 through 2022 to fund 2-3 awards. Eligible institutions include U.S.-based higher education institutions, nonprofits, for-profit organizations, and government entities.

Letters of intent are due February 20, 2018; applications are due March 20, 2018. Complete funding information is available on the NIH Grants website. Helpful information about applying for NIH grants is available on the NICEATM website.

December 18: IVIVE Workshop Report Available

A manuscript summarizing a February 2016 workshop, In Vitro to In Vivo Extrapolation for High Throughput Prioritization and Decision Making, and a preceding webinar series was published online December 5 by the journal Toxicology In Vitro. The workshop was co-organized by NICEATM and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) National Center for Computational Toxicology.

The workshop report discusses activities and resources that promote inclusion of in vitro to in vivo extrapolation (IVIVE) in regulatory decision-making. It considers properties of models that successfully generate predictions of in vivo doses from effective in vitro concentration, areas of success, and areas for improvement to reduce model uncertainty. Finally, the report provides case studies on the uses of IVIVE in safety assessments.

View materials from the workshop

December 18: EURL ECVAM Status Report for 2017 Available

The European Union Reference Laboratory for Alternatives to Animal Testing (EURL ECVAM) regularly publishes reports on the development, validation and regulatory acceptance of alternative methods and approaches. A report describing activities in this area since November 2016 is now available on the EURL ECVAM website.

The report describes EURL ECVAM participation in research projects; coordination and undertaking of validation studies; dissemination and sharing of information on replacement, reduction, and refinement of animal use; and promotion of dialogue towards the international acceptance and uptake of alternative methods and approaches. A key ongoing project is EU-ToxRisk, which is tackling complex health effects such as repeated-dose and reproductive toxicity. The VAC2VAC project is progressing the development, optimization, and evaluation of non-animal methods for routine batch testing of vaccines in order to avoid animal testing. Other research aims to integrate advances into experimental and computational biology and toxicology to link chemical exposure to potential adverse outcomes in humans and environmental species.

December 7: FDA Launches Predictive Toxicology Roadmap

In an article published December 6 on the FDA Voice blog, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced publication of FDA’s Predictive Toxicology Roadmap for integrating predictive toxicology methods into safety and risk assessments. The Predictive Toxicology Roadmap presents a framework for new or enhanced FDA engagement in the science of toxicology that includes six elements:

  1. An organizing committee to help identify areas where research is needed and reduce duplication of efforts
  2. Training in use of new test methods
  3. Communication among the Agency, sponsors, and test method developers
  4. Fostering collaborations across sectors and disciplines nationally and internationally
  5. Research to identify data gaps and promote promising technologies
  6. Oversight to track progress

FDA will be holding a public workshop as part of its efforts to foster opportunities for sharing ideas, discussing new technologies, and highlighting collaborations to develop and test new methods.

Read the complete blog post, with links to the Predictive Toxicology Roadmap and related activities

December 7: Journal to Focus on Inhalation Toxicity: Submit Articles by December 15

The journal Applied In Vitro Toxicology is accepting manuscript submissions for a special issue on alternative approaches for inhalation toxicity testing. Submissions must be received by December 15.

Inhalation toxicity testing provides information for hazard labeling and risk management of chemicals when there is potential for exposure of the respiratory tract. Regulatory test guidelines typically describe rodent tests. However, work is underway to develop reliable non-animal approaches for assessing inhalation toxicity that will provide more human-relevant data and a better understanding of the mechanism of toxicity. This special issue of Applied In Vitro Toxicology will explore the regulatory and non-regulatory needs for inhalation toxicity data and the alternative approaches that may be used to meet those needs.

More information about the special issue: questions about the special issue should be emailed to guest editor Amy Clippinger.

December 7: Proposals for Organotypic Culture Models Due December 12

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) is offering Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants to develop novel in vitro systems using cells from experimental animal models typically used for toxicology testing. The intent is that these systems will replicate biological responses within the corresponding animal tissues or organs. When developed and validated, these systems will (1) provide information needed to predict toxicity of chemical and drug candidates, (2) enable comparisons with existing in vivo animal toxicity data, (3) serve as newer assays for toxicology testing, and (4) have the potential for reducing the numbers of animals used in toxicology testing.

These grants of up to $150,000 for Phase I awards and up to $1 million for Phase II awards are only available to U.S. small businesses. Letters of intent to apply for these grants are due December 12, with an application due date of January 12, 2018.

Read the funding announcement for this opportunity

Get more information about NIEHS SBIR grants

December 7: Informational Webinar on Tissue Chip Grants December 14

The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) has partnered with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) to fund new opportunities for conducting research onboard the International Space Station.

A free informational webinar discussing both opportunities will be presented Thursday, December 14, from 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Eastern Time. 

December 4: Keystone Symposia Conference in April on Organs-on-chips

Abstract submission and registration are now open for Keystone Symposia’s upcoming conference on Organs- and Tissues-on-Chips.The conference will review the state of the technology for microphysiological organs and tissues-on-chips. Attendees will also consider the challenges of gaining acceptance for these approaches as alternatives to traditional animal or simple two-dimensional in vitro testing, incorporating perspectives from regulators, drug developers, and tissue chip testing center laboratories.

The conference will be held April 8-12, 2018, in Big Sky, Montana. Scholarships of up to $1200 U.S. are available to graduate students and postdoctoral fellows enrolled or employed at academic institutions at the time of the meeting. Scholarship applications with research abstract must be received by December 6. The deadline for general abstract submission is January 9, 2018. Speakers for short talks will be chosen from all abstracts submitted. The deadline for discounted registration is February 6, 2018. For more information, please visit the Keystone Symposia website.

December 4: CAAT Young Scientist Award: Deadline Extended to December 31

The Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing at Johns Hopkins University is offering a Next Generation Humane Science Award to young scientists to acknowledge and encourage research to replace the use of animals in experiments. The 2017 award will be a prize of up to $9,000 to recognize the work of one young scientist, or the prize may be shared among two or more young scientists.

Applicants’ research must be focused on the replacement of animals used in experimentation. To be eligible for the award, a candidate must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident working at a U.S.-based institution and have received a Ph.D. or similar degree no earlier than 2012.

The application deadline has been extended to December 31. To apply, visit the CAAT website.

December 4: EPA Webinar on Steroidogenesis Assay December 14

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will present a webinar titled “High-Throughput H295R Steroidogenesis Assay: Utility as an Alternative and a Statistical Approach to Characterize Effects on Steroidogenesis” on Thursday, December 14, from 11:00 a.m.-noon U.S. Eastern Time. The speaker is Dr. Derik Haggard, ORISE Postdoctoral Fellow with the EPA National Center for Computational Toxicology.

To access the webinar via Adobe Connect, go to the EPA web conferencing site. To listen in via telephone, call (866) 299-3188 (toll-free U.S.) or (706) 758-1822 (international toll number) and use the conference code 9195411522. Those in the Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, area who would like to attend the seminar in person should email Cameron Clark.

This is the latest in EPA’s Computational Toxicology Communities of Practice webinar series. Visit the EPA website for more information about the webinar series and slides and recordings from past webinars.

December 4: AAALAC International Seeks Public Comment on Position Statement Revision

The Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International (AAALAC International) is seeking public comments on its proposed revision of the Position Statement on the Definition of “Laboratory Animals.”

AAALAC International uses position statements to supplement its three primary standards used to evaluate animal care programs. The proposed revision of this Position Statement broadens it to apply to any animal used or intended for use in basic and applied scientific investigation, testing, the production of biological materials, and educational activities.

View the proposed revision and submit comments: comments must be submitted by December 22.

