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Dynamic Modelling of toxic Effects 2020 - POSTPONED.
Provider: Faculty of Science

Activity no.: 5713-20-09-31 
Enrollment deadline: 01/05/2020
PlaceDepartment of Plant and Environmental Sciences
Date and timeAugust 2020
Regular seats30
ECTS credits5.00
Contact personNina Cedergreen    E-mail address: ncf@plen.ku.dk
Enrolment Handling/Course OrganiserNina Cedergreen    E-mail address: ncf@plen.ku.dk
Written languageEnglish
Teaching languageEnglish
Block noteDuration: 8,5 days,
Scheme group noteSchedule to be determined
Exam formWritten assignment
Exam detailsThe final report must be handed in in time and be accepted by the course convenors
Criteria for exam assessment5 ECTS for the entire course. We expect you to prepare for the course in advance and to hand in a report at September 15th at the latest to receive full credits. Exam period September 2020
Course workload
Course workload categoryHours
Theory exercises26.00
Practical exercises10.00
Project work40.00


The toxicity of a chemical not only depends on chemical properties and the exposed species, but also on exposure time, the endpoint measured, and the exposure conditions. Mathematical modelling is a powerful tool to interpret the results of laboratory toxicity tests and to make educated extrapolations. In this course, you will learn the basics of toxicokinetic and toxicodynamic modelling, and how they can be linked. This foundation allows you to analyse and interpret body residue and toxicity data on a mechanistic basis.

A detailed schedule for the content of the specific talks and exercises will be provided in spring. The overall content is given in this summary:
The toxicity of a chemical depends on properties of the compound and of the species that is exposed, but also on the exposure time, the endpoint (e.g. growth, reproduction or survival), and the exposure conditions (temperature, food level, etc.). In ecotoxicology, the interdependencies of these factors are generally ignored by rigid standardisation of the tests and descriptive summary statistics such as EC50 and NOEC. However, we need a more mechanistic interpretation of toxicity to make an unbiased comparison of toxicity between species and chemicals, and to extrapolate the effects to untested exposure conditions. Because it is impossible to test all chemicals on all species under all possible exposure scenarios, extrapolation is of key importance for ecotoxicologists and environmental risk assessors.

Mathematical modelling is a powerful tool to interpret the results of laboratory toxicity tests and to make educated extrapolations. The process of mechanistically modelling toxicity can be divided into two steps: toxicokinetics (TK) and toxicodynamics (TD). TK deals with the uptake, biotransformation and distribution of a chemical into the body of an organism, whereas TD deals with the next step: from internal concentration of the active compound to effects on the organism over time.

In this course, you will learn the basics of TK and TD modelling, and how they can be linked. Furthermore, you will learn to analyse and interpret toxicity data on a mechanistic basis. For TK modelling, we will focus on 1- and 2-compartment models; TD modelling will focus on a simple Dynamic Energy Budget model (DEBkiss), although we will also treat survival modelling with GUTS. The course comprises a combination of lectures, computer exercises, pet projects, and discussions. In the computer exercises you will learn to build and use basic TKTD models yourself in Matlab or OpenModel, guided by a series of general exercises. In the ‘pet projects’, you are encouraged to work on a TK or TKTD question of your choice, in collaboration with your fellow participants. You can bring your own data, use data from the literature, or focus on simulation studies. The teachers will guide you in this process before the course (in the preparation phase), during the course (in Denmark), and after (if you decide to write a report). To obtain full ECTS points for this course, you need to prepare an individual reports after the course, where you use your accomplished skills to fit TK/TKTD models to their own and/or provided data, and to interpret the results. In terms of species, we will focus on invertebrates and fish. Plants, birds and mammals will not be explicitly treated though many aspects of TKTD modelling will be comparable (you are free to tackle them in your pet project, if you are up for the challenge).

Learning outcome
In this course, students will:

• Understand the concepts of TK and TD
• Understand the basics of mechanistic effect modelling
• Build TK and TD models to analyse and interpret toxicity data
• Analyse example data, discuss and interpret the results
• Use the software Matlab or OpenModel


Jager T, Heugens EHW, Kooijman SALM. 2006. Making sense of ecotoxicological test results: Towards application of process-based models. Ecotoxicology 15:305-314.

Ashauer R, Escher BI. 2010. Advantages of toxicokinetic and toxicodynamic modelling in aquatic ecotoxicology and risk assessment. Journal of Environmental Monitoring 12:2056-2061.

Jager, T.; Martin, B. T.; Zimmer, E. I., DEBkiss or the quest for the simplest generic model of animal life history. Journal of Theoretical Biology 2013, 328, 9-18.

More information including references can be found on: www.debtox.info and www.ecotoxmodels.org

Teaching and learning methods
Teaching will be a combination of lectures, computer exercises, pet projects, and discussions. Students can work on their own pet species and/or on literature data. Students can bring their own data for the pet projects and the report also, provided they are sufficiently relevant to the course contents.

Tjalling Jager (DEBtox Research, NL)


7500 DKK academia (MSc and PhD students)
15000 DKK industry

The price covers a full course including breakfast and lunch buffet at the course centre Danhostel Roskilde. There is a 500 DKK discount for members of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC)


Please note that overnight accommodation are on the participants own expense.


To sign up for the course, please press "apply", fill in the required info and afterwards send a mail to ncf@plen.ku.dk stating your choise of accommodation at Danhostel Roskilde and dietary preferences:


1) no accommodation - NB. dinner at your own expense!


2) accommodation in shared room with 3-6 participants (including dinner) DKK 2000


3) accommodation in single room (including dinner) DKK 5000

Final deadline for application is May 31th or when the maximum number of participants has been reached.


The registration is binding, and the fee and expense of accommodation is non-refundable in case of participant cancellation after deadline 31th of May 2020.


All participants must bring their own lap-top.


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