SCAHT Newsletter 02/2015

New SCAHT Research Coordinator

SCAHT welcomes Dr Jenny Sandström von Tobel who has started her position as SCAHT research coordinator on 1 August 2015, providing project management support to the research groups. Jenny's background is in molecular and cell biology and she has been working in the neurotoxicology research group of Dr Florianne Tschudi-Monnet in Lausanne as a postdoc since 2011. She has been an active participant in SCAHT research meetings and is therefore very familiar with the SCAHT network. This is a part-time appointment and Jenny will also continue to work in Florianne's group. 



OECD AOP update

OECD Paris hosted an AOP Training session on 16 June, and the AOP advisory group (EAGMST) meeting on 17 - 18 June 2015. Training covered creating an AOP in the AOP-Wiki, and weight of evidence/confidence analysis for key events and key event relationships. At the EAGMST meeting, 8 AOPs were approved for external review. Presentation topics included alignments with the OECD IATA program and the US EPA ToxCast and Endocrine Disruptor Screening Programs. Related video presentations can be found here.

Systems Toxicology 2016

Building on the highly successful 2013 conference in Ascona, the 2016 Systems Toxicology meeting, co-organised by SCAHT, will explore current and future applications in chemical risk evaluation. The three-day meeting will be held in the village and ski resort of Les Diablerets, Switzerland, from 27 - 29 January 2016. Further information.

CAS Module 6 "Modelling Approaches in Chemical Risk Assessment" - Registration now open

Registration for the next course of the CAS Regulatory Sciences program is now open. Module 6 "Modelling Approaches in Chemical Risk Assessment" will take place from 30 November to 4 December 2015 at the University of Basel. Further details on content and registration.

SCAHT goes to South America

Following the successful regulatory sciences course held in 2013, SCAHT was approached to organize a one-week course in regulatory toxicology adapted to the needs of Brazilian scientists concerned with the registration of agrochemicals. The course was held from 29 June - 3 July in Brasilia with 28 participants from the regulatory authority, the agrochemical industry, and Brazilian and Columbian universities. The faculty included Rex FitzGerald and Martin Wilks from SCAHT as well as Neil Byron (Exponent) and Elizabeth de Souza Nascimento (University of Sao Paulo). The course was well received by the participants, and the hope was expressed that similar courses could be conducted elsewhere in South America.

Research in SCAHT: Acute health problems due to recreational drug use

Dr. Liakoni and Prof. Liechti from the Division of Clinical Pharmacology at the University Hospital Basel investigated acute medical problems due to recreational substance use in patients presenting to the emergency department (ED). Among the 47.767 attendances at the ED during one year, 216 were directly related to acute toxicity of recreational drugs. The most common recreational drugs were cocaine and cannabis. During the study period only 2 cases were related to the use of novel psychoactive substances. The most commonly reported symptoms were tachycardia (31%), anxiety (27%), nausea or vomiting (23%), and agitation (22%). Additionally, there were two cases of myocardial infarction, 10 cases of seizures, and 10 cases of psychosis. Among all cases 40 (19%) presented with severe intoxication and there was one fatality. Emergency department presentations associated with novel psychoactive substances appear to be relatively rare. Further information.

SCAHT Newsletter 01/2015

SCAHT head office has moved

In April 2015 the SCAHT moved into new premises which are located at


Missionsstrasse 64
CH-4055 Basel

(telephone and email remain unchanged)

not too far from the old offices. Please feel free to drop by for a visit.





Participation in CAAT Meeting

SCAHT participated in "Meet your Scientist", the MEP-3Rs Scientists Pairing Scheme, in Brussels on 27 January 2015. The meeting, organised by the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing-Europe (CAAT-Europe), took place at the CAAT Europe office and the EU Parliament; industry and academic scientists networked and discussed with MEPs the use of alternatives to animal testing and new technologies to better ensure consumer protection while minimizing or replacing animal use.

Module 6 "Modelling Approaches in Regulatory Sciences" of CAS Programme

SCAHT wishes to announce its next course of the CAS Regulatory Sciences programme which will take place from 30th November to 4th December 2015 at the University of Basel. If you are interested in attending the module please let us know as soon as possible by contacting Further information and registration for the module will be available at a later date. 

