PETA Science Consortium International Award for Adverse Outcome Pathway Development

Working with the organisers of the Adverse Outcome Pathway (AOP) Wiki, in 2015 and 2016, PETA Science Consortium International e.V. held a data challenge to encourage new contributors to add content to the AOP Wiki.

With emerging technology and the evolving science of toxicity testing, toxicology is moving away from the animal tests that scientists have traditionally relied on to identify chemical hazards. Tests using animals are often considered “black box” studies that determine whether a chemical is toxic to animals, but they do not necessarily reveal the mechanism by which the substance caused toxicity or whether it would cause similar toxicity in humans. In recent years, however, non-animal testing approaches have been developed that are geared towards probing the specific mechanism of chemical toxicity. These testing approaches can be based on AOPs, which provide a means to organise available mechanistic information related to an adverse health or ecotoxicological effect into key events (KEs) spanning all organisational levels of a biological system(s).

To further the development of AOPs, a collaborative effort between the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, the US Environmental Protection Agency, and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development produced the AOP Wiki, an interactive and virtual platform for AOP development and a means to promote international consensus on the developed AOPs.

During the Science Consortium’s data challenge, award winners made hundreds of updates to the AOP Wiki. Awards were presented to the following:

  • A team of researchers at Selventa, British American Tobacco, and Philip Morris International (They generously donated their cash award back to the Science Consortium to support ongoing AOP activities.)
  • Dr Jeanelle Martinez of the University of Cincinnati
  • Dr Molly Morgan and Dr Brian Johnson of the University of Wisconsin–Madison



Launch of the AOP Award at the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre booth at the 51st annual EUROTOX Congress held in Porto, Portugal, from 13 to 16 September 2015.