Upcoming Events at EPA

By Michaela Burns

Don’t limit the festivities to just the fourth! Here are some EPA events you can enjoy in the first few weeks of July.

Transform Tox Testing Challenge Semi-Finalist Workshop
Friday, July 8th at 8:00 a.m. ET

scientist does tox testingEPA, NIH’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, and the National Toxicology Program launched the Transform Tox Testing Challenge: Innovating for Metabolism in January. The goal of the challenge is to develop a practical design that will help the cells in toxicity lab test behave more like the human body when evaluating chemical’s toxicity. Currently, the cells used in lab test do not break down or metabolize chemicals like they would in a human body. The successful design will offer information that can be used to review and evaluate lab results, and will also ensure better quality data, transparency, and overall confidence in assay results.

On July 8th, Transform Tox Testing Challenge organizers are hosting a workshop at Research Triangle Park, North Carolina to bring together Stage 1 winners, agency experts, and other leaders in the field. The workshop will provide an opportunity to discuss the Tox21 and ToxCast programs, the semi-finalist proposals, and feasible expectations for the remainder of the challenge.

Register for the event now!

 

EJSCREEN July 2016 Public Release Webinar
Monday, July 11th at 3:00 p.m. ET

screenshot of ej toolWhat is the pollution like on your block compared to other neighborhoods? How close is your house to a hazardous waste site or a noisy highway? Learn about a tool that can help answer these questions at this upcoming webinar.

EPA is releasing the latest version of EJSCREEN, an environmental justice tool that highlights locations that may have higher environmental burdens and vulnerable populations. The new EJSCREEN has an abundance of new features— all of which were requested by the public – including (to list a few):

  • The inclusion of the National Air Toxic Assessment environmental indicators for cancer risk, respiratory, and diesel PM
  • Scalable maps, that summarize data at the Census block group, tract, or county-level
  • The ability to save sessions and print maps from the home screen
  • A feature that allows you to look at two maps, side-by-side
  • The addition of Puerto Rico

Participate in the webinar online or email olp.kevin@epa.gov to request a conference line!

 

For more events check out our EPA Research Events page.

 

About the Author: Michaela Burns is an Oak Ridge Associated Universities contractor and writer for the science communication team in EPA’s Office of Research and Development.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

When Robots and Metabolism Collide: EPA and Partners Announce Transform Tox Testing Challenge Semi-Finalists

By Kevin Kuhn

When I tell my friends about chemical high-throughput screening and the Transform Tox Testing Challenge, I always start with the robot. Why? Because people love robots.

Tox 21 robot at work

Robot in action at the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) where it is housed.

The Robot, i.e. the ultra-high-throughput robotic screening system (pictured) is just one example of a suite of automated systems designed to test and screen chemicals. The system identifies chemicals’ potential for trouble faster and cheaper than ever before, and without the need to test on animals.

Thanks to these automated systems and Tox21 (a cooperative effort uniting EPA, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Food and Drug Administration), we have run thousands and thousands of experiments to see how chemicals affect cells, their processes, and the proteins that do the work. It truly is some amazing research.

Of course, it wouldn’t be research if the system was perfect. Here’s the rub: cells used in EPA’s current lab tests do not typically break down or metabolize chemicals like they would in the body. This means that these tests may overlook chemicals that could be metabolized into a more toxic form. We need a robot-friendly way of making our lab tests act more like the human body when evaluating chemicals’ toxicity.

To find a solution, EPA, NIH’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), and the National Toxicology Program, headquartered at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, launched the Transform Tox Testing Challenge in January.

Now we are thrilled to announce that we are awarding a total of $100,000 to ten semi-finalists for their amazing ideas. Descriptions of these promising proposals are available here. The semi-finalists have brought the best of modern technological approaches to bear on the problem, and we couldn’t be more excited about the ideas.

Right now these proposals are simply ideas on paper, but thanks to the challenge prize money, these solvers will have the opportunity to develop their plans into working prototypes and enter Stage 2 of the competition. EPA will host a workshop for the semi-finalists in July so that they can meet one another, learn more about our great set of screening systems, and potentially combine their talents to strengthen their Stage 2 entries.

With the possibility of solving this problem on the horizon, we’re one step closer to improving toxicity testing and protecting human health better than ever before. And, to be honest, that is even cooler than the robot.
For more information: transformtoxtesting.com

 

About the Author: Kevin Kuhn, Ph.D. is an advisor to the Chief Innovation Officer in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Research and Development and  manages the Pathfinder Innovation Projects – a competition that provides seed funding for EPA research scientists to pursue high-risk, high-reward research. Learn more about EPA Innovation at: https://www.epa.gov/innovation.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.