By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will hold a webinar on October 27, 2022, in its Computational Toxicology and Exposure Communities of Practice (CompTox Communities of Practice) series on “Analysis of High-Throughput Profiling Assays in Chemical Safety Screening.” The abstract for the webinar states that recent technological advancements have led to the development of new high-throughput profiling methods, such as transcriptomics, that can be used to screen rapidly chemicals for potential hazards. Decreasing costs have made it feasible to profile all protein-coding genes across thousands of samples, allowing for broad evaluation of many target pathways and modes of action in a single screening assay. Similarly, it is now possible to apply high-content imaging across many different chemical exposures to capture a variety of changes in cell morphology. According to the abstract, such methods have been applied to in vitro chemical screening studies, including screening studies at EPA that were recently released on the CompTox Chemicals Dashboard. These types of data can be used for both hazard prediction and potency estimation, thereby informing risk assessments and prioritizing chemicals for further testing.
The abstract notes that assessing the reliability and reproducibility of these screening platforms is critical to their utility in regulatory applications. While these platforms often have lower signal-to-noise ratios compared to individual targeted assays, the resulting data are also high-dimensional, allowing for the analysis of consistent trends across many molecular endpoints. The webinar will provide an overview of computational methods and best practices for reliable analysis of high-throughput profiling data in a variety of use cases and will highlight the recent data release on the CompTox Chemicals Dashboard. Registration is open.