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2013 Education-Career Development Sessions

The SOT Annual Meeting and ToxExpo in 2013 featured four Education-Career Development Sessions. Information on and recordings of these sessions are available below.

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From New Submissions to Competitive Renewals: Different Phases of Grant Writing

Chairperson(s): Courtney E.W. Sulentic, Wright State University, Dayton, OH, and Barbara L.F. Kaplan, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI.

Sponsor: Career Resource and Development Committee

Endorsed by: Graduate Student Leadership Committee

Grant writing is a challenging endeavor. One must effectively communicate the significance, innovation, and approach of their research project in a clear, but concise manner with appropriate grammar. While there are some aspects of grant writing that apply regardless of the grant application phase, such as a clearly stated hypothesis and specific aims, the style, and required elements of the various phases of the grant writing process can differ significantly. Thus, the goals of this session are to discuss the various phases of the grant writing process, including preparing a new application versus a competitive renewal, composing the rebuttal and revised grant application, how best to create a “new” grant if a grant has not been funded after two review cycles, and an overview of the review process, and choosing the best scientific review group. Three speakers from NIEHS and a well-funded fourth speaker, who is also an experienced grant reviewer, will expertly cover these topics and participate in a panel discussion at the end of the session.

Session Introduction Video Recording

Grantsmanship: The Lifeline for Academic Scientists. Jerrold J. Heindel, NIEHS, Research Triangle Park, NC.

The NIH Application Review Process: The How, What, When, Where, and Who in Submitting Your Grant Application to NIH. Janice B. Allen, NIEHS, Research Triangle Park, NC.

The Application Wasn’t Funded: Resubmissions and New Applications. Michael C. Humble, NIEHS, Research Triangle Park, NC.

Writing Tips from a Successfully-Funded Academic Toxicologist and Grant Reviewer. Martin A. Philbert, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI.

The Symbiosis of Mentoring: Getting the Most out of the Mentor-Mentee Relationship

Chairperson(s): Bethany R. Hannas, US EPA, Research Triangle Park, NC, and Kelly J. Chandler, US EPA, Research Triangle Park, NC.

Sponsor: Postdoctoral Assembly

Endorsed by: Career Resource and Development Committee
                        Committee on Diversity Initiatives
                        Education Committee

Mentoring is a critical element in the career development of all toxicologists, both in terms of making the most of potential mentors and developing effective mentoring skills. Whether through involvement in academia, or helping to develop the expertise of an early-career scientist, most toxicologists will provide mentoring at some point in their career. The mentor role serves to transfer knowledge, give advice and provide support to a trainee or developing scientist, while the mentee is relied upon by the mentor to provide active participation and input into the relationship. According to national polls, as well as SOT-specific surveys, one of the resounding topics of interest for developing scientists is mentoring from the broad perspectives of choosing the right mentor, down to developing the skills to become a sound mentor. Therefore, this session was designed to complement existing mentor matching opportunities offered through SOT. Speaker presentations will focus on: (1) the fundamentals of mentoring, including the different situations and roles in which the mentee-mentor dynamic may be encountered; (2) an introduction to the most commonly used mentoring techniques; (3) identifying characteristics of a strong mentor-mentee relationship; and (4) mentoring towards the future of science and the challenge to overcome more complex scientific problems. Speaker perspectives will address the mentorship role within academia, government, and industry. Attendees of this session will learn to identify a healthy mentor-mentee relationship and understand the benefits to each member of the collaboration. Mentoring topics discussed in this session will be applicable to scientists at every career stage through highlighting the basics behind a strong, mutually-beneficial mentoring relationship.

Session Introduction Video Recording

Supervisors, Mentors, and Yodas: A Perspective on Their Role in Your Career Development. Nigel J. Walker, NIEHS, Research Triangle Park, NC.

Approaches for Mentoring Graduate Students. Stephen H. Safe, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX.

The Two-Way Street of Mentoring: Reflections on Career Development in a Chemical Industry Toxicology Laboratory. Edward W. Carney, Dow Chemical Company, Midland, MI.

The Future: Mentoring Interdisciplinary Scientists. Ofelia A. Olivero, NIH, Bethesda, MD.

Regulatory Science: Advancing New Approaches for Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment

Chairperson(s): Betina J. Lew, The Procter and Gamble Company, Cincinnati, OH, and Jose A. Torres, Texas Southern University, Houston, TX.

