x



Share this page.

Historical Archive of Endowment Fund Award Recipients

Endowment Awardees



Angelo Furgiuele Young Investigator Technology Award

Winner: Rachel Shaffer

Award Year: 2017
Current Degrees: BA
Institution/Affiliation: University of Washington School of Public Health

Ms. Shaffer thought it very exciting to receive news of the award, which will provide much needed assistance to help advance research in advanced in vitro techniques for testicular toxicity evaluation. Under the direction of Dr. Elaine Faustman, she and colleagues have developed an in vitro 3D testicular co-culture system (3D-TCS) to evaluate male reproductive toxicants. Because testicular toxicity is often a driver for chemical and drug risk assessments, there is a great need for in vitro alternative models of the testes. The next step in the work described above will be to translate the 3D testes culture system from cell-culture plates to a microphysiologic system (MPS), also known as “organ on a chip” or “organotypic culture systems.” Our department is one of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s Predictive Toxicology Centers, which is focused on developing and validating organotypic culture systems across multiple organs. The team is uniquely positioned to advance these technologies because of the presence of Nortis, Inc in the Seattle area. Faculty members in the department have developed MPS for liver and lung systems. They have yet to transition their testes model to the chip system because of funding limitations. With the receipt of this award, however, they will be able to move forward with plans to develop a “testis on a chip” model. The initial plan will be to demonstrate maintenance of healthy cell populations in the testis chip system for 14 -21 days. Next, they will validate the system through treatment with a known testicular toxicant, cadmium. Once the system is reliable and validated, they will be able to proceed with a variety of investigations that will significantly advance the field of reproductive toxicology. For example, they can explore the role of metabolizing enzymes and cytokines within the testes chip system, and will also be able to connect the liver chip system to the testes chip system to understand how biotransformation in the liver may affect testicular toxicity. The plan is to apply the findings of their work to elucidate adverse outcome pathways (AOPs) for testicular toxicity.

Angelo Furgiuele Young Investigator Technology Award

Winner: Janet Sangodele

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: BSc, MSc
Institution/Affiliation: Federal University of Technology Akure Nigeria

Reproductive toxicity is a hazard that is often associated with some chemical substances that interfere in some way with normal reproduction. Ms. Sangodele's research focuses on toxic effects of some selected environmental and occupational toxicants on key aspects of male reproduction, oxidative stress and fertility. The overall goal of her research is to evaluate the toxic effects and elucidate the mechanisms of toxicity of oral and dermal exposure of toxicants and better understand the toxicity in animal models. However, the knowledge of mechanisms underlying the effects of toxicants by oral and dermal exposure is an important way of protecting people exposed to toxicants, thereby reducing the health implications of toxicants exposure and providing means to eradicate the toxic effects of toxicants that can affect reproduction and influence fertility.

Carl C. Smith Student Mechanisms Award Fund

Winner: Emma Bowers

Award Year: 2017
Current Degrees: MS
Institution/Affiliation: University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

Ms. Bowers is thrilled to have received the Carl C. Smith award. Many of the most successful scientists in SOT have received this award, and she is honored to be in their ranks. This award will help her to gain recognition as a leader in the toxicology field. Additionally this award will help offset travel costs associated with attending the annual meeting.She is conducting research at the US EPA Human Studies facility under the direction of Dr. David Diaz-Sanchez and Dr. Shaun McCullough. In her dissertation research she uses a novel application of human primary cell culture to identify molecular mechanisms that mediate differential susceptibility to ozone exposure. She is examining two long-observed but poorly understood ozone inflammatory responses that may hold the key to understanding differences in susceptibility: response heterogeneity and adaptation. As air pollutant exposure causes inflammation which contributes to the leading cause of mortality- cardiopulmonary diseases- her research has the potential to make a significant public health impact. After her doctoral studies her plan is to obtain a post-doctoral position and eventually become a principal investigator. As a PI, she will continue investigating mechanisms of toxicity with a specific emphasis on toxicoepigenomics research.

Carl C. Smith Student Mechanisms Award Fund

Winner: Kelly Fader

Award Year: 2017
Current Degrees: BSc
Institution/Affiliation: Michigan State University

Ms. Fader said it was an honor to learn that she had been selected as a finalist for the Carl C Smith Student Mechanisms Award. She immediately shared the news with her principal investigator, Dr. Timothy Zacharewski, as well as the postdoctoral researchers in the lab, who shared in the excitement. It is a great feeling to receive recognition for the research that she has been working on over the past three years from fellow scientists in the field of toxicology. She looks forward to attending the Mechanisms Specialty Section Reception in Baltimore at the 2017 Annual Society of Toxicology Meeting for the announcement of the winner. Metabolic syndrome, a disease which consists of obesity, elevated blood lipids, high blood pressure and high blood sugar, is approaching epidemic levels in the United States. In the liver, MetS is first observed as fat accumulation which can develop into non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a risk factor for diabetes, cardiovascular disease and liver cancer. Recently, several environmental contaminants including dioxin have been implicated in MetS development. In mice, dioxin causes accumulation of fat in the liver (fatty liver), primarily originating from the diet, which progresses to inflammation and fibrosis over time. Her research investigates dioxin-induced changes along the intestinal tract that promote the development of NAFLD and other complex metabolic disorders. Specifically, the manuscript she submitted for consideration of the Carl C Smith Award investigated the role of dioxin-elicited iron overloading in the progression of NAFLD. Upon completing her PhD at Michigan State University, she plans to obtain further postdoctoral training before pursuing an independent research career at either an academic institution or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). She would like to remain in the field of biomedical toxicology, investigating the effects of environmental contaminants, food ingredients, and drugs on human health and disease. In particular, she is interested in investigating the role of gene-environment interactions in the development and progression of complex multifactorial diseases such as metabolic syndrome and cancer.

Carl C. Smith Student Mechanisms Award Fund

Winner: Bryan Harder

Award Year: 2017
Current Degrees: BS
Institution/Affiliation: University of Arizona

Mr. Harder felt it was a terrific honor to be selected to receive the Mechanism Specialty Section's Carl C. Smith Graduate Student Award. His initial reaction to becoming a finalist was tremendous relief, because two members from my laboratory have previously won this prestigious award. Because of this, there is a large amount of pressure to conduct award-worthy science and he is extremely pleased to learn that his hard work has paid off. It is his hope to showcase this accomplishment on his CV and resume as he prepares to apply and interview for jobs in the coming months. He is confident that this award will attract excellent scientists, which will allow him to continue working on challenging research projects in the field of cancer pharmacology and cancer toxicology. Under the supervision of Dr. Donna Zhang, his lab largely focuses on understanding cancer progression and finding ways to suppress this phenomenon. They have recently described how activation of a transcription factor called NRF2 is frequently observed in various cancers, and that inhibition of this factor can help chemotherapy work better. Typically, the events that lead to NRF2 overexpression are due to genetic mutations, but his research has pinpointed a novel mechanism of unwanted NRF2 activation via activation of the progesterone receptor. He has shown that women who take progestins for the treatment of Type 1 Endometrial cancer could be susceptible to activation of NRF2, potentially leading to acquired chemoresistance in their tumors. He has identified a novel progesterone receptor target gene, TSC22D4, that aberrantly activates the NRF2 pathway, providing a new link between hormone receptor signaling and NRF2 research and how they relate to cancer progression. He feels that his work is a good representation of the quality of science that typically comes out of the lab and hopes that future students can utilize this finding to continue to pursue this interesting story. It is his intent to publish this research soon after the SOT meeting and use it to showcase his intellectual abilities while applying to cancer research positions.

Carl C. Smith Student Mechanisms Award Fund

Winner: Dahea You

Award Year: 2017
Current Degrees: PharmD, PhD Candidate
Institution/Affiliation: Rutgers University

Ms. You was very pleased and honored to receive the news that she was selected as the finalist for this prestigious award. It really reminded her of the importance of the research that she is pursuing and provided further motivation to drive her project. She was really interested in research during her pharmacy program and thus decided to obtain deeper knowledge and skills in pursuing research to achieve her career goals as a clinical researcher. Toxicology was a very attractive field where she feels she could maximally incorporate her clinical knowledge with basic science. She was greatly interested in neurotoxicology and decided to pursue her current research. There are yet lots of aspects that need more extensive investigations in the field of neurotoxicology and with her clinical and scientific knowledge, it is her hope to play an unique role in expanding this subject area.

Carl C. Smith Student Mechanisms Award Fund

Winner: Bharat Bhushan

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: University of Kansas Medical Center

Acetaminophen (APAP) overdose is the foremost cause of acute liver failure (ALF) in the US. Despite decades of research, current treatment options after APAP-overdose are extremely limited. Liver injury after APAP-overdose is subsequently followed by compensatory liver regeneration, which promotes recovery. Preventing liver injury and stimulating liver regeneration are potential strategies to develop novel therapies for APAP-induced ALF. However, mechanisms of APAP-induced liver toxicity or subsequent liver regeneration are not completely understood. In the work that will be presented at the 2016 SOT annual meeting, they investigated role of EGFR (Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor) signaling in APAP-induced ALF. Role of EGFR signaling in APAP-induced liver toxicity and subsequent liver regeneration is completely unknown. In this extremely novel work, Dr. Bhushan and colleagues demonstrated that EGFR signaling plays a dual role in APAP overdose and is involved in both initiation of APAP-induced injury and in stimulating subsequent liver regeneration. They demonstrated, for the first time, that EGFR is rapidly activated after APAP overdose in both mice and primary human hepatocytes and translocated to mitochondria where it was involved in mitochondrial damage leading to liver injury. APAP-induced liver injury was almost completely abolished by early treatment with EGFR inhibitor. In fact, they demonstrated that an early EGFR inhibition as a therapeutic strategy may outperform treatment with NAC (N-acetyl cysteine), which is the current standard of care for not only APAP overdose but all suspected cases of ALF. Interestingly, they found that delayed activation of EGFR was crucial for compensatory liver regeneration response, such that delayed inhibition of EGFR in mice caused remarkable impairment of liver regeneration, resulting in substantial decrease of both recovery and survival. Thus, their work revealed an extremely novel and intriguing mechanisms about how a cell membrane receptor, EGFR, can translocate to mitochondria and cause both cell death or cell proliferation signaling in hepatocytes, in a time dependent manner, during APAP-induced ALF.

