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2011 Education-Career Development Sessions

The SOT Annual Meeting and ToxExpo in 2011 featured three Education-Career Development Sessions. Information on and recordings of these sessions are available below.

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Social Media and Informatics Essentials for Toxicologists

Chairperson(s): Lyle Burgoon, US EPA, Durham, NC, and Sneha Bhatia, Research Institute for Fragrance Materials Inc., Woodcliff Lake, NJ.

Sponsor: Ethical, Legal, and Social Issues Specialty Section

Endorsed by:
Career Resource and Development Committee
Communications Committee
Education Committee

How many times a day do we use Google or a search engine? Its use has become so intuitive that we have coined this term as a verb and simply cannot imagine functioning without it. Information that was once confined to libraries and various periodicals is now free and easily accessible since the advent of Internet technology. Furthermore, it has broken cultural and language barriers and enabled one to communicate and collaborate with people all over the world. The combination of social media, open source programs, and bioinformatics has transformed the role of the computer in the modern scientist’s life. Video journals, blogging, open access journals, social network websites, and podcasts have become the new channels of communication—enabling first hand transfer of free knowledge and an ease by which to carry out many collaborative efforts. A familiarity with simple Internet searching, word processing, and expansive spreadsheets is simply not an adequate preparation. Furthermore, the software tools used to deal with data arising from in silico models, toxicogenomics, or high-throughput screens require an understanding of basic concepts in computer science, database design, bioinformatics, and statistics. To bridge the gap between these two worlds our panel of experts will provide toxicologists with the basic knowledge of the informatics and various open source tools available. In closing, we’ll discuss innovative strategies including the use of social media as a communication, collaboration, networking, and a career advancement tool.

The Cloud, Open Source, and Data Democratization: Innovating Computational Toxicology and Bioinformatics, Lyle D. Burgoon

Hazard Communication in the 21st Century: Use of Social Media and Internet Technologies to Communicate Hazard, Phil Wexler

Social Media Essentials for Toxicologists, Matthew Price

Social Media As a Career Advancement Tool: Your Virtual Resume, Sneha Bhatia

From Pilot Grants to High-End Journals: The Science of Writing

Chairperson(s): Marie C. Fortin, Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute, Piscataway, NJ, and Anne Loccisano, The Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences, Research Triangle Park, NC.

Sponsor: Education Committee

Endorsed by:
Career Resource and Development Committee
Postdoctoral Assembly
Student Advisory Council

Want to learn how to write effective grants and publications, or sharpen your scientific writing skills to communicate better? As toxicologists, it is essential that we be able to articulate new ideas in the form of grants and to disseminate the results of research in the form of scientific publications. Thus effective communication through writing is fundamental therefore it is crucial for early career scientists to learn effective writing skills. Publishing is imperative in academic or non-profit sectors and obtaining sufficient funding is a necessity when establishing a career and reputation. However, most scientists do not receive any formal training in writing and these skills are usually learned by following the style of a mentor or other authors. This issue is particularly important for graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and other early career scientists who would like to enhance their critical writing skills which are needed for good communication. Our panel of experts will provide the audience with tactics to write promising NIH grant applications, general approaches that enhance the publication success of scientific papers, as well as concrete scientific writing strategies from an author’s and reader’s standpoint. Attendees will be provided with tips to enhance their skills that will enable more effective communication of both their ideas and their science, from grant proposals to publication.

Introduction, Marie Fortin

Communicating Ideas Efficiently: An Essential Skill for All Researchers, Deborah A. Cory-Slechta

Grantsmanship at NIH: How to Swim with the Sharks, Jerrold J. Heindel

Writing for Success, Angela K. Eggleston

Panel Discussion/Q&A

Bringing Toxicology to the Decision-Makers Table: Opportunities for Science Policy Positions in Washington, DC

Chairperson(s): Nancy Beck, US Office of Management and Budget, Washington, DC, and Minerva Mercado-Feliciano, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Research Triangle Park, NC.

Sponsor: Postdoctoral Assembly

Endorsed by:
Hispanic Organization for Toxicologists Special Interest Group
Regulatory and Safety Evaluation Specialty Section

If toxicologists are truly going to improve and protect public and environmental health, not only do we need to continually be advancing the science, but we also need to bring our expertise and knowledge to the policy makers attention. We will need more toxicologists who can translate the information generated in the laboratory to the policy and regulatory arenas. With the 2011 SOT Annual Meeting being held in Washington, D.C., we are provided with a perfect opportunity to hear from local scientists who have successfully transitioned out of the academic laboratory focused on discovering mechanisms of action into working in policy and regulatory settings that impact public and environmental health. We will highlight the various types of positions and opportunities that exist in and around our nation’s capital. Come and learn about what skills and training are most useful to transition from the laboratory to a toxicology policy-maker and regulatory scientist. Our panel of experts include scientists currently doing science policy and regulatory work for a variety of organizations, representing the federal government, private sector, and non-governmental organizations (NGO). Before the interactive roundtable discussion begins, a brief overview summary of the career paths taken, the types of work these scientists are engaged in, and options available for SOT scientists seeking a change will be highlighted.

Introduction, Nancy Beck and Minerva Mercado-Feliciano

A Non-Government Organization Perspective, Jennifer McPartland

Opportunities for Research and Training in a Federal Regulatory Agency, Peter Goering

A Law Firm and Congressional Perspective, Pat Donnelly

An Industry Perspective, Tim Pastoor

Panel Discussion/Q&A