President’s Message:


The BTS is one of the 30+ constituent National Toxicology Societies of EUROTOX and last September I attended the EUROTOX annual business council meeting which was held during the annual scientific congress in Helsinki. The business council meeting includes updates on activities over the past year, appointments of new members to EUROTOX Committees and, importantly, the venue is chosen for a future annual scientific meeting. Ahead of the business meeting, bids to host the 2023 annual scientific had been submitted from Vienna and Athens – both very attractive venues. Votes were cast by representatives from each of the National Toxicology Societies and, “when the envelope was opened”, the winning city to host EUROTOX congress 2023 was … Athens.

“In Silico Toxicology” Networking 

This meeting of the BTS Computational and in silico Toxicology Speciality Section, organised by Dr Andreas Bender, was held at the Dept of Chemistry, University of Cambridge, on 26th November 2019. I understand that all 60 places for the event were booked within 48 hours, with over 100 others on a waiting list. There is no doubt that in silico toxicology will play an increasingly important role in future safety evaluations. Pharmaceutical Regulatory Authorities already accept computational analysis, rather than requiring experimental data, to assess the genotoxic potential of degradants and contaminants in medicinal products and to assess the likelihood of drug:drug interactions – that is, the potential of one drug to enhance or inhibit the metabolism of a different coadministered drug.

Postgraduate Training – Pharmaceutical Toxicology in Cambridge

Under the auspices of the Cambridge Alliance on Medicines Safety (CAMS) The University of Cambridge will now administer the well established, week-long course on the Practical Application of Toxicology and Drug Development.  The BTS and the American College of Toxicology will continue to sponsor this course jointly. It is, to my knowledge, the only Toxicology training course where participants work through case studies based on real-world medicines development projects, and discuss the balance of risk and benefit with a faculty which includes highly experienced international regulatory assessors.

Archives and BTS History 

The Wellcome Trust has kindly agreed to provide safe storage of the BTS archives, without cost. The documents record the activities of The Society, from its inception in 1979, as successor to the Toxicology Club, until the quite recent past. As The Wellcome Trust also holds the archives of several other UK scientific societies, they are ideally placed to ensure that the BTS records remain accessible for future reference and study. Dr Diane Benford, the BTS General Secretary, completed the work that Dr Ted lock initiated, in collating the documents and arranged their physical transfer to London. I had the opportunity to review the original list of over 300+ Members and Associate Members of the BTS, which included toxicologists from the Republic of Ireland, Belgium, Finland, Norway, France, Switzerland, Germany, Canada and the USA.

Although we are the British Society, the BTS has always been fortunate to have a significant international dimension. Several currently active toxicologists appear in the original list of members or associate members, including Prof Shirley Price, who will be the next President of the BTS.

New Publisher – BTS Scientific Journal    

The BTS is in the process of agreeing a new affiliation agreement with Oxford University Press – who now publish the Societies’ Official Journal Toxicology Research

Interactions: BTS and UK Register of Toxicologists

Following discussions with the EUROTOX Registration Committee and the UK Register of Toxicologists, it has been agreed that a memorandum of understanding will help clarify interactions between the BTS (as a co-sponsoring organisation) and the UK Register of Toxicologists. In addition to the UK Register giving an annual report at the AGM of the BTS and the BTS having a representative as a member of the Register Panel (currently Dr Guy Healing), the chair of the Panel of the UK Register will also be an ex-officio member of the BTS Executive Committee.

Finally, I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at the Annual Congress in Cardiff in April.  As the meeting will be limited to 280 attendees – considerably fewer than the 400+ who attended last year’s meeting in Cambridge – please register as soon as possible

Dr Chris J Powell, BTS President.



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