Every year at the SOT Annual Meeting, the Education Committee hosts the In Vitro Lecture and Luncheon. This event is sponsored by Colgate-Palmolive and has the goal of introducing attendees to in vitro and alternative toxicity testing with a focus on replacing animal use in research. The format for the last few years has been a short lecture by a prominent toxicologist, followed by discussion at the tables, and then an interactive wrap up.
Speaker Dr. Bahinski (left) and then Education Committee Chair Barb Kaplan (center), and Co-Chair Mindy Reynolds (right) facilitate the discussion at the event.
The attendees include undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral trainees. The luncheon occurs early in the week to accommodate those attending the Committee on Diversity Initiatives Undergraduate Diversity Program. Also in attendance are established toxicologists from various career stages and sectors who serve as the table discussion hosts, many of whom are previous recipients of SOT awards supported by Colgate-Palmolive.
Participants discussed ways that organs-on-a-chip can be used.
In 2017, we had the honor of hearing about “Human Organs-on-Chips Testing—Strengths and Challenges” by Dr. Anthony Bahinski of GlaxoSmithKline. Dr. Bahinski gave an excellent and stimulating overview of human organs on chips using the lung as an example. He showed the cell types involved, the blood and airflow mechanics, and how the lung chip responds to infection. The hosts then led the attendees at their tables in discussion questions about applications for toxicity testing, required controls, and advantages and limitations of the system. Finally, the interactive polling questions addressed other organs, disease states, and toxicity testing strategies that can be addressed with this model.
Dr. Bahinski ended the event with the take home message that in vitro systems are important models for identifying effects and mechanisms by which xenobiotics produce toxicity, and that as testing advances, we continue to refine, reduce, and replace experimentation with animal models. Overall the event was well received, and you could feel the energy in the room during the discussion. The members of the Education Committee are proud to host this flagship event every year and we look forward to teaching about other in vitro approaches for toxicity testing in San Antonio!