The environmental risk assessment paradigm relies on four components: Problem formulation, exposure characterization, effects characterization and risk characterization. Effects characterization in environmental risk assessment has traditionally relied on whole organism toxicity testing. However, the amount of such toxicological data available is limited. Furthermore, this type of data does not often provide information on mode of action and therefore does not lend itself well to assessment of multiple stressors that may share the same adverse outcome pathway. Enter high-throughput testing, which takes advantage of advances in biology and biotechnology to make increased and more effective use of in vitro and small-scale in vivo methods to rapidly and cost-effectively generate data concerning the ability of chemicals to perturb key biological pathways and processes whose disruption could ultimately be expected to lead to adverse effects.
Recently, significant advancements have been made in throughput screening programs and the subsequent generation, dissemination and application of high-throughput toxicology data. To date, these efforts have been almost exclusively focused on human health. However, there is opportunity to use the data and tools from these programs to address ecological health.
The overall purpose of this meeting is to provide environmental toxicologists and risk assessors an introduction to high-throughput data and tools. Through a diverse program of plenary presentations, round table discussions, poster socials, exhibits, genius bar tools demonstrations and story problems, participants will learn about the state of the science of high-throughput toxicology and be equipped with the background to critically evaluate how it could be employed in a broad range of environmental risk assessment scenarios.