NCATS Launches Chemical Toxicity Data Model Competition

NCATS' Toxicology in the 21st Century (Tox21) Data Challenge 2014 is a crowdsourcing competition to develop computational models that can better predict chemical toxicity. The Tox21 initiative is designed to improve current toxicity assessment methods, which are slow and costly.

Participants who submit the winning models, as judged by the Tox21 Data Challenge Committee, will have the opportunity to submit a paper for publication in a special thematic issue of Frontiers in Environmental Science. NCATS also will recognize winning submissions in national communications, including on the NCATS website and in social media channels. Selected models will become part of the Tox21 program arsenal of tools that help researchers assess how various chemicals might disrupt biological processes in the human body and lead to negative health effects.

DNA in a double helix


Register for the challenge today. The model submission deadline is Nov. 14, 2014, 11:59 p.m. ET. NCATS will showcase the winning models in January 2015.

Tox 21 is a collaborative effort among NIH, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Food and Drug Administration. NIH partners include NCATS and the National Toxicology Program, administered by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

Tox21 scientists currently are testing a library of more than 10,000 chemical compounds (Tox21 10K) in NCATS' high-throughput (large-scale) robotic screening system. To date, the team has produced nearly 50 million data points from screening the Tox21 10K library against cell-based assays (tests). Data generated from 12 of these assays form the basis of the 2014 challenge.

"The Tox21 program is a wonderful example of what can be accomplished when government agencies join forces and pool resources," said NCATS Director Christopher P. Austin, M.D. "Our researchers have generated more data about chemical toxicity than we can realistically analyze and understand without additional collaboration. Similar to many other large-scale scientific endeavors that generate public data, we have created the 2014 challenge to crowdsource the best predictive models from researchers across the globe."

All Tox21 data are available to the public through chemical toxicity databases supported by NIH and the EPA. In addition, NCATS created a free Tox21 chemical inventory browser to provide researchers with additional information about the 10,000 chemicals in the library.


Posted July 2014