Meetings

Upcoming Meetings

Building a Better EpitheliumCo-hosted by ASCCT and the Society of Toxicology

Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio, Texas
Saturday, March 10th, 2018
Meeting website: www.toxicology.org/epithelium

Background:

Epithelial cells lining the airway, skin, and digestive tract are the interface between the body and the environment and serve both as physical barrier and key player in the toxicological response to chemical and environmental exposures. The three epithelial barriers are target organs of toxicity, modulate the absorption of chemicals from the environment, mediate local and systemic immunological responses, and participate to xenobiotic biotransformation. The epithelium functions in the context of a microenvironment, which is regulated by interactions between epithelial cells, stromal cells, and the extracellular matrix; however, most in vitro and high-throughput models of the epithelium utilize monocultures grown under standard “cells on plastic” conditions. As a result, these traditional in vitro epithelial models may not accurately recapitulate the topological organization, morphological hallmarks, and cell-cell communication that would normally be present in vivo. These limitations can be overcome through the development and application of three-dimensional, multi-cell type organotypic in vitro models, which more accurately represent the in vivo epithelial microenvironment, in pharmacology and toxicology studies. The development of organotypic epithelial models has advanced considerably in recent years and the application of these models has the potential to transform the use of in vitro models in the field of toxicology.

About the Meeting:

This meeting will provide opportunities for toxicologists that are interested in, or currently using, organotypic models and technology developers to meet face-to-face to foster collaborations that will move the field forward. In addition to presenting the state of the science, this conference will include moderated discussion sessions for attendees and speakers to discuss advances, future needs and data gaps, and applications of these models in the investigation into the cellular and molecular mechanisms of toxicity. The presentations will focus around developments in in vitro organotypic airway, skin, and intestinal epithelial models that may inform mechanistic understanding by toxicologists across academia, government, and industry. Further, presentations will discuss practical considerations when incorporating these tools into next generation in vitro research and safety evaluation.

Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio, Texas
March 11th-15th, 2018
Meeting website: https://www.toxicology.org/events/am/AM2018/index.asp

Guide to SOT events related to in silico and in vitro toxicology (pdf)

*See below for a student award opportunity to attend QSAR2018

HOTEL Golf, Bled, Slovenia
June 11th-15th, 2018

Meeting website: http://www.qsar2018.com/

Abstract submission deadline: February 15th, 2018
Early registration deadline: March 14th, 2018

ASCCT will pay the registration fee and also offer $2000 towards travel and lodging for one student or post-doc. Applicants should send:

  • The abstract they plan to submit to the conference
  • A short (500 words or less) statement discussing their interest in the field of QSAR
  • A note from their supervisor or advisor certifying student/post-doc status

The deadline for applying for this award will be February 14 to allow for time to choose a winner in advance of the March 14 early registration deadline.

Please send application materials or any questions to ksullivan@ascctox.org.

Sessions:

  • QSAR models for regulatory use
  • Models for human health effects
  • Models for ecotoxicological and environmental effects
  • Protein-ligand interactions, in silico studies related to toxicological effects
  • Software and tools

Past Meetings

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The American Society for Cellular and Computational Toxicology (ASCCT) recently held its 6th Annual Meeting at the headquarters of one of its founding organizations, the Institute for In Vitro Sciences. Meeting attendees participated in several oral presentation sessions, a poster session, panel discussion, awards ceremony, and mentoring event, all focused on the development and implementation of alternative, nonanimal toxicology science and policy. As in 2016, the meeting was held at a time and place to coincide with the Science Advisory Committee for Alternative Toxicological Methods (SACATM), an advisory group for the US-based Interagency Coordinating Committee for the Validation of Alternative Methods. This structure fits well with ASCCT’s mission to increase the cooperation and dialog between toxicologists from government, industrial, academic, and non-profit organizations.

The meeting started September 21st with a focus on acute systemic toxicity thanks to a pair of plenaries touching on policy and scientific advances and challenges. Anna Lowit from the US EPA presented EPA-OPP's Initiative to Modernize the Acute "6-Pack” and Dan Wilson from Dow Chemical Company presented a Progress Report on Efforts to Replace Acute Systemic Toxicity Tests with Mechanistic Alternative Approaches. After several talks from submitted abstracts on acute systemic toxicity, updates on FDA CFSAN efforts to modernize regulatory toxicology and the establishment of a new Canadian alternatives center were provided by Suzanne Fitzpatrick from the US Food and Drug Administration and Charu Chandrasekera from the Canadian Centre for Alternatives to Animal Methods, respectively.

The day ended with the awarding of the Tox21 Student Award to Wenyi Wang from Rutgers University for her work titled Mechanistic Evaluation of Chemicals that Induce Oral Acute Toxicity by Mitochondrial Membrane Disruption: Big Data Profiling and Analysis; the Edward Carney Award for Predictive Toxicology was given to Ellen Garcia from Virginia Tech for her presentation Characterization of two lung cell lines for use in cell division focused, single-cell toxicity assays.