Carl C. Smith Student Mechanisms Award Fund

Winner: Nikita Joshi

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: MS, MSc
Institution/Affiliation: Michigan State University

Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) is a type of fibrotic liver disease that can lead to liver failure and potentially cancer. It accounts for approximately 8% of all liver transplants in the United States and there is currently no established curative therapy for PSC. Ms. Joshi's exciting research characterizes a novel mechanism whereby the coagulation protein fibrinogen interacts with integrin aMß2 to reduce biliary fibrosis and suggests a novel putative therapeutic target for this difficult to treat fibrotic disease.

Carl C. Smith Student Mechanisms Award Fund

Winner: Rance Nault

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: BSc, MSc
Institution/Affiliation: Michigan State University

Mr. Nault's research examines the role of environmental contaminants of the development of fatty liver disease. In order to explore these questions he uses a combination of ‘omic’ techniques to examine changes in gene expression regulation, gene expression, and metabolites, and integrate these using a variety of computational tools. Consequently, by using these data together we can look at changes within the context of the whole system. In the future he will delve deeper into key features that were highlighted by these high-throughput evaluations, more specifically on the role of PKM2 in fatty liver caused by 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) which is the research for which this award was given. They found that following TCDD exposure, a change in the PKM isoform is observed which reprograms metabolism similar to that of a cancer cell. Further evidence in metabolite and protein levels demonstrated that the livers of TCDD treated mice exhibit many features of cancer cells despite the absence of cancer. They conclude that this isoform switching likely plays a role in antioxidant defenses. Future work will examine this hypothesis in further depth using genetic models.

Carl C. Smith Student Mechanisms Award Fund

Winner: Dwayne Carter

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: BS
Institution/Affiliation: UTMB

Dwayne Carter is a Graduate Student at the University of Texas Medical Branch and received the Carl C. Smith Mechanisms Award for his work entitled, "Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor Activation By Cinnabarinic Acid Is Required for Stanniocalcin-2 mediated Protection Against Alcohol Induced Hepatic Injury." His research showed how the physiological activity of AhR in the liver protects against acute alcohol induced liver injury. This award will allow him to attend more scientific meetings, which will allow more networking and collaboration with other investigators. He would like to investigate and understand the mechanisms that will form a proverbial bridge between liver toxicity and aging, and believes that a healthier liver may allow us to have a better quality of life in our elderly years.

Carl C. Smith Student Mechanisms Award Fund

Winner: Suvarthi Das

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: MS
Institution/Affiliation: University of South Carolina

Suvarthi Das is a graduate student at the University of South Carolina and received the Carl C. Smith Student Mechanisms Award for her work entitled, "Redox signaling induced TLR4 activation is crucial for disinfection byproduct (DBP)-mediated NASH." Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), which is a progressive stage of NAFLD, and a hepatic manifestation of metabolic syndrome has been rising in tandem with the increase in obesity epidemic. Her work explores the probable molecular mechanisms in driving the causation of NASH in obese mice, when there is a second hit from environmental toxin present in drinking water (disinfection byproduct. We observed that activation of the enzyme NOX and then recruitment of TLR4 (toll-like receptor 4) in the lipid rafts of the hepatic cell-membranes play a crucial role in the ensuing injury and inflammation that leads to NASH symptoms. This can translate into discovery of new persistent biomarkers and drug targets in NASH. To date treatment of NASH is very difficult as there are no persistent or reliable biomarkers. It is a silent disease and patients normally do not get diagnosed unless they go to the clinic with some symptoms like pain in the upper right quadrant, nausea etc. Thus elucidation of the intermediary pathways and molecules will open new avenues for drug targeting for this very alarming silent killer, which is evidently triggered by environmental toxins.

Carl C. Smith Student Mechanisms Award Fund

Winner: Eric Ditzel

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: BS
Institution/Affiliation: University of Arizona

Eric Ditzel is a Graduate Student at the University of Arizona and received the Carl C. Smith Student Mechanisms Award for his work entitled, "Arsenite during Fetal Development Alters Energy Metabolism and Increases Susceptibility to Fatty Liver Disease." His work focuses on how exposure to arsenic during development alters fundamental processes in energy metabolism in such a way that there is increased incidence of fatty liver disease present later in life. The risks of developmental exposure to arsenic are not fully understood, and this work helps illuminate how exposures may contribute to adult onset of disease.The proposed mechanism for this increase in disease is novel and may help others investigate related disease states as well. He considers this award as a motivator to push him to continue to explore the mechanistic basis for arsenic induced disease by honing in on which effects are relevant for certain exposures and diseases is necessary to explore ways to mitigate disease. Millions of people are exposed to arsenic through drinking water, inhalation, diet, and occupational exposure, and there are many well characterized risks associated with those exposures. However, the risks of low-dose exposure and exposure during development are less well understood. By focusing on the mechanism behind the observed pathologies, we are better able to address the problem and health outcomes in susceptible populations in the future.

Carl C. Smith Student Mechanisms Award Fund

Winner: Nikita  Joshi

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: MSc, MS
Institution/Affiliation: Michigan State University

Nikita Joshi is a graduate student at Michigan State University and received the Carl C. Smith Student Mechanisms Award for her work entitled, "Fibrin(ogen) engagement of aMß2-integrin limits chronic liver fibrosis induced by a bile duct toxicant in mice." Her work seeks to identify mechanisms whereby fibrinogen, an integral component of the hemostatic system, contributes to chronic liver injury and fibrosis. Her laboratory previously demonstrated that mice deficient in the blood clotting protein fibrinogen, developed markedly worse liver injury in a model of chronic liver fibrosis. This finding challenged the assumption that the presence of fibrin clots in the liver is bad. Since joining the lab, she has sought to define the mechanisms that underlie the protective effects of fibrinogen. The work submitted for consideration for the Mechanisms this Award describes an element of her research project highlighting the novel protective role of fibrinogen in chronic liver fibrosis via its engagement of the leukocyte integrin aMß2. Treatment options for liver fibrosis are limited with a liver transplant being the last resort. Since the molecular and cellular pathogenesis of this are not completely understood, it is vital that we interrogate the mechanisms that contribute to the pathogenesis chronic liver disease so that better treatment options can be developed. Continued investigation of the mechanisms whereby coagulation impacts liver fibrosis is warranted, particularly as elements of hemostasis gain traction as biomarkers and as potential therapeutic targets in liver disease and health.

Carl C. Smith Student Mechanisms Award Fund

Winner: Jamie Moscovitz

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: BA Biology, BA Secondary Education
Institution/Affiliation: Rutgers University

Jamie Moscovitz is a graduate student at Rutgers University and recieved the Carl C. Smith Student Mechanisms Award for her work entitled, "Pregnancy Outcomes Following Short Term Treatment Of Mice With The Farnesoid X Receptor Agonist GW4064." Her research uses pharmacological and genetic models to characterize the importance of regulation by the nuclear receptor, Farnesoid X Receptor (Fxr), on metabolic and transport pathways in the liver and intestine during pregnancy. Fxr is critical for the regulation of bile acid synthesis, metabolism, hepatotoxicity and excretion. Her thesis work thus far has demonstrated that a number of direct intestinal and hepatic targets of Fxr are dysregulated during pregnancy. By studying the mechanisms of adaptive changes in the bile acid pathway in pregnancy, we may identify why some women have heightened susceptibility to cholestatic liver disease during pregnancy, as well as investigate a potential therapeutic target for treating these women. This research will aid in creating a safer and healthier world for both mothers and fetuses during a very sensitive and critical time of development.

Carl C. Smith Student Mechanisms Award Fund

Winner: Deanna Salter

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: BS
Institution/Affiliation: University of Rhode Island

Deanna Salter is a Graduate Student at the University of Rhode Island and received the Carl C. Smith Student Mechanisms Award for her work entitled, "Low Dose Exposure to the Environmental Chemical, Perfluorooctanesulfonic Acid (PFOS) Thwarts Beneficial Effects of Caloric Restriction and Metformin." In her work, she is trying to elucidate a deeper mechanism to determine how PFOS stimulates with glucose production. Currently she is evaluating whether the increased glucose and lipid accumulation is related to changes in the phosphorylation status of AMPK and associated mediators of this pathway. She believes her project is highly relevant to toxicology due to the nature of PFOS exposure. Although PFOS exposure is decreasing, there is still EPA concern and it is considered to be an “emerging” chemical of concern (Zhao 2012).

Carl C. Smith Student Mechanisms Award Fund

Winner: Prajakta Shimpi

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: M.Pharm
Institution/Affiliation: University of Rhode Island

Prajakta Shimpi is a Graduate Student at the University of Rhode Island and received the Carl C. Smith Mechanisms Award for her work entitled, "Early Epigenetic Modulation of Nrf2 and Lipogenic Genes by PNPP Exposure of Bisphenol A is Associated with Hepatic Steatosis in Female Mice." Her work focus is on detecting the detailed molecular studies on how exactly Bisphenol A affects liver pathways. She would like to continue her work on environmental toxicants, and elucidate mechanistic links of how these toxicants affect liver. Her studies with bisphenol A, can also serve as model toxicological investigations for other chemicals.

Carl C. Smith Student Mechanisms Award Fund

Winner: Lisa Weatherly

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: BA
Institution/Affiliation: University of Maine

Lisa Weatherly is a Graduate Student at University of Maine and received the Carl C. Smith Student Mechanisms Award for her work entitled, "Antimicrobial Agent Triclosan is a Mitochondrial Uncoupler in Rat and Human Mast Cells." They assessed if triclosan disrupted mast cell function by examining its effects on the cells’ energy source, ATP. She found that exposure of triclosan to mast cells is causing a dysfunction in production of ATP, at much lower concentrations than those generally found in personal care products. theirdata show that TCS is a mitochondrial uncoupler, and TCS may affect numerous cell types and functions via this mechanism. Due to triclosan’s high concentration and use in many personal care products, triclosan’s mitochondrial uncoupling function must be taken into consideration in future risk assessments, due to the dangerous nature previously seen in other similar chemicals. There is an urgent need for information on the mammalian toxicology of triclosan, and our study will help provide an understanding of how triclosan influences human and animal health.

