The project “PROTECTion against Endocrine Disruptors; detection, mixtures, health effects, risk assessment and communication (PROTECTED)” has been selected for funding through the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA), specifically within the “Innovative Training Networks (ITN)” program, an initiative of the European Commission (EC) to promote academic-industrial collaboration and the training and mobility of PhD students.
PROTECTED aims to develop specialized knowledge and protection capabilities against the so-called endocrine disruptors (EDs), which are chemical pollutants capable of altering our hormonal balance. The EDs and their mixtures are currently a health problem of the first order, with adverse effects such as obesity, cancer and infertility. They can also have a great impact on ecological systems, and for example be responsible for poor agricultural production.
The project will provide a unique and high level of training for a new generation of scientists with transferable skills and improved career prospects. A total of 15 students have been appointed by the PROTECTED consortium for the development of their doctoral training for 36 months each. These specialists will ultimately help the efficient development of future control strategies to improve health.
In the specific case of ProtoQSAR, the selected researcher will develop computational predictive models to evaluate the effects of specific groups of chemical products (POPs, plasticizers, mycotoxins, etc.) and their mixtures as potential EDs. These predictions will be achieved through the use of advanced chemoinformatics techniques, mainly mathematical quantitative structure-activity models (QSAR).
In addition to ProtoQSAR, the consortium consists of:
- Queen’s University Belfast (UK) (coordinating entity)
- Norwegian Institute of Public Health (Oslo, Norway)
- University of Aberdeen (UK)
- Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) (Oslo, Norway)
- Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique INRA (Paris, France)
- Universidad Austral de Chile (Valdivia, Chile)
- Norwegian Veterinary Institute (Oslo, Norway)
- Université de Liège (Belgium)
- Biodetection Systems B.V. (Amsterdam, Netherlands)