In the spring 2018 Risk e-Learning webinar series, Superfund Research Program (SRP) grantees and colleagues featured research and technologies that may be useful for evaluating the safety of chemicals. These approaches aim to replace or reduce the use of animal models, test more chemicals in a shorter period of time, and generate findings that are more relevant to humans. In total, this series attracted 1,022 live participants, 420 online archive views, and 3,128 video podcast downloads.
On the May 14 kickoff session, Toxicity Testing Strategies and Model Systems, presenters provided an overview of toxicity testing strategies to advance the use of 21st-century science in chemical safety evaluation. Speakers also described the pros and cons of model systems, such as zebrafish and cell-based assays, to explore chemical safety. Presenters included Nicole Kleinstreuer, Ph.D., deputy director of the National Toxicology Program's Interagency Center for the Evaluation of Alternative Toxicological Methods; Lisa Truong, Ph.D., a member of the Oregon State University SRP Center; and April Rodd, Ph.D., a postdoctoral researcher at Brown University and a former Brown SRP Center trainee.
The May 23 session, Tools for Assessing Exposure and Toxicity, outlined how toxicity data from one chemical may be used to identify other potential toxicants. Presenters also explored rapid screening tools to assess chemical contaminants in the environment and highlighted genetic screening tools to examine mechanisms of toxicity. Presenters included James W. Rice, Ph.D., a former SRP trainee who now works at Gradient; Erin Baker, Ph.D., a Pacific Northwest National Laboratory researcher and member of the Texas A&M University SRP Center; and Chris Vulpe, M.D., Ph.D., a professor at the University of Florida and a University of California, Berkeley SRP Center collaborator.
The final session on May 31, Modernizing Safety Testing, focused on new and emerging strategies for chemical safety evaluation. The discussion included work to understand how studies using animals, cells, and computer models can address population variability and how in vitro high-throughput assays can provide useful information for assessing the safety of complex mixtures. Presenters included SRP Director Bill Suk, Ph.D.; Weihsueh Chiu, Ph.D., leader of the Texas A&M University SRP Center’s Decision Science Core; and Michael DeVito, Ph.D., acting chief of the National Toxicology Program Laboratory.
More details and archives of each session are available on the SRP Risk e-Learning series webpage. Risk e-Learning webinars are conducted by the SRP in collaboration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Land and Emergency Management. The two-hour sessions focus on sharing innovative treatment and site characterization technologies with EPA risk assessors and regional project managers, state and local regulatory agencies, environmental engineering and consulting firms, and academia.