Computational toxicology: realizing the promise of the toxicity testing in the 21st century. Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: The National Academies' Standing Committee on Use of Emerging Science for Environmental Health Decisions held a meeting (21-22 September 2009 in Washington, DC) titled "Computational Toxicology: From Data to Analyses to Applications." This commentary reflects on the presentations and roundtable discussions from the meeting that were designed to review the state of the art in the field and the practical applications of the new science and to provide focus to the field. OBJECTIVES: The meeting considered two topics: the emerging data streams amenable to computational modeling and data mining, and the emerging data analysis and modeling tools. DISCUSSION: Computational toxicology is a subdiscipline of toxicology that aims to use the mathematical, statistical, modeling, and computer science tools to better understand the mechanisms through which a given chemical induces harm and, ultimately, to be able to predict adverse effects of the toxicants on human health and/or the environment. The participants stressed the importance of computational toxicology to the future of environmental health sciences and regulatory decisions in public health; however, many challenges remain to be addressed before the findings from high-throughput screens and in silico models may be considered sufficiently robust and informative. CONCLUSIONS: Many scientists, regulators, and the general public believe that new and better ways to assess human toxicity are now needed, and technological breakthroughs are empowering the field of toxicity assessment. Even though the application of computational toxicology to environmental health decisions requires additional efforts, the merger of the power of computers with biological information is poised to deliver new tools and knowledge.

published proceedings

  • Environ Health Perspect

author list (cited authors)

  • Rusyn, I., & Daston, G. P.

citation count

  • 70

complete list of authors

  • Rusyn, Ivan||Daston, George P

publication date

  • August 2010