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Computational Toxicology Research Program

2007 International Science Forum on Computational Toxicology

Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.

Frequently Asked Questions

Basic Information

About Computational Toxicology and NCCT

History of the Science Forum

Basic Information

What is the 2007 International Science Forum?

The 2007 International Science Forum on Computational Toxicology is a collaborative symposium that will bring together internationally-renowned scientists to discuss computational tools and approaches within the context of EPA's research program.

Who is hosting the 2007 International Science Forum?

The National Center for Computational Toxicology (NCCT) within EPA's Office of Research and Development (ORD) will host the Forum.

When will the Forum be held?

Monday, May 21, through Wednesday, May 23, 2007.

Where will the Forum be held?

The Forum will be held at the EPA facility in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, located at 109 T.W. Alexander Drive, Durham, NC, 27709. The facility is within 10 minutes driving distance of the Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) and is easily accessible from I-40, I-85, and NC Highway 147.

Who are the main speakers?

Leaders from across EPA and the international science community will speak at the 2007 International Science Forum. Please visit the Preliminary Agenda for updates on speakers and presentation titles.

Who should participate in this year's Science Forum?

Researchers with expertise in computational approaches; scientists who use toxicology information in risk assessment; decision makers who use risk assessments in their decisions about regulatory and non-regulatory mechanisms; EPA employees and public citizens who are interested in the science of computational toxicology.

Can members of the general public attend the Science Forum?

Members of the general public who are interested in computational toxicology are invited to submit an application to attend the Forum via the Apply to Attend page.

How many people will attend the 2007 International Science Forum?

Because of the more focused nature of the 2007 Forum, in addition to space limitations of the EPA facility in Research Triangle Park, registration will be more limited this year than in previous years. Registration will be limited to 500 participants. Visit the Apply to Attend page for more information.

What will I do at the Science Forum?

Participants will learn about the novel computational approaches EPA and other organizations are using to study the effects that stressors (e.g., toxic chemicals) have on humans and ecosystems. They also will interact with speakers and other participants in plenary and platform sessions. Posters and exhibits will be available for participants to view.

Is the Science Forum an approved training event for EPA employees?

U.S. EPA employees must obtain approval from their respective office to use training object class code 2502 for subsistence costs incurred for travel to attend the Science Forum. The Science Forum has been approved as training by the Human Resources Management Division's Training Officer in Research Triangle Park. You may download a signed copy of this approval memo to assist you in obtaining the necessary approval from your designated Training Officer. The signed approval memo only applies to U.S. EPA employees who applied to attend the Forum by March 15, 2007.

Download the U.S. EPA training approval memo

Forum Logistics

I want to bring a poster to the Science Forum. How do I arrange that?

Forum attendees will have the opportunity to compete for a limited number of poster slots. Visit the Poster Abstract Submission page for details.

How do people ship their posters or exhibits to the Forum?

More information about exhibit and poster transportation and shipping will be made available by e-mail to presenters once exhibits and posters are selected for the Forum.

How do I apply to attend the Science Forum? Is there a cost?

Visit the Apply to Attend page for information on the application process.

There is no cost to attend the Forum for federal employees and non-federal speakers. Non-federal attendees will be required to pay a one-time, non-refundable fee of $50 USD to offset food cost, because EPA is not authorized to use appropriated funds to pay for food for non-federal attendees.

What is the deadline for applications?

The deadline for applications to attend the Forum was Thursday, March 8, 2007. If you are interested in attending but missed the application deadline, please contact SAIC at tcs-events@saic.com. The Forum Steering Committee will try to accommodate additional applications on a case-by-case basis.

Where will I stay during the Science Forum?

There is a variety of fine hotels offering accommodation in the Research Triangle Park area. Please visit the Lodging Information page for more details.

Can I obtain materials in my native language?

English will be the official language of the Forum, the speakers, and Web and printed materials.

I have special needs (physical, mobility, hearing). How will my needs be accommodated?

Accommodations will be made for participants with special needs. Please contact tcs-events@saic.com for additional information.

Who should I contact for more information?

Megan Ball of SAIC at tcs-events@saic.com.

How do media register for the event? How do media representatives arrange for interviews?

Members of the media are welcome to attend the 2007 International Science Forum. For access to the event or to arrange interviews in advance, please contact Cynthia Yu at yu.cynthia@epa.gov.

About Computational Toxicology and NCCT

What is computational toxicology? How long has it been around?

Computational Toxicology is the application of relatively novel tools that utilize the sciences of computational biology, such as genomics, proteomics, and metabonomics, to develop a more detailed understanding of the risks posed to humans and the environment by stressors such as chemicals. Elements of computational toxicology have been studied for many years, although EPA has become more focused on employing computational approaches in the last few years.

