HESI Insights - December 2021

Dr. Michelle Embry receives Herb Ward Exceptional Service Award

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Congratulations to Dr. Michelle Embry for receiving the SETAC Global Herb Ward Exceptional Service Award! This award recognizes a Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) member who has performed long-term, exceptionally high-quality service to the Society.

New GTTC Publication


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The HESI Genetic Toxicology Technical Committee (GTTC) applied their next-generation framework for assessing the risk of genetic damage due to exposure to chemical substances in a recently published paper (Nicolette et al., 2021).  In this publication they apply the framework to etoposide, a drug used in certain types of cancer treatments, as a representative pharmaceutical case study. The framework places greater emphasis on estimating the potential risk of a substance if and when people are exposed, rather than applying genetic toxicity testing data only for hazard identification. This allows decision makers to discern how much benefit is critical to balance any adverse effects that may be introduced by a pharmaceutical, such as shown with this case study on etoposide.

New BSC Publication

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The Botanical Safety Consortium: A public-private partnership to enhance the botanical safety toolkit“, recently published in Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology (Mitchell et al., 2021) details the structure, goals and strategies of this initiative and insights regarding our objectives, namely the selection and prioritization of botanicals based on putative toxicological properties.

HESI Emerging Issues Committee: 2022 Call for Proposals

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The Health and Environmental Sciences Institute (HESI) seeks your suggestions for priority emerging scientific issues (human or environmental health) that should be addressed through a focused, multi-sector, collaborative program. Proposals will be accepted until 14 January 2022 and one or more may be selected to form a new scientific program within HESI.

Click here to learn more about the Emerging Issues process!

THRIVE Letters of Intent submission deadline approaching!

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HESI THRIVE is a seed grant program that is innovating translational research and improving quality of life after cancer. By providing researchers with both seed funding and access to critical networks, THRIVE enhances the visibility of the patient need, the value of the research, and the reasons that larger funding entities might elect to incorporate these research streams into future funding priorities.

THRIVE provides seed grants for clinical and translational research and technology-based solutions that enhance our ability to predict when and how adverse effects may occur in patients who have received cancer treatment. The THRIVE grant program is designed to provide seed funding to investigators for the testing of initial hypotheses and collecting of preliminary data to help secure long-term funding by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and/or other major institutions. This year, we have expanded this opportunity to accept international applications, broadening our reach and heightening the visibility of this important research area. For details on eligibility, funding, and the application process please click here.

THRIVE will accept letters of intent until 10 January 2022. For more information, contact research@hesithrive.org.

New Workstreams in CT-TRACS Committee

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HESI Cell Therapy, TRAcking Circulation and Safety Committee closed its Fall Business Meeting on December 9th, 2021. Over the past 5 weeks, the committee held four separate sessions to dive into their portfolio, share project results and assess new project proposals. As a result, up to 3 potential new projects will launch in 2022 (see diagram). If you are interested in getting involved, please contact Lucilia Mouriès (lmouries@hesiglobal.org) or Connie Chen (cchen@hesiglobal.org).

HESI is launching a new committee on Targeted Protein Degrader Safety in 2022

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After a successful workshop on October 14-15, 2021, gathering >150 participants from North America and Europe to discuss gaps and challenges in the preclinical and translational safety assessment of targeted protein degraders and molecular glues, HESI has received remarkable positive interest and support to launch a new committee on this topic. An initial group of 72 participants has been formed and held their first meeting on December 8th, 2021.

The draft mission of the new group is to advance efficient and effective translational safety assessment to maximize the therapeutic potential of targeted protein degraders for patients by an international network of multi-partite, multi-stakeholder experts. This committee will begin meeting monthly in early 2022. If you are interested in getting involved please fill out this survey. If you have questions please contact Connie Mitchell (cmitchell@hesiglobal.org)

HESI presented at the jointly sponsored RASS and BMSS December Webinar Series

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HESI’s Associate Directory, Michelle Embry, gave a talk on 8 December 2021 titled “Opportunities and Challenges Related to Saturation of Toxicokinetic (TK) Processes: Implications for Risk Assessment” as part of a webinar jointly sponsored by the Risk Assessment Specialty Section (RASS) and the Biological Modeling Specialty Section (BMSS) of the Society of Toxicology (SOT). Her full presentation can be accessed here: Presentation

University of Paris-Saclay, University of Paris, and HESI Joint Workshop

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The University of Paris-Saclay, University of Paris, and HESI held a jointly-hosted online workshop on “Environmental, Genetic, and Social Determinants of Individual Susceptibility to Disease” on 13 December 2021. This exciting webinar featured leading researchers who brought their cross-disciplinary approaches and perspectives to the many challenges at the intersection of biological, environmental, and societal influences on health outcome. The interactive format allowed for discussion across the speakers and for the >100 participants to submit questions.

Click for Event Details

RISK21 Cumulative Risk Assessment Outreach in Columbia

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A follow-up session on cumulative risk was held in November as part of the RISK21 Framework course in Columbia. The session was conducted by Dr. Eliana Munarriz (University of Buenos Aires and HESI Board of Trustees) with support from Angelo Moretto (University of Milan and HESI Editor-in-Chief).

A recording of the session is available at the following YouTube link: https://youtu.be/30RYaB315QU

From the Leadership

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We are incredibly fortunate that HESI has been able to operate and thrive over the past two years that are marked by such immense global challenges.  It is impossible to summarize all the good and difficulties of this past year in just a few sentences.  Rather than trying to do so, and failing, I will just say thank you.  Thank you to all those in the health professions (of every type) who have worked so tirelessly to protect and promote global health and safety during this incredibly challenging period.  Thank you to all of HESI’s volunteers and partners who have contributed time, expertise, and creativity to advance HESI’s mission of science for a safer, more sustainable world.  And thank you to my amazing staff who bring a rare blend of scientific, managerial, and people skills to challenging but irreplaceable process of collaboration.   There is so much work yet to do…thanks to all of you for being part of it.


Best regards,

Syril D. Pettit, DrPH, MEM
HESI Executive Director

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