December 4: SOT Satellite Meeting to Focus on Organotypic Culture Models

A Society of Toxicology (SOT) Contemporary Concepts in Toxicology Meeting titled “Building a Better Epithelium: Breaking the Barrier to the Next Generation of Toxicity Testing” will be held Saturday, March 10, 2018. This satellite meeting of the SOT Annual Meeting will focus on the development and use of organotypic cultures as alternatives to 2-D cultures that integrate surrounding architecture components (e.g., stroma, extracellular matrix) and provide a better in vitro representation of the in vivo biology. Presenters will discuss emerging organotypic models that may inform mechanistic understanding, as well as practical considerations that are key to incorporating these tools into the next generation of in vitro research and safety evaluation.

The meeting will be held in the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas. The meeting is open to SOT members and nonmembers; early-bird registration is open through February 9, 2018. Abstracts will be accepted through February 2, 2018; there is a registration fee to attend the meeting but no additional fee is required to submit an abstract. For more information visit the SOT website.

November 17: Data Available for Project on Predictive Models for Acute Oral Toxicity

NICEATM invites participation in a global project to develop in silico models of acute oral systemic toxicity that predict five specific endpoints needed by regulatory agencies. Data to train models for this project are now available.

ICCVAM agencies identified multiple endpoints of interest for this project, including identification of “very toxic” chemicals (LD50 less than 50 mg/kg), “nontoxic” chemicals (LD50 greater than or equal to 2000 mg/kg), point estimates for rodent LD50s, and categorization of toxicity hazard using the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling (GHS) classification schemes. Modelers may build predictive models for any or all of these endpoints.

Models will be developed and evaluated using rat acute oral toxicity data collected by NICEATM and the EPA National Center for Computational Toxicology. Models meeting criteria defined by the project organizing committee will be used to generate consensus predictions for the acute oral toxicity endpoints of interest. A summary of the project and developed models will be submitted for publication in the peer-reviewed literature, and the toxicity predictions generated by the models will be made available via EPA’s Chemistry Dashboard.

View detailed project information: resources available on this page include data files, timeline, and a downloadable document that specifies project objectives and scope, details on the data and processing steps, model evaluation criteria, and additional considerations for project participants. Prediction results from models on two different datasets (training and evaluation set) must be submitted by February 9, 2018. Project results will be presented at a workshop to be held at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, on April 11-12, 2018.

November 17: Workshop Examines Use of New Data Streams in Decision Making

The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine will present a workshop on Understanding Pathways to a Paradigm Shift in Toxicity Testing and Decision Making on November 20-21 in Washington, DC.

Technological advances have led to new approaches to understanding the toxicity of chemicals in humans. However, many questions remain about whether and how to make the shift to using new data streams as the basis for the wide array of research, policy, and regulatory decisions. This workshop will explore key factors that influence how scientists, policymakers, risk assessors, and regulators incorporate new science into their decisions.

The workshop is free and will be webcast. More information and a link to registration are available on the National Academies website.

November 17: NIEHS Webinar Series on Adverse Outcome Pathways Continues November 29

The Superfund Research Program of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) is presenting a webinar series on adverse outcome pathways (AOPs), structured ways to represent biological events leading to adverse health effects. The second webinar in the series will be presented November 29. Presenters will discuss the development of AOPs and how they may be used to support hazard and risk assessment.

  • Carole Yauk of Health Canada will present an overview of AOP development.
  • Ed Perkins of the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center will discuss how an AOP framework can be integrated with in vitro and in vivo data to support hazard and risk assessment.
  • Justin Teeguarden of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory will discuss approaches to exposure assessment.

The webinar will be hosted on the EPA Contaminated Site Clean-Up Information website; registration is free. More information about the webinar series is available on the NIEHS website. This page has a link to a recording of the first webinar in the series, which introduced the AOP concept.

The webinar series provides background information for an April 2018 workshop on Understanding the Combined Effects of Environmental Chemical and Non-Chemical Stressors: Atherosclerosis as a Model. The workshop is being planned and public comments are welcomed: please visit the NIEHS website for details.

November 17: FDA Requests Comments on Draft Guidance for Reproductive Toxicity Testing

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has requested comment on draft guidance ICH S5(R3), “Detection of Toxicity to Reproduction for Human Pharmaceuticals.” This document clarifies the qualification and potential use of alternative assays to assess reproductive risk and includes a list of compounds suggested for qualification of assays. FDA recognizes that this list is not complete and is requesting information on potential additional compounds to be added to the list.

The draft guidance ICH S5(R3) is available on the FDA website. An announcement in the November 13 Federal Register includes instructions on submitting comments on the draft guidance. To ensure consideration as the guidance is finalized, comments should be received by February 12, 2018.

November 17: ICATM Position Paper on Skin Sensitization Available

A position paper by representatives of the International Cooperation on Alternative Test Methods (ICATM) proposes practical ways to further promote the regulatory use and facilitate adoption of non-animal defined approaches for skin sensitization assessments. The paper, published online November 10 by Archives of Toxicology, is a work product of the October 2016 workshop, International Regulatory Applicability and Acceptance of Alternative Approaches to Skin Sensitization Assessment of Chemicals. The workshop was hosted by ICATM and the European Union Reference Laboratory for Alternatives to Animal testing, and was attended by representatives from more than 20 international regulatory authorities, including representatives from NICEATM and ICCVAM.

The position paper abstract is available on PubMed. More information about the October 2016 workshop and ICATM

November 17: Videocast Recording Available of November 2 EPA Meeting on Alternatives

A videocast recording is available of the November 2 public meeting, Alternative Test Methods to Reduce Vertebrate Animal Testing under the Toxic Substances Control Act, on the NIH Videocast website.

The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act amended Section 4(h) of the Toxic Substances Control Act to require EPA to develop a Strategic Plan to promote the development and implementation of alternative test methods and strategies to reduce, refine or replace vertebrate animal testing. EPA held this public meeting to obtain input on development of the Strategic Plan. Interested parties may continue to provide input about the draft Strategic Plan through January 3, 2018, by submitting written comments to docket EPA-HQ-OPPT-2017-0559 at www.regulations.gov.

The meeting is summarized in an article on the Chemical Watch website that features comments by ICCVAM member Louis Scarano, EPA, and NICEATM Director Warren Casey.

November 13: ICCVAM Initiates Project on Predictive Models for Acute Oral Toxicity

The ICCVAM Acute Toxicity Workgroup is initiating a global project to develop in silico models of acute oral systemic toxicity that predict specific endpoints needed by regulatory agencies. These endpoints include identification of “very toxic” chemicals (LD50 less than 50 mg/kg) and “nontoxic” chemicals (LD50 greater than or equal to 2000 mg/kg), point estimates for rodent LD50s, and categorization of toxicity hazard using the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling (GHS) classification schemes. Modelers may build predictive models for any or all of these endpoints.

Models will be developed and evaluated using a large body of rat acute oral toxicity data collected by NICEATM and the EPA National Center for Computational Toxicology. Submitted models meeting defined criteria will be used to build consensus models for the acute oral toxicity endpoints of interest to regulatory agencies. It is envisioned that results of the project will be published in a high-profile journal, and the predictions will be made available via the EPA’s Chemistry Dashboard.

Data for model development will be released November 17; data files and detailed project information will be available on the NTP website. Project participants will be asked to submit prediction results from their models on two different datasets (training and evaluation set) by February 9, 2018. Project results will be presented at a workshop to be held at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, on April 11-12, 2018.