What are the key issues that make computational toxicology a fast growing scientific field?

Computational toxicology is possible because of two significant advances that have evolved over the past decade: the incredible development of computing power, and the development of modern molecular biology. The tools of modern biology, including genomics, proteomics and metabonomics, allow scientists to ask questions about cellular processes at a depth and speed that simply was not possible even five years ago. Today, one scientist working in his lab can acquire more data on cellular functions than a team of researchers working together for months could have produced during the 1990s. The union of these forces, and their continued rapid evolution, are opening doors for long-standing problems to be resolved. This possibility is now attracting a number of scientists from other fields, such as engineering and physics, to apply their skills to environmental problems.

How does computational toxicology help protect the environment?

EPA's Office of Research and Development studies exposure to and effects from chemical stressors in order to assess the risks they pose to humans and ecosystems. The National Center for Computational Toxicology uses new computational methods to better understand how chemicals affect organisms. Researchers can thus better characterize the risks to humans and the environment.

Why should computational toxicology be important to me (a member of the general public)?

The use of molecular biology and computational tools will allow the EPA to:

  • be more effective in assessing the hazards posed by the many chemicals present in our environment
  • determine the risk of chemical exposure at low levels of exposures
  • better predict the effects of chemicals across species
  • save public research dollars.

What kind of research is EPA doing in computational toxicology?

EPA has increased research activities in computational toxicology over the past four years. Research efforts are using genomics, proteomics and metabonomics to better understand the molecular and cellular pathways that chemicals affect as they damage various organs. Additional research is exploring tools used by the pharmaceutical industry in order to see if they are appropriate for screening large numbers of chemicals for biological activity. Finally, EPA is promoting the digitization of and electronic access to the wealth of toxicological information in existence, so that researchers and risk assessors will be better able to search for information and detect patterns of toxicity in the databases.

What is the Computational Toxicology Research Program?

The National Center for Computational Toxicology was created in February 2005, as one of the main functional units of EPA's Office of Research and Development. It is staffed by 20 scientists who bring a variety of expertise in molecular biology, computational chemistry, biological modeling, statistics and information management. Information about the staff and the various programs of the NCCT can be found at www.epa.gov/ncct.

How did NCCT come into being?

NCCT was the result of leadership from former ORD Administrator Paul Gilman, who saw great potential for modern technologies to improve many of EPA's fundamental activities which investigate the effects of toxic chemicals on human health and the environment. NCCT has received favorable support from both the President and Congress in the budget process.

Who uses NCCT's research, results, and methods?

NCCT's research is still in a stage of development, having been in existence only two years. The program was developed in close consultation with a number of clients within the Agency, namely the National Center for Environmental Assessment (NCEA/ORD); the Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances (OPPT); and the Office of Water (OW). NCCT's research portfolio, which has been reviewed by a panel of external scientists, aims to achieve a number of short and long term objectives that will meet the needs of these immediate clients. In the long run, the public will benefit from an EPA that is more effective at assessing chemical risks and hazards.

Why is NCCT hosting the 2007 International Science Forum? Are there timely or critical issues relating to computational toxicology?

EPA is poised to become a global leader in the use of computational toxicology to solve environmental and human health problems. As the Agency's lead for computational toxicology research, the National Center for Computational Toxicology plans to improve understanding and create a collaborative research agenda through the Forum. These computational approaches are relatively new to the risk characterization process, and they hold great potential for improving EPA decision-making.

History of the Science Forum

What was the genesis or history of the Science Forum?

The EPA Office of Research and Development began hosting the Science Forum in 2001 to highlight innovative research and expertise within the Agency. After several years of successful Forums, the Office of Research and Development decided to host the traditional Forum every other year, and to host smaller, topic-specific meetings in alternate years. This allows EPA to better feature novel scientific approaches and achievements within the agency in a more focused setting.

Why did the Science Forum change from its format in previous years?

In past years, the EPA Science Forum has been hosted by a variety of EPA partners and has showcased research programs and products from across the Agency. The 2007 International Science Forum on Computational Toxicology is sponsored and coordinated by the National Center of Computational Toxicology within EPA's Office of Research and Development. The Forum will center exclusively on computational tools and research that is being developed to better inform the science of toxicology; as such, the meeting format is more focused than in previous years.

Why is the 2007 Science Forum called the "International Science Forum"?

One goal of the Forum is to bring together experts from around the world to discuss computational approaches in the field of toxicology. Attendees and speakers at the Forum will represent a diverse section of the global scientific community.

Who is hosting the 2008 Science Forum?

The National Risk Management Research Laboratory in EPA's Office of Research and Development will host the 2008 Science Forum.

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