Carl C. Smith Student Mechanisms Award Fund

Winner: Wei Zhang

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: Ph.D. Candidate
Institution/Affiliation: Univerisity of Kentucky

Wei Zhang is a graduate student at the University of Kentucky and received the Carl C. Smith Student Mechanisms Award for her work entitled, "Loss of Mrp1 Potentiates Doxorubicin-Induced Cardiotoxicity in Mice." Doxorubicin (DOX) induced cardiac toxicity is most severe dose-limited side effects of this effective chemotherapy drug. The study addresses the important problem of determining how the function of MRP1 could affect this DOX-induced cardiotoxicity. The cardiac function and underline mechanisms were investigated. The study will provide novel insights into the role of Mrp1 in oxidative stress regulation, and thereby give critical information regarding the potential adverse sequelae of introduction of MRP1 inhibitors as adjuncts to clinical chemotherapy of multidrug resistant tumors. Also, it may help to find a potential way to relieve or even prevent this chemotherapy drug-induced cardiotoxicity.

Carl C. Smith Student Mechanisms Award Fund

Winner: Dilshan Harischandra

Award Year: 2014
Current Degrees: BS
Institution/Affiliation: Iowa State University

Dilshan Harischandra is a graduate student at Iowa State University and received the Carl C. Smith Student Mechanisms Award for his work entitled, “The Environmental Neurotoxicant Manganese Promotes Prion-like Cell-to-Cell Transmission of α-Synuclein via Exosomes in Cell Culture and Animal Models of Parkinson’s Disease.” In this project we are studying the effect of environmental neurotoxicants in developing and progression of Parkinson ’s disease (PD). We looked into the interaction of manganese and prominent protein (alpha-synuclein) implicated in PD and studied how manganese exposure will cause protein to aggregate and accumulate in the brain. Most importantly, we found a possible mechanism via which these mis-folded proteins leave the “sick” cells and enter healthy cells, making them sick too. This mechanism uses very small vesicles to transport these proteins in a cargo-like manner. A good understanding of these mechanisms is important because most neurodegenerative diseases are progressive in nature and pathology seems to move from one part of the brain to another as the disease advance. Recently, we have uncovered that α-synuclein, a key metal-binding protein implicated in Parkinson disease interacts with and binds to manganese, causing the α-synuclein protein to aggregate and transmit through exosomal vesicles. These findings will help understand the cell to cell transmission of aberrant proteins in progressive disease and possibly develop pharmacological strategies to block protein transfer and develop therapies against neurodegenerative diseases.

Carl C. Smith Student Mechanisms Award Fund

Winner: Swetha Rudraiah

Award Year: 2014
Current Degrees: MVSc
Institution/Affiliation: University of Connecticut

Swetha Rudraiah is a Graduate Student at the University of Connecticut and received the Carl C. Smith Student Mechanisms Award for her work entitled, “Tolerance to Acetaminophen (APAP) Hepatotoxicity in a Mouse Model of Autoprotection is Associated with Induction of Flavin-containing Monooxygenase-3 (Fmo3).” Acetaminophen (APAP) is the main constituent of Tylenol and is the most commonly used over the counter drug and is responsible for more than 50% of all acute liver failure cases in the U.S. APAP toxicity is very complex and N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is the only FDA approved treatment available for APAP poisoning. In the clinic, NAC is effective only when given within 8 hours after APAP ingestion. Unfortunately, signs of toxicity do not show until after 12-24 hrs following acute intoxication. This growing concern has prompted extensive mechanistic research aimed at devising measures to reduce the risk of liver damage due to APAP and to understand the cellular events responsible for the initiation and progression of APAP toxicity. Although the phenomenon of APAP autoprotection is also seen in patients who repeatedly take higher doses of APAP, the underlying mechanism(s) is not known. Her research specifically investigates the mechanism by which the resistance to acetaminophen ensues.

Carl C. Smith Student Mechanisms Award Fund

Winner: Christopher Schaupp

Award Year: 2014
Current Degrees: BA
Institution/Affiliation: University of Washington

Christopher Schaupp is a graduate student at the University of Washington who received the Carl C. Smith Student Mechanisms Award for his work entitled, “Potential Role of Carbonyl Reductase 3 in Doxorubicin-Induced Cardiotoxicity.” His work is focused on investigating doxorubicin-induced cardiomyopathy and candidate genes believed to be responsible for mediating doxorubicin-related sequelae in childhood leukemia patients, a significant public health concern. He hopes to advance the science of toxicology by participating in research that has direct translational benefits to human health. He anticipates that his research will lead to improvements in chemotherapy regimens that both increase efficacy and lessen the risks of serious off-target toxicity.

Carl C. Smith Student Mechanisms Award Fund

Winner: Priyanka Trivedi

Award Year: 2014
Current Degrees: MS (Pharm)
Institution/Affiliation: National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research

Priyanka Trivedi is a graduate student at the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research, India, and won the Carl C. Smith Student Mechanisms Award for her work entitled, “Effect of Melatonin on Colitis-associated Colon Carcinogenesis in Mice: Role of Autophagy and Nrf2 Signaling Pathways.” Colon carcinogenesis is long known to be associated with ulcerative colitis, a chronic gastrointestinal disorder. Various pre-clinical and clinical studies have shown that melatonin, a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agent, has beneficial effects in cancer. However, elucidation of the detailed molecular mechanisms involved in melatonin-mediated protection against the colon carcinogenesis deserves further investigation. In the present study, the effect of melatonin on autophagy (a process that involves lysosome-mediated degradation of non-essential cellular constituents) and nuclear erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2, a redox-sensitive transcription factor) signaling pathways in a mouse model of colitis-associated colon carcinogenesis was examined. She would like to remain in the field of genotoxicity, carcinogenesis. She would like to discover the basic mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of carcinogenesis and the ways to prevent the progression of carcinogenesis to benefit mankind.

Carl C. Smith Student Mechanisms Award Fund

Winner: Daniel Ferreira

Award Year: 2013
Current Degrees: BS
Institution/Affiliation: University of Connecticut

Daniel Ferreira is a graduate student of the University of Connecticut and received the Carl C. Smith Student Mechanisms Award for his work entitled, “Vanin-1 Knockout Mice Exhibit Alterations in Compensatory Immune Infiltration and Hepatocyte Proliferation Following Acetaminophen Toxicity.” His research shows that Vanin-1 knockout mice are more susceptible to acetaminophen hepatotoxicity, despite there being no differences in acetaminophen bioactivation or detoxification by glucuronidation, sulfation, or glutathione status or utilization. He hopes to better protect human health by securing a career in academia or the government. He hopes to use his experience in molecular biology-based scientific techniques and experience to elucidate novel mechanisms of action in order to uncover intracellular signaling pathways responsible for mediating cellular responses to xenoestrogens or other environmental contaminants. The goal would be to identify potential therapeutic targets of endocrine diseases caused by exposure.

Carl C. Smith Student Mechanisms Award Fund

Winner: David Klein

Award Year: 2013
Current Degrees: BS
Institution/Affiliation: University of Arizona

David Klein is a graduate student of the University of Arizona and he received the Carl C. Smith Student Mechanisms Award for his work entitled, “Mechanism of Transepithelial Transport Leading to Germ Cell Exposure to Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors (NRTI).” His work involved looking at the ability of drugs used to treat HIV infection to bypass the blood-testis barrier (BTB) and exert toxic effects on developing sperm. He is also examining the transport mechanism these drugs use to penetrate the BTB. This award will help him find a postdoctoral position that will advance his career and interests.

Carl C. Smith Student Mechanisms Award Fund

Winner: Tongde Wu

Award Year: 2013
Current Degrees: MS
Institution/Affiliation: University of Arizona

Tongde Wu is a PhD candidate of the University of Arizona and received the Carl C. Smith Student Mechanisms Award for her work entitled, “XBP1, SYVN1 AND NRF2: At the Crossroad of ER Stress and Oxidative Stress.” Her current research involves learning how the Nrf2-Keap1 pathway crosstalks with unfolded protein response in coordination with anti-oxidative stress and anti-ER stress signaling. Environmental toxicants act on the human system in very complex ways, affecting multiple stress pathways at the same time. The Nrf2 antioxidant pathway normally protects cells from oxidative stress. However, how environmental exposures that are capable to cause oxidative stress and the Nrf2 pathway interact with complex diseases such as liver cirrhosis remains unknown. Investigation of the mechanisms of coordinate regulation will not only shed light on principles of stress response, but may also lead to new approaches in the treatment of stress-related diseases. The environmental pollution problem in eastern Asia is concerning. Ms. Wu wants to continue her research because she believes that environmental issues in one location will eventually cross borders and she would like to be part of the solution.

Carl C. Smith Student Mechanisms Award Fund

Winner: Owen R. Kinsky

Award Year: 2012
Current Degrees: BA
Institution/Affiliation: University of Arizona

Owen R. Kinsky, of the University of Arizona, for his abstract entitled, “Dicarbonyl Adduction of Plasminogen: Possible Role in Diabetic Cardiovascular Complications.” Type 2 diabetes is an emerging epidemic in the US. One of the main causes of death from this disease involves cardiovascular complications such as heart attack and stroke, which occur at a higher rate in those with the disease. His work is designed to determine the mechanism by which an increased blood glucose level puts people at a higher risk for these complications. He is currently studying the role that oxidized glucose breakdown products play in the modification of blood-clotting proteins, and how this modification negatively affects the body’s ability to break up blood clots that have formed. With the incidence of this disease increasing at an alarming rate, research of the disease and its complications are more pertinent than ever. He hopes that his current and future work helps to elucidate the mechanism by which this toxicity affects the type 2 diabetes population.

