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Environmental Factor

Environmental Factor

Your Online Source for NIEHS News

July 2017

Toxicology database wins innovation award, seeks feedback

The Chemical Effects in Biological Systems database won an award for innovation and seeks feedback and collaborators.

A National Toxicology Program (NTP) collection of toxicology data, named June 6 among the winners of an innovation award, seeks feedback and collaborators. The Chemical Effects in Biological Systems (CEBS) (CEBS) database offers public access to results of a wide array of toxicology studies from academic, industry, and government laboratories.

CEBS can be searched by data type, substance of interest, and even tumor characteristics, or histopathology, according to CEBS Scientific Administrator Jennifer Fostel, Ph.D. “Users can download results of such studies as bioassays; genetic, reproductive, and immunotoxicology; as well as high-throughput screens from the Tox21 Program,” she explained.

The resource evolved from an earlier data repository, and it now includes all publicly released NTP studies. Data from research at NIEHS, the National Cancer Institute, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and other institutions are also available.

Fostel underscored the potential scientific and public health gains offered by CEBS. “The variety and detail of the data, and the standardization that supports meta-analyses, can help researchers understand the mechanisms involved in the changes to body tissues from exposures, as well as define markers,” she said. “Environmental health scientists across the globe have access to this information.”

Feedback invited

The award shines a welcome spotlight on CEBS, said Stephanie Holmgren, acting director of the NIEHS Office of Data Science. “We seek collaborators, and we want feedback from users,” said Holmgren. By sharing their experiences, users may contribute to improvements and benefit future users of the tool.

Fostel has already heard from a potential collaborator from the U.S. Army as a result of publicity surrounding the award. She also serves as the contact for users interested in providing feedback.

Refinement of CEBS continues at NTP. Examples of projects underway include developing an application programming interface to enhance search and download functions within the database, and improvements to the user interface.

Award notes expansion of curated studies

The Third Annual FedHeatlh IT Innovation Awards were presented in a Washington, D.C. ceremony. Awardees were noted for their willingness to take on achievable risk and deliver results, according to the magazine’s website.

The award noted that the database had seen a significant expansion. “A 370-fold increase in the number of curated studies has been achieved by incorporating NTP legacy and current toxicological testing data,” stated the award text.

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