SPotlight Newsletter

Spotlight Newsletter

Fall Issue 2017

President's Report

The 2017 Annual Meeting in Berlin is nearly upon us! We have over 400 registered for the meeting, with more than 180 posters, 42 exhibitors, and the Tuesday evening social event at the Berlin TV Tower is sold out! In addition, the Mobile App is ready for download and the Final Program is now available on the SPS website along with other relevant Meeting Materials. A huge thanks to the Program Committee led by Martin Traebert, who have put together a very interesting conference, and to Krystle Correll and colleagues at AIM, for the incredible planning and organisation that goes into it.

Calling All Proud Owners of SPS Polo Shirts

As far back as I can remember, members of the Board and Program Committee have received an embroidered polo shirt, sponsored by Braintree Scientific, with the SPS logo, meeting city and year. Our sponsor partnership for the shirts ended this year, so we will not produce polo shirts for 2017. In honor of this partnership and for a trip down memory lane, we invite all current and former members of the Board or Program Committee to wear a polo shirt from a previous year at the Welcome Reception on Sunday evening. This will reveal the wide number of members who have given their time and expertise to support society activities down the years, and they will be readily recognisable and available to field questions from any of you who would like to get involved in committee work. And who knows, this could become an annual tradition!

New Awards

As mentioned in the previous SPotlight newsletter, I am pleased to see the introduction of four new annual awards from the Society, the submissions have been reviewed and recipients will be announced at the Awards Ceremony in Berlin on Wednesday. As a reminder, the new awards are:

  • Translational Safety Pharmacology Award
  • Technological Innovation Award
  • Most Impactful Publication Award
  • SPS Volunteer Recognition Award

We hope these new award categories will serve to stimulate good science, friendly competition, and contribution to SPS activities over the coming years. These are in addition to the Junior Investigator Awards and Student Travel Awards which have been in place for some time. And of course, the Distinguished Service Award (DSA). I am delighted to be presenting the 2017 DSA to Dr. Alan Bass, a key founding member of the Safety Pharmacology Society whose involvement in promoting and representing the discipline of safety pharmacology over the last three decades is second to none.

DSP Exam

Good luck to all of you taking the exam this year on Saturday, September 23rd. Thanks to the DSP Committee for putting the exam together, and a big thanks to Lew Kinter who joined the Committee as a new member earlier this year to ensure that the quality, rigor and fairness of the questions is maintained over time.

See you all soon in Berlin—have a safe trip over and enjoy the meeting!

Will Redfern, PhD
President, Safety Pharmacology Society

Annual Meeting News

2017 Annual Meeting Plenary Keynote Speakers

We are pleased to welcome Vera Regitz-Zagrosek, MD, Charité Institute of Gender in Medicine, Berlin, Germany as our 2017 Plenary Keynote to speak on Gender Differences in Cardiovascular Diseases on Monday, September 25 from 08:30–09:30.

We also have a second Plenary Keynote, on Tuesday, September 26 from 08:30–09:30 by Birgit Mazurek, PhD, Tinnitis Center, Charité—Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany, who will be speaking on The Pathophysiology and Treatment of Tinnitus

We hope you will join us for these two engaging presentations in Hall Berlin B at the Maritim Hotel Berlin.

Distinguished Service Award Interview

2017 DSA Interview with Alan S. Bass, PhD

Q: Can you briefly summarize your career in safety pharmacology and what initially attracted you to the discipline?

A: Career development and research interests in cardiovascular and renal pharmacology served as a backdrop to move from 10+ years in academia into pharmaceutical industry. Industry provided the expansive opportunities needed to apply cardiovascular experimentation to advancing molecules through clinical trials.

In 1992, Pat Williams at American Cyanamid, Pearl River, NY, invited me to join her Investigative Toxicology Program, where we developed their first Safety Pharmacology program and established the cardiovascular laboratories.

From American Cyanamid, the next position was oversight of the Safety Pharmacology laboratories at The Upjohn Company, Kalamazoo, MI and from there, with Irwin Rosenblum, we established the Safety Pharmacology Program at Schering-Plough, Lafayette and Kenilworth, NJ, where I served as Director.

Q: What or who has provided inspiration for you during your career?

A: I have had the great fortune of working with many individuals over my career who I credit for providing the example of what it means to be a scientist, leader and contributing member of society. I continue on that path, striving to live by their example, seeing this as a life-long commitment. Credit and honor goes to Lynn Wecker (Northeastern U and Louisiana State U) who provided early guidance before and through my time in graduate school. Norman Robie (Louisiana State U) was my graduate advisor, a thoughtful and caring scientist and mentor. Carl Gottschalk (U. North Carolina), an internationally recognized leader in renal physiology, was my postdoctoral mentor. Carl was not only a brilliant scientist, but also a quiet, humble and caring man. Leon Goldberg (U. Chicago) allowed me the space to continue my development as a cardiovascular pharmacologist. By his example, this humble, internationally respected scientist and leader always demonstrated graciousness and generosity. Leon’s strong commitment to science and learning throughout his life are lessons that I return to often in my professional career. Pat Williams (American Cyanamid) saw in me a potential that I did not recognize in myself. Pat introduced me to the field of safety pharmacology, an area of study in which she is recognized as an early pioneer. I also credit many of my engaging, thoughtful, and generous colleagues and collaborators in safety pharmacology from academic, industrial and regulatory institutions around the world for their continued support, collaboration and friendship.