November 13: NCATS Presents Webinar on Small Business Funding

The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) actively supports development of alternatives to animal testing through its research programs and extramural grants. On Tuesday, November 14, NCATS will present a webinar on programs and funding that support small businesses and technology transfer organizations, including those involved in the development of alternative testing approaches. This free webinar will provide overviews of funding opportunities and focus areas and tips for submitting a successful grant application. Register to attend the webinar

November 13: NC3Rs Offers Cash Prize for 3Rs Advances

The National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) and GlaxoSmithKline are sponsoring an award of £30,000 (about $40,000 U.S.) to recognize an outstanding original contribution to scientific and technological advances in replacement, reduction, or refinement in animal use (3Rs) in the biological sciences. This award is open to researchers in academia and industry based anywhere in the world. Research must have been published or accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal since September 1, 2014. Nominations must be received by December 4. More information is available on the NC3Rs website.

November 13: SOT Continuing Education Courses Focus on Alternatives

In conjunction with its 2018 annual meeting, the Society of Toxicology (SOT) will offer continuing education courses on March 11, 2018. Three of these include ICCVAM participation and focus on developing and using alternative methods.

  • ICCVAM member Suzanne Fitzpatrick, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, will co-chair “The What, When, and How of Using Data from Alternative Testing Methods in Chemical Safety Assessments.” This course will provide an overview of high throughput screening assays, in silico tools, and other emerging technologies. Case study exercises will demonstrate use of data from these approaches in different sectors.
  • NICEATM Deputy Director Nicole Kleinstreuer, (NIEHS), NICEATM scientist David Allen (ILS), and ICCVAM Co-chair Anna Lowit (EPA), will present at “In Vitro Testing: Tales from the Real World.” This course will discuss the application of in vitro, in silico, and in chemico tests to acute toxicity endpoints such as skin and eye irritation and skin sensitization.
  • ICCVAM member Joanna Matheson, Consumer Product Safety Commission, will present at “Consumer Products Safety Assessment: Progress in the Use of Alternatives to Animal Models.” This course will provide an overview of the progress in the field of safety evaluation of consumer products ingredients using alternative approaches, including perspectives from regulators and method developers and case studies in use of alternatives with cosmetics and cleaning products.

Complete information about the SOT continuing education courses is available on the SOT website. Registration for the SOT annual meeting is required to attend the courses; the early-bird deadline for SOT registration is January 12, 2018.

October 30: Public Meeting on EPA Plan to Promote Alternative Tests November 2

The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act amended Section 4(h) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to promote the development and implementation of alternative test methods and strategies to reduce, refine, or replace vertebrate animal testing. The Act requires EPA to develop a Strategic Plan for this purpose by June 22, 2018.

EPA will hold a public meeting on November 2 to obtain input from interested parties and the public on the Agency's development of the Strategic Plan. EPA believes this early feedback will be important in developing a strong Plan. The Agency will consider input from the meeting and from written comments to develop a draft Plan that will be shared with the public for comment.

The meeting will be held from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. at the Porter Neuroscience Research Center, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland. The meeting is open to the public with attendance restricted only by the space available, and will also be webcast. It is being co-organized by EPA and ICCVAM.

Get more information and register

Goals and objectives to inform the Strategic Plan are available on the EPA website at  and may be used for discussion and comment during the meeting. Interested parties may provide input about the draft Strategic Plan during the meeting. Written comments may be submitted to docket EPA-HQ-OPPT-2017-0559 at www.regulations.gov. The deadline for receipt of written comments is January 1, 2018.

October 30: EPA Seeks Input on Endocrine Panel Questions: Webinar November 6

EPA will hold a virtual meeting on November 6 to get public input in advance of a November 28-30 meeting of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act Scientific Advisory Panel (FIFRA SAP). Both meetings will focus on the topic of “Continuing Development of Alternative High-Throughput Screens to Determine Endocrine Disruption, focusing on Androgen Receptor, Steroidogenesis, and Thyroid Pathways.”

The FIFRA SAP will meet in person on November 28-30 to discuss high-throughput screens to determine endocrine disruption. The purpose of the November 6 virtual meeting is to get input from the panel and the public on the draft charge questions for the in-person meeting.

Those wishing to make oral comments during the November 6 virtual meeting should register by noon on Wednesday, November 1. Those wishing to listen in on the meeting may register at any time. Written comments on the scope and clarity of the draft charge questions should be submitted to docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2017-0214 on www.regulations.gov by noon, November 1. More information about the virtual meeting and the FIFRA SAP are available on the EPA website.

Register for the virtual meeting

October 26: Apply by November 30 for CAAT Young Scientist Award

The Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing at Johns Hopkins University is offering the Next Generation Humane Science Award to young scientists to acknowledge and encourage research to replace the use of animals in experiments. The 2017 award will be a prize of up to $9,000 to recognize the work of one young scientist, or the prize may be shared among two or more young scientists.

Applicants’ research must be focused on the replacement of animals used in experimentation. To be eligible for the award, a candidate must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident working at a U.S.-based institution and have received a Ph.D. or similar degree no earlier than 2012.

Applications are due no later than November 30. To apply, visit the CAAT website.

October 26: Report Recommends Dropping Dog Test Requirement in Japan

A report commissioned by the Japanese Food Safety Commission indicates that there is sufficient evidence to waive the requirement for a one-year repeat-dose test in dogs for pesticides. An October 18 press release by Humane Society International summarizing the report noted that if the Japanese government accepts the waiver recommendation, South Korea would be the last major economy to require such testing.

The report (in Japanese) is available on the Japanese Food Safety Commission website. Read the Humane Society International press release

October 26: Groups Encourage Update of Animal Research Rules in U.S.

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and three allied groups are advocating sweeping changes to U.S. animal research rules. Their proposal, described October 24 in the journal Science, would make a single federal research agency responsible for oversight of all research activities using animals, require less frequent lab inspections, and give researchers greater say in crafting new rules. In response to the proposal, animal welfare advocates have raised concerns that such changes would reduce needed oversight of animal use.

The AAMC proposal is part of an effort to address a provision of the 21st Century Cures Act, passed last year by Congress, which requires the NIH and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to reduce the “administrative burden” on U.S. researchers and institutions that use animals. NIH is required to publish recommendations on this provision by December 2018.

Read the Science article


October 17: Scholarship Available for ScitoVation PBPK Course

The American Society for Cellular and Computational Toxicology (ASCCT) and ScitoVation are offering a scholarship to attend ScitoVation’s course on (PBPK) modeling in the 21st century. Attendees of this course will learn to apply PBPK modeling to translate the results of in vitro toxicity assays into estimates of safe human exposure. The course will be offered November 6-10, 2017, in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. Registration and more information

The ASCCT scholarship is available to graduate students and postgraduates in their first postdoctoral appointment who have demonstrated interest in computational and in vitro toxicology. Those who have already registered for the course are eligible for the award. The award will cover course registration plus up to $1000 in travel cost reimbursement.

Please submit applications by October 20 to Miyoung Yoon (myoon@scitovation.com) and ASCCT Secretary Kristie Sullivan at ksullivan@ascctox.org. Applicants should provide a CV and a statement of up to 500 words summarizing their interest in computational and in vitro toxicology, why they would like to attend the course, and how it will help them in their career. The winner will be announced by October 25.

October 17: OECD Releases New Test Guidelines

On October 9, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) released 17 new, updated, corrected, or deleted guidelines for the testing of chemicals. New or updated test guidelines include methods to address the safety of nanomaterials, tests for acute inhalation and acute dermal toxicity that use fewer animals, a new non-animal method for skin sensitization testing, and updates to incorporate integrated approaches to testing and assessment into test guidelines for eye irritation hazard. A list of newly released test guidelines, links to documents, and more information about the OECD Test Guidelines Programme are available on the OECD website.