Carl C. Smith Student Mechanisms Award Fund

Winner: Alexandria Lau

Award Year: 2012
Current Degrees: BS
Institution/Affiliation: University of Arizona, College of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology

Alexandria Lau, of the University of Arizona, for her work entitled, “Arsenic Induces Chronic Nrf2 Activation.” Her work involved elucidating the specific mechanism of how arsenic activates Nrf2, a transcription factor that regulates the antioxidant response, and how the mechanism is different than that of natural compounds, such as sulforaphane found in broccoli and other cruciferase vegetable. She hopes to continue this work, which she is hopeful can lead to the identification of novel molecular markers and the development of rational therapies for the prevention or intervention of arsenic toxicity. These observations might also provide insight to further understand how arsenic activates Nrf2 and/or causes toxicity and carcinogenicity.

Carl C. Smith Student Mechanisms Award Fund

Winner: Afshin Mohammadi Bardbori

Award Year: 2012
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: Karolinska Institutet, Sweden

Afshin Mohammadi Bardbori, of Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, for his abstract entitled, “The Polyphenols Quercetin, Resveratrol and Curcumin Disturb Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor (AHR) Signaling by Obstructing the Tightly Regulated Turnover of the Endogenous Ligand FICZ.” A major focus of his research was to characterize molecular mechanisms by which the aryl hydrocarbon receptor can be activated by several nonligands like polyphenols quercetin, resveratrol, and curcumin. He hopes to use this award to strengthen his CV with the goal of finding a postdoctoral position in the US.

Dharm V. Singh Association of Scientists of Indian Origin Student Award Fund

Winner: Satya Achanta

Award Year: 2017
Current Degrees: DVM, PhD
Institution/Affiliation: Duke University School of Medicine

Dr. Achanta feels honored to receive this prestigious award. As an aspiring scientist, this award will be a feather in his hat and give him more enthusiasm to pursue toxicological research. The treatment of chlorine gas induced acute lung injury (ALI) remains challenging because of the lack of mechanism-based therapeutic approaches. Chlorine gas is a severe chemical threat agent with frequent exposures in domestic and occupational environments and in transportation accidents (for example, train derailment in Graniteville, SC, 2005). Recent chlorine bomb attacks in Syria resulted in a death toll of several thousands. Despite its known chemical threat potencies since World War I, there is no specific antidote for chlorine gas. They examined the therapeutic effects of a novel transient receptor potential vanilloid 4 (TRPV4) inhibitor, GSK691, in pigs exposed to chlorine gas as a translational model of human chemically induced acute lung injury to meet the US FDA’s animal rule.

Dharm V. Singh Association of Scientists of Indian Origin Student Award Fund

Winner: Priyanka Trivedi

Award Year: 2017
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: Harvard Medical School

She was really excited and pleased when she received this award. She immediately shared the good news with her advisor and also thanked him for all his support and encouragement. This award will provide recognition to her work and complement my research in the field of renal toxicology. She will use this award as a springboard for my career in which she will make important contributions to advancing our understanding of toxicology research. Her research focuses on discovering therapeutic targets for acute and chronic kidney diseases. In order to identify druggable targets, they performed RNA sequencing in mouse model of toxic kidney fibrosis and identified Phospholipase D4 (PLD4), a single pass transmembrane glycoprotein, as one of the highly up-regulated genes. Up-regulation of PLD4 was confirmed in three mechanistically distinct mouse models as well as in patients with biopsy-proven kidney fibrosis. Mechanistically, they show that PLD4 facilitates fibrogenesis by modulating innate and adaptive immune responses thereby promoting a TGF-ß signaling pathway. Moreover, PLD4 induced the expression of a1-antitrypsin protein (a serine protease inhibitor) that resulted in subsequent down-regulation of a protease neutrophil elastase (NE) expression, thereby leading to the accumulation of extracellular matrix proteins. Interestingly, therapeutic targeting of PLD4 using specific siRNA also protected the mice from kidney fibrosis by inhibiting TGF-ß signaling and inducing NE expression. In conclusion, their findings identified PLD4 as a novel therapeutic target for kidney fibrosis - an unmet medical need. Her future goal is to continue contributing to the toxicological science, which can be directly applied clinically to benefit the society.

Dharm V. Singh Association of Scientists of Indian Origin Student Award Fund

Winner: Ratanesh Seth

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: University of South Carolina

With obesity becoming a global pandemic and more than a third are obese in this country, Dr. Seth's research focusing on the environmental toxins as potentiators of hepatotoxicity and disease has monumental significance. He has established the novel link between environmental toxin bromodichloromethane and Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH). Though environmental contaminants and NASH development is known, the mechanisms remain unclear. His research has established that environmental toxin bromodichloromethane (BDCM), a disinfection byproduct of drinking water causes NASH and hepatic metabolic reprogramming, mediated by cytochrome P450 isoform CYP2E1 and adipokine leptin in an underline condition of obesity. In his current project, he investigated the molecular mechanism of transient receptor potential vanilloid channel 4 (TRPV4) regulating inflammation and Kupffer cell activation in nonalcoholic steatohepatitis by attenuation of CYP2E1-mediated oxidative stress. Nitric oxide regulates CYP2E1-mediated oxidative stress, inflammation and endothelial injury and attenuate NASH progression. Based on the above, targeting TRPV4 or its downstream signaling cascade might be a promising therapeutic strategy in NASH. He is sure that these findings are prooving to be very significant and novel to the field of liver disease research.

Dharm V. Singh Association of Scientists of Indian Origin Student Award Fund

Winner: Priyanka  Trivedi

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: Harvard Medical School

Dr. Trivedi's research focuses on discovering therapeutic targets for acute and chronic kidney diseases. Kidney fibrosis, the hallmark of the chronic kidney disease (CKD), is an irreversible process leading to the life-threatening end-stage renal failure. Unfortunately, no effective therapeutic strategies are available to cure this condition. This is due to lack of our understanding of the underlying mechanisms of fibrosis. Using RNA sequencing, we identified phospholipase D4 (PLD4) as one of the targets for the treatment of kidney fibrosis. Our research work deciphers a mechanistic role of PLD4 in the regulation of fibrosis. We observed that PLD4 was significantly increased in mechanistically different mouse models of kidney fibrosis as well as in patients with biopsy-proven kidney fibrosis. Further, we found that PLD4 knockout mice (PLD4-/-) showed less fibrosis compared to the wild type (PLD4+/+) mice after folic acid injection- as well as unilateral ureteral obstruction-induced kidney fibrosis. This was attributed to mainly two reasons, (i) PLD4-/- mice had increased level of anti-fibrotic cytokines compared to the PLD4+/+ mice and, (ii) sustained activation of the proteases, due to decreased level of serpina1 (a protease inhibitor) in PLD4-/- mice, led to an efficient degradation of collagen rescuing these mice from scar tissue formation in the kidney. Thus we identified that PLD4 is a central target that can be intervened in preventing fibrosis-associated organ dysfunction. Her future goal is to continue contributing to the mechanistic toxicological sciences, which can be translated clinically.

Dharm V. Singh Association of Scientists of Indian Origin Student Award Fund

Winner: Amrendra Ajay

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: Harvard Medical School

Amrendra Ajay is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard Medical School who received the Dharm V. Singh Association of Scientists of Indian Origin Student Award Fund for his work entitled, "SMOC2 mediates kidney fibrosis via activating fibroblasts." Kidney toxicity is a major problem worldwide causing high mortality every year. Due to lack of therapeutic targets and early and sensitive biomarker it’s impossible to detect and treat chronic kidney diseases. He and his group employed RNA sequencing approach to find out the early and sensitive biomarker and therapeutic target for chronic kidney injury. His research will use in vitro and in vivo models to find out the mechanistic aspects of compounds related to different class of compounds. To ding out the signaling events that can be useful to stratify the compounds. In some cases drug metabolites are toxic to kidney once metabolized by liver. Using in vitro molecular tools may provide important insight into the mechanism of toxicity of drugs. Toxicity due to unknown compounds is also one of the emerging problems where it’s found that epidemically there is occurrence of kidney, liver or other organ toxicity.

Dharm V. Singh Association of Scientists of Indian Origin Student Award Fund

Winner: Ratanesh Seth

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: Ph.D.
Institution/Affiliation: University of South Carolina

Ratanesh Seth is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of South Carolina and received the Dharm V. Singh Association of Scientists of Indian Origin Student Award Fund for his work entitled "M1 Polarization bias and subsequent toxicity-induced NASH progression is attenuated by nitric oxide donor DETA NONOate." He mainly works on diet-induced obese models to understand how drinking water disinfection by products, specifically bromodicholromethane potentiate induces progression of steatosis to silent stage nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. In this awarded study he looked into how our internal defense machinery (immune system), specially macrophages regulate the disease progression so that we can identify therapeutic targets which may help in curing the disease.

Dharm V. Singh Association of Scientists of Indian Origin Student Award Fund

Winner: Gul Mustafa

Award Year: 2014
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: University of Texas Medical Branch

Gul Mustafa is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Texas Medical Branch and received the Dharm V. Singh Association of Scientists of Indian Origin Award for her work entitled, “Discovery and Validation of Serum Protein Biomarker Candidates for Early Detection of Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC).” The impetus behind the study was that development of a simple and reliable screening tool for early HCC detection which stems from the recognition that early detection is critical for therapeutic efficacy-late detection normally associated with clinical presentation of symptoms comes with a poor prognosis and 5 year survival rates of less than 5%. She hopes that in the future the discovery and validation of these biomarkers will make earlier detection more feasible, which will enable clinicians to offer patients better clinical management and more effective treatment. She hopes that physicians will use proteomics analyses at many points in the management of disease in addition to enhance drug development.