Q: What do you believe are the greatest challenges facing the field of safety pharmacology?

A: The most important challenge with which we are faced is protecting healthy normal volunteers and patients from the unwanted pharmacodynamic effects of promising new therapies. Not only does this important goal serve to protect individuals, but it also provides direction to prioritizing the most promising therapeutic candidates to advance through clinical development. The application of sound, thoughtful science and the discovery of novel technologies and scientific approaches are important to advancing this goal. The forever changing regulatory and business environments offer additional challenges to the field of safety pharmacology. The goal of efficiently and safely developing new therapies for the treatment of disease in the face of this constantly shifting landscape continues to demand our unyielding focus and attention. A critical challenge for all of us as safety pharmacologists is to identify and support the next generation of scientists and leaders, those individuals who will have the vision and fortitude to chart the path that will define our discipline over the coming decades.

Q: What advice would you have for someone just entering the field?

A: Through my experiences through the challenging evolution of our industry, I have learned to:

  • embrace the challenges and strive to impact those aspects of work for which I am in direct control
  • welcome feedback and thrive on being pushed outside of my comfort zone
  • greet each day with enjoyment of science and the opportunities for collaboration with my colleagues
  • demonstrate ongoing respect of others through positive interpersonal behaviors such as listening, sharing, caring, nurturing and building trust
  • pursue a life-long learning stance in order to enhance my roles as a scientist, leader and member of society.

Q: Are you able to give us any insight on what we can expect during your DSA presentation this year at the 2017 Annual Meeting?

A: Many of my response themes to your questions will form the foundation of my presentation. My hope is through citation of personal recollections regarding the growth of safety pharmacology and the issues confronting us then versus now, that inspiration will cause others to reflect on their own career development path. That they will be encouraged to utilize our individual and collective histories to boldly confront the evolving challenges of our field and to always strive to make a difference in others’ lives.

SPS Junior Investigator and Student Travel Award Recipients

Junior Investigator Travel Award Recipients

Christian Beusch
Hoffmann-La Roche
Poster #3

Petra Mulder
Pluriomics B.V.
Poster #127

Chiwan Chiang
Mimetas B.V.
Poster #72

Wahaj Uddin
CSIR-Central Drug Research Institute
Poster #93

Halyna Kuznietsova
Taras Shevchenko National University
Poster #90

Conchi Villar Moas
Poster #35

Rachael Lincoln
Poster #53

Mao Yamaguchi
Drug Safety Testing Center Co., Ltd.
Poster #37

Student Travel Award Recipient

Maha Shahid
University of Karachi
Poster #82

Thank You to Our 2017 Sponsors!

Know Before You Go! Berlin

Know Before You Go!—Berlin

We are looking forward to seeing you in Berlin for the 2017 SPS Annual Meeting. The Meeting is shaping up to be the event of the year! 

Mobile App

The 2017 mobile app is available for download; all registered attendees should have received an email from DoubleDutch with login instructions.  The app will be the best place to find real-time information regarding sessions, speakers, attendees, exhibitors, sponsors, maps, and access to poster abstracts.

Travel Information

The Berlin Marathon will take place just before the SPS Meeting. The city of Berlin is anticipating over 40,000 people to participate in the event with peak days being 9/21–9/23. Please keep that in mind as you make your travel plans and review the Berlin Marathon’s map to see if there are any anticipated delays/street closures during your stay that you need to be aware of.

Visas: Find out if you need to apply for a visa before you book your flight to Berlin. Most applicants get approved between two and ten working days. However, some applications can take longer to process. Find out if you need a Visa.

All travelers will need a current passport for entry into Germany, even if a Visa is not required. Please be sure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond the length of your stay in Germany.

The US Department of State recently updated their alert for Europe regarding the continued threat of terrorist attacks. This is a good reminder to all of our attendees to please be aware of your surroundings and stay alert while in tourist locations and public spaces. While we do not discourage you from exploring Berlin, we hope you keep some of these safety alerts in mind when sightseeing.

Hotel Information

Maritim Hotel Berlin
Stauffenbergstraße 26
10785 Berlin, Germany

The Maritim Hotel Berlin is the headquarters hotel and is located in the city’s Tiergarten Park, the quiet diplomatic quarter, close to the Kurfürstendamm and the Potsdamer Platz.

As a reminder, if you are booked within the SPS Room block our negotiated rate includes VAT, WiFi and the breakfast buffet. We encourage you to eat breakfast at the buffet in the Maritim prior to arriving at the scientific sessions.