October 5: Grants Available to Support Alternatives Development: Apply by October 9

The Society of Toxicology (SOT) is accepting applications through Monday, October 9, for the following grant opportunities.

September 29: Presentations and Videocast of SACATM Meeting Available

Presentations from the September 18-19 meeting of the Scientific Advisory Committee on Alternative Toxicological Methods (SACATM) are available on the NTP website. Video recordings of the meeting are also available on the National Institutes of Health Videocast website.

SACATM meets annually to advise NICEATM, ICCVAM, and the director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences regarding statutorily mandated duties of ICCVAM and activities of NICEATM. The main focus of the September 18-19 meeting was to receive input from SACATM on the proposed U.S. Strategic Roadmap for New Approaches to Evaluate the Safety of Chemicals and Medical Products.

The next meeting of SACATM will be held September 5-6, 2018, at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.

September 14: SOT and FDA Present Free Webinar October 24

The Society of Toxicology (SOT) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition will present a colloquium on October 24 on In Vitro to In Vivo Concordance for Toxicity Prediction and Use in Safety Assessments. This program is the latest in the series SOT FDA Colloquia on Emerging Toxicological Science: Challenges in Food and Ingredient Safety. The October 24 colloquium will feature expert reviews on state-of-the-art in vitro technologies for safety assessment and how they are being utilized.

The colloquium will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the FDA Wiley Federal Building in College Park, Maryland, and will also be webcast. Registration for either in-person attendance or webcast viewing is free. In-person attendance is available to U.S. federal employees only, and those planning to attend in person must register by October 10. More information is available on the SOT website.

September 14: NICEATM and ICCVAM Activities at ASCCT Annual Meeting

The American Society of Cellular and Computational Toxicology (ASCCT) will hold its sixth annual meeting on September 21-22 at IIVS in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Day 1 will focus on alternatives to animal use for acute toxicity testing and feature a plenary presentation by ICCVAM Co-chair Anna Lowit of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The focus of Day 2 will be the directives for use of alternatives to animal testing included in the Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act, with ICCVAM member Louis Scarano of EPA giving a plenary speech. Other meeting activities include a poster session and reception, a mentoring event, and a tour of the IIVS laboratories.

Registration for the meeting is still open and a full agenda is available on the ASCCT website. A summary of NICEATM and ICCVAM activities is available on the NICEATM website.

September 14: Award Offered to Attend IIVS In Vitro Toxicology Workshop

The PETA International Science Consortium (PISC) is offering an award to enable early-career scientists to participate in the Practical Methods for In Vitro Toxicology Workshop. The workshop will be presented by the Institute for In Vitro Sciences (IIVS) in Gaithersburg, Maryland, on January 16-19, 2018. It will include lectures from experts on in vitro toxicology and hands-on laboratory experience in applying in vitro methods.

The award will cover workshop registration ($1,950 U.S.), as well as airfare and hotel expenses up to $1,000 U.S. Graduate students who have completed their first year of study and postdoctoral fellows are eligible to apply. The winner must attend the entire four-day workshop. For more information and to apply, please visit the PISC website. The deadline to apply is October 15; the winner will be announced in November.

September 7: Registration Open for SACATM Meeting; Comments Due September 11

The Scientific Advisory Committee on Alternative Toxicological Methods (SACATM) will meet September 18-19 at the Natcher Conference Center, National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, Maryland. SACATM meets annually to advise NICEATM, ICCVAM, and the director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) regarding statutorily mandated duties of ICCVAM and activities of NICEATM. The main focus of the upcoming meeting is to receive input from SACATM on the proposed U.S. Strategic Roadmap for New Approaches to Evaluate the Safety of Chemicals and Medical Products.

The SACATM meeting is open to the public and attendance is free. Registration is now open to attend the meeting in person or view the webcast. Those wishing to submit written comments or register to present oral comments at the meeting should do so by Monday, September 11. Links to registration, an agenda, and all meeting materials are available on the NTP website.

September 7: NIEHS Offers Grants for Development of Culture Models

NIEHS is providing grants for development of novel in vitro systems using cells from experimental animal models typically used for toxicology testing. The intent is that these systems will replicate biological responses within the corresponding animal tissues or organs. When developed and validated, these systems will provide information needed to predict toxicity of chemical and drug candidates, enable comparisons with existing in vivo animal toxicity data, serve as newer assays for toxicology testing, and have the potential for reducing the numbers of animals used in toxicology testing.

These grants of up to $150,000 for Phase I awards and up to $1 million for Phase II awards are only available to U.S. small businesses. Applications will be accepted starting December 12, with an application due date of January 12, 2018. Applicants are encouraged to apply early to allow time before the due date to correct errors that may be found in the application. Details about the grants are available on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) website.

September 7: Challenge Supports Development of Biomedical Research Models

The Alternatives Research and Development Foundation is sponsoring the Alternatives in Research (AiR) Challenge. The AiR Challenge is intended to stimulate innovative research that advances medical progress using methods that do not involve animals. Up to five grants of $20,000 each will be awarded to projects that employ new or modified disease models, new uses of existing models, or new or modified techniques in biomedical research applications. Proposals will be judged by a scientific advisory committee on their scientific merit and feasibility, potential impact in their area of biomedical research, and their potential ability to replace or reduce the use of laboratory animals.

Only U.S. academic, government, or small business institutions are eligible for the AiR Challenge awards, and no proposals that use intact non-human vertebrate or invertebrate animals will be considered. Pre-proposals must be submitted by October 5, with full proposals due December 15. More information is available on the Alternatives Research and Development Foundation website.

Information about this and other funding opportunities for alternative methods development is available on the NICEATM website.

September 7: New Review Describes Use of AOPs in EPA Screening Program

A review in the September issue of the journal Environmental Health Perspectives describes how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) uses adverse outcome pathway (AOP) and toxicity pathway frameworks in its Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program. The review, co-authored by NICEATM Director Warren Casey, describes how these frameworks help to establish biologically plausible links between endocrine mechanisms and apical responses when those end points are not measured in the same assay.

August 31: NTP to Present Webinars on Genomic Dose-response Modeling

An ongoing NTP webinar series focuses on the use of genomic features to assess dose-related response to test article treatment. The first two webinars, presented August 30 and September 1, discuss approaches to genomic dose-response modeling being explored by NTP and the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, respectively. Webinars to be presented later in September will discuss methods developed at North Carolina State University and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences.

The webinars are free and open to the public. More information is available on the webinar series webpage; recordings of past webinars will also be available on this page.

August 31: Registration Open and Agenda Available for ASCCT Annual Meeting

The Sixth Annual Meeting of the American Society for Cellular and Computational Toxicology (ASCCT) will be held September 21-22 in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Day 1 of the meeting will focus on alternatives to animal use for acute toxicity testing, while Day 2 will focus on the directives for use of alternatives to animal testing included in the Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act.

Registration for the meeting is open and a full agenda is available on the ASCCT website. ASCCT will accept abstracts for poster presentations on any topics related to in vitro and computational toxicology through this Friday, September 1; abstract submission details are available on the meeting webpage.

August 31: Small Business Grant Deadline September 5

As part of a large Department of Health and Human Services solicitation of Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer grant applications, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences is providing support for development of technologies to improve predictivity in toxicology testing to support the goals and initiatives of Tox21.

The next application deadline for these grants is next Tuesday, September 5. Details about the grants are available on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) website; additional information and resources are available on the NICEATM website.

