SPotlight Newsletter

Spotlight Newsletter

Spring Issue 2020

President's Report

Welcome to the Spring Issue of the SPotlight Newsletter.

The Spring Issue highlights news from SPS and provides updates on the 2020 Annual Meeting.

It is no secret that this year has been a unique one so far. It was with heavy hearts we learned, in early January, that our incoming President Carrie G. Markgraf had passed away. The impact of her many contributions to SPS will live on through those who knew her and continue to help shape the next generation of safety pharmacologists. Her positive and caring mindset will be dearly missed by us all.

Due to this sad news the board urgently needed to fill this gap in leadership and the following contingency plan was established: Vice President Tomas Mow assumes the responsibilities of Carrie Markgraf and will serve as President for 2020. Vice President-Elect Brian Roche will assume the responsibilities of Tomas Mow and will serve as Vice President for 2020. This left a gap in leadership for the Vice President-Elect position and we held a special election. Those results confirmed Todd Wisialowski as the Vice President-Elect. On that note, we also have some important SPS leadership roles to fill in 2021 so be sure to read the Call for Nominations and put forth names of individuals you believe would make a great addition to the Board of Directors.

Even more unique has been following the development of the global and devastating COVID-19 pandemic. SPS leadership is monitoring the situation closely and the impact it may have on our future events such as our Annual Meeting and regional meetings. We are dedicated to serving the Society and our members. While we are planning to hold the Annual Meeting this Fall, it is also our responsibility to ensure our attendees can travel safely in order to participate in our event. Please see the COVID-19 note in the Annual Meeting article for more information.

This year’s Annual Meeting in Montreal, the largest city in Canada's Québec province, promises to be an exciting meeting in a vibrant city. The Program Committee has been working hard to deliver an excellent scientific program addressing emerging and hot topics across the spectrum of safety pharmacology. Similarly, the CE Committee has been identifying areas of educational demand for both new and experienced safety pharmacologists and have put together a diverse set of CE courses.

If you are looking for a quick way to catch up on the latest research on your own time, please be sure to take time to review our upcoming webinars (held monthly), covering a broad range of topics. These webinars are free for all SPS Members and regulatory agency employees. If you are interested in becoming a member and gaining access to these webinars, please contact SPS Headquarters for more information.

I would also encourage you to consider taking the Diplomate in Safety Pharmacology certification exam held just prior to the 2020 SPS Annual Meeting. It's a very comprehensive exam spanning across all aspects of safety pharmacology, and we now have over 60 diplomates certified.

I’m sure this will be a challenging Spring but I hope that you will be able to keep yourself healthy and I sincerely hope we will be able to meet with friends and peers in Montreal this September!


Tomas Mow, DVM, PhD, DSP
President, Safety Pharmacology Society

Annual Meeting News

2020 Annual Meeting Registration and Abstract Submission Now Open!

COVID-19 Statement:

SPS is monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact it may have on our future events. Leadership will continue to review the guidelines and recommendations made by relevant public health agencies, including the World Health Organization, Public Health Agency of Canada, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as relevant government policies.

As of today, March 22, we are planning to proceed with our Annual Meeting and DSP Exam in September. Should the situation change in the months before the Meeting, we will communicate our plans with you expediently. If it becomes apparent that most of our attendees will not be able to participate in an in-person meeting due to restrictions (government or institutional), we are investigating options to share the Annual Meeting content with registrants in a virtual format as well as other ways we can create a meaningful and interactive environment for our registrants and vendors.

We realize these are unique times and want to assure you that your safety and health comes first. We will do everything we can to be flexible during this time, but should you have any questions or concerns please reach out to Krystle Correll. We will plan to send out another update in about one month (Mid-April) or sooner if needed.

On behalf of the Safety Pharmacology Society (SPS) Board of Directors and Officers, we would like to invite you to attend the 2020 SPS Annual Meeting at the Palais des congrès de Montréal in the beautiful, Québécois city of Montréal, Canada. This year we are celebrating the 20-year anniversary of the Society.