Getting to/from the Hotel

Taxis are readily available throughout the day at the hotel and the airports. Recommended: at Berlin’s airports, go to the indicated taxi ranks – this way, you’ll avoid impostor taxis charging excessive fares. You can tell a real taxi from a fake one by the Berlin number plate and the concession number on the rear window. Berlin does not hand out concessions with a number greater than 8,000. To get from your hotel to the airport, your hotel’s reception will also be happy to call a taxi for you.

Taxi fees are estimated as follows:

  • From Tegel airport: approximately 21 €
  • From Schönefeld airport: approximately 40 €
  • From Berlin main train station: approximately 9 €

You may also take the Berlin Public Transport Network, if that is suitable to your travel plans, but please allow for additional travel time for the Buses and Trams. Visit Berlin has an excellent information on traveling to and within Berlin.

Exchanging Money and ATMs
There are branches of all major banks across the city, and you will find cash machines on nearly every street corner. Credit cards (American Express, Visa, Diners Club, Eurocard, Mastercard) are usually accepted.

  • Use your bank card at an ATM to receive the best rates for Euros. Check to ensure your bank card does not charge extra ATM fees. (Some banks, like Charles Schwab, reimburse ATM fees.)
  • If you prefer to use your credit card, be sure to check that they do not have a foreign transaction fee.
  • Your hotel typically will also exchange money; however you usually do not get the best rates.
  • If you do not want to use any of the above options, plan to visit a currency exchange office/desk of your choice. There will be some in the airport, as well as some throughout the city of Berlin.

Tips for Handling Money

  • Check the exchange rate before you travel.
  • Notify banks and credit card companies of your overseas travel.
  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash, if possible. Do not flaunt large amounts of money. 

Tips are appreciated but not expected in restaurants. It is common practice to leave between 5% and 10% at a sit-down restaurant and just round up to the nearest euro or two at a café or bar.

Tipping at hotels is not as common, but if you receive good service in a starred hotel, you can give the porter one euro per bag and leave housekeeping 3 to 5 euros per night. If the concierge provides a specific service, such as calling in a reservation at a fine dining restaurant, you can tip up to 20 euros at your discretion.

Tipping is not required in German taxis, but it is common to round up to the nearest euro. For good service (loading/unloading luggage) you can leave gratuity up to 10%.

Things to See and Do in Berlin
Visit Berlin has a great selection of local activities to do while in Berlin. It also includes a comprehensive restaurant guide. To make restaurant reservations, you can work directly with your hotel concierge, or use Opentable. (Also available as an app for your phone.)

We also suggest trying Eater Berlin to stay up to date on popular restaurants in Berlin.

Mobile App Available—Download Today!

All registered attendees, as of September 6, have been sent a login to the app. We will be doing weekly imports as additional registrations come in.

If you are registered and did NOT receive the email, please check your spam filter/folders and add the email "" to your contact/safe list to ensure you receive future emails.

This interactive app will allow you to:

  • View the schedule and sessions, save sessions to your personal agenda, and get detailed presenter information.
  • Stay up to date on the most popular sessions, promotions, and events in the Activity Feed.
  • Receive announcements and obtain the most up-to-date information about what's going on.
  • Expand your professional network and have fun by interacting with other attendees in the app.

Top Four things to do after login:

  1. Update your Profile and set your preferences (don't forget a picture!)
  2. Browse the agenda and add sessions to your personal agenda
  3. View our Exhibitors and bookmark the booths you wish to visit 
  4. Post in the Activity Feed what you are looking forward to the MOST at the Meeting

Need some help? DoubleDutch has a resource center for attendees that should answer any questions that you may have about using the app. You may also contact support directly.

We are looking forward to seeing you in Berlin! 

Download the App

Future Meeting Locations Highlights

SPS is looking forward to going back to the Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, DC for 2018 and in 2019 we are pleased to announce we will be holding our Meeting in Barcelona, Spain.

We understand that attendees prefer going to cities with direct flights, nearby restaurants and attractions, and minimal distance between exhibits, posters, and scientific sessions. The venues in Washington, DC and Barcelona, Spain are sure to accommodate attendees’ preferences and serve as excellent locations for the SPS Annual Meeting.

SPS News

SPS Collaborations and Activities

SOT Scientific Liaison Coalition (Member since 2011) 
JSPS Meeting participation (February 2017) 
SLC Webinar (February 2017) 
SOT Global Gallery participant (March 2017) 
German Pharm-Tox Meeting participation (March 2017)
UW Madison Distance Learning Course support (April-September 2017)
CSPS Meeting participation (May 2017) 
SPS/NC3Rs Joint Regional Meeting: Coventry, UK (May 2017) 
SPS/STP Joint Regional Meeting: Boston (May 2017)

Upcoming Webinars

Upcoming Meetings

SPS Member News

Recent Publications of Interest

Special Frontiers Issue: Safety Pharmacology ¬ Risk Assessment QT Interval Prolongation and Beyond

An Analysis of the Relationship Between Preclinical and Clinical QT Interval-Related Data

Automated recording of home cage activity and temperature of individual rats housed in social groups: The Rodent Big Brother project

4-dimensional functional profiling in the convulsant-treated larval zebrafish brain