Session 1 Chair: Richard Paules
Richard Paules PHD
Acting Chief of the Biomolecular Screening Branch (BSB)
Members of the public, knowingly or unwittingly, are exposed to thousands of chemicals and environmental agents that have potential to adversely affect their health when exposed at sufficiently high levels and/or for prolonged duration. The public health concern that currently exists is that there is insufficient information known about the effects of these exposures on human health for many of these agents. Toxicologists have long relied on studies of chemical effects on surrogate animal model systems, such as rats and mice, in order to derive information about the effects of exposures on disease and toxicities outcomes in order to extrapolate those findings to human health risks from environmental exposures. While whole animal toxicology studies are useful tools for protecting human health, they tend to be prohibitively slow, costly and use large numbers of animals in the process. The need for improved approaches to evaluate the effects of chemicals and environmental agents on human health has long been recognized by the field and is a fundamental driver in the current efforts in the field of toxicology to bring emerging, 21st century technologies and approaches into safety assessment. One key component of that effort is the utilization of advances that have occurred following the sequencing of the human genome and the emergence of so called “omics” technologies. While these approaches are exciting and hold great promise for the future of toxicology, they also bring large challenges. Among those challenges are to determine the best approaches to design the appropriate studies that best utilize the power of these technologies, the best approaches to interpret the vast amounts of data generated from these technologies and the best experimental model systems to use with these omic approaches to provide the needed information for human safety assessment. These and other related issues will be presented and discussed in this session.