ECNP Symposium

European College of Neuropsychopharmacology Preclinical Data Forum

ECNP Preclinical Data Forum Symposium: Addressing the challenge: Approaches to generating more robust, reproducible, and predictive preclinical data
December 8th, 16:30-18:30
Chair: Dalla Christina
Preclinical data quality – an industry perspective
Steckler Thomas, BRQC-QP&S, Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, Beerse, Belgium
How to design your research for maximum impact
Koustova Elena, National Institute on Drug Abuse, NIDA,
National Institute of Health/DHHS, NIH USA
How Data Sharing Can Guide Animal Modeling, Improve Translational Outcomes, and Enhance Publication Record
Kabitzke Patricia, Cohen Veterans Bioscience, USA 
The standardization fallacy and the reproducibility paradox
Würbel Hanno, Division of Animal Welfare, University of Bern, Switzerland 
Assessing quality of research practice: From manuscript checklists to auditing
Bespalov Anton, Partnership for Assessment and Accreditation of Scientific Practice, Heidelberg, Germany


Information on speakers


Thomas Steckler, M.D., PhD

BRQC-QP&S, Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, Beerse, Belgium

Thomas Steckler graduated in Medicine in 1990 and obtained his M.D. in 1992 from the Free University of Berlin, Germany, in collaboration with Schering AG. He then moved to the MRC Neurochemical Pathology Unit in Newcastle in England, became group leader at the Max Planck Institute for Psychiatry in Munich in 1997 and habilitated in 2006 in Biological Psychology at the Heinrich-Heine University, Düsseldorf, Germany. In 2000 Dr. Steckler joined the Neuroscience Drug Discovery group of Janssen R&D, where he did hold various roles and responsibilities. He has a strong interest for quality systems, experimental design and analysis to improve the rigor, reproducibility and utility in non-regulated research and in 2015 moved to the Bioresearch Quality organization of Janssen where he leads the global Bioresearch Quality & Compliance Animal Welfare activities of Janssen. Further, Dr. Steckler is EFPIA Project Lead of the European Quality in Preclinical Data (EQIPD) IMI consortium and co-lead of the ECNP Preclinical Data Network.


Elena Koustova, Ph.D, MBA

National Institute on Drug Abuse, NIDA, National Institute of Health/DHHS, NIH USA
Director, Office of Translational Initiatives and Program Innovations (OTIPI),
NIDA SBIR/STTR Coordinator, NIDA Challenge Manager


Patricia Kabitzke, PhD

Cohen Veterans Bioscience, USA

Dr. Patricia Kabitzke is a Senior Scientific Program Manager at Cohen Veterans Bioscience (CVB), a 501(c)(3) non-profit research organization with a singular focus on PTSD and TBI research. At CVB, Dr. Kabitzke leads AMP-IT-UP (Alliance for Modeling Pathological Impacts of Trauma with Unified Practices), driving the development of robust, reproducible, and translational preclinical models of trauma on the brain. Previously, she was a Senior Scientist at PsychoGenics, a Contract Research Organization. Dr. Kabitzke received her Ph.D. in Biopsychology & Behavioral Neuroscience from City University of New York and then went on to Columbia University where she was a NIMH T32 Postdoctoral Research Fellow. She enjoys working collaboratively with scientists across academia, biotech, big pharma, and nonprofit organizations, contributing expertise in study design, assay development, analysis, and offering creative solutions to complex problems.


Hanno Würbel, Prof. PhD

Division of Animal Welfare, University of Bern, Switzerland

Hanno Würbel is Professor of Animal Welfare at the University of Bern in Switzerland. He obtained his PhD at ETH in Zürich and worked as a post-doctoral researcher at the Universities of Bristol and Zürich, before he became Professor of Animal Behaviour and Welfare, first at the University of Giessen in Germany und later in Bern. For his research on the welfare of laboratory animals and the scientific validity and reproducibility of animal research he received several research awards, and since 2013 his research on refinement is funded by the European Research Council.


Anton Bespalov, M.D., PhD

Partnership for Assessment and Accreditation of Scientific Practice, Heidelberg, Germany

Anton Bespalov obtained his MD degree from Pavlov Medical University (St. Petersburg) and after completion of PhD studies in St. Petersburg and Utrecht held NIH-supported Fellowships at Medical College of Virginia (Richmond, VA) and Scripps Institute (La Jolla, CA). After habilitation (DMedSci) in 2000, Anton acted as a research director of Valdman Institute of Pharmacology. In 2004, Anton joined Abbott (later AbbVie) but maintained close connections to Pavlov Medical University where he is a professor at the Institute of Pharmacology and chaired the University’s Scientific Advisory Board. During his tenure at Abbott / AbbVie as head of pharmacology department, Anton and his teams have brought several compounds into preclinical and clinical development, supported licensing and due diligence decisions. Anton has established and managed research contracts and collaborations with 100+ biotech companies, CROs and academic labs around the world. Founded and leads several international initiatives on preclinical data quality (e.g. co-chair of the ECNP Preclinical Data Forum).  Since 2016, Anton is a co-founder and managing director at PAASP (Partnership for assessment and accreditation of scientific practice) and EXCIVA (drug discovery startup focusing on abandoned drug development in neuroscience).


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