Mechanistic modelling for ecotoxicology and ecology

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Development of user-friendly, robust GUTS software

Project leader
University of York, UK (Dr. Roman Ashauer)


The additional information and insight gained through the application of toxicokinetic-toxicodynamic (TKTD) modelling can strengthen the environmental risk assessment of chemicals in consumer products or plant protection products (PPPs). For the endpoint survival the most suitable and powerful tool is currently the General Unified Threshold model of Survival (GUTS), which consists of two complimentary models: GUTS-SD (stochastic death) and GUTS-IT (individual tolerance). GUTS has been submitted as part of the environmental risk assessment of PPPs, but it can also be used in the context of REACH. In order to ease the use of GUTS and increase trust and acceptability we recently released an extensive e-book (Jager & Ashauer, 2018) and carried out a ring-test of different implementations of GUTS (CEFIC-LRI ECO39).

The results from CEFIC-LRI ECO39 suggest that we need to develop a user-friendly, robust GUTS software that is open-source and freely available. None of the currently available software implementations fulfils these four essential criteria for uptake in the regulatory community (user-friendly, robust, open-source, freely available). Most implementations that are freely available (e.g., Matlab, R, Mathematica, Python) are not user-friendly because they require (basic) programming skills to use, and they are not robust in the sense that too many settings are open to user choice. Those implementations that have a user-friendly GUI (e.g., DELPHI, EasyGUTS) are owned by a company, and not freely downloadable (though EasyGUTS applies open source R scripts), which may impede uptake by regulators.


1.    Develop a user-friendly, robust software for GUTS with basic functionality
2.    Test and benchmark the GUTS software
3.    Produce a basic user manual for the GUTS software
4.    Make source-code and software freely available

My role

Contribute to the objectives listed above. The coding of the software will be performed by Dr. Magnus Wang (WSC Scientific GmbH).

Output: Publications (as first or co-author)

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Output: Presentations (as presenter and as contributor)

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Output: Related publications (as first or co-author)

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