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Dawei Tang

OpenTox 2022 Virtual Conference 

Application of computational models in Next Generation Risk Assessment activities at Unilever 

Next Generation Risk Assessment (NGRA) is defined as an exposure-led, hypothesis-driven risk  assessment approach that integrates new approach methodologies (NAMs) to assure safety without  the use of animal testing. In recent years, various systems and methods have been developed rapidly  to address different challenges in this area due to factors such as ethical issues, regulatory  considerations, and the need to assure the safety of chemicals more efficiently and robustly. Among  such methods, computational models are more and more widely applied.  

In this talk, a general introduction will be given on what NGRA is and how it is applied in Unilever for  making safety decisions to protect our consumers. Then, some computational models that have  been applied in NGRA in Unilever will be reviewed, which include physiologically based kinetic (PBK)  modelling and simulation, dose response modelling, transcriptomics data analysis, Bayesian  methods, Expert Knowledge Elicitation, etc. A case study will then be introduced briefly to  demonstrate the application of some of the models to evaluate how protective NAMs could be when  they are applied to NGRA. At the end of the talk, the potential for wider application of  computational models, the challenges regarding the acceptance of such models in a wider  community, as well as some proposals to tackle such challenges will be discussed.  

In summary, by providing a few examples of computational models and how some of them are applied to assess the safety of a group of case study chemicals, this talk aims to demonstrate and  promote the application of computational models in supporting safety decision making in NGRA and  to propose some ideas to address the challenges regarding the acceptance of such models’  application in NGRA.

CV: Dr. Dawei Tang joined Unilever in 2011 after he obtained his PhD in Decision Science and Operational Research from the University of Manchester in the UK, and is currently a computational scientist in the Safety and Environmental Assurance Centre of Unilever based in Colworth R&D Centre, UK. Over the last few years, he has been actively involved in a number of research activities in the Next Generation Risk Assessment (NGRA) area, especially in physiologically based kinetic (PBK) modelling and simulation, uncertainty analysis in computional models in NGRA, expert knowledge elicitation, etc. Before joining Unilever, he has been doing research in China, Hong Kong, and the UK in modelling and analysing risk with uncertainty in different areas using mathematical methods.