Sponsor: Postdoctoral Assembly

Endorsed by: Career Resource and Development Committee
                        Education Committee
                        Risk Assessment Specialty Section

During academic training, postdoctoral and graduate students generally are not provided with opportunities for interacting with toxicologists who are involved in risk assessment and regulatory affairs. The educational training mainly focuses on basic sciences or solving mechanistic problems and thus lacks the practical aspects of risk assessment and regulatory preparation. This concern was discussed at the Education Summit in October 2011, which was organized by the Education Committee of the SOT. Dr. John Doull’s comment that, “toxicology is what we do, but risk assessment is why we do it,” shows the importance for trainees to become aware of both. Unfortunately, when it is time for the trainee to make the decision on what will be the next step in their careers, they are well prepared on what we do, but fall short on why we do it. The objectives of this session are to provide postdoctoral and graduate students with basic understanding of approaches in risk assessment and regulatory affairs in some of the sectors and to educate them about necessary preparative steps in this field. In this 80-minute Education-Career Development Session, trainees will become more familiar with the routine job of toxicologists outside of the academic setting. Further, there will be a panel discussion on steps that can be taken during graduate school and postdoctoral training to improve the preparation for a career in risk assessment and regulatory fields. Thus, the participants are expected to gain a basic knowledge of risk assessment and regulatory preparation in the life of a toxicologist and how to pursue this field.

Session Introduction Video Recording

Risk Assessment in the Private Sector. Donald L. Bjerke, The Proctor & Gamble Company, Cincinnati, OH.

The Role of US EPA on Risk Assessment. John C. Lipscomb, US EPA, Cincinnati, OH.

Getting Ready for a Career As a Risk Assessor in a Global Environment. Andrew Maier, Toxicology Excellence for Risk Assessment, Cincinnati, OH.

Regulations and Assessment for New Drugs by the US FDA. David Jacobson Kram, US FDA, Jefferson, AR.

Toxicological Writing for Industrial and Regulatory Audiences

Chairperson(s): Chidozie J. Amuzie, MPI Research, Mattawan, MI, and Michele La Merrill, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY.

Sponsor: Career Resource and Development Committee

Endorsed by: Biotechnology Specialty Section
                        Education Committee
                        Graduate Student Leadership Committee
                        Postdoctoral Assembly
                        Risk Assessment Specialty Section

Excellence in scientific and technical writing leading to high-quality publications, a skill set developed and refined from graduate training through early career in toxicology, is one key trait that can lead to a successful career as a toxicologist. Some academic institutions have programs that support scientific and technical writing for their staff. However, the majority of toxicologists (80%) are employed outside academia, predominately within biopharmaceutical and chemical industries, government, and contract research organizations. Graduates from academic programs that train in writing might acquire skills related to preparation of dissertations, grant proposals, and manuscripts for scientific peer-reviewed journals. The skills acquired from this training, when existent, does not necessitate a smooth transition to a successful career outside academia. Thus early-career toxicologists are sometimes unaware of, or otherwise unprepared for, technical writing assignments that occur in industrial and regulatory toxicology. In addition, different writing skills are required for clear and concise communication of toxicological results to nontoxicologist stakeholders. Therefore, an interactive workshop that evaluates the challenges presented by, and the skills required for, toxicological writing outside academia will be of great use to the majority of graduate students, postdoctoral trainees, and early-career toxicologists. Four speakers from the pharmaceutical industry, the chemical industry, a government regulatory agency, and a contract research organization will review the type(s) of technical writing required within their setting. Notably, they will extensively highlight common mistakes and discuss valuable strategies and tools to avoid these mistakes through interactive exercises using provided writing examples.

Session Introduction Video Recording

Fundamentals of Technical Writing within the Pharmaceutical Industry. Lorrene A. Buckley, Eli Lilly & Company, Indianapolis, IN.

What Do Successful Reports Have in Common: An US FDA Perspective. Hanan N. Ghantous, US FDA, Silver Spring, MD.

Technical Writing in the Chemical Industry. Richard W. Lewis, Syngenta, Bracknell, Berkshire, United Kingdom.

Writing a Toxicology Study Report: A Contract Research Organization Perspective. Dennis J. Meyer, Charles River Labs, Reno, NV.