CAAT’s research activities are (or were) funded by ARDF, Colgate Palmolive, DoD, European Commission, FDA, NCATS, NIH, and LUSH. The main purpose of the research program is to practice what we advocate—the paradigm shift in toxicology. Our vision is to move away from current animal-based tests to pathway-based cell assays. Our projects combine 3D organotypic cell models with high-content and high-throughput approaches. This includes metabolomics, proteomics, transcriptomics, miRNA profiling, and imaging techniques. By combining different methods using bioinformatics tools we are aiming to identify pathways of toxicity (PoT) and defense (PoD) and mechanisms of xenobiotics.
In the recent years, the research group has developed three 3D brain models based on rat primary cells, a human dopaminergic cell line, and human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). The models have been used for numerous different applications, including developmental neurotoxicity, neurotoxicity, Parkinson’s disease, resilience, blood-brain barrier, autism, Down’s syndrome, inflammation, Zika, and other virus infections. Several papers have been published, submitted, or are in preparation. The iPSCs model, in particular, has received widespread press coverage, leading to extensive new collaborations both within and outside Johns Hopkins.
In the NIH-funded project “Mapping the Human Toxome by Systems Toxicology” the workflow using omics technologies has been established using endocrine disruption as a proof of concept. Emerging tools such as pathways analysis software and network databases have been used to analyze and integrate data from the multi-omics approach. Several core and associate articles have recently been submitted and/or published.
In addition, a computational toxicology program has been established to make use of high amount of data, both from our own studies but also from large toxicology databases such as REACH.
The group is consistently submitting new grants to expand and continue the research activities.