NIH recognizes that businesses affected by Hurricane Harvey may find it difficult to meet the upcoming deadline and will consider accepting applications late on a case-by-case basis under specific circumstances. An announcement describing implementation of relevant NIH policies for businesses affected by Hurricane Harvey is available on the NIH website.

August 31: EPA Requests Comment on Candidates for Advisory Panel

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will hold a meeting of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act Scientific Advisory Panel (FIFRA SAP) on November 28-30 in Arlington, Virginia. The FIFRA SAP provides scientific advice, information, and recommendations to the EPA Administrator on pesticides and pesticide-related issues as to the impact of regulatory actions on health and the environment. The November meeting will focus on “Continuing Development of Alternative High-Throughput Screens to Determine Endocrine Disruption, focusing on Androgen Receptor, Steroidogenesis, and Thyroid Pathways.”

A list of ad hoc candidates to serve on the panel at the November meeting has been posted on the EPA website. EPA is accepting comments on the candidates through Thursday, September 7. Comments on panel nominees should be provided to the Designated Federal Official, Dr. Todd Peterson, via email at peterson.todd@epa.gov or telephone at (202) 564-6428.

August 31: Proceedings and Presentations from Tenth World Congress

In its latest issue, the journal ALTEX Proceedings has published all abstracts from the Tenth World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences. The issue is available on the ALTEX website. View a list of NICEATM and ICCVAM presentations at the Tenth World Congress

August 15: Workshop on Expanding Nonanimal Research at World Congress

NICEATM Director Warren Casey will join experts from a broad range of stakeholder groups to discuss “Breaking Through Scientific and Cultural Barriers to Expand Nonanimal Research.” This interactive workshop will be held Sunday, August 20, from 3:30-6:00 p.m. at the Sheraton Seattle Hotel in Seattle, Washington, and is organized by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

The event is being held in conjunction with the Tenth World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences. However, you do not have to be registered for World Congress to attend. Attendance is free but those planning to attend should RSVP.

August 15: OECD Releases New Version of QSAR Toolbox

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has launched version 4.1 of QSAR Toolbox. QSAR Toolbox is a software application that governments, chemical industry, and other stakeholders can use to fill gaps in toxicity data needed for assessing the hazards of chemicals. Features in version 4.1 include updated profilers and metabolic simulators along with new databases, functionalities, and migration tools. More information about the update, links to download QSAR Toolbox, and background information is available on the OECD website.

August 15: 19th Annual HHS SBIR/STTR Conference

The 19th Annual HHS Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Conference will convene on November 7-9, 2017 at the Hilton Milwaukee Conference Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

This meeting is designed to educate attendees about the SBIR and STTR programs, and how to develop competitive proposals and secure awards. Representatives from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Small Business Administration (SBA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Administration for Community Living (ACL) will be present. The HHS Office of the Inspector General (OIG) will also attend to give presentations and answer questions during one-on-one meetings.

More information about the meeting, including a draft agenda and registration information is available on the Medical College of Wisconsin website.

August 15: NC3Rs Workshop Report Published

The U.K. National Centre for the Replacement Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) has published a report from the February 2017 workshop “Applying Exposure Science to Increase the Utility of Non-Animal Data in Efficacy and Safety Testing.” The workshop, organized in collaboration with Unilever, was attended by 83 expert scientists from government, academia, and the (agro)chemical, consumer products, and pharmaceutical industries. NICEATM Deputy Director Nicole Kleinstreuer gave a presentation entitled “Incorporating exposure driven approaches and in vitro data into regulatory decision making” as part of the workshop. The report is available for download from the NC3Rs website.

August 8: OECD Issues Guidance Relevant to Alternative Methods Development

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) recently issued two guidance documents relevant to alternative methods development:

A full list of OECD guidance documents for chemical safety testing is available on the OECD website.

August 8: NIH to Hold Small Business Workshop

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) will hold a Multi-Institute Small Business Workshop September 7-8 in New Orleans. This event will inform attendees about the NIH Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs, which provide support for researchers developing new methods for testing of chemicals. The workshop will feature presentations from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and other institutes, and provide detailed guidance for applying to these funding programs and successfully managing an award. Attendees will interact with SBIR/STTR program staff, investors, commercialization experts, and successful entrepreneurs. There is no charge to attend the event. Register and get more details

August 8: Opportunity Available for Regulatory Science Advisor

Humane Society International and the Humane Society of the United States are seeking a Regulatory Science Advisor – Toxicology to work in North America on regulatory affairs and corporate outreach. The successful applicant will have a number of communications and outreach responsibilities focused on accelerating regulatory acceptance and corporate use of scientifically valid alternative non-animal test methods and strategies in the North American chemicals and pesticides sectors. The position requires an M.S. or Ph.D. in toxicology or a related discipline with at least five years’ experience in a government regulatory position or industry regulatory affairs role. It will be located at either the Washington, DC, or Montreal, Canada, office of HSI, and thus candidates must be eligible to work in either the United States or Canada. More information is available on the ChemicalWatch website; applicants should send a cover letter, resume, and writing sample to Aviva Vetter at avetter@hsi.org by August 28.

July 31: USDA Exemptions Help Reduce Live Animal Use in Leptospira Vaccine Potency Testing

Leptospirosis is a transmissible bacterial disease of animals and humans caused by infection with any of the pathogenic members of the genus Leptospira. The organism is shed in the urine and milk of infected animals and may cause symptoms of renal and hepatic disease, which could be fatal. Disease transmission to man and animals is reduced by the vaccination of cattle, swine, and dogs. In light of this, the potency of these vaccines must be tested by law.

In April 2017, the U.S. Department of Agriculture–Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service–Center for Veterinary Biologics (USDA-APHIS-CVB) issued CVB Notice 17-06, “Option to Remove Back-titration Hamsters from In Vivo Potency Tests for Leptospira Serogroups Pomona and Grippotyphosa.” This notice permits the removal of back-titration hamsters when potency testing vaccines containing L. pomona and L. grippotyphosa in accordance with 9 CFR 113 §101-104. This exemption to the codified test can reduce animal use up to 50% for these serogroups. CVB Notice 17-06 along with the 2015 CVB Notice 15-13, “Option to Remove Back-titration Hamsters from In Vivo Potency Tests for Leptospira Serogroups Canicola and Icterohaemorrhagiae” are available on the USDA-APHIS website.

CVB Notice 17-06 is the latest action in a continuing effort by USDA, an ICCVAM member, to reduce the number of hamsters required for potency testing of leptospirosis vaccines. In 2013, APHIS issued Veterinary Services Memorandum No. 800.102, which permitted the use of the in vitro ELISA test developed by CVB as a complete alternative to live animal usage required under 9 CFR 113 §101-104. CVB provides supplemental assay methods for in vitro testing using the ELISA test. All of these documents are available on the NICEATM website.

July 31: NICEATM and ICCVAM Activities at World Congress

NICEATM and ICCVAM scientists will be active participants at the Tenth World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences, which runs August 20-24 in Seattle, Washington. ICCVAM members will co-chair four presentation sessions and participate on roundtable panels on regulatory issues and big data. NICEATM and ICCVAM scientists will also share their latest work in 16 oral and poster presentations. A full list of NICEATM and ICCVAM activities at World Congress is on the NICEATM website.

July 18: Toxics Accepting Applications for Postdoc Travel Award

The journal Toxics is accepting applications for a travel award from postdoctoral fellows or trainees involved in toxicology research. The award of 800 Swiss francs (approximately $800 U.S.) will support travel to an international conference in 2018 at which the awardee will give an oral or poster presentation.

