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National Toxicology Program

National Toxicology Program

UPDATE NewsletterUPDATE NewsletterFebruary 2019

SOT honors computational, nonanimal testing pioneer

By Catherine Sprankle
Reprinted from Environmental Factor

portrait of Nicole Kleinstreuer, Ph.D. Kleinstreuer co-authored a paper in 2018 that described ChemMaps, a new tool for predicting chemical toxicity values of untested chemicals. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

National Toxicology Program (NTP) researcher Nicole Kleinstreuer, Ph.D., was among the scientists recognized Dec. 20 by the Society of Toxicology (SOT) in its 2019 awards.

Kleinstreuer will receive the 2019 Achievement Award, which is presented to an SOT member who makes significant contributions to toxicology in the first 15 years of their career.

Leader in computational toxicology

Kleinstreuer is one of the leaders in the field of computational toxicology, according to NIEHS grantee Ivan Rusyn, Ph.D., from Texas A&M University. Rusyn nominated her for the honor. “As a past recipient of this award,” he commented, “I can think of no better candidate than Dr. Kleinstreuer.”

SOT noted her achievements in computational toxicology and alternative toxicological methods. Kleinstreuer’s research focuses on mathematical modeling of biological systems and the adverse health outcomes resulting from chemical exposures. She has made key contributions to strategies that combine in vitro high-throughput assay data with computational models to predict the likelihood of toxic effects.

“It is a tremendous honor for me to receive this award,” said Kleinstreuer, “but the most important part is the recognition of nonanimal approaches and computational methods as an increasingly critical component of toxicology overall.”

She serves as deputy director of the NTP Interagency Center for the Validation of Alternative Toxicological Methods (NICEATM). She also represents NIEHS on the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods (ICCVAM), which NICEATM supports.

Enhancing animal welfare

Another ICCVAM member, Suzanne Fitzpatrick, Ph.D., of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), received the 2019 SOT Enhancement of Animal Welfare Award. This award recognizes researchers who advance the science by developing and applying methods that replace, refine, or reduce the need for animals in toxicology experiments.

Fitzpatrick’s honor reflects her many activities in the field. She is the FDA lead for Tox21 and chair of the FDA Predictive Toxicology Roadmap Committee. She also plays a leading role in FDA evaluations of organs-on-chips technology. Fitzpatrick serves as the principal FDA representative to ICCVAM and chairs the committee’s Developmental and Reproductive Toxicity Workgroup.

Fourth year for NICEATM recognition

NICEATM Director Warren Casey, Ph.D., said that this award further highlights the impact NICEATM and ICCVAM have had on advancing alternatives to animal testing. “This marks the fourth consecutive year that a scientist affiliated with ICCVAM or NICEATM has been honored with this award,” he noted.

Hao Zhu, Ph.D., from Rutgers University at Camden, was awarded the SOT Colgate-Palmolive Grant for Alternative Research. Zhu develops computational models for developmental and reproductive toxicity, and he is a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee on Alternative Toxicological Methods, which advises NICEATM and ICCVAM.

The awardees will be honored at a March 10 ceremony during the SOT 58th Annual Meeting in Baltimore.

(Catherine Sprankle, NICEATM Communications Specialist, works for ILS, the contractor supporting NICEATM.)


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Director of Office of Liaison, Policy, and Review and Editor-in-Chief: Mary Wolfe | Managing Editor: Anna Lee Mosley