Dharm V. Singh Association of Scientists of Indian Origin Student Award Fund

Winner: Nagender Reddy Panyala

Award Year: 2014
Current Degrees: PhD MSc
Institution/Affiliation: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Nagender Reddy Panyala is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and received the Dharm V. Singh Association of Scientists of Indian Origin Award for his work entitled “Identification of Unknown Impurities in the Decorporation Agent 3,4,3-LI(1,2-HOPO) Using UPLC Xevo-TOF MSMS Instrumentation” His research showed that unknown trace impurities in the decorporation drug (which removes internally deposited toxic radioactive nuclides from the body after an accidental intake) using Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (LCMS) instrumentation and elucidated their structure using structural elucidation softwares. This structural information is very fundamental to know toxicity of trace impurities and their effect on drug activity especially at the preclinical stage. He hopes play a key role in advancing the toxicology in the 21st century as a potential toxicologist by developing scientific collaborations, staying abreast of current toxicology and integrating ideas from expert scientists in other fields as well as to explore more resources for aid his research in the field of toxicology.

Dharm V. Singh Association of Scientists of Indian Origin Student Award Fund

Winner: Amrendra Ajay

Award Year: 2013
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: Harvard Medical School

Amrendra Ajay is a postdoctoral student of the Harvard Medical School and is the recipient of the Dharm V. Singh Association of Scientists of Indian Origin Student Award for his work entitled, “Systems Biology Approach Identifies Transcriptional Regulator of Kidney Injury Molecule-1.” His work focused on the regulator or Kidney Injury Molecule -1 (KIM-1). KIM-1 is expressed by kidney tubular epithelial cells and is excreted in the urine following kidney injury. It is a qualified biomarker for kidney injury. Using their gene expression data Dr. Ajay and his group used the bioinformatics approach that predicted STAT3 and Chk1 as upstream regulators of KIM-1. They used molecular and immunological techniques to prove the mechanism of KIM-1 regulation. They showed that Chk1 phosphorylates STAT3 binds on the KIM1 promoter for its transcription. Finally using genetic and pharmacological inhibition approaches Dr. Ajay and his colleagues confirmed the regulation of KIM-1 by STAT3 and Chk1 in human proximal tubular epithelial and renal cell carcinoma cells. The award will help him obtain further funding and become an independent scientist.

Dharm V. Singh Association of Scientists of Indian Origin Student Award Fund

Winner: Aditya Joshi

Award Year: 2013
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: University of Texas Medical Branch

Aditya Joshi is a postdoctoral student of the University of Texas Medical Branch and received the Dharm V. Singh Association of Scientists of Indian Origin Student Award for his work entitled, “Transcription Regulation by Novel Interaction of Kruppel-like Factor 6 with Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor at the NC-XRE.” His research showed a novel interaction of well known anti cancer protein Kruppel like factor 6 (KLF6) that interacts with another protein aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR). AhR regulates adaptive and toxic responses to variety of chemical pollutants such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and halogenated aromatic hydrocarbons, most notably 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD). Therefore AhR-KLF6 complex may contribute to dioxin-mediated carcinogenesis, particularly given the documented role for both proteins in cell cycle control. His long-term goal is to become an academic investigator with a focus on molecular toxicology and carcinogenesis.

Dharm V. Singh Association of Scientists of Indian Origin Student Award Fund

Winner: Kartik Balachandran

Award Year: 2012
Current Degrees: MS, PhD
Institution/Affiliation: Harvard University, Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering

Kartik Balachandran, of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, for his work entitled, “Valve Thin Films: A Novel Assay for Safety Evaluation of Cardiac Valve Function.” His work presents a novel in vitro cardiac valve-on-chip for the analysis of Adverse Drug Reactions (ADR) on cardiac valve function. This "valve thin film" assay can be used during drug discovery and as supporting data for animal experiments in safety pharmacology studies. He hopes the work he is doing will play a potentially valuable role in accelerating drug development by providing a quick and efficient way to weed out candidate molecules with potential toxic or other adverse effects. He also hopes that such in vitro assay systems will eventually supplement or even replace expensive animal studies in the drug development and approval process.

Dharm V. Singh Association of Scientists of Indian Origin Student Award Fund

Winner: Neera Tewari-Singh

Award Year: 2012
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: University of Colorado Denver

Neera Tewari-Singh, of University of Colorado Denver for her abstract titled "Therapeutic Efficacy of Silibinin in Attenuating Sulfur Mustard Analog-Induced Skin Injuries." She plans to continue her research on the chemical warfare agents that pose a probable threat as weapons of warfare and terrorism. This award has not only given her enthusiasm to continue to develop therapeutics to treat skin injuries by chemical warfare agent sulfur mustard, but also made many other people aware of her research accomplishments. This will further help her in developing meaningful collaborations, discussion and incorporation of ideas from other scientists who are experts in other fields, as well as to explore more resources for funding opportunities.

Dharm V. Singh Carcinogenesis Award Fund

Winner: Nehal Gupta

Award Year: 2017
Current Degrees: MPharm, BPharm
Institution/Affiliation: Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

Ms. Gupta was very excited and enthusiastic after receiving Dharm V. Singh Carcinogenesis Graduate Student Award. She would like to thank SOT for selecting her for this award. This award would offer a tremendous financial support to attend the 2017 SOT Annual Meeting. It will be an excellent opportunity to meet scientists across the globe and share her work with them, which will provide novel insights to her work. Also, Recognition by award committee has boosted her morale to do better work in the field of toxicology as well as science. She started her project on breast cancer, which is one of the most malignant carcinoma in women worldwide. Despite of currently available treatment options, breast cancer kills approximately 40,000 women every year, making it the second-leading cause of cancer related deaths. Resistance to current chemotherapeutics is the major obstacle in treating breast cancer patients. She and colleagues developed resistance towards paclitaxel in various breast cancer cell lines (MCF-7, 4T1, HCC1806). With extensive research, they are able to unravel the mechanism behind the resistance and based on previous publication (Ranjan et al. “Penfluridol: An antipsychotic agent suppresses metastatic tumor growth in triple negative breast cancer by inhibiting integrin signaling axis” Cancer Research 2015), they are able to develop penfluridol as a treatment option to overcome resistance. Their results showed that penfluridol treatment synergistically enhanced the growth suppressive effects of paclitaxel in vitro as well as in vivo. They also observed that chronic treatment of mice with penfluridol was not associated with any toxicity or behavioral side effect. Therefore, combining penfluridol with paclitaxel will reduce the dose as well as toxic side effects of current chemotherapy. Since penfluridol is an FDA approved drug, the pharmacology, formulation and potential toxicities are already known. Their preclinical studies can fasten the clinical trial and review by Food and Drug Administration. This could bring relief to the patients with highly lethal and resistant breast tumors. For her long term goals, she would like to develop her professional career as an academic scientist in the field of Oncology. She has been mentored by one student that gave her motivation to train new researchers in cancer field.

Dharm V. Singh Carcinogenesis Award Fund

Winner: Alisa Suen

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: BS
Institution/Affiliation: NIEHS/UNC Chapel Hill

Currently Ms. Suen is a 4th year PhD student in the Curriculum in Toxicology at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Her research is performed in the laboratory of Carmen Williams, a UNC-Chapel Hill adjunct faculty member who is a Clinical Investigator in the Reproductive and Developmental Biology Laboratory at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in RTP, NC. She won the CSS Dharm V. Singh Carcinogenesis Endowment Award for her research on aberrant SIX1 expression in a developmental mouse model of hormonal carcinogenesis. During her dissertation research, she plans to investigate molecular mechanisms underlying the development of endometrial carcinoma following neonatal exposure to estrogenic chemicals. Her research will focus on the oncoprotein, sine oculis homeobox 1 (SIX1), a developmentally important and cancer-associated transcription factor that becomes overexpressed in the uteri of mice treated neonatally with the synthetic estrogen, diethylstilbestrol (DES), or the phytoestrogen, genistein. Her hypothesis is that persistent uterine SIX1 expression contributes to the cancer phenotype observed in this mouse model of hormonal carcinogenesis. To test this hypothesis, she designed a series of experiments to investigate the role of SIX1 in cancer development and the mechanisms by which neonatal estrogenic chemical exposure induces uterine SIX1 expression. She plans on pursuing an industry career focusing on drug discovery related to reproductive health, or reproductive/developmental toxicity testing.

Dharm V. Singh Carcinogenesis Award Fund

Winner: Elizabeth Lightbody

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: BScH
Institution/Affiliation: Queen's University Cancer Research Institute

Elizabeth Lightbody is a graduate student with the Queen's University Cancer Research Institute and received the Dharm V. Singh Carcinogenesis Award for her work entitled, "PPAR? Loss Increases Metastatic Potential of HER2+ Breast Tumours in Mammary Epithelial Targeted Knockout Mice." Her research project investigates the link between the ligand-activated transcription factor PPAR? to the poor prognosis in patients with breast tumours that overexpress human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2+). Her epithelial-specific HER2 overexpressing PPAR? knockout mouse model has shown increased lung metastases, suggesting that a loss of PPAR? may enhance the metastatic potential of HER2+ breast tumours to the lung. This project will unveil novel PPAR? upstream and downstream targets that may be used as predictive biomarkers for HER2+ breast tumour patients susceptible to increased metastasis, and lay a foundation for similar studies in other human breast tumour subtypes. She is interested in the potential of drugs to be repurposed for different diseases and was drawn to work that focuses on using thiazolidinedione drugs that were previously used in the clinical setting to treat and prevent type II diabetes. These drugs are now implicated to have chemotherapeutic potential. Through increased knowledge of drug re-purposing and combination therapies she hopes to advance the science of toxicology to create an improved response rate and overall survival for these poor prognosis patients.

Dharm V. Singh Carcinogenesis Award Fund

Winner: Christal Lewis

Award Year: 2014
Current Degrees: BS
Institution/Affiliation: Rutgers Biomedical Health Sciences

Christal Lewis is a Graduate Student at Rutgers Biomedical Health Sciences and reveived the Dharm V. Singh Carcinogenesis Award for her work entitled, “In Utero Exposure of F-344 Rats to Low Levels of Dietary Zeranol Induces Transgenerational Effects on Sexual Development and Susceptibility to Chemically-Induced Mammary Carcinogenesis.”Her work entails a transgenerational study, treating pregnant rats with zeranol to see if it has an effect in physical and developmental changes to subsequent generations. Her research is attempting to create a healthier way to look at the effect of food additives and steroids across generations in hopes that people will be more cautious with the food intake and consumption. She also seeks to be an advocate in the field of consumed carcinogens in all populations but especially the urban or disadvantaged populations.