Under the Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act (LCSA), the EPA is tasked with creating a strategic plan for developing and implementing methods which reduce and replace vertebrate animal testing. The second day of the meeting began with a plenary providing a Progress Report on Development of a Strategic Plan to Reduce, Refine or Replace Use of Vertebrate Animal Testing Under the Lautenberg Act from Gino Scarano of US EPA. Another platform presentation session followed Dr. Scarano’s presentation, and the day was rounded out with an active and engaging closing panelist and audience discussion to provide EPA feedback and advice, and discuss views, roles, and responsibilities of all stakeholders involved in Lautenberg Act implementation.

Thanks to all who attended, spoke, and participated in the planning! A full report will be put together for publication in the coming months, and all are welcome to join in the planning for the 7th Annual Meeting in the fall of 2018. Contact Secretary Kristie Sullivan to get involved.

Presentation slides are available to ASCCT members here.

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Thank you to all who helped make our fifth meeting the best yet. Attendees were treated to plenary lectures on read across by Dr. Thomas Hartung of Johns Hopkins University and on stem cells in toxicology by Dr. Mahendra Rao of Mahendra Rao, LLC. Sixteen presentations showcasing advances in the field of toxicology, as well as a mentoring session with young scientists, a poster session, and dynamic panel discussion rounded out the program.

We were honored to host the wife and brother of the late Dr. Edward Carney to award the 2nd annual Ed Carney Award for Predictive Toxicology, which went to Emma Bowers for her presentation Modeling a complex in vivo response in vitro: Exploring heterogeneity and mechanisms associated with ozone adaptation. After winning the William and Eleanor Cave Award for his career achievements in in vitro toxicology, Dr. Ray Tice established the Tox21 Student Award, which will be given for the next five years. This year, the award went to Ellen Garcia for her presentation Single-cell analysis reveals that silver nanoparticle exposure leads to multi-nucleation through defective cell division.

Finally, members elected Ellen Berg to the Board of Directors

ASCCT members can view all presentations.

Promises and Challenges of a More Flexible Approach to Toxicology Testing

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The fourth annual ASCCT meeting explored new approaches to toxicology testing with plenary lectures given by Warren Casey, Director of NICEATM and Craig Rowlands from the Dow Chemical Company. The meeting featured a diverse poster session, a panel discussion on the assessment and application of IATA, and ten oral presentations chosen from a very competitive field of abstracts. Members elected two new members to the Board of Directors: Gertrude-Emilia Costin and Shaun McCullough.

ASCCT members can view all presentations.

Where Chemistry and Biology Meet: AOPs as a Framework for Advancing Toxicology

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Dr. Robert Kavlock of the US Environmental Protection Agency opened the meeting with a discussion on the development of the Adverse Outcome Pathways concept, in which AOPs offer a biological context to facilitate the development of Integrated Approaches to Testing and Assessment (IATA) for regulatory decision-making. Drs. Jennie Larkin and Ajay Pillai from NIH discussed BD2K and LINCS, two community-building programs. Other presenters explored the development of different tools used to test toxicity. A poster session and reception concluded the meeting.

ASCCT members can view all presentations.

The Future Is Here: Practical Applications of Emerging Scientific Tools

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Human Organs on Chips as Replacements for Animal Testing, the keynote address given by Donald E. Ingber, M.D., Ph.D., of the Wyss Institute at Harvard, kicked off the meeting which featured a dozen lectures and poster presentations on making toxicology a more human-relevant science. Other topics included methods to replace live animals in eye irritation tests and computer-based virtual embryos that show how chemical exposures might affect developing embryos.

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The first annual ASCCT meeting focused on advances in the fields of in vitro and computational toxicology. Dr. Melvin Andersen, associate director of The Institute for Chemical Safety Sciences at The Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences and ASCCT board member, gave a plenary lecture on Computational Cellular Pathway Modeling: Combining Key In Vitro and In Silico Tools to Enhance Modern Safety Assessment. Dr. Suzanne Fitzpatrick, senior advisor for toxicology at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave a plenary lecture on an Overview of the FDA-DARPA-NIH Collaboration on Human/Organ on a Chip.

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Attendees gained hands-on laboratory experience and instruction in the practical application of the lectured topics. Topics for the three and a half day course included: (i) international regulatory acceptance status of in vitro assays, (ii) predicting organ specific toxicity (e.g., ocular, dermal and hepatic), (iii) using cell and organ culture models with histological, biochemical, and molecular endpointsm, and (iv) data interpretation.

Thank you for helping to make the ASCCT/ESTIV luncheon session a success. A manuscript outlining the discussions that took place during the session has been published. You can view the entire proceedings here.