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Future Toxicology: Better predicting Toxicant-induced cell fate.

Project description

Improving the prediction of chemical toxicity

Modern toxicology is moving towards computational approaches where toxicity prediction is based on datasets of chemical structures and toxicological outcomes. However, our understanding of how chemicals affect cells remains incomplete, hampering the effectiveness of such approaches. The scope of the EU-funded TOXIFATE project is to develop new assays to detect chemical-induced changes in cells by focussing on myotoxicity, a severe toxicity characterised by skeletal muscle breakdown. Scientists will generate transcriptomic data describing cell stress and cell death responses and use them to develop novel computational approaches towards improved toxicity prediction.


TOXIFATE will help change the paradigm of chemical safety assessment and give the next generation of toxicologists the fundamental knowledge and experimental skills that are required to bring about this change. The safe use of chemicals is essential for global prosperity and human health and this is entirely dependent upon robust toxicology. For practical, scientific and ethical reasons, modern toxicology is moving to computational approaches in which large datasets describing chemical structures and toxicological outcomes are used to predict toxicity. The promise of this approach was recently demonstrated when computational approaches for the first-time outperformed animal testing in predicting human toxicity. Nonetheless, our ability to predict toxicity is poor because our understanding of how chemicals affect cells is still rudimentary. TOXIFATE will provide intersectoral training to 2 researchers who will build new assays to detect toxicant-induced changes in cells. Multi-disciplinary training will generate unique high-content and transcriptomic data describing cell stress and cell death responses. This multidimensional dataset will be used to develop novel computational approaches to improve toxicity prediction. TOXIFATE will focus on chemical-induced myotoxicity, a severe and sometimes life-threatening toxicity that is characterized by skeletal muscle breakdown. Although at least 200 drugs and chemicals cause myotoxicity, it is relatively under-investigated and what is learnt here to improve prediction of myotoxicity will also be used to improve prediction of other types of toxicity. TOXIFATE researchers will bridge the gap between state-of-the-art science and chemical hazard and risk assessment and be equipped for career paths in the emerging computational toxicology sectors. TOXIFATE will also aid the EU and the global community by quickly, ethically and economically addressing the societal challenge of better identifying chemical hazards to human health.


Net EU contribution
€ 274 684,32
H91 Galway

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Ireland Northern and Western West
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 274 684,32

Participants (1)