Applicants should submit the following to toxics@mdpi.com by November 30:

  • A 500-word description of current and future work
  • CV including complete publication list
  • A description of the conference to be attended and the work to be presented
  • A letter of recommendation from the applicant’s supervisor or PI

Applications will be assessed by an evaluation committee chaired by Toxics Editor-in-chief Prof. Dr. David Bellinger. The winner will be announced in January 2018.

July 18: World Congress Late-breaking Abstracts Due July 31

Late-breaking abstracts will be accepted through July 31 for the Tenth World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences, which runs August 20-24 in Seattle, Washington. Full instructions for submitting late-breaking abstracts are available on the World Congress website, as are the complete scientific program, registration and housing information, and other conference information.

July 18: Slides Available from BioMed21 Workshop

Presenters’ slides from the June 26-27 workshop “BioMed21 – A Human Pathway-based Approach to Disease and Medicine” are now available. The presentations from government, academic, and industry scientists addressed how to implement a human systems-biology platform for understanding disease and improving interventions.

The workshop was co-organized by NICEATM and the Human Toxicology Project Consortium. In addition to the presentations, an overview of the workshop and background materials are available on the NICEATM website.

July 5: ASCCT Abstract Submssion Deadline Extended

The deadline for abstract submissions for the annual meeting of the American Society for Cellular and Computational Toxicology has been extended to July 10. ASCCT will consider abstracts relevant to replacement of animal use for acute systemic toxicity testing or implementation of the Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act for oral presentations during the plenary sessions focused on these topics. ASCCT also welcomes submission of abstracts on other topics relevant to in vitro and computational toxicology and will consider these for oral or poster presentations. Authors will be notified of abstract acceptance by August 1.

The meeting is September 21-22 at the Institute for In Vitro Sciences in Gaithersburg, MD. More information about the meeting, a preliminary program, and a link to register are available on the ASCCT website.

June 28: Small Business Phase II Grants for Alternative Methods Development

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)

Information about applying for NIEHS small business grants

More information about funding opportunities for alternative methods development

June 28: World Congress Early Bird Registration Deadline Extended

Register by July 10 to get early discounted registration for the Tenth World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences. Full registration includes admission to all scientific events and exhibitions for the duration of the meeting, August 20-24. One-day and accompanying person registration options are also available. Registration information and other meeting details, including a list of plenary speakers, are available on the meeting website.

June 28: Computational Biologist Position Available

UES, Inc., is seeking a computational toxicologist for a position at the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine. The position will focus on the development and application of kinetic and statistical models that use data from physiology, biology, pharmacokinetics, toxicology, and exposure characterization. The successful candidate will have a Ph.D. in biology, environmental toxicology, pharmacokinetics, toxicology, pharmacology, biomedical engineering, chemical engineering, or other related discipline, with a rigorous foundation in applied and quantitative science. Experience with at least one programming or scripting language is required. Experience with computational modeling is preferred, as is experience working with biological data from toxicity, metabolism, and pharmacokinetic studies. The successful candidate should also have experience in risk and exposure assessments. Strong communication skills and a willingness to collaborate are essential. Candidates must be U.S. citizens. A complete job description and a link to apply are available on the UES website.

June 23: Canadian Centre for Alternative to Animal Methods Established

A June 15 news article announced the establishment of the Canadian Centre for Alternatives to Animal Methods (CCAAM). CCAAM and its subsidiary, the Canadian Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods, aim to promote the use of non-animal methodologies in biomedical research, education, and chemical toxicity testing. CCAAM will conduct multidisciplinary biomedical research to understand human health and disease using only human-based biomaterials and methods. In partnership with Health Canada and other Canadian regulators, CCAAM will expedite the development, validation, and acceptance of alternative chemical testing methods. CCAAM will also train the next generation of scientists, ethicists, and policy makers through its academic degree program in Animal Replacement Science at the University of Windsor.

More information about CCAAM

University of Windsor news article announcing CCAAM’s establishment

June 23: European Committee Issues Opinion on Non-human Primate Use

Following a request from the European Commission, the Scientific Committee on Health, Environmental and Emerging Risks (SCHEER) issued an updated opinion on the need for non-human primates in biomedical research, production, and testing of medical products and devices. The SCHEER opinion, adopted by the committee at its May 18 meeting, notes that the current state of knowledge precludes proposal of a timetable for phasing out non-human primate use in Europe at this time. However, the opinion provides recommendations of how to replace, reduce, and refine use of non-human primates for these purposes, and identifies research that should be done to advance the replacement of non-human primates with non-animal methods.

Links to the SCHEER opinion and plain-language summaries of the opinion

June 23: Postdoctoral Fellow Opportunity in Computational Toxicology at NIEHS

A computational toxicology postdoctoral fellowship is available at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (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 nicole.kleinstreuer@nih.gov.

June 23: NICEATM Research Featured in Special Issue of Reproductive Toxicology

NICEATM Deputy Director Nicole Kleinstreuer is a coauthor of three articles in a special issue of Reproductive Toxicology that focuses on developmental angiogenesis. The three articles coauthored by Kleinstreuer describe projects conducted with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other collaborators that use high throughput screening assays to identify and characterize potential vascular disrupting chemicals. Other articles in the issue describe basic research into the mechanism of angiogenesis and new alternative models for identifying potential vascular disrupting chemicals.

June issue of Reproductive Toxicology (volume 70, pages 1-140)

June 23: Save the Date: Regulatory Summit USA in October

The fifth annual Chemical Watch Regulatory Summit USA will be held October 18-19 in the Washington, DC, area. One half-day session of the program will focus on the impact of recent updates to the Toxic Substances Control Act. Other sessions will review current regulatory initiatives in U.S. states, Canada, Europe, and other regions. Speakers will represent regulatory agencies, academia, industry, and NGOs. Registration for the meeting is open and a preliminary program available on the Chemical Watch website.

June 16: Registration Extended for BioMed21 Workshop on Human Disease Pathways

Registration has been extended for the June 26-27 workshop “BioMed21: A Human Pathways Approach to Disease Research.” The workshop will explore existing systems biology projects and approaches, and consider how these projects might be better coordinated to optimally improve disease understanding and interventions. Speakers include scientists from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, National Institutes of Health, and pharmaceutical industry collaborators.

The workshop, organized by NICEATM and the Human Toxicology Project Consortium, will be held at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. An updated agenda is available on the NICEATM website. If you would like to attend the workshop in person, please register by Thursday, June 22. Participants who are not able to attend in person can register to view a webcast of plenary sessions.

June 16: Small Business Grants Available for Alternative Methods Development

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.

June 16: EPA Announces Meetings, Requests Nominations of Panel Members

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

June 6: ECHA Report Shows Wide Use of Alternatives

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has issued its third report on the use of alternative methods under REACH. The report shows that most registrants consider and use alternatives to animal testing. The most common alternative method, read-across, uses information on similar substances to predict toxicity. Read-across has been particularly useful for human health endpoints such as developmental and reproductive toxicology. Other frequently used approaches include weight-of-evidence analysis and QSAR prediction. A press release and the full report are available on the ECHA website.

June 6: Nominations Open for the 2017 Lush Prizes

Nominations are open through July 24 for the 2017 Lush Prizes. To promote alternatives to animal testing for consumer products, Lush Cosmetics will award up to £350,000 in prizes to recipients in the areas of science, training, public awareness, and lobbying, and to promising young researchers in the field. Researchers working anywhere in the world may nominate themselves or others for the prizes; however, individuals or organizations awarded prizes in 2016 are not eligible for the 2017 prizes. Detailed information about the prizes is available on the Lush Prize website.

