Skip to main content
Contact Info
Barry Hardy
President, OpenTox Association and CEO, Edelweiss Connect

Dr. Barry J. Hardy is leading Edelweiss Connect and its team supporting the development of new integrating solutions in industrial safety assessment. 

He has coordinated the OpenTox project in predictive toxicology and the ToxBank infrastructure development project. He is currently President of the OpenTox Association, founded in 2015 as an international non-profit organisation promoting an open knowledge community approach to new methods in predictive toxicology. He recently led the infrastructure development for the IMI EBiSC stem cell banking project and the eNanoMapper project developing OpenTox solutions supporting nanotechnology safety assessment. New projects include leading OpenRiskNet, knowledge infrastructure development for ACEnano and EU-ToxRisk and translation of research methods to industrial practice within ToxHQ.

He has led the development of research and best practice activities in drug design and toxicology through founding the eCheminfo Community of Practice, InnovationWell and leading the Scientists Against Malaria project. Dr. Hardy obtained his Ph.D. in 1990 from Syracuse University working in computational science. He was a National Research Fellow at the FDA Center for Biologics and Evaluation, a Hitchings-Elion Fellow at Oxford University and CEO of Virtual Environments International. He was a pioneer in the 1990s in the development of Web technology applied to virtual scientific communities and conferences. He has developed technology solutions for internet-based communications, tutor-supported e-learning, laboratory automation systems, and computational science and informatics.

In recent years he has also been active in the field of knowledge management as applied to support innovation, communities of practice, and collaboration.

OpenTox 2022 Virtual Conference 

NAMs-enabled Risk Assessment

In this session we will discuss current developments in resources, methods and tools enabling the use of new approach method (NAM) evidence supporting risk assessment and the regulatory acceptance of such evidence. The developments include establishment of reliable databases on compounds providing access to physical-chemical and biological data and use of models supporting chemical selection, testing and assessment. Knowledge infrastructure development includes establishing knowledge mining and ML/AI workflows and knowledge bases providing organization and access to all relevant background knowledge on compounds, key events and endpoints. The adverse outcome pathway approach provides a framework for organizing sequences of key events and their relationships against which models and assays can be applied for providing contributions to cumulative weight-of-evidence approaches using integrated approaches to testing and assessment. For risk assessment purposes, points of departure are required to derive NAMs-based no effect levels supporting calculations of margin of safety.

NanoCommons as a sustainable deployed knowledge infrastructure within the European Open Science Cloud

I provide an overview of the recent knowledge infrastructure work carried out within NanoCommons. The NanoCommons knowledge infrastructure includes the NanoCommons Base (KB) with its user interface, application programming interfaces (APIs), functions and content as well as support tools for data preparation and upload, databases providing (meta)data for integration into the KB and nanoinformatics tools directly accessing data including supporting model building, image analysis, and risk assessment. 

We have developed an integrated workflow that enables experimental groups to upload NM images, extract multiple physical properties (size, diameter, roundness etc.) by image processing and to then feed this information into a Corona prediction model to derive predictions about absorption of specific proteins and to compare these with experimental data. 

Based on feedback from users of the NanoCommons KB, we extended the standard data upload mechanism and associated templates. The upload now allows batch import of nanomaterials, measurement parameters and measurement data. We have implemented an integration of SPARQL endpoints and an automatic “Data completeness” check developed within the NanoSolvIT project. We also developed and integrated the NanoPharos database specifically as a database dedicated to providing data that is ready-to-use for modelling purposes, hence enabling the development of nanoQSAR, read-across and other types of predictive models by giving access to NM properties, their biointeractions and adverse effects. 

The European Registry for Materials (ERM) has been successfully introduced to provide unique, persistent identifiers ensuring that internal project documentation can later be linked to publicly released data and knowledge for the specific nanomaterials. To additionally encode the multi-component structures of NMs in a machine-readable format to enable evaluation of sameness and similarity in nanoinformatics and regulatory applications, a line representation also usable as primary identifier was developed for NMs (NInChI) as an extension of the International Chemical Identifier (InChI) widely used for the representation of chemical structures. For this first NInChI specification, a prototype version of a NInChI generation tool has been implemented and launched.

The Jaqpot modelling infrastructure has been extended to support different types of nanoinformatics models, such as Physiologically-Based Pharmacokinetics (PBPK) models and Bayesian networks. The NanoCommons library of models has been expanded substantially through the use of Jaqpot as the main modelling tool in risk assessment workflows and hands-on webinars. This work was complemented by the development and deployment of models, exposure and risk assessment tools on the Enalos platform.

Finally, all the above development work was complemented by a significant effort on training, documentation and deployment to develop a strong foundation for sustainability. We will provide an overview of ongoing knowledge infrastructure deployment and evaluation work aiming to establish a sustainable knowledge infrastructure on the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) and how access can be obtained to both contribute to and use the resources.