HESI Insights - February 2023

New HESI eSTAR Project Launch: Introducing OASIS

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The Omics for Assessing Signatures for Integrated Safety Consortium (OASIS) officially launched in January 2023 as a multi-disciplinary, multi-sector initiative, managed by the Health and Environmental Sciences Institute (HESI). This project is focused on increasing confidence in multi-omics techniques (phenomics, transcriptomics, and proteomics) for safety assessment. To accomplish this goal, experts from 10 public sector and 11 private sector organizations are benchmarking the responses induced by compounds with existing in vivo data against molecular and phenotypic cell-based assays. The anticipated outcome of this project is the generation of a large novel in vitro dataset across multiple omics techniques, best practices of the techniques for safety assessment (especially Cell Painting), and shared informatic methods for the assessment of combined omics techniques. Please contact oasis@hesiglobal.org if you are interested in learning more about OASIS.

World Cancer Day: Close the Care Gap


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“Close the Care Gap” is the theme of this year’s World Cancer Day, held every February 4th, and is about celebrating progress in its many forms that enable more people to seek and receive the care they need and deserve.
For HESI THRIVE, “Closing the Cancer Care Gap” includes enhancing the quality of life for cancer patients and survivors all over the world. Our goal is to bring visibility to the patient’s need and to support innovative translational research that will lead to better patient outcomes. This world cancer day, we tip our hats to our 2022 awardees who have prioritized this research area, while welcoming researchers from every corner of the globe to submit a Letter of Intent by April 10th for seed grant funding that will help launch quality of life research and bring us one step closer to closing the care gap. Apply here.

World Cancer Day: Close the Care Gap

HESI Immuno-Safety Committee

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Immunotherapy has been recognized as the 4th pillar of cancer care. The rapid advancement and development of such therapies demands a greater understanding of the human immune system and focused discussions on how to identify and address scientific issues related to immune safety and translation to human risk assessment. To learn more about how immunotherapy is shaping the treatment landscape for cancer, register for Dr. Birgit Fogal lecture on Immuno-oncology or all the lectures included in the Introduction to Immuno-Safety Course offered by The Health and Environmental Sciences Institute’s Immuno-Safety Technical committee. In addition to the training course, we invite you to learn more about how our multi-sectorial global team of scientific experts are doing their part to make sure that safer and effective therapies are made available. Visit the committee webpage or visit the Immuno-safety Resource site.

COMPARE 2023 Now Live!

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The COMprehensive Protein Allergen REsource (COMPARE) is a transparent resource for the identification of protein sequences that are known allergens. The seventh iteration of the database, COMPARE 2023, was released on January 26th, 2023 and contains 2631 sequences. This year, as part of COMPARE’s commitment to continuous improvement, we have updated the descriptions of over 1700 entries to generate meaningful description lines for allergen database users. To learn more, visit the database here https://comparedatabase.org/

SOT Awards

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HESI would like to congratulate Jon Cook (HESI Board Member), Robyn Tanguay (Vice Chair of HESI Emerging Issues Committee) and Lois Lehman-McKeeman (former HESI Board Member), recipients of the Founders Award, the Toxicologist Mentoring Award and the Merit award, respectively. The awardees will be honored during the 2023 SOT Annual Meeting and ToxExpo Awards Ceremony on March 19th.

The full list of SOT Award recipients can be found here.

HESI Staff – Effective Facilitators

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HESI’s skilled scientific staff and decades of organizational experience make it possible to efficiently convene collaborative teams and synergize resources. But, there is always more to learn! Over the course of a multi-day training session, we added to our toolbox with some new tools that we can’t wait to show you! The customized 3-day training course called “The Effective Facilitator” allowed staff to engage in a range of practical exercises to advance their skills in facilitating teams to develop workable, realistic, and consensus-driven solutions. Topics including group motivation, building consensus, managing dysfunction (never!), maintaining focus, generating collective ownership and inspiring action! We want to thank our instructor, Bill Olsen, for a fabulous session and look forward to putting our new learnings into practice.


Directed Acyclic Graphs (DAGs): Introduction and applications

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HESI’s Environmental Epidemiology Committee is continuing its webinar series illustrating the critical role that epidemiology can play in the field of quantitative risk assessment. The latest webinar in the series, held on 3 February 2023, was a presentation by Dr. Hsin-Yi Weng (Purdue University) titled “Directed Acyclic Graphs (DAGs): Introduction and applications.” Slides from the presentation as well as the video recording can be found on the event webpage here.

To learn more about the Environmental Epidemiology Committee or the webinar series, or to suggest speakers, please contact Sandrine Deglin (sdeglin@hesiglobal.org).


Genomics from Formalin-Fixed Paraffin Embedded Tissue Samples: Methods and Lessons Learned for Risk Assessment

21 February 2023 @11:00am EST


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Please join us for an upcoming webinar, organized by the HESI Emerging Systems Toxicology for the Assessment of Risk (eSTAR) Committee. Dr. Leah Wehmas (United States Environmental Protection Agency) will present work from the eSTAR FFPE Project. Read the full abstract and register for the event HERE.