June 6: Symposium on Friday, June 9: Toxics in Everyday Life

The UCLA Center for Occupational and Environmental Health is presenting the free, one-day symposium “Toxics in Everyday Life.” The symposium will describe what “toxics” are, where they can be found, and how they can affect consumers and workers. Speakers will also describe how people can protect themselves and what business and advocacy groups are doing to protect people from toxic exposures. The symposium will be held this Friday at the UCLA School of Law in Los Angeles, and plenary sessions will be webcast.

June 6: NTP Update Newsletter

Articles in the June issue of the NTP Update newsletter summarize the ICCVAM Public Forum and preview the upcoming “International Symposium on Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Laboratory Animal Studies” to be held at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in August.

June 5: Slides and Video Available from ICCVAM Public Forum

Presenters’ slides and the webcast recording of the May 23 ICCVAM public forum are now available. Presentations at this year’s public forum included updates from eight ICCVAM member agencies, as well as summaries of ICCVAM’s interactions with several international organizations.

NICEATM Director Warren Casey presented a plan for the development of a U.S. strategic roadmap to establish new approaches for evaluating chemical safety. The roadmap was the focus of most of the public comments presented at the meeting. Upcoming opportunities to comment on the roadmap include the June 29 meeting of the NTP Board of Scientific Counselors and the September 18-19 meeting of the Scientific Advisory Committee on Alternative Toxicological Methods.

June 5: Agenda Available for BioMed21 Workshop on Human Disease Pathways

An agenda is available for the June 26-27 workshop “BioMed21: A Human Pathways Approach to Disease Research.” The workshop will explore existing systems biology projects and approaches, and consider how these projects might be better coordinated to optimally improve disease understanding and interventions. Speakers include scientists from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, National Institutes of Health, and pharmaceutical industry collaborators.

The workshop, organized by NICEATM and the Human Toxicology Project Consortium, will be held at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. Registration is open now; participants may attend in person or view a webcast of plenary sessions.

June 5: ASCCT to Present June 8 Webinar on Neurotoxicity Screening

The American Society for Cellular and Computational Toxicology (ASCCT) will present a webinar on “Combination of Multiple Neural Crest Migration Assays to Identify Environmental Toxicants from a Proof-of-concept Chemical Library.” Johanna Nyffeler of the University of Konstanz, Germany, will describe a study that evaluated the ability of in vitro cell migration assays to identify developmental neurotoxicants.

The webinar is scheduled for Thursday, June 8, at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The webinar is free and open to both ASCCT members and non-members. Register for the webinar

June 5: Conference on Inflammation, Aging, and Chronic Disease

Registration is open for the “Inflammation, Aging and Chronic Disease Conference” at Stanford University on November 27-28. NICEATM Deputy Director Nicole Kleinstreuer will speak at the conference in a session titled “Environment and Immune Modulation.”

Chronic inflammation is now widely accepted as a common mechanism of many diseases associated with aging, including cancer, neurodegenerative disorders, and cardiovascular disease. In this conference organized by the Institute for Immunity, Transplantation and Infection, Stanford School of Medicine, participants will discuss critical aspects of the “exposome” and its relation to inflammation, possible mechanisms that trigger both the onset and resolution of inflammation, and the links between maladaptive immune responses and tissue damage in aging.

Abstracts are being accepted through July 15; early discounted registration dates are available through August 15. More information is available on the Stanford University website.

May 24: OpenTox USA Abstract Deadline Extended to May 31

OpenTox USA 2017, focused on “Application of In Vitro-In Silico Approaches in Toxicology, Safety Assessment, and Regulation,” will be held July 12-13 at the Searle Conference Center, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina. The meeting’s five sessions will cover: application of omics data in safety assessment; data management and knowledge sharing infrastructures; adverse outcome pathway development; integrated approaches to testing and assessment; and exposure assessment.

Registration is open for the meeting, and the deadline for submitting poster abstracts has been extended to May 31. A full program for the meeting and links to register and submit abstracts are available on the OpenTox website.

May 24: June Workshop to Focus on Human Disease Pathways

A June 26-27 workshop at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, will focus on human pathway-based approaches to disease and medicine. The “BioMed21” workshop will explore existing systems biology projects and approaches, and consider how these projects might be better coordinated to optimally improve disease understanding and interventions.

The workshop is being organized by NICEATM and the Human Toxicology Project Consortium. Registration is open now on the NICEATM website; participants may attend in person or view a webcast of plenary sessions.

May 24: Grants Offered to Support Review Articles

Humane Society International and The Humane Society of the United States are offering grants of up to $10,000 to support the development and open-access publication of in-depth, independent review articles. Each review will focus on a specific area of human disease, evaluate the human relevance and limitations of conventional research models, and offer recommendations for optimizing the funding and use of advanced, human-specific tools and approaches.

Applicants should be health researchers with Ph.D. or equivalent degrees employed in the academic, private, or public sectors of the United States, Canada, European Union, or South Korea. Retirees from such positions are also eligible to apply. Applications will be accepted from single authors or groups. Grantees’ publications must be submitted to and accepted for publication by a high-visibility, peer-reviewed journal. Lead authors of grantees’ publications will also be expected to attend a workshop in early 2019 to explore the findings and recommendations of funded review articles and to contribute to a subsequent workshop report.

The application deadline is June 30; successful grantees will be notified by July 17. More information is available on the Human Toxicology Project website.

May 24: OECD and ECHA to Present June 1 Webinar on QSAR Toolbox

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) will present a webinar to demonstrate the new features of the OECD’s QSAR Toolbox Version 4.0 resource. The QSAR Toolbox is a software application that governments, chemical industry, and other stakeholders can use to fill gaps in toxicity data needed for assessing the hazards of chemicals.

In the webinar, OECD will present a brief overview of the purpose and history of the QSAR Toolbox, review basic concepts and organization of the Toolbox, and explain where to get support for Version 4.0. ECHA will present practical examples for the use of the QSAR Toolbox v4.0, with focus on the new functionalities.

The webinar is scheduled for June 1 at 6:45 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (12:45 p.m. Europe Summer Time). Register for the webinar on the OECD WebEx site. A previous presentation by ECHA of the basic functionalities of Version 4.0 of QSAR Toolbox is available on YouTube; those planning to attend the June 1 webinar are encouraged to watch the YouTube video before the webinar.

May 11: OECD Group Approves Proposal for Test Guideline Development

An OECD committee has approved a proposal to develop a performance-based test guideline for defined approaches for skin sensitization. If ultimately adopted by the OECD, this test guideline will make it easier to validate and implement non-animal testing methods for skin sensitization.

Skin sensitization testing, currently primarily performed using mice and guinea pigs, is required by regulatory agencies worldwide for a variety of chemical products. Skin sensitization is a complex process, and replacing animal testing with non-animal methods requires data from several methods to be considered in combination to adequately predict toxic effects. Defined approaches are a means by which data from several non-animal test methods can be considered in combination. They combine input data from several specific sources, such as non-animal test methods or computational models, using an objective data interpretation procedure such as a machine-learning model, flowchart, or decision tree.

The test guideline proposal was developed by NICEATM and ICCVAM scientists working with Canadian and European collaborators in the International Cooperation on Alternative Test Methods. The proposal was approved by the Working Group of National Coordinators of the OECD Test Guidelines Programme at its meeting in April.

Approval of the proposal allows for the establishment of expert groups and conduct of meetings to develop a performance-based test guideline for defined approaches for skin sensitization. Performance-based test guidelines describe characteristics that constitute acceptable performance for a general class of test methods that, while differing in protocol details, are all intended to measure the same biological effect. Approval of a performance-based test guideline for defined approaches for skin sensitization is expected to allow regulatory authorities to more readily accept defined approaches for skin sensitization testing, which will advance the goal of elimination of animal use for skin sensitization testing worldwide.

