HESI Insights - August 2021

Cardiac Safety Committee Launches New Educational Outreach Awards

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The HESI Cardiac Safety Committee aims to increase interest and awareness of cardiac safety career paths and training for the next generation of scientists. The committee will be providing awards to help post-docs or early career scientists gain experience in the field and build collaboration networks. The first activity includes establishing a new “Postdoctoral Seminar Series” which will begin in Q1 2022. Awardees will present on their emerging issue research at a public webinar and will receive a $500 USD prize. Stay tuned as the application form will go live in September 2021!

Animal Alts Committee Publishes Results of Joint EDC Workshop

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The HESI Animal Alternatives Committee is pleased to share a recent publication in Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management, “Investigating Endocrine Disrupting Properties of Chemicals in Fish and Amphibians: Opportunities to Apply the 3Rs” (Burden et al., 2021).

Following a joint workshop held by NC3Rs and HESI in February 2020, the publication discusses challenges and opportunities in applying 3Rs approaches within current animal testing guidelines, the utilization of NAM approaches, and efforts and activities needed to enable the application of 3Rs approaches in practice. Read the full publication here.

COMPARE Database Published in Frontiers in Allergy

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Have you ever wondered how the COMPARE database was developed and how new allergen additions are evaluated? These and many more questions are answered in the recent publication “The COMPARE Database: A Public Resource for Allergen Identification, Adapted for Continuous Improvement” (van Ree et al., 2021), published this month in Frontiers in Allergy.

COMPARE, which presently contains 2,348 allergenic protein sequences, is updated annually by a large collaborative group of public and private scientific organizations across the United States and Europe. There are over 20 authors on the paper which describes how COMPARE was born in 2017 and how it has developed over the past five years. Additionally, the database hosts bioinformatics analytical capability through COMPASS to provide publicly accessible tools to stakeholders for the risk assessment of potential protein allergenicity.

If you are a product developer providing safety information on novel proteins, a regulatory agency responsible for food and feed safety assessments, a medical professional in the allergy field, or a member of the public who may be interested in identifying sources of allergens, then this is the database for you!

Register Now: RTgill-W1 Cell Line Assay Webinar


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Please join us for an upcoming webinar co-organized by HESI, Eawag, and AquaTox Solutions on 16 September 2021 from 9:00AM – 10:00AM EST. The RTgill-W1 cell line assay has recently been adopted by OECD, marking the first in vitro-based test guideline in ecotoxicology. This assay, set up to forecast acute fish toxicity, has been developed under the leadership of the team of Prof. Kristin Schirmer at Eawag, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, with the support of numerous collaborators around the globe. In this webinar, the assay will be introduced and its advantages and limitations as well as potential future applications and developments will be discussed.

Click here to register.

Immuno-Safety Technical Committee (ITC) Career Webinar


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The HESI Immuno-Safety Technical Committee (ITC) Education & Outreach Workgroup is hosting a career webinar on 16 September 2021 from 11:00AM – 12:00PM EST to increase awareness about careers in the immuno-safety and immuno-pharmacology fields. The webinar has a target audience of graduate students, post-docs, and early career scientists, and will allow for meaningful Q&A interactions between the audience and speakers to give insight on their respective career pathways.

Registration is free – learn more and register.

HESI Sessions at EUROTOX 2021

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The HESI Immuno-Safety Technical Committee (ITC) and Translational Biomarkers of Neurotoxicity (NeuTox) Committee will present their work at the EUROTOX Virtual Congress 2021 on 28-30 September 2021. Additionally, Dr. Syril Pettit, HESI Executive Director, will participate in the EUROTOX/SOT Debate as the SOT Debater on 28 September 2021 and Dr. Jason Cannon, Purdue University, will present a HESI CITE Lecture on 1 October 2021.

Tuesday, 28 September 2021
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM BST

  • SOT Debater: Syril Pettit, HESI Executive Director

Tuesday, 28 September 2021
2:00PM – 4:00PM BST
Session 28 – Symposium
Preclinical Immune-Safety Evaluation of Immuno-Oncology Therapies

  • HESI Immuno-Safety Technical Committee (ITC)
  • Chair: Curtis Maier, GlaxoSmithKline
  • Presenter: Hervé Lebrec, Amgen

Wednesday, 29 September 2021
2:00PM – 4:00PM BST
Session 14 – Symposium
New Approaches Using In Vitro Assays and 3D Models Can Improve Prediction of Immune Reactions to Xenobiotics

  • HESI Immuno-Safety Technical Committee (ITC)
  • Chair: Marc Pallardy, Université Paris-Saclay

Thursday, 30 September 2021
2:00PM – 4:00PM BST
Session 19 – Workshop
Can We Panelize Seizure?

  • HESI Translational Biomarkers of Neurotoxicity (NeuTox) Committee
  • Chairs: Ruth Roberts, ApconiX, and Jennifer Pierson, HESI

Friday, 1 October 2021
1:00PM – 2:00PM BST
Linking Primary Mechanisms of Environmentally Induced Neurotoxicity to Human Neurological Disease Relevance

  • Presenter: Jason Cannon, Purdue University

ITC Fall Business Meeting

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The HESI Immuno-Safety Technical Committee (ITC) Fall Business Meeting will take place on 14-15 October 2021. This virtual meeting is open to ITC participants only. Learn more here.

From the Leadership

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During the last year, the HESI Emerging Issues Committee (EIC) and Program Strategy and Stewardship Committee (PSSC) have worked hard on updating the HESI Science Foresight document. I want to thank the members of both committees for the commitment and energy that they put into developing this document.

Science is dynamic, and although many HESI committees have successfully addressed a large range of current scientific topics, we must also continue to move forward to address emerging scientific issues in human health and the environment. With its broad range of scientific committees, HESI has an excellent basis to address new topics such as those identified in the Science Foresight document. While some topics may fit easily into existing HESI programs or committees, others originate from novel and innovative scientific insights that could fit well within the scope of HESI’s mission.

Another important aspect when considering emerging issues is to what extent funding is available from existing HESI sponsors and external sources, such as private sector companies or government agencies. The EIC and PSSC are now close to finalizing this important document, and I look forward to having a constructive and lively discussion about science foresight at the HESI Board of Trustees meeting in January.

Aside from the Science Foresight document, it is important to note that individual HESI members can also make suggestions to the EIC for novel and emerging scientific issues via a variety of mechanisms. I encourage you all to consider making suggestions for new scientific activities within HESI!

Best regards,

Martin van den Berg, PhD, ERT
HESI Chair

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