Serge Rudaz and Youssef Daali nominated as members of the OECD expert group on biotransformation assays

SCAHT contributes to the development of the OECD test guideline program in the new area of in vitro biotransformation assays. SCAHT research leaders Serge Rudaz and Youssef Daali participated in an Expert Group Meeting on Biotransformation Assays, 11 - 12 May 2015 at OECD, Paris. They discussed comments on the draft Test Guideline on human derived hepatic systems for biotransformation and toxicity of chemicals by induction of CYP-450.

Research in SCAHT: SCAHT contribution to safety evaluation of nano-materials published

The key findings of a workshop jointly organized by the Swiss Centre for Applied Ecotoxicology, the SCAHT and the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) have been published. The paper provides a critical analysis of the current regulatory framework for nanomaterials and a snapshot of some hot topics in nanoscience. Further information.

SCAHT Newsletter 05/2014 (December 2014)

Season's Greetings


The year 2014 has seen momentous changes for the SCAHT. In February the 'Foundation of the Swiss Centre for Applied Human Toxicology' was officially registered with the Registre du Commerce de Genève, giving the SCAHT its legal framework for the future. In November we celebrated the 5th anniversary of the SCAHT. In between, SCAHT staff and members have been busier than ever with research and regulatory projects, teaching and contributions to national and international activities in human health risk assessment. From all of us at SCAHT, a big thank you for making our anniversary year a great one! We wish you and your families a peaceful Christmas and a very happy New Year 2015, and look forward to continuing our successful collaboration.

Happy 5th Birthday, SCAHT!

Five years ago, with an inaugural symposium on 19 November 2009 in Geneva, the Swiss Centre for Applied Human Toxicology was born. To celebrate its 5th birthday, SCAHT held an anniversary symposium on 14 November 2014 in Basel, at the annual meeting of the Swiss Society of Toxicology. Toxicologists and honored guests listened to welcoming words from National Councillor Prof. Kathy Riklin, Prof. Stefan Krähenbühl, co-founder of the SCAHT, and Prof. Martin Wilks, the SCAHT director.  Keynote lectures were given by Prof. Alan Boobis and Prof. Angelo Moretto, both members of the SCAHT Science Advisory Board, and SCAHT Research Group Leaders presented overviews of their work on neuroinflammation, nanoparticle drug delivery, human steroid profiling, and development of in vitro cell cultures to replace animal testing. 

First graduate of the Certificate of Advanced Studies in Regulatory Sciences

SCAHT and the University of Basel are delighted to announce that Maria Eugenia Pagano, from Syngenta Brazil, is the first student to be awarded the Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS) in Regulatory Sciences. During the period October 2012 to September 2014, Maria successfully completed 5 modules from the programme. Maria was presented with her certificate via teleconference by the Head of Research & Development at Syngenta, Trish Malarkey, and the SCAHT Director Prof. Martin Wilks. We would all like to wish Maria continued success in the future.

Participation in Annual EPAA Conference

SCAHT attended the 10th annual conference of the European Partnership for Alternative Approaches to Animal testing (EPAA) on the 19th November in Brussels. Over 100 stakeholders from academia, NGOs, industry and EU institutions attended the event to discuss how to facilitate the use of alternative methods by regulators. It is one of the objectives of the SCAHT to foster a collaborative working relationship between Swiss regulatory authorities and SCAHT researchers who also develop alternative testing methods.

Research in SCAHT: Bisphenol A - Why an adverse outcome pathway framework needs to be applied

Bisphenol A (BPA) is one of the most widely used and extensively studied chemicals. Numerous studies have reported in vitro effects or animal adverse findings at BPA doses lower than the no observed adverse effect levels (NOAELs) established in regulatory toxicity studies and used for human health risk assessment. Intensive discussions on the adequacy and relevance of test systems have not satisfactorily resolved whether positive or negative animal and/or in vitro findings are more relevant for human health risk assessment purposes. In this article for a special issue of Toxicology Letters on 'Environmental contaminants and target organ toxicities', SCAHT regulatory toxicologists Rex FitzGerald and Martin Wilks argue that a structured approach like the OECD Adverse Outcome Pathway (AOP) framework is needed to help researchers in designing relevant studies, and risk assessors in evaluating them. Establishing AOPs for BPA, and other endocrine active chemicals, will require major scientific as well as training investments by all responsible stakeholders. Further information.