Douglas Connect (http://douglasconnect.com/) is a Swiss SME located in the Basel area, specialised in developing and implementing R&D projects, communities and collaboration to transfer solutions for industrial use and advance regulatory acceptance. DC has experience in scientific research integrating data, in silico and in vitro methods and related infrastructure, and has been involved in organising scientific, communication and knowledge management and solutions development projects since 2003.
Besides different commercial projects, DC is coordinating OpenRiskNet (Open e-Infrastructure to Support Data Sharing, Knowledge Integration and in silico Analysis and Modelling in Risk Assessment), with the aim to create an openly accessible e-infrastructure serving the current and future needs of the key research communities in the area of predictive toxicology and risk assessment and pivotal industrial users and regulators (www.openrisknet.org). DC is also involved in EU H2020 projects ACEnano and EU-ToxRisk, with an important role building knowledge sharing infrastructure, modelling and community outreach. DC leads the Eurostar’s project ToxHQ (www.toxhq.net) running from 2016 through 2018, whose goal is to commercialise new methods in predictive toxicology and risk assessment through establishing industry-driven solutions and an integrating business ecosystem.
The just mentioned ongoing projects are based on a long history of successful contributions to EC projects. DC served as Project Coordinator of the OpenTox FP7 project, which developed an Open Source Predictive Toxicology Framework for the management of toxicology data, algorithms, models and validation (www.opentox.net). DC was the Technical Coordinator of the ToxBank project, which developed the infrastructure and predictive toxicology support resources within the SEURAT-1 program (www.toxbank.net). Between February 2014 and January 2017, DC coordinated eNanoMapper project whose goal was to propose and organise an integrating data, modelling and ontology infrastructure for the EU NanoSafety Cluster (www.enanomapper.net).
Expertise in data management and analysis: The DC team has begun a major effort to simplify and modernise data access to scientific data sources in the fields of life and materials sciences. In the area of nanosafety, DC has coordinated the eNanoMapper project to propose solutions on data management, modelling and ontology infrastructure for the NanoSafety Cluster. DC develops solutions supporting specific use cases in our areas of expertise (e.g. data warehousing, bioinformatics, computational models building, integrated testing strategies, pathway analysis and risk assessment). These workflows combine data and knowledge management solution development and integrated approaches to testing and assessment.
Example of developed tools are represented by the Data Explorer Application (https://data.douglasconnect.com/), an application that provides data access to different scientific data sources and the ACEnano Knowledge Warehouse (https://acenano.douglasconnect.com/) platform aiming at supporting the documentation and collection of nanomaterials physicochemical characterisation data.
Expertise in in vitro – in silico integration and testing: DC established recently an integrated testing and assessment laboratory at the Technology Park Basel dedicated to the development, optimisation and demonstration of advanced in vitro test methods, combined with computational (in silico) methods and data management systems in the field of risk assessment of chemicals, nanomaterials, drugs, cosmetics ingredients, food additives or other consumer products. Within NanoCommons the laboratory facilitates the showcasing of best practices such as the protocols, data management and analysis associated with in vitro experiments, developing modelling approaches and supporting the sustainability of research resources.