May 11: Free Webinar: OECD QSAR Toolbox for Beginners

A free ChemicalWatch webinar on Tuesday, May 16, will provide a comprehensive overview of the recently released Version 4.0 of QSAR Toolbox. The QSAR Toolbox, developed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, is a software application that governments, chemical industry, and other stakeholders can use to fill gaps in toxicity data needed for assessing the hazards of chemicals. The webinar will include an interactive question-and-answer session with the audience and speakers.

The webinar is at 9:00-10:30 a.m. EDT (2:00-3:30 p.m. British Summer Time). Register for the webinar on the ChemicalWatch website. Registrants who are unable to view the live webinar will have access to a recording and slides from the webinar. More information about QSAR Toolbox is available on the OECD website.

May 3: ASCCT Meeting September 21-22; Abstract Submission Open

The 6th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Cellular and Computational Toxicology is scheduled for September 21-22, 2017, at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) office in College Park, MD. The September 21 plenary session will focus on the advancement of alternatives for acute toxicity testing, and the September 22 plenary session will focus on the alternative methods requirements of the Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act and the use of in vitro and computational methods to address those requirements. The meeting will also include a poster session, mentoring and networking opportunities, and a reception and awards ceremony.

Abstracts for presentations at the meeting are due July 1. Abstracts relevant to the plenary session themes will be considered for oral presentations during these sessions. Submission of abstracts on all topics related to cellular and computational toxicology are also welcomed for oral and poster presentations. Authors will be notified of abstract acceptance August 1.

Details on the meeting and abstract submission are available on the ASCCT website; registration and a draft agenda will be available soon.

May 3: Registration Open for ICCVAM Public Forum

Registration is open to attend the ICCVAM public forum on May 23 at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. ICCVAM holds annual public forums to share information and facilitate direct communication of ideas and suggestions from stakeholders. ICCVAM agencies will give presentation on their activities relevant to the ICCVAM mission. This year’s forum will also provide an opportunity for stakeholder input on an effort to establish a U.S. national strategy to explore new approaches for evaluating the safety of chemicals and medical products in the United States.

More information about the public forum and links to register to attend in person or view the webcast are available on the NICEATM website. Those planning to attend in person are encouraged to preregister by May 12.

May 3: NICEATM Deputy Director, Collaborators Comment on Progress Toward Animal Replacement

NICEATM Deputy Director Nicole Kleinstreuer and a number of NICEATM collaborators in academia, industry, and animal welfare organizations commented on progress toward replacing animals for chemical safety testing in the April 24 issue of Chemical and Engineering News. The article “Big Data, Big Deadlines Spur Change in Toxicity Testing” is available on the C&E News website.

May 3: FDA Reaches Food Safety Agreement with Australia

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.

April 20: FDA Partners with Industry to Develop Organs-on-Chips

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.

April 10: OECD Releases Update of QSAR Toolbox

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has released version 4.0 of QSAR Toolbox. The QSAR Toolbox is a software application that governments, chemical industry, and other stakeholders can use to fill gaps in toxicity data needed for assessing the hazards of chemicals.

Version 4.0 of QSAR Toolbox features:

  • Automated and standardized workflows for skin sensitization and short-term toxicity to fish
  • Improved customizable reports
  • An updated software system
  • Expansion of databases with the introduction of reliability scores for alerts and databases
  • Enhanced ADME information and improved presentation

The QSAR Toolbox can be downloaded from the OECD website. This page includes detailed information about QSAR Toolbox and the new features in version 4.0.

March 24: OECD Releases Guidance Document on Integrated Approaches to Testing and Assessment

OECD recently released a “Guidance Document for the Use of Adverse Outcome Pathways in Developing Integrated Approaches for Testing and Assessment (IATA)”. This guidance document is intended to:

  • Provide a framework for developing and using IATA
  • Describe how IATA can be based on the adverse outcome pathway concept
  • Provide examples on how AOPs can be used in the development of IATA

IATA provide a means for combining the data from different testing methods, with the objective of predicting chemical toxicity more accurately than with any single test method.

The OECD Programme on Hazard Assessment addresses chemical hazards. One of the programme’s current efforts is on the development and application of IATA and the collation of comments on new hazard assessment methodologies.

More information on IATA can be found at the OECD website. The new guidance document can also be downloaded from this page.

March 3: New Agency Joins ICCVAM

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.

February 15: New Release of Effectopedia Site Available

Effectopedia is an open-knowledge and structured platform to display quantitative information on adverse outcome pathways (AOPs). This collaborative tool is designed to facilitate interdisciplinary efforts for delineating AOPs in an encyclopedic manner with greater predictive power.

The new release of Effectopedia features:

  • A stable and user-friendly experience, supported by online training material (videos, introduction tutorials)
  • Quantitative features that support entry of dose- and time-response data and can be used to derive response-to-response relationships
  • New functionalities for model development and interaction
  • Workflow support that allows users to create and save their AOPs locally or publicly
Explore the new Effectopedia features on the new Effectopedia website. Effectopedia is supported by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. More OECD resources supporting development of AOPs are available on the OECD website.

January 20: Advisory Committee Applications Due January 31

The European Union Reference Laboratory for Alternatives to Animal Testing (EURL ECVAM) is recruiting new members for its Scientific Advisory Committee. The ESAC acts as a scientific peer-review body that provides EURL ECVAM with opinions on the adequacy and outcome of formal validation studies of alternative methods, typically in the context of regulatory safety assessment.

Eligible applicants must have a postgraduate university degree and at least 10 years of subsequent experience in relevant fields, have sufficient oral and written English fluency, and have not served on the ESAC since 2009. Applicants will be evaluated for their competence in scientific areas relevant to alternative methods development and their experience in regulatory and safety assessment of chemicals, validation practice, analyzing complex information, and providing scientific advice at a national or international level. Applications are due January 31. More information is available on the EURL ECVAM website.

January 20: Risk Assessment Training Opportunity for Young Scientists

The Joint Research Centre of the European Commission will hold a “Summer School on Alternative Approaches for Risk Assessment” on May 16-19. The Summer School will be hosted by the Centre’s Chemical Safety and Alternative Methods Unit in Ispra, Italy. Tailored for postgraduate students and young scientists, the Summer School aims to give insight into principles and methodologies of human health and environmental risk assessment from a scientific, regulatory, and industrial perspective with a focus on alternative (non-animal) methods.

Attendance is limited to students and scientists who have completed their Ph.D. or master’s degree within the last four years. Applicants must provide a letter of motivation, including one professional reference, and a poster abstract. Selection of participants (100 maximum) will be based on the clarity, relevance, and quality of the application and the relevance of the Summer School to current area of study or job. Preregistration for the Summer School is open until February 14. More information is available on the JRC website.

January 6: National Academies Report: Using 21st Century Science to Improve Risk-related Evaluations

A report released January 5 by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine makes recommendations on the best ways to incorporate emerging science into risk-based evaluations of chemical safety. The report, “Using 21st Century Science to Improve Risk-related Evaluations”, was prepared at the request of the four Tox21 partner organizations: the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The new report discusses both the inherent opportunities and the challenges that will need to be met to achieve the vision described in two earlier National Research Council reports, “Toxicity Testing in the 21st Century” and “Exposure Science in the 21st Century.”

The new report can be read online or downloaded as a free PDF from the National Academies Press website. National Academies Press is also accepting pre-orders for purchase of the paperback edition.

January 4: EPA Launches Voluntary Pilot Program to Reduce Animal Testing

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.

More information about the pilot program and instructions for submitting data are available on the EPA website.