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Canadian Centre for Alternatives to Animal Methods

The Canadian Centre for Alternatives to Animal Methods (CCAAM) and its subsidiary, the Canadian Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods (CCVAM), aim to develop, validate, and promote methodologies in biomedical research, education, and chemical toxicity testing that do not require the use of animals.

Conventional medical research relies heavily on experimental animals to study human-specific diseases; however, it is difficult to accurately and reliably translate discoveries from lab animals to human patients because of immutable species differences in biological processes, disease mechanisms, and drug responses. To overcome these limitations, many countries across the globe have already established institutions dedicated to alternatives to animal testing – CCAAM is the first-of-its-kind in Canada.

CCAAM Vision

Our vision is the replacement of animals in Canadian biomedical research, education, and regulatory testing through 21st century science, innovation, and ethics.

CCAAM Mission

Our mission is to serve as the Canadian leader and nexus to promote alternatives through integrative human-centered initiatives. By developing transformative partnerships with academic, industry, government, and public sectors to develop, validate, and promote alternatives, we seek to transition the medical research, education, and toxicity testing communities away from the use of animals.

CCAAM Goals

Through multifaceted Research, Academic, and Regulatory initiatives, our goals are to develop, use, and promote integrative human-centered frameworks for biomedical research, education, and chemical toxicity testing. In doing so, CCAAM is helping to ensure that Canada is at the forefront of cutting edge innovation in alternatives. We are building capacity that will ultimately change future research, education, and chemical testing standards in Canada.

Research Initiative

Conduct multi-disciplinary fundamental biomedical research using only human-based biomaterials and methods to understand human biology in health and disease.

Academic Initiative

Establish first-of-its-kind academic degree programs in Animal Replacement Science to train the next generation of scientists, ethicists, and policy makers.

Regulatory Initiative

Expedite the development, validation, and acceptance of alternative chemical testing methods in partnership with Canadian regulators, especially Health Canada.

In addition, we plan to perform community outreach and educational activities to inform Canadians from coast-to-coast about our exciting new developments and the continued need to pursue alternatives. We now have the opportunity to advance alternatives in Canada and contribute to global alternatives efforts in a uniquely Canadian way.

Our Team

Dr. Charu Chandrasekera

Executive Director, Canadian Centre for Alternatives to Animal Methods

As inaugural Director, Dr. Charu Chandrasekera has, and continues to be instrumental in the development of CCAAM from concept to reality. Dr. Chandrasekera is actively engaged in developing and promoting alternatives in biomedical research. In addition to her role with CCAAM, Dr. Chandrasekera serves as the Director of Laboratory Science for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a U.S. non-profit organization dedicated to promoting alternatives and higher standards in biomedical research. Dr. Chandrasekera obtained her PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Calgary and completed her post-doctoral training at the University of Michigan Medical School and Wayne State University School of Medicine. During her more than seventeen years in medical research, Dr. Chandrasekera focused primarily on cardiovascular and diabetes research using various methods, including animal models. Through these research endeavors, she experienced firsthand the immutable translational barrier that limits the applicability of animal studies to human disease. Today, Dr. Chandrasekera collaborates with various national and international organizations to bring forth a paradigm shift in which our species takes center stage as the quintessential animal model for biomedical research and testing. Her recent work in alternatives has been published in numerous peer-reviewed scientific journals, and she has been invited to present her work at national and international conferences on alternatives and conventional science. 

Dr. Philip Karpowicz

Scientific Director, Canadian Centre for Alternatives to Animal Methods

Dr. Phillip Karpowicz is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Windsor. He completed a Master’s degree in Bioethics, and a PhD in stem cell biology at the University of Toronto, where he specialized in the study of neural stem cells and embryonic stem cells. He completed his post-doctoral training at Harvard Medical School, where he studied intestinal stem cells. The Karpowicz research group studies biological processes using intestinal organoids, a cell culture system that uses adult stem cells to grow artificial tissue in the laboratory. The CCAAM will enable a variety of studies using human organoids grown from a variety of tissues, including stomach, intestine, and colon, among others. The Karpowicz lab will develop organoid models that recapitulate normal human physiology, which can then be used as a technological platform in research and regulatory testing. Through the CCAAM research initiative, Dr. Karpowicz will establish a fully humanized state-of-the-art research and teaching laboratory dedicated exclusively to alternatives.

Dr. Andrew Hubberstey

Academic Director, Canadian Centre for Alternatives to Animal Methods

Dr. Hubberstey is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences where he served as the department head for six years and curriculum chair for several years. His research interests are focused on the molecular and cellular mechanisms of cell migration and how they are perturbed in cancer cells. Dr. Hubberstey will be in charge of designing, developing, and implementing the Animal Replacement Science academic programs. He has expertise in curriculum development and extensive teaching history at all levels of undergraduate and graduate education, for both biology majors and non-majors. He is a widely popular instructor who is known for his time-relevant lectures and availability for one-on-one discussions and research training in his laboratory. Dr. Hubberstey will collaborate with local, national, and international interdisciplinary faculty to develop curricula to create a first-of-its-kind academic initiative.

 

Contact Us

Canadian Centre for Alternatives to Animal Methods

401 Sunset Avenue, Biology Building, Suite 326

Windsor, Ontario, Canada

N9B 3P4

 

For more information and opportunities for collaboration, please contact:

Dr. Charu Chandrasekera

Email: CCAAMinfo@uwindsor.ca

Phone: 519-253-3000, Ext 3086

 

If you would like to support our mission, please contact:

Gemma Grey-Hall

Major Gifts Officer, Faculty of Science

Email: gemmagh@uwindsor.ca

Phone: 519-253-3000, Ext 3957