In recognition of their work advancing organ-on-chip technologies, three Wyss researchers were honored with a total of six awards at the 51st annual meeting of the Society of Toxicology (SOT) in mid March. The event, which includes both a scientific program and an exhibition, is the largest gathering of toxicologists anywhere in the world. This year more than 7,300 scientists from academia, government, and industry assembled in San Francisco from as far away as New Zealand.
Each year the SOT Scientific Program Committee scours the field for the top scientific advances to create a final program that encompasses relevant and multidimensional poster abstracts. These abstracts are also eligible for consideration for a number of prestigious awards. This year, Wyss researchers captured many of the top honors related to new methods and mechanisms for pharmaceutical safety assessment.
Hyun Jung KimÍs work developing a human gut-on-a-chip microdevice for drug safety and efficacy testing took first place in the In Vitro and Alternative Specialty Section in the Postdoctoral Scholar category. Kim, a Postdoctoral Fellow, was also recognized by the Korean Toxicologists Association in America Special Interest Group as having the best presentation by a postdoctoral trainee. Both awards honored KimÍs novel microdevice, which mimics the structure, physiology, and mechanics of the natural human intestine and even supports the growth of living microbes.
In presenting his work delivering aerosolized microdroplets to a lung-on-a-chip microdevice, Wyss Postdoctoral Fellow Dan Leslie won three awards: a student travel award in the Regulatory and Safety Evaluation Specialty Section, a best poster award for Distinction in Practical In Vitro and Alternative Toxicology Methods, and a second-place postdoctoral award for In Vitro and Alternative Methods Specialty Section.
Integration of this aerosol delivery system with the breathing lung-on-a-chip microdevice provides a new method to measure pulmonary absorption, and the efficacy and toxicity of aerosolized drugs, particles, and toxins. The original breathing lung-on-a-chip, developed by Founding Director Don Ingber and Technology Development Fellow, Dan Huh, was honored last year at the SOT annual meeting as the Best Publication Award from the Nanotoxicology Specialty Section.
Kartik Balachandran, also a Wyss Postdoctoral Fellow, won the 2012 award for best abstract from the Association of Scientist of Indian Origin Specialty Interest Group. His work involves the use of valve thin films as a novel assay to evaluate cardiac valve function.