Aim of the course
This postgraduate course introduces the field of developmental and reproductive toxicology (DART) from the viewpoint of a variety of contributing disciplines. Starting from basic reproductive, developmental, endocrine and toxicological concepts, it covers subjects from experimental research to clinical studies and epidemiology. Specific topics include advice on drugs use in pregnancy, the teratology of antiepileptic drugs, folic acid deficiency and neural tube defects, and the classical and still topical DES and Thalidomide cases. Special attention is given to the interpretation of animal reproductive toxicity studies which form the basis for human risk assessment of chemicals. Students will receive subjects for self-study in subgroups and present their findings on Friday.

Content of the course

  • Basics of reproduction, development and endocrinology.
  • Fundamental and applied research, risk evaluation and risk management.
  • New approach methodologies in DART testing.
    • Non-animal and in vitro alternatives and omics approaches.
  • Active class ‘Wonder drugs: the DES and Thalidomide case’.
  • Drugs use in Pregnancy: safety evaluation, exposures in pregnancy, post-marketing surveillance of drugs, risk communication.
  • Epidemiology of congenital malformations: study types with pros and cons, birth defects registries, examples of congenital anomalies.
  • Risk assessment in Reproductive Toxicology:
    • Overview of guideline-based animal study test protocols, their use in testing strategies, implementation of endpoints for endocrine disruption and parental versus foetal toxicity.
    • Workshop with practical examples of animal study results
  • Group assignment on specific cases including a presentation.

Outcomes (competences, skills)

The course participant will be able:

  • to understand the general principles of reproductive, developmental and endocrine toxicology;
  • to obtain knowledge about certain human teratogens and their epidemiology and clinical teratology;
  • to explain modes and mechanisms of action of selected reproductive toxicants and
  • to connect these mechanisms with their group case studies;
  • to understand the present regulatory (in vivo) hazard assessment methodologies in reproductive toxicology and;
  • to evaluate whether these methodologies can be replaced by new approach methodologies;

dr. J.H. Kamstra, IRAS – Utrecht University, Utrecht (course leader)
Other lecturers to be determined.

Course coordinator: dr. J.H. Kamstra
Duration: 1 week
ECTS credits: 1.5
Fee:          see tuition fees (includes reduced fees for PhD students)
Location: Institute for Risk Assessment Science, Utrecht University

The course requires a minimum of 10 participants. In case this number is not achieved, the course will be postponed to the next edition.
For general inquiries please contact the PET Office

To apply please proceed to course registration and for questions please contact the PET Office

Last updated: 8-Sep-22