Dharm V. Singh Carcinogenesis Award Fund

Winner: Chad Walesky

Award Year: 2013
Current Degrees: MS
Institution/Affiliation: University of Kansas Medical Center

Chad Walesky is a PhD candidate at the University of Kansas Medical Center and he received the Dharm V. Singh Carcinogenesis Award for his work entitled, “Deletion of Hepatocyte Nuclear Factor 4 Alpha Promotes Diethylnitroasmine-induced Carcinoma.” His work focused on the mechanisms of carcinogenesis within the liver with a primary focus on hepatocellular carcinoma. He and his colleagues investigated the role of hepatocyte nuclear factor 4 alpha within a classic model of hepatic carcinogenesis and found that livers which lack this factor are more susceptible to cancer development and progression. The award allowed him to attend the SOT Annual Meeting to gain feedback on this research and the award will further his reputation in the research community. He hopes to become an independent academic research scientist.

Dharm V. Singh Carcinogenesis Award Fund

Winner: Sara Nowinski

Award Year: 2012
Current Degrees: BA
Institution/Affiliation: Austin College of Pharmacy

Sara M. Nowinski, of Austin College of Pharmacy, for her research entitled, “Mitochondrial Uncoupling Protein 3 (UCP3) Antagonizes Epidermal Tumor Promotion and Growth Signaling.” Her ongoing experiments aim to define the molecular mechanism(s) underlying chemoprevention in this model, and to further our understanding of the interactions between metabolic changes and canonical oncogenic cell signaling pathways. One of her career goals as a toxicologist is to one day hold a position as a professor at an academic institution. She wants to continue to use her knowledge of toxicology and cancer biology, and use cutting-edge techniques to study mechanisms of carcinogenesis in her own lab.

Donald E. Gardner Inhalation Toxicology Education Award Fund

Winner: Matthew McGraw

Award Year: 2017
Current Degrees: MD
Institution/Affiliation: University of Colorado School of Medicine

Dr. McGraw was honored to receive the Donald E. Gardner Inhalation Toxicology Award. This award will allow him to learn the entire process of induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) reprogramming from reprogramming methodologies, iPSC identification, isolation and characterization, and current approaches to their directed differentiation into endodermal and lung lineages. He will use the information learned at Dr. Kotton's lab in Boston to use cell-based therapy for repair of a damaged epithelium after sulfur mustard inhalation injuries and prevention of bronchiolitis obliterans. His research is on inhalation injury after sulfur mustard. Sulfur mustard is a common warfare agent that causes both acute and chronic morbidity and mortality. One common long-term morbidity is bronchiolitis obliterans (BO). BO is defined as a progressive narrowing of the airway from fibroproliferation. One of the central pathways behind the development of BO is injury to the airway epithelium and aberrant repair. His research focuses on the contribution of the airway epithelium after inhalation injury. Additionally, he is interested in how an impaired epithelium after injury contributes to the development of BO. Recently, his lab has shown a lack of proliferation and differentiation of the airway epithelium weeks after exposure to sulfur mustard with the concurrent development of BO. The Donald Gardner Inhalation Toxicology Education Award will allow him to travel to Boston to study induced pluripotent stem cell programming. He hopes to use this education to identify, isolate, and re-program airway epithelium after sulfur mustard exposure to prevent the development of BO.

Donald E. Gardner Inhalation Toxicology Education Award Fund

Winner: Katherine Zychowski

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: University of New Mexico

Dr. Zychowski studies how air pollution drives vascular disease. Her hope is to stay in an academic or government research setting. Additionally, she is very interested in toxicological implications pertaining to public health. Under the esteemed mentorship of Drs. Matt Campen(University of New Mexico) and Jim Wagner (Michigan State University) her plan is to use this award to travel to Michigan State University this summer to train on the state-of-the-art mobile air pollution laboratory, AirCARE 2.

Edward W Carney Trainee Award Fund

Winner: Kristin Bircsak

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: BS
Institution/Affiliation: Rutgers University

Ms. Bircsak's PhD research focuses on characterizing the regulation of a feto-protective protein and placental xenobiotic transporter, the breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP/ABCG2). The data presented in her 2016 SOT abstract describes transcription factor expression and genetic variants as contributors to the up to 6-fold variation in the BCRP mRNA expression between 109 ethnically-diverse placentas. Importantly, an exonic SNP was associated with reduced BCRP protein expression, but not mRNA of individuals that expressed one or two of the variant alleles. By understanding the factors that govern placental BCRP function, the hope is to identify at risk populations that require individualized prescribing of drugs during pregnancy. Submerging herself in the research and literature of her doctoral thesis project served as inspiration to seek a career in the field of reproductive and developmental toxicology. Ultimately, Ms. Bircsak aspires for a research career in which she will help expand the limited safety data available for drugs used in pregnancy, thereby ensuring the safety of future generations.

Edward W. Carney Trainee Award Fund

Winner: Edith Marie McKenzie

Award Year: 2017
Current Degrees: BS, MS
Institution/Affiliation: University of Georgia

Ms. McKenzie was honored and excited to receive the Edward W Carney Trainee Award. It provides an opportunity to attend and share at both the Society of Toxicology and Teratology Society 2017 Annual Meetings. The state of the art research presentations are an unparalleled learning experience. In addition, the prospect of networking with leading researchers and students, while receiving specific, on point feedback about her project is a fantastic opportunity. She looks forward to increasing her knowledge and building on developmental/reproductive toxicology concepts. After a career of working with children with birth defects, her greatest accomplishment will be contributing to the science of prevention. The ultimate goal of her research is to create an alternative cell based model which predicts toxicity to the developing human brain. She is utilizing a systems approach to evaluate nerve cell responses to pesticides. The study objectives were 1) to compare the metabolomic profile of three pesticide groups; aldicarb (a carbamate), chlorpyrifos (an organophosphate) and lindane (an organochloride) in neural progenitor (hN2) cells, and 2) to determine whether the biological impact in hN2 cells would be affected by first exposing pesticides to C3A cells, an immortal liver cell line derived from hepG2 cells, and subsequently exposing the pre-conditioned media to hN2 cells. C3A cells were added to our model to mimic in vivo liver biotransformation of chemical exposures. To biotransform the pesticides, C3A cells were grown to confluency and treated with the same concentrations of pesticide in hN2 media for two hours. This pre-conditioned media was removed and added to hN2 cells. Afterwards, the media was analyzed by GC/MS. This study confirmed hN2 cells are responsive to pesticide exposure at doses less than 30uM, and pre-conditioning media results in biotransformation (i.e. chlorpyrifos forms chlorpyrifos-oxon). For parent pesticides, fluxes in the metabolomic profile increased with increasing doses and various metabolomic pathways were affected following exposure to biotransformed products. Independent of which pesticide was used in hN2 cells, some overlap occurred in metabolomic profiles; within each pesticide different profiles were observed for each dose. The introduction of the C3A pre-conditioned media affected the quantity of metabolites and biochemical pathways. In conclusion, addition of a metabolic component changed the metabolites affected and may be a better model for assessing risk.

Edward W. Carney Trainee Award Fund

Winner: Karilyn Sant

Award Year: 2017
Current Degrees: PhD, MPH
Institution/Affiliation: University of Massachusetts

Dr. Sant is incredibly grateful for this award, and hopes to serve the developmental toxicology community throughout her career according to Dr. Carney's lead. This award will not only allow her to share her current work with the toxicology community, but will also give her opportunities to establish lasting professional relationships with the many excellent developmental toxicologists in RDTSS. Her research investigates the consequences of embryonic exposures to endocrine disruptors, namely those which predispose to metabolic dysfunction later in the lifecourse. She and her colleagues are working to understand how these exposures influence embryonic nutrition, pancreas development, and glucoregulatory function. This project specifically probes the role of the Nrf2 antioxidant pathway in the response to perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), a persistent compound previously used as a surfactant in products such as Teflon and Scotchgard.

Edward W. Carney Trainee Award Fund

Winner: Deirdre Tucker

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: BS
Institution/Affiliation: UNC Chapel Hill

Overall, Ms. Tucker's research focuses on the effects of early life exposures to chemicals that have the potential to alter the developing mammary gland in a rodent model system. Her chemicals of interest include Bisphenol A and other analogues including BPAF and BPS. The goal is to determine if these chemicals may play a role in changing key morphological and cellular processes that are responsible for normal development. In turn she is also trying to determine if these chemicals have long term consequences that may increase the likelihood of developing later life diseases, including mammary carcinogenesis. The work for this award determined that following an in utero exposure to BPA, BPAF and BPS female CD-1 offspring developed multiple mammary phenotypes that included inflammation, hyperplasia, and adenocarcinoma that were present as early as 8-11 months of age. The severity of these phenotypes increased with age (14 mos.), especially in BPAF 5 mg/kg and BPS 0.5 mg/kg treated animals. Interestingly, estrogen receptor alpha and progesterone receptor mRNA expression were unchanged which may point to other mechanisms of action for these chemicals.

Emil A. Pfitzer Drug Discovery Postdoc Award Fund

Winner: Xi Li

Award Year: 2017
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: Texas A&M University

Dr. Li felt it was a great pleasure to participate in the Drug Discovery Toxicology Specialty Section's poster competition and receiving the award is a great encouragement to pursue his research and career in drug discovery. His work is focused on cancer biology, specially antitumor drugs. He and colleagues have synthesized and identified several diindolylmethane analogs including the hydroxyphenyl-bisindole isomers that target NR4A nuclear receptors in several solid tumor cell lines. These bisindole compounds also exhibit low cytotoxicity in animal xenograft studies while exhibiting potent antitumor effects. They will continue to identify chemical structural features that are important for ligand-dependent antitumor effects in order to develop compounds that could be used for cancer chemotherapy.

