The significant challenge in environmental toxicology area is to create efficient ways to predict toxic potency and exposure levels for chemicals that lack toxicological and exposure data in environmental settings. The demand is to assess large numbers of chemicals for hazard identification in a cost- and time-efficient manner, therefore, need is to generate high-throughput assays. The need for high-throughput toxicity assays coupled with ethical concerns over animal testing necessitated the pursuit of better tools for ecotoxicological studies. Hence, the development, validation and application of high throughput alternate models as well as alternative to animal models for ecotoxicity studies are high priority in ecotoxicology. The information on usage, exposure and effects obtained from quantitative structure–activity relationships, read-across methods, thresholds of toxicological concern and in vitro tests prior to in vivo testing are ideal routes for more rapid, efficient and cost effective risk assessment of chemicals. A major challenge is the development of diagnostic capabilities to precisely determine the cause–effect relationships within impaired ecosystems. This will help in determining the extent to which existing remediation strategies/technologies are effective and the refinements needed in risk management.
Keeping these issues in view, the environmental toxicology group at IITR aims to generate knowledge/tools useful for protection as well as management of ecosystem integrity and to advance the understanding of ecotoxicological problems across different ecological strata at cellular, genetic and organismal levels in order to improve environmentally relevant ecological risk assessment and to mitigate environmental pollutants.