Over the last few months, the 2020 Program and CE Committees have been hard at work organizing scientific programs and courses that include topics of interest to SPS Members and colleagues. The 2020 Scientific Program features a diverse range of scientific sessions organized into a diverse range of scientific sessions presenting innovative formats and covering topics such as Novel In Vitro and In Silico Assays to Predict Human Safety, In Vivo and Ex vivo Case Studies For Safety, Debates on the "Value" of Primary Tissue and In Vivo Studies and are disease Models Relevant in Safety Pharmacology, Macro Molecules Science: Antibodies, Oligo, and Peptides, Translation Beyond FIH Exposure Response Models, Macro Molecules Science: Gene therapy, Cell Therapy, mRNA and PROTAC, Derisking and Risk Mitigation Strategies, Clinical Cardiology, and much more! This will ensure attendees can stay abreast of new content and developments in key areas of interest.

The meeting also offers a broad Continuing Education program both on an introductory level as well as advanced courses for the expert. A program outline is now available on the 2020 Meeting website. For those interested in increasing their knowledge, recognition and expertise in the field, we will also be holding the 2020 certification exam for the Diplomate in Safety Pharmacology on September 12 and invite all interested SPS members to consider sitting the exam this year.

In an effort to support attendance from our younger colleagues, please note that there are opportunities for Student and Jr. Investigator Travel and poster awards. We encourage you to submit an abstract for presentation as a poster to be featured in our Exhibit Hall. From these submissions a variety will be selected for short dynamic poster presentations. The deadline to submit an abstract for presentation is June 15.

We also would like to highlight our Exhibit Hall, which will feature over 50 vendors offering direct access to CROs, as well as a variety of service and technology providers exhibiting the latest technology and developments relevant to the field.

We cordially invite you to become a member of our Society, become involved in our ongoing scientific activities and join us in Montréal, Canada for our 2020 Annual Meeting this Fall!


Dr. Tomas Mow
SPS President 2020

Dr. Brian Roche
SPS Vice President and Program Chair 2020

Highlights of the Annual Meeting
  • A dynamic forum for best practice sharing within industry, CRO’s, academics and regulators
  • Scientific Sessions organized by SPS Members
  • Sessions on some of the hottest topics in safety pharmacology related research
  • 6 CE Courses taught by experts in the field
  • Plenary Keynote Speakers by a key opinion leaders
  • Exhibit hall offering access to industry vendors
  • Poster sessions featuring cutting-edge research
  • Networking opportunities with a global community of scientists from regulatory, industry, and academia
  • Award opportunities to bring together Student and Jr. Investigators with seasoned scientists, while sharing their research
  • Exhibitor Sponsored Sessions by leading technology and service providers showcasing their new offerings and research
  • A 20-year anniversary welcome reception with great opportunities to network with peers
  • A social event located in the heart of Old Montreal

Hotel Reservations

SPS has negotiated discounted rates with nearby hotels, exclusively for our attendees. Rooms are limited, we encourage you to book early!

Important Reminder: SPS does NOT work with a housing/hotel reservations company. The only way to reserve your hotel room with the SPS block is to use the link listed on our website (below) or call the hotel directly. Communications from persons other than SPS are not authorized and should be regarded as spam.



    Intercontinental Montréal
    360 Rue Saint Antoine Ouest
    Montréal, Quebec H2Y 3X4

    SPS Rate: $259 CAD
    This special rate includes Wi-Fi and will be available on a first come, first serve basis until August 21.

    Reserve Your Room

Waived Registration—US Federal and International Regulatory Agency Employees

In order to facilitate greater interaction with our regulatory colleagues, all US federal employees, and international regulatory agency employees may register to attend the 2020 SPS Annual Meeting in Montreal at no charge. Waived registration is available to all active U.S. federal employees, and all active employees at international regulatory agencies (must show valid regulatory/government ID at registration).

Registration is required by September 1.

2020 Call for Jr. Investigator and Student Travel Award Applications

Attention Junior Investigators and Students!

To encourage and support world-wide representation of students and junior investigators at the Meeting, the Society offers Junior Investigator Travel Awards and Student Travel Awards. The deadline for submitting award applications is July 1.

The deadline to submit your abstract online for the award is June 15. All other award application materials are due by July 1.

Please visit our website for complete details on Travel Award eligibility.

SPS 2020: Your Invitation to Exhibit

SPS offers an intimate, focused, trade show experience with an exhibitor to attendee ration of 1:3. We drive attendee traffic to the exhibit hall with poster sessions, a welcome reception, breaks, and lunch for attendees to help our exhibitors capture quality leads. Each exhibit booth includes two full conference registrations (up to a $2400 value). We hope you'll join us in our 20th anniversary year. Mark September 13-16 on your calendar to exhibit at the Safety Pharmacology Society Annual Meeting at the Palais des congrès de Montréal. Our booths are first come, first serve, so book now to secure your preferred location!