Emil A. Pfitzer Drug Discovery Postdoc Award Fund

Winner: Sarah Thacker

Award Year: 2017
Current Degrees: BS, PhD
Institution/Affiliation: University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

Dr. Thacker was thrilled to receive this award. She said it feels great to have others excited about her research as well and have the support from the specialty section. Her research is focused on exploring the biomarker potential of hepatocyte-derived exosomes to predict intrinsic and idiosyncratic drug-induced liver injury (DILI). Specifically, these studies aimed to optimize methods for hepatocyte-derived exosome enrichment as well as hepatocyte cell culture; methods that hadn't previously been optimized. They can now utilize these approaches to identify novel biomarkers for DILI and IDILI. A future goal is to use these biomarkers in the development of an in vitro screen of lead compounds to predict their DILI and IDILI potential.

Emil A. Pfitzer Drug Discovery Postdoc Award Fund

Winner: Priyanka Trivedi

Award Year: 2017
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: Harvard Medical School

Dr. Trivedi was really excited and pleased when she received this award. She immediately went to her advisor’s office to share this good news with him and also to thank him for all his support and encouragement. She is clearly committed to a career in toxicology research and this award will provide recognition to her work and complement her research in the field of toxicology. She will use this award as a springboard for her career in which she will make important contributions to advancing our understanding of toxicology research. Kidney fibrosis, the hallmark of the chronic kidney disease, is an irreversible process leading to the life threatening end-stage renal failure. Unfortunately there is no effective therapeutic cure for this serious condition. Her research focuses on identifying and validating druggable targets for kidney fibrosis. Using RNA sequencing, she identified phospholipase D4 (PLD4) as one of the targets for the treatment of kidney fibrosis. Proposed project for this award was to decipher a mechanistic role of PLD4 in the regulation of fibrosis. Mechanistically, they show that PLD4 facilitates fibrogenesis by modulating innate and adaptive immune responses thereby promoting a TGF-ß signaling pathway. Moreover, PLD4 induced the expression of a1-antitrypsin protein (a serine protease inhibitor) that resulted in subsequent down-regulation of a protease neutrophil elastase (NE) expression, thereby leading to the accumulation of extracellular matrix proteins. Further, PLD4 induced tyrosine receptor kinase A (TrkA)-mediated MAPK signaling. Interestingly, therapeutic targeting of PLD4 using specific siRNA also protected the mice from FA-induced kidney fibrosis by inhibiting TGF-ß signaling and activating NE. In conclusion, their findings identified PLD4 as a novel therapeutic target for kidney fibrosis - an unmet medical need.

Emil A. Pfitzer Drug Discovery Postdoc Award Fund

Winner: Amrendra Ajay

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: 1980

Amrendra Ajay is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard Medical School and received the Emil A. Pfitzer Drug Discovery Postdoctoral Award for his work entitled, "SMOC2 mediates kidney fibrosis via activating fibroblasts." Kidney toxicity is a major problem worldwide causing high mortality every year. Due to lack of therapeutic targets and early and sensitive biomarker it is impossible to detect and treat chronic kidney diseases. His team employed RNA sequencing approach to find out the early and sensitive biomarker and therapeutic target for chronic kidney injury. Secreted Modular Calcium Binding protein 2 (SMOC2) is one of the potential early and sensitive biomarker as well as therapeutic target for chronic kidney disease. SMOC2 is expressed by kidney fibroblasts that cause fibrosis. Using transgenic mice they show that SMOC2 causes kidney fibrosis. Thus his team proposes that inhibition of SMOC2 may be of therapeutic importance for kidney fibrosis. He would like to focus his research in finding the mechanisms of toxicity based molecular signaling. Finding new molecular signatures and signaling cascade may provide better understanding of the toxicity at cellular level and its translation in the animal models or in humans.

Emil A. Pfitzer Drug Discovery Postdoc Award Fund

Winner: Tamara Tal

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: BS, PhD
Institution/Affiliation: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Tamara Tal is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and received the Emil A. Pfitzer Drug Discovery Postdoctoral Award for her work entitled, "Leveraging an integrative predictive toxicity model and zebrafish and in vitro angiogenesis assays to identify chemical vascular disruptors during development." Her research centers on evaluating and improving a computational model of developmental vascular toxicity using a combination of alternative models including zebrafish. The computational model was built to predict whether over one thousand environmental chemicals disrupt blood vessel development. The predictions are based on a series of 109 surrogate cell and biochemical assays. In the absence of in vivo data, the model ranks chemicals based on their putative ability to cause blood vessel toxicity during development. her research, in collaboration with several other groups, tested the computational model’s predictions on vessel development in a genetically modified zebrafish embryo. The findings from this work show that zebrafish detect certain types of vascular disruptors and that data collected in zebrafish can be used to improve model predictions.

Emil A. Pfitzer Drug Discovery Postdoc Award Fund

Winner: Rachel Church

Award Year: 2014
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: The Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences

Rachel Church is a Postdoctoral Fellow at The Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences and received the Emil A. Pfitzer Drug Discovery Postdoc Award for her work entitled, “Doxorubicin-Induced Glomerular Injury is Associated with Urinary MicroRNA Alterations in the Rat.” Traditional biomarkers (such as alanine aminotransferase, blood urea nitrogen, and serum creatinine) utilized for monitoring organ injury are often non-specific and insensitive. These biomarkers can often become elevated for multiple reasons, not necessarily reflecting organ injury. Additionally, they may not become elevated until a significant degree of damage has already occurred. MicroRNAs have potential to outperform current biomarkers. MicroRNAs are relatively stable in biofluids, show high species conservation and can be organ-specific. They have been identified in multiple biofluids including blood and urine. An example of a sensitive microRNA biomarker is miR-122. This species is highly enriched in the liver and is released into circulation following hepatocellular injury. Data shows that miR-122 is more sensitive for detection of hepatic injury than alanine aminotransferase. Identification of microRNA biomarkers for use in nonclinical drug development may result in early detection compounds with a liability to cause organ damage. These compounds can be removed from development and can be replaced by safer alternatives. Additionally, because microRNAs show high species conservation, they may have translatable value. Drug induced organ injury is a serious complication that arises in the clinic. Finally, these biomarkers may be useful in identifying potential toxicities resulting from any toxic exposure, including environmental or occupational exposures. Dr. Church believes her research will promote a safer and healthier world by reducing drug-induced organ injury.

Emil A. Pfitzer Drug Discovery Postdoc Award Fund

Winner: Rachel Goldsmith

Award Year: 2014
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: National Toxicology Program

Rachel Goldsmith is a postdoctoral fellow at the National Toxicology Program and won the Emil A. Pfitzer Drug Discovery Postdoc Award for her work entitled, “Analysis of High-Throughput, High-Content Data in a C. elegans-Based Toxicity Assay.” Her research focused on developing a rapid, inexpensive method for testing toxicity of a wide range of compounds. She used a small nematode (C. elegans) that activates genes in response to many toxins similar to how those genes are activated by humans when exposed to toxins. This nematode is small and very easy to work with, but is a whole animal with separate organ systems, just like mammals used in more traditional toxicity testing. The nematodes used had genes added to them so that when the gene of interest turned on, they would fluoresce red. After treating the nematodes with a toxin, pictures were taken using a high-content imager, a microscope designed to rapidly acquire high-resolution images. Once she had pictures of the nematodes, Rachel used software to digitally measure how much of each nematode was fluorescing red. Since the amount of red fluorescence was directly related to the gene being turned on, she compared how six different genes responded to five different compounds. The results showed that when a gene was related to the way that a toxin causes damage (for example, a metal responsive gene and a heavy metal toxin), the gene increased. She was able to successfully measure the gene increase in a rapid, easy and inexpensive manner. This method could be used for genes of particular interest to drug discovery or drug toxicity, particularly if the biology of the drug is well understood. It is her hope that this assay, and others like it, will contribute to a safer and healthier world.

Emil A. Pfitzer Drug Discovery Postdoc Award Fund

Winner: Hua Shen

Award Year: 2014
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: UC Berkeley

Hua Shen is a Postdoctoral fellow at the University of California at Berkeley and received the Emil A Pfitzer Drug Discovery Postdoc Award for her work entitled, “Functional Genetic Screen in Human Haploid Cells to Identify Genes Involved in Susceptibility to Chemical Exposure.” Her work focused on developing a novel genetic screening platform using human haploid cells for chemical and drug gene susceptibility. This semi-solid medium based screening strategy, which simultaneously screens and generates colonies from cells resistant to the test compounds, shortens the entire screening process by approximately two to three weeks. Using this promising and efficient genetic screening platform, we are able to broadly probe genomic responses of chemicals, identify novel susceptibility genes, and gain insight into potential mechanisms of toxicity from chemical exposure.

Emil A. Pfitzer Drug Discovery Student Award Fund

Winner: Wenyi Wang

Award Year: 2017
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: Rutgers University

Dr. Wang is very excited and thankful. She feels this is an acknowledgement of her work by SOT and is encouraged to work harder through the end. Constructed computational methods to precisely predict properties of nanoparticles, in purpose of prioritizing nanoparticle drugs with wanted properties and unwanted toxicities.

Emil A. Pfitzer Drug Discovery Student Award Fund

Winner: Elijah Weber

Award Year: 2017
Current Degrees: BS
Institution/Affiliation: University of Washington

Mr. Weber was ecstatic when he received the award! He felt honored with the opportunity to be a selected finalist in the poster competition and had a wonderful time presenting his work alongside such amazing work in the scientific community. This award will help him to pursue research greatly by now enabling him to fund scientific and technical training courses. His work involves modeling the kidney, in particular the segment of the kidney most prone to injury, using an "organ-on-a-chip" system that cultures kidney cells in a three dimensional orientation. Using a system that best reflects the human kidney microenvironment, he and colleagues can model toxicity of known toxic compounds and assess safety of novel compounds to advance drug discovery and development. Accurate safety assessments can be achieved in a system without the use of preclinical animal models thus reducing, refining, and eventually replacing animal use. Future goals of this work include integration of organ types to understand organ-organ interactions which may play key roles in underlying mechanisms of toxicity. He has used this system to assess a classical nephrotoxin, Polymyxin B, as well as structural analogues observed to have improved safety profiles. Using a drug discovery toxicological approach, he has generated results that parallel preclinical findings of safety for novel compounds using a novel organ-on-a-chip 3D kidney system.

