QSAR 2020: From QSAR to New Approach Methodologies (NAMs)

08 Sep

QSAR 2020: From QSAR to New Approach Methodologies (NAMs)

June 8-11, 2020

Durham, NC, USA

The 19th International Workshop on (Quantitative) Structure-Activity Relationships in Environmental and Health Sciences (QSAR2020) will take place on June 8-11, 2020 at the Durham Convention Centre, Durham, NC, U.S.

QSAR2020 aims to broaden its scope from QSARs underpinned by traditional (eco)toxicity data to New Approach Methodologies (NAM). NAM is a broadly descriptive term for any non-animal technology, methodology or approach or combination thereof that can be used to provide information on chemical hazard and risk assessment. To that end, we are collaborating with International Council of Chemical Associations’ Long-Range Research Initiative (ICCA-LRI) and American Society of Cellular Computational and Toxicology (ASCCT) to widen outreach to interested stakeholders.

This workshop aims to bring together scientists from around the world along with developers and users of predictive models and their underlying data, to foster discussion and debate around the practical implementation of these approaches. QSAR2020 will focus on answering questions such as:

  • How should we view and account for the assumptions of the traditional toxicity data in risk/safety assessment?
  • How should we be applying and interpreting NAM data?
  • How should we be benchmarking the performance and characterising both confidence and uncertainty of new predictive models?
  • How can the level of curation of data used to build predictive models be made explicit?
  • What are the short and long-term research and development needs?

The Workshop will include:

  • Confirmed Keynote speakers: Dr. Rusty Thomas, US Environmental Protection Agency and Professor Mark Cronin, Liverpool John Moores University, UK
  • Three Travel awards for students/postdocs available courtesy of ICCA-LRI
  • An optional ½ day hands training session on specific computational tools will take place on the 11th June. 
  • Poster presentation and exhibiting opportunities
  • Opportunities for networking and social activities

Further information can be found at


Submission deadline: 15th December 2019

The Programme Committee invites submission of abstracts of original work. Abstracts can be submitted for consideration of an oral/poster presentation in one or more of the following themes:

  • Application of New Approach Methodologies (NAM) including QSARs for regulatory purposes (risk-based prioritization, risk assessment)
  • Thresholds for Toxicological Concern
  • Cheminformatic approaches to employ ‘big data’ including data curation
  • Development, Evaluation and Application of QSARs to fill data gaps including complex toxicological endpoints such as reproductive toxicity
  • Progress and barriers in the 3 Rs e.g. Replacement of 6 pack acute tests
  • Case studies of how QSARs have been used for ICH-M7
  • Adverse Outcome Pathways, Integrated Testing and Assessment Approaches (IATA) and Defined Approaches
  • Complex substances (UVCBs, PFAS) and emerging issues
  • Quantifying uncertainty in model development and the underlying data
  • Biological activity profiling using high throughput screening data and high content data (e.g. high throughput transcriptomics, high throughput phenotypic profiling)
  • Read-across approaches -transitioning from expert driven assessments to algorithmic approaches for regulatory purposes
  • Green Chemistry
  • Non-targeted and suspect screening approaches to characterise exposure

Submit abstracts online at paying special attention to the instructions provided. Presenters can indicate preference for an oral or poster presentation and up to two theme categories.

Presenters will have the opportunity to contribute a manuscript to a special issue of Computational Toxicology. Instructions will be sent to presenters in 2020.

Important Dates

Deadline for abstract submission: 15th December 2019

Notification of abstract acceptance: February 2020

Early bird registration deadline: 1st April 2020

Deadline for manuscript submission: 20th June 2020

For general enquiries regarding QSAR2020, please contact

For sponsorship enquiries regarding QSAR2020, please contact with the subject heading QSAR2020

Hosts: Grace Patlewicz, US EPA, Kristie Sullivan, ASCCT, Richard A. Becker, ICCA-LRI


About tony

Antony (Tony) J. Williams received his BSc in 1985 from the University of Liverpool (UK) and PhD in 1988 from the University of London (UK). His PhD research interests were in studying the effects of high pressure on molecular motions within lubricant related systems using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance. He moved to Ottawa, Canada to work for the National Research Council performing fundamental research on the electron paramagnetic resonance of radicals trapped in single crystals. Following his postdoctoral position he became the NMR Facility Manager for Ottawa University. Tony joined the Eastman Kodak Company in Rochester, New York as their NMR Technology Leader. He led the laboratory to develop quality control across multiple spectroscopy labs and helped establish walk-up laboratories providing NMR, LC-MS and other forms of spectroscopy to hundreds of chemists across multiple sites. This included the delivery of spectroscopic data to the desktop, automated processing and his initial interests in computer-assisted structure elucidation (CASE) systems. He also worked with a team to develop the worlds’ first web-based LIMS system, WIMS, capable of allowing chemical structure searching and spectral display. With his developing cheminformatic skills and passion for data management he left corporate America to join a small start-up company working out of Toronto, Canada. He joined ACD/Labs as their NMR Product Manager and various roles, including Chief Science Officer, during his 10 years with the company. His responsibilities included managing over 50 products at one time prior to developing a product management team, managing sales, marketing, technical support and technical services. ACD/Labs was one of Canada’s Fast 50 Tech Companies, and Forbes Fast 500 companies in 2001. His primary passions during his tenure with ACD/Labs was the continued adoption of web-based technologies and developing automated structure verification and elucidation platforms. While at ACD/Labs he suggested the possibility of developing a public resource for chemists attempting to integrate internet available chemical data. He finally pursued this vision with some close friends as a hobby project in the evenings and the result was the ChemSpider database ( Even while running out of a basement on hand built servers the website developed a large community following that eventually culminated in the acquisition of the website by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) based in Cambridge, United Kingdom. Tony joined the organization, together with some of the other ChemSpider team, and became their Vice President of Strategic Development. At RSC he continued to develop cheminformatics tools, specifically ChemSpider, and was the technical lead for the chemistry aspects of the Open PHACTS project (, a project focused on the delivery of open data, open source and open systems to support the pharmaceutical sciences. He was also the technical lead for the UK National Chemical Database Service ( and the RSC lead for the PharmaSea project ( attempting to identify novel natural products from the ocean. He left RSC in 2015 to become a Computational Chemist in the National Center of Computational Toxicology at the Environmental Protection Agency where he is bringing his skills to bear working with a team on the delivery of a new software architecture for the management and delivery of data, algorithms and visualization tools. The “Chemistry Dashboard” was released on April 1st, no fooling, at, and provides access to over 700,000 chemicals, experimental and predicted properties and a developing link network to support the environmental sciences. Tony remains passionate about computer-assisted structure elucidation and verification approaches and continues to publish in this area. He is also passionate about teaching scientists to benefit from the developing array of social networking tools for scientists and is known as the ChemConnector on the networks. Over the years he has had adjunct roles at a number of institutions and presently enjoys working with scientists at both UNC Chapel Hill and NC State University. He is widely published with over 200 papers and book chapters and was the recipient of the Jim Gray Award for eScience in 2012. In 2016 he was awarded the North Carolina ACS Distinguished Speaker Award.
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