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Your Environment. Your Health.

Scientific Cyberinfrastructure Program

Public Health Significance

The NIEHS Division of the National Toxicology Program (DNTP) aims to improve public health through development of data and knowledge that are translatable, predictive, and timely. In its pursuit of that mission, a wealth of important research information is generated, but data are spread across many resource providers, such as traditional information technology (IT) offices and scientific contractors that deliver informatics, data science, and computing capabilities. To advance DNTP goals and better inform public health, coordination of such data as well as the scientific cyber infrastructure that supports research at DNTP is needed.

Program Objectives

The Scientific Cyberinfrastructure (SCI) program objectives include the following:

  • Provide oversight, guidance, and prioritization for DNTP SCI investments, ensuring that investments meet DNTP needs and that resource providers can plan for and meet requests.
  • Engage and partner with other SCI providers to increase capability and lower costs, including with NIEHS and National Institutes of Health SCI providers, as well as external providers.
  • Supply strategic capabilities that advance the DNTP toxicology pipeline, including ensuring data are managed according to FAIR (findability, accessibility, interoperability, and reusability) and TRUST (transparency, responsibility, user focus, sustainability, and technology) principles; providing SCI resources to support predictive toxicology; and promoting automation of evidence-based informatics.

This program will work to strategically plan for cyberinfrastructure capabilities in anticipation of evolving DNTP needs and coordinate efforts across providers, recognizing the interdependency of IT, scientific computing, data science, and informatics.

Background

DNTP programs and studies generate an increasingly diverse and large amount of toxicology data related to multiple in vivo and in vitro biological systems. Maximizing the value of that research information is important to ensure the investment in producing such data is realized.

Research data often have value beyond immediate study goals. For example, combining data across DNTP studies can help researchers recognize commonalities among chemical and biological mechanisms. Such integration also can enhance tools that guide chemical and assay selection decisions, reduce redundancy in testing, and fill important knowledge gaps.

Finally, DNTP uses biomedical and toxicological information from external sources such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and integration with DNTP data is important to support the increasing use of informatics and predictive research approaches.

Select Projects

Key Area Description Example Project
Core Provides common capabilities for data- and informatics-related needs Training programs in R and Python
Evidence informatics Provides capabilities and methods to gather scientific knowledge from various sources and to automate extraction of information from unstructured sources Dextr, data extraction software, that incorporates natural language processing methods in literature reviews
Tox informatics Provides capabilities and methods to assist with analysis of chemical and toxicology data Integrated Chemical Environment computational toxicology workflows for chemical characterization and high-throughput screening data analysis; DNT Diver visualization tool for neurotoxicology assessments
Data management Efforts to ensure DNTP research data meet FAIR and TRUST principles Chemical Effects in Biological Systems data collections
Knowledge management Efforts to provide standardized language for DNTP data and to develop knowledge organization systems to support research DNTP data dictionary of standardized terms
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