Reserve your booth today!

Marketing & Advertising Opportunities

Is your company looking for greater exposure?

The Safety Pharmacology Society Annual Meeting is the place where safety pharmacology professionals gather each year to access the latest information, research and technologies affecting the industry. It is the premiere opportunity to connect with these influencers and buyers. We have a wide variety of opportunities available across many different outlets. From traditional print advertising in the Final Program all the way to push notifications in our Meeting Mobile app and even opportunities that can be taken advantage of long after the Meeting ends. Let us know what your goals are, and we will help you meet them.

For more information, please view our Prospectus

Annual Meeting Marketing & Advertising Opportunities
  • Exhibitor Sponsored Session
  • Final Program Advertisement
  • Email Communications
  • Bag Inserts
  • Mailing List Rental
  • Lanyards
  • Mobile App push notifications
SPS Year-Round Marketing & Advertising Opportunities
  • Vendor Directory
  • Mailing List Rental
  • Job Postings

Please contact Amy Willis for further information on how to take advantage of these opportunities. Don't delay; some of these are limited and first come-first serve!


Call for Nominations

Dear SPS Member,

The Safety Pharmacology Society invites your nominations of individuals to serve in the leadership of the Society. The elected terms will commence on January 1, 2021.

The open positions for the 2021 election are:

  • Vice President-Elect is a 4-year commitment which automatically progresses through the positions of Vice President, President and Past President. In addition, the Vice President-Elect serves as the Chair of the Abstract Committee, and as Vice President serves as the Chair of the Program Committee for the year that they hold those positions. It is preferred that one has previous experience on the board prior to nomination as part of the presidential chain in the society.
  • Treasurer-Elect is a 1-year commitment followed by a 2-year commitment as Treasurer.
  • Board of Director Member is a 2-year commitment (4 positions open for nomination).
  • Nominating Committee is a 1-year commitment (4 positions open for nomination).

The responsibilities of the SPS leadership roles are described in the Safety Pharmacology Society By-Laws.

Each candidate nominated should be a current member of the Society. Members may submit multiple nominations for consideration.

To nominate another individual: It is the nominator’s responsibility to obtain permission from the nominee to be considered for the ballot and their agreement to serve, if elected. The Nominator must also ask the Nominee to send a current CV, a single paragraph statement regarding their background and experience that makes them appropriate for the position for which they are being nominated, and their vision for the future of the Society to Krystle Correll before the deadline (May 4, 2020). Members may submit multiple nominations for consideration by the Nominating Committee.

To nominate yourself: We encourage SPS Members to nominate themselves. By nominating yourself you are giving permission to be considered for the ballot and agreeing to serve, if elected. You must provide a CV, single paragraph statement regarding your background and experience that makes you appropriate for the position for which you have nominated yourself, and your vision for the future of the Society to Krystle Correll before the deadline (May 4, 2020).

The Nominating Committee will compile the final slate for the 2021 ballot. Ballots will be sent to Members in good standing in July 2020.

Best regards,

The Nominating Committee

Know Someone Who Has Substantially Contributed to the Field of Safety Pharmacology?

The Safety Pharmacology Society Distinguished Service Award (DSA) is an honor given to an individual who has substantially contributed to the field of safety pharmacology. Please consider submitting a nomination for someone you believe should be honored for their contributions.

The following criteria will be considered for nominees:

  • Specific research achievements
  • Champions of the field
  • Lifelong contribution to the field
  • Substantial specific contribution
  • Visionary direction
  • Regulatory decisions
  • Science and technology of the field
  • Education
  • Mentorship in the field
  • Collaboration between industry, academia, and regulatory

The Distinguished Service Award Nomination Deadline is May 1, 2020. Please submit your nominations to SPS Headquarters for this coveted award to honor your fellow safety pharmacologist.

Please visit the website to submit your application.

How to Nominate an Individual:

  1. Complete the DSA Application—Please note: the Award Criteria (above) must be addressed in the application or letter of support.
  2. Submit one letter of support for the nominee, with two SPS member signatures.
  3. Submit the nominee's curriculum vitae.
  4. Submit any supporting documentation that may indicate the nominee’s achievement in safety pharmacology

Submit the application and supporting documents via email (PDF) to SPS Headquarters by May 1, 2020.

