Society of Toxicology Meeting

Derek Alsop, a PDF in my lab, and Joanna Wilson recently travelled to Phoenix, AZ to attend the Society of Toxicology meeting on March 23 – 27th. Phoenix was sunny and very warm, with mid day temperatures around 27C. This was rather glorious after such a cold, cold winter in Hamilton. On March 24th, Joanna presented a poster entitled “High-throghput screening to identify substrates of zebrafish cytochrome P450 1A”. The poster was one of many with high-throughput screening approaches to identify function; an exciting and emerging way to determine function of proteins and discover pharmacological compounds (substrates, inhibitors, ligands) or natural products that interact with proteins of interest. The afternoon poster session had a steady stream of people to chat with about our research and there was a lot of interest in whether our screen had identified natural products that were metabolized by zebrafish CYP1A.

Derek presented a poster March 25th entitled “Pharmaceutical, metal, and ammonia mixtures: widespread additive toxicity in zebrafish”. Derek’s poster was well attended in a session focused on chemical mixtures, an important area of toxicology that is understudied because of the challenge in performing mixture experiments. Derek’s study used acute toxicity testing in larvae zebrafish to examine interactions between pharmaceutical mixtures with a similar mechanism of action and mixtures between pharmaceuticals and either metals or ammonia; both of which are common aquatic contaminants.

The meeting was very large, approximately 6500 people attended and clearly most were working in mammalian toxicology. The large number of researchers working in fish, particularly zebrafish, highlights the acceptance of zebrafish as a strong model organism for understanding basic biology and human health. Next year, this conference will be in San Diego, continuing the sunny location for another year.