In collaboration with a high level international expert group we are currently developing a framework to advance adverse outcome pathways (AOPs, www.oecd.org/chemicalsafety/testing/adverse-outcome-pathways-molecular-screening-and-toxicogenomics.htm). The AOP is a conceptual knowledge framework that causally links multiple levels of biological organizations, starting from a direct molecular initiating event, continuing through a number of connected key events and finally arriving to an adverse outcome at a biological level of organization relevant to risk assessment. In the future, we envisage AOPs to be used by environmental protection agencies and regulators when developing and implement environmental policies.
At the research level, we want to use the AOP framework to better understand and predict chronic ecotoxicity generally and chronic fish toxicity specifically. We have identified a behavioral parameter (food intake) as a critical anchor point in fish AOPs and, having established behavioral assays in Utox, we can now focus on the impact on behavior by chemicals and mixtures.