Please note: Only Members may nominate an individual for the DSA, although the DSA nominee does not have to be a member. A member may not nominate more than one person per year. The Distinguished Service Award (DSA) will be given every year, although there shall be no obligation or duty to make such award when, in the sole opinion of the committee, there is no qualified nominee. The Distinguished Service Award Committee conducts an in-depth review of all nominations.

We look forward to receiving your nominations!

2020 Diplomate in Safety Pharmacology (DSP) Certification Exam and Preparation

The Diplomate in Safety Pharmacology (DSP) has gained increasing recognition over the last six years. With more than sixty Diplomates as of today, the certification includes members representing all major areas of our discipline including academia, industry and regulatory agencies. Achieving global recognition, the DSP Certification is an examination process by which professionals can demonstrate their knowledge and skill in the field of safety pharmacology and establishes high quality standards for professionals. We invite you to register to participate in the Diplomate in Safety Pharmacology (DSP) certification exam this fall in Montreal on September 12, 2020.

As a result of passing the Exam and obtaining their DSP, Diplomates have reported the following benefits:

  • Recognition in the field
  • Looked to as an expert in safety pharmacology by colleagues/employer
  • Increased overall knowledge in the field
  • Career advances

All details relative to the certification exam process including eligibility, study materials, scientific scope, and examination format are presented on the DSP Website.

Register for the DSP Exam today!

We look forward to seeing you in Montreal.

SPS Collaborations and Activities

SOT Scientific Liaison Coalition (Member since 2011)
JSPS Meeting Participation (March 2020 - Cancelled)
SOT Global Gallery and Post-doc Mixer participant (March 2020 - Cancelled)
UW Madison Distance Learning Course support (Year-round)
Partner Organization in the EU Commission Grant: INnovation in Safety Pharmacology for Integrated cardiovascular safety assessment to REduce adverse events and late stage drug attrition (INSPIRE) (May 2019–September 2023)
EFPIA/PhMRA/JPMA/S7B-E14 working group support of face to face meeting (September 2020)

Upcoming Webinars

Upcoming Meetings

SPS Member News

In Memoriam

Ian MacKenzie, PhD
It is with great sadness that we share the passing of SPS Past-President Ian MacKenzie, PhD on Monday 13th January 2020. Ian was Head of Pharmacology at Covance Laboratories UK from 1996–2008, building the team and facilities at Harrogate that laid the foundations for the successful group that are thriving today. Ian was very proud to have been the first European to serve as SPS President and to organize the 2007 annual meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland. After this, Ian built up a successful consultancy business and he is remembered with fondness by all those who worked with him. The family have requested privacy at this difficult time and have asked that no contact is made with them.

Carrie G. Markgraf, MD, PhD
It is with heavy hearts that we share the passing of SPS member Carrie G. Markgraf, MD, PhD. Carrie most recently served as President of the Safety Pharmacology Society as well as Associate Director of Toxicology at Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc. Carrie joined SPS in 2001 where over the years she has served on numerous committees including: Abstract Review Committee; Academic Outreach Committee; Continuing Education Committee; Membership Committee; Nominating Committee; and Program Committee. The impact of her many contributions to SPS will live on through those who knew her and continue to help shape the next generation of Safety Pharmacologists. Her positive and caring mindset will be dearly missed by us all. A memorial service in celebration of her life was conducted Saturday, January 25th at 11:00 A.M. at the Guilford Community Church, 38 Church Dr, Guilford, VT 05301.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Carrie’s name may be made to the Baypath Humane Society, Hopkinton, MA.

Please visit Carrie's tribute page to read her full obituary and share a memory or express your condolences. VISIT TRIBUTE

Publications of Interest

Human Heart Cardiomyocytes in Drug Discovery and Research: New Opportunities in Translational Sciences

Blinded In Silico Drug Trial Reveals the Minimum Set of Ion Channels for Torsades de Pointes Risk Assessment.

Robotic fluidic coupling and interrogation of multiple vascularized organ chips

Development, calibration, and validation of a novel human ventricular myocyte model in health, disease and drug block.

Drug‐induced shortening of the electromechanical window is an effective biomarker for in silico prediction of clinical risk of arrhythmias.