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Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public HealthCAAT

Education Program

Lena Smirnova

Coordinator: Lena Smirnova (lsmirno1@jhu.edu)

See also: CAAT Academics

CAAT’s mission in education extends far beyond the typical classroom lectures at other universities. The figure below (adapted from Daneshian et al. 2011) represents the goals, targets, and sources of education in alternatives. Targets groups include academia, industry, regulators, and public, and CAAT is actively involved in activities aimed at all four groups.

The main goals of CAAT’s education program are:

  • Educate students and professionals in the research field about alternatives in humane science
  • Explain the role of the 3Rs
  • Educate about implementation of modern technologies and mechanistic-based toxicology 

Academia

  • Organization of workshops, information days, and scientific meetings (18 workshops reports published so far, 5 are pending). Recent organized scientific conferences: Pan-American Conference (2016), DNT4 conference (2013).
  • Individual training in in vitro methods in the laboratory (high school, college students, visiting scientists).
  • CAAT Academy, a joint venture between CAAT-Europe and CAAT US. Refer to CAAT-Europe board book for more information here.

Online and In-classroom Courses

CAAT established a certificate program in humane sciences and toxicology policy at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Any individual who completes the curriculum can be awarded this certificate. The Humane Science and Toxicology Certificate Program is central to CAAT’s academic mission, with a curriculum consisting of six courses, offered both in the classroom and online

The online class on Enhancing Humane Science/Improving Animal Research, which was taught by Alan Goldberg, is currently being taught by Joanne Zurlo and Martin Stephens.

A new Masters of Science and Public Health (MSPH) in Toxicology is being developed at the Department of Environmental Health Sciences, with CAAT contributing two lecture courses in Toxicology for the 21st Century: Scientific Applications and Evidence-based Toxicology. These courses are currently being produced. In the 2016-2017 academic year both courses will be available online for students enrolled in the MSPH program. Tox21c will be subject of a third term course, with EBT for the fourth term.

The rationale and goal of “Tox 21c Scientific applications” is to familiarize students with the novel concepts for revamping regulatory toxicology. This complements the disciplinary foundation for the newly proposed MSPH track in Toxicity Testing and Human Health Risk Assessment of Environmental Agents. The course will provide students with perspectives on current paradigm changes in regulatory toxicology. The shortcomings of the current system and the adaptation of novel technologies to overcome them will be addressed. Active programs from EPA, NIH, and the scientific
community will be used to illustrate the dynamics of safety sciences.

The rationale and goal of the “Evidence-based Toxicology” course is to familiarize students with the concepts of Evidence-based Medicine and their translation to toxicology. This is the disciplinary foundation for the newly proposed MSPH track in Human Risk Assessment in Environmental Health. The National Toxicology Program, the EPA, and authorities worldwide are increasingly embracing the concepts of systematic reviews, meta-analysis, risk-of-bias, and various quality assurance schemes. The course will provide students with fundamental knowledge of Evidence-based
Medicine, which was a revolution in the objective and transparent condensation of information in the health care sciences. The tools of systematic reviews, meta-analysis, quality scoring of studies, risk-of-bias analysis, and various approaches to quality assurance (such as validation and good practices) will be introduced. Lecturers steering the US EBTC have been recruited to record the respective lectures.

Progress: Both courses are composed of thirteen 90-minute lectures by CAAT faculty and invited speakers. The lectures cover the most important subjects in the field and familiarize the students with new concepts and approaches in toxicology. They are followed by two assignments and mid-term and final exams. “Toxicology for the 21 century: Scientific Application” has been recorded over the last six months. The final three recordings are scheduled for the summer of 2016. After recordings are completed, the course syllabus for upcoming year will be finalized. EBT course
recordings are ongoing with two lectures recorded and several scheduled for the next months. All outside speakers provided an additional live seminar at JHU for our students and faculty.

Industry

The Green Toxicology collaboration established at CAAT and run by Dr. Alexandra Marteans is a main source of educational activities relevant for industry.

Thomas Hartung was invited to be a scientific advisor at the advisory board at Apple with the goal of advancing efforts to minimize or eliminate toxins from Apple products and the company’s supply chain.

Regulators

In November 2015 CAAT organized a workshop/webinar on EBT and systematic review at FDA, which was very good attended live as well as on line.