Transcriptomic Biomarker for Genotoxicity Assessment of Pharmaceuticals and Environmental Chemicals

23 February 2023

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The HESI eSTAR Committee will be presenting as part of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine webinar series called “Tomorrow’s Data, Today: Sunsetting the 2-year Carcinogenicity Assay.”

As part of the series, Connie Mitchell (HESI) will present a talk titled “Transcriptomic Biomarker for Genotoxicity Assessment of Pharmaceuticals and Environmental Chemicals.”

• Understanding the process of developing an in vitro transcriptomic biomarker
• Discuss the ongoing validation process to gain regulatory acceptance

Register here

Society of Toxicology Meeting 2023

19-23 March 2023

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A number of HESI Committees will have presentations and posters at the Society of Toxicology Meeting in Nashville, TN. View the full list of HESI Committee presentation at the event page HERE.


March 2023

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In conjunction with the upcoming SOT2023 meeting, HESI CORA will meet to discuss their ongoing projects in Nashville, TN. CORA is working to better understand the impacts on the inner ear resulting from co-exposure to noise and a suspected ototoxic substance. Learn more about CORA here. The spring meeting is open to CORA members and potential partners. Contact Jennifer Pierson (jpierson@hesiglobal.org) if you are interested in attending the spring meeting.

HESI 2023 Annual Meeting – Draft Agenda Available!

7-8 June 2023, Central, London, UK

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HESI Annual Meeting: New Approach Methodologies for Safety Assessment – from Aspiration to Implementation
A joint HESI and UK National Center for the 3Rs Event

Join us for 2 days of thought-provoking and challenging discussions. What will it take to move NAMs sufficiently into practice to meaningfully modulate the current safety assessment paradigms for drugs, chemicals, foods, and consumer products? This interactive meeting will engage participants in discussion with NAMs developers, risk assessors, sponsors, mission-driven organizations, and other stakeholders. HESI and NC3Rs led efforts to advance NAMs will be highlighted.

A draft agenda can be viewed here.



HESI ITC Mentorship Program

Apply by 21 April 2023 – Deadline extended!

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The HESI ITC seeks graduate students working in immunology, toxicology, pathology, or related field for a second cycle of their new HESI ITC Mentorship Program. This program will allow meaningful interactions between trainees and mentors to give insight on various career pathways and discuss how to streamline the mentees’ long-term goals. The second cohort will tentatively be from May – June 2023 with 4-5 one-on-one mentor meetings. As well as an opportunity to network with past mentees and expert immuno-safety committee members at our ITC annual meeting (25-26 April 2023).

  • Qualifications and Requirements: Eligible candidates must be currently enrolled in a graduate program (MS or PhD candidates) in immunology, toxicology, pathology or related field (cell biology, biochemistry, biomedical engineering, or similar). And must have completed at least one year in their program.
  • Application: To apply, please send along the following: 1) completed application form, 2) CV or Biosketch, and 3) one reference letter from advisor or similar mentor to itc@hesiglobal.org
  • Submission Deadline: April 21, 2023

*All documents must be merged into a single pdf with your first and last name in file title.
* Your mentor letter can be sent separately if they desire.

If you have any questions about the HESI ITC or this program, please contact Dr. Shermaine Mitchell-Ryan

Apply on the ITC webpage here

From the Leadership

Ruth Roberts, Chair of HESI Board


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As I write this column, I am reflecting on the excellent board of trustees meeting we recently held in Washington DC. Notably, we had leaders from Africa, South America, North America and Europe all coming together to advance our mission of delivering Science for a Safer More Sustainable World. We heard great ideas and learned about the diverse skills, talents and experience we have – it is such a pleasure to work with the Board and the outstanding HESI staff!

As we move forward into 2023, I wanted to particularly highlight a few of the outstanding initiatives we have ongoing and featured in this edition of Insights. The HESI THRIVE program brings visibility to the needs of cancer patients by supporting innovative translational research that will lead to better patient outcomes. The program is currently open for letters of intent so please spread the word! We also have the 7th release of the COMprehensive Protein Allergen REsource (COMPARE) database, now with 2631 sequences and updated descriptions of many entries. COMPARE is a transparent resource for the identification of protein sequences that are known allergens, providing invaluable information for researchers and risk assessors alike. Please share this and other great initiatives with your networks.

We have much to celebrate too, since three of our Leaders are the recent recipients of prestigious SOT awards for 2023. We congratulate Jon Cook, Robyn Tanguay and Lois Lehman-McKeeman, recipients of the Founders Award, the Mentoring Award and the Merit award, respectively. I do hope many of you can join us at the awards ceremony in Nashville on March 18th to congratulate them in person.

Finally, I wanted to share my excitement as we prepare for our annual meeting, co-organised with the UK National Centre for the 3Rs and to be held in London, UK June 7-8th 2023. The focus of the meeting is on New Approach Methodologies for Safety Assessment – from Aspiration to Implementation. Not another NAMS meeting, did I hear you say? Well no it certainly isn’t! We have placed great emphasis for this meeting on Implementation with active engagement from risk assessors, sponsors and NAMs experts. Please join us and share your views on this key topic. I look forward to seeing many of you in London in June where we can expect lovely long evenings and summer sunshine!

With best regards,

Ruth Roberts

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Fax: +1-202-659-3859

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