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How one local chapter is helping to build OpenTox Community

OpenTox USA 2018, July 11-12 

The sense of community that permeated OpenTox USA 2018 bodes well for the expansion and growth of the OpenTox Association, as well as for openness and collaboration in predictive toxicology itself.“OpenTox USA lived up to its name,” says Steve Edwards, Bioinformatics Senior Scientist, RTI International. “The conference was really effective at bringing people together of diverse backgrounds and opened a common dialogue among the participants.”

Held at the North Carolina Biotechnology Center in Research Triangle Park, the intensive two-day workshop focused on maximizing the benefits of in vitro and in silico approaches in toxicology and risk assessment. “My biggest takeaway from the event was the emphasis on advancing new approaches from personalized to public health,” says Annie Jarabek, Senior Toxicologist & Acting Deputy Director of the EPA’s Human Health Risk Assessment Program.

The audience were active participants during one of the most exciting parts of the workshop, the Choose-Your-Hack Discussion Session chaired by Annie Jarabek and Steve Edwards. This session opened with a recap of strategies and insights learned from the morning speakers, followed by a series of short presentations on potential use cases to be featured in future hackathons. The audience then contributed comments and questions about how open data standards, data sharing, and ontologies affect their individual research. “I found the Choose-Your-Hack session especially useful and I anticipate that with some refinement and follow-up it will be a forum for community problem-solving leading to concrete and actionable outcomes,” says Noffisat Oki, president of the North Carolina chapter.