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Building confidence in Neurotoxicity Testing Using an In Vitro Phenotypic Assay Platform Based on Human IPSC-Derived Neurons

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Dr Timothy Shafer

Assessment of neuroactive effects of chemicals in cell-based assays remains challenging as complex functional tissues are required for biologically relevant readouts. Faster, inexpensive and predictive methods are needed to detect and characterize compounds with neurotoxicity hazard. Human iPSC-based neural models hold potential to meet the needs. A powerful assay platform can be built from highly functional, rapid maturating, fully defined neural co-cultures with a phenotypic approach. 


During this webinar, toxicology expert Dr Shafer presents studies on the predictive power of such an in vitro system when combined with high sensitivity high throughput microelectrode array (MEA), demonstrating the utility of this direct-differentiated human model for neurotoxicity assessment. ​

Dr Timothy J. Shafer is a renowned Research Toxicologist, a Principal Investigator in the Biomolecular and Computational Toxicology Division in the Center for Computational Toxicology and Exposure in the Office of Research and Development at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. After earning his PhD from the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at Michigan State University, Dr. Shafer’s research career has focused on examining mechanisms of neurotoxicant effects mediated through disruption of ion channels and cellular neurophysiology. This has included examination of the actions of heavy metals, PCBs, herbicides and pesticides on neuronal function using a variety of approaches including patch-clamp recordings, oocyte recordings and imaging experiments using ion- or voltage-sensitive dyes. Currently, Dr Shafer’s work is directed towards development of new alternative methods for assessment of neurotoxicity and developmental neurotoxicity hazards of chemicals. Dr Shafer has published over 100 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters and reports; has received 8 Scientific and Technological Achievements Awards and Bronze and Gold medals for outstanding service to the Agency.

Dr Shafer has also served as the Acting Assistant Laboratory Director for Human Health Research at the EPA and as the Acting Director of the Integrated Systems Toxicology Division. He was on the ALTOX3/NAL study section at NIH and on the Society of Toxicology Program Committee. In addition, he has served as the Secretary/Treasurer of the Society of Toxicology’s Neurotoxicology Specialty Section and is currently the president of the International Neurotoxicology Association. He currently is an Associate Editor for the journal NeuroToxicology and on the Editorial Board of Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology.

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