Emil A. Pfitzer Drug Discovery Student Award Fund

Winner: Melanie Abongwa

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: BSc, MSc
Institution/Affiliation: Iowa State University

Melanie Abongwa is a graduate student at Iowa State University and received the Emil A. Pfitzer Drug Discovery Student Award for her work entitled, "In vitro filaricidal activity, cytotoxicity and phytochemical analysis of crude extracts of Daniellia oliveri and Psorospermum febrifugum." research involves identifying natural plants with anthelmintic properties based on ethnopharmacological information, testing the efficacy of extracts from these plants on nematode parasites, identifying the chemical compounds that account for activity, determining the mode of action of these compounds, and assessing their toxicity using mammalian cells and/or animal models. The overall goal of this research is to isolate non-toxic chemical compounds with anthelmintic properties from medicinal plants which could be donated to philanthropic agencies or pharmaceutical companies for the development of the much needed drugs for treatment of nematode parasite infections. She hopes that her studies will identify compounds from medicinal plants that alone or in combination could have enhanced selective activity against nematode parasites compared to existing anthelmintics, inform on the mode of action and toxicity of the compounds, and as well identify new targets for anthelmintic drugs. These findings will go a long way to contribute towards anthelmintic therapeutic drug discovery, as there are currently a limited number of anthelmintics, and for which concerns of resistance development is on the rise.

Emil A. Pfitzer Drug Discovery Student Award Fund

Winner: Monica Langley

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: BS
Institution/Affiliation: Iowa State University

Monica Langely is a graduate student at Iowa State University and received the Emil A. Pfitzer Drug Discovery Student Award for her work entitled, "Preclinical Efficacy Testing of the Mitochondria Targeted Antioxidant Mito-apocynin in the Transgenic MitoPark Mouse Model of Chronic Dopaminergic Neurodegeneration." In this study, she evaluated the neuroprotective efficacy of an orally active apocynin derivative with increased mitochondrial bioavailability in the MitoPark model. Her team discovered that mito-apocynin was able to improve locomotor deficits, neuronal loss and dopamine levels in these mice and additionally identified markers of oxidative stress and inflammation that are increased in MitoPark mice at 24wks. Mito-apocynin was able to attenuate levels of oxidative stress markers and almost completely inhibit reactive microgliosis in MitoPark mice. These findings indicate a neuroprotective role of mito-apocynin that should be considered for further clinical development of the compound for the treatment of Parkinson's disease.

Emil A. Pfitzer Drug Discovery Student Award Fund

Winner: Chelsea Snyder

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: BS
Institution/Affiliation: UC-Davis

Chelsea Snyder is a graduate student at University of California Davis and received the Emil A. Pfitzer Drug Discovery Student Award for her work entitled, "Human iPSC Neurons: in vitro Models to Predict Clinical Neurotoxicity." Neurotoxicity is a major cause of new drugs being pulled from clinical trials. This is due, in part, to a lack in ability of current preclinical animal models to predict these adverse effects. She feels there is strong need for a model more relevant to humans. Primary human neurons are not readily renewable resource, and immortalized human neuronal cell lines are of cancer origins. Thus, her project sought to establish a more relevant model, in human induced pluripotent stem cells, to attempt to bridge this gap between species differences. Using test compounds, she has developed a platform that assesses neurotoxicity through multiple functional endpoints and has the potential to provide early predictive utility in the drug development process. Ultimately, her research helps us grasp a drug candidate’s neurotoxic liabilities before investing in nonclinical and clinical evaluation. This helps streamline the drug development process, so that cutting edge, novel therapeutics can become available to the public in a faster, safer way.

Emil A. Pfitzer Drug Discovery Student Award Fund

Winner: Muhammet Ay

Award Year: 2014
Current Degrees: MS
Institution/Affiliation: Iowa State University

Muhammet Ay is a graduate student at Iowa State University and received the Emil A. Pfitzer Drug Discovery Student Award for his work entitled, “Quercetin Treatment Protects Progressive Nigral Dopaminergic Neuronal Degeneration in Cell Culture and MitoPark Animal Models of Parkinson’s Disease by Activating PKD1 Signaling.” His study used a natural herbal compound quercetin as a potential neuroprotective agent for Parkinson's disease. They used in vitro and in vivo tools to evaluate the neuroprotective effect of this compound. First, they tested if this compound has any effect on mitochondrial function and neuroprotective signaling pathways. After finding that this compound can improve mitochondrial function, they tested this compound in a new transgenic mouse model of Parkinson's disease and found that quercetin can reverse the behavioral deficits and dopaminergic neuronal cell loss in this mouse model. Their results suggest that quercetin can activate the neuroprotective signaling pathways and is a promising neuroprotective drug candidate for the treatment of Parkinson's disease.

Emil A. Pfitzer Drug Discovery Student Award Fund

Winner: Kazuhisa Miyakawa

Award Year: 2014
Current Degrees: BVSc
Institution/Affiliation: Michigan State University

Kazuhisa Miyakawa is a graduate student at the Michigan State University and received the Emil A. Pfitzer Drug Discovery Student Award for his work entitled, “Contribution of Par-4 and Thrombin to Acetaminophen Hepatotoxicity in Mice.” His work focused on evaluating the contribution of one of the thrombin receptors known to exist on mouse platelets using genetic modification (ie, deleting the receptor in mice) and further evaluating the contribution of thrombin using a direct thrombin inhibitor. Both of these modifications resulted in decreased liver injury from acetaminophen. Furthermore, both caused a decrease in thrombin activation and platelet accumulation in the liver, further supporting the importance of thrombin and platelets in APAP hepatotoxicity in mice. The results presented at 2014 SOT indicate that platelets and protease-activated receptor-4 (PAR-4) contribute to amplification of thrombin generation and to the progression of liver injury from APAP overdose. The results raise the possibility that platelet-directed intervention might provide adjunctive therapy in APAP poisoning cases. Also, many of the drugs that cause drug-induced liver injury (including idiosyncratic drug-induced liver injury) seem to involve a progression events similar to APAP hepatotoxicity. The contributions of thrombin and platelets to these other drug toxicities have not been evaluated yet, and such evaluation might lead to adjunctive therapies for other drugs that cause liver injury.

Emil A. Pfitzer Drug Discovery Student Award Fund

Winner: Roshni Rao

Award Year: 2014
Current Degrees: MS
Institution/Affiliation: University of South Carolina

Roshni Rao is a graduate student at the University of South Carolina and received the Emil A. Pfitzer Drug Discovery Student Award for her work entitled, “Δ9Tetrahydrocannabinol prevents mice from Staphylococcal enterotoxin B-induced toxic death by the modulation of the miR-17-92 cluster and de novo induction of T-regulatory cells.” Her work focuses on the therapeutic application of Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a marijuana derived compound in the treatment against Staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB)induced lung toxicity. While we find that the toxin, a potent inflammatory agent causes the death of mice, THC, a known anti-inflammatory compound protects mice. We show that a novel mechanism behind THC's activity could possibly be it's ability to modulate microRNA (miRNA),recently discovered regulators of gene expression. Since basic research has only recently begun to highlight the myriad anti-inflammatory properties of THC, this award encourages us to continue studying the compound in the context of severe toxicity. By carefully dissecting its efficacy and immunological activity, we hope our research will result in its use as a potential therapeutic drug.

Emil Alvin Pfitzer Drug Discovery Student Award Fund

Winner: Rachel Church

Award Year: 2013
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: The Hamner Institutes of Health Sciences

Rachel Church is a postdoctoral fellow of The Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences and she received the Emil A. Pfitzer Drug Discovery Award for her work entitled, “Identification of Genomic Regions Linked to Epigallochatechin Gallate Induced Liver Toxicity Using the Diversity Outbred Stock.” Epigallochatechin gallate (EGCG) is a major component found in green tea and is thought to be responsible for all the positive health benefits associated with the consumption of green tea. Because of these health benefits, EGCG is sold as an herbal supplement. However, following ingestion of EGCG in its supplement form, patients are showing up in the clinic with cases of liver toxicity thought to result from EGCG. In an attempt to identify genetic regions linked to EGCG-induced hepatic injury, Dr. Church and her colleagues used a diverse mouse population, the Diversity Outbred stock, to perform genome wide association mapping linked to EGCG-induced changes in ALT. This mapping identified a region of variation on Chromosome 4, specific to the NOD mouse strain, which seems to confer resistance to EGCG-induced ALT changes on animals that carry it. This award will help Dr. Church pursue her research by generating interest in the project.

Emil Alvin Pfitzer Drug Discovery Student Award Fund

Winner: Monica Langley

Award Year: 2013
Current Degrees: BS
Institution/Affiliation: Iowa State University

Monica Langley is a graduate student of Iowa State University and she received the Emil A. Pfitzer Drug Discovery Award for her worked entitled, “Behavioral, Neurochemical, and Histological Characterization of a Novel MitoPark Mouse Model.” Her research involved MitoPark mice, which were (and necessary parental colonies) genotyped, cared for, and behaviorally analyzed. Additionally, the mice were treated daily for one month with manganese for one study, and mito-apocyanin for another. At sacrifice, she and her colleagues did a perfusion and a dissection of the tissues. Later, they were used for techniques such as immunohistochemistry, western blot, and HPLC.

Emil Alvin Pfitzer Drug Discovery Student Award Fund

Winner: Mili Mandal

Award Year: 2013
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: Rutgers University

Mili Mandal is a postdoctoral fellow of Rutgers University and she received the Emil A. Pfitzer Drug Discovery Award for her work entitled, “Spleen as a Source of Inflammatory Macrophages: Role in Acetaminophen-induced Hepatotoxicity.” Acetaminophen (APAP) is a widely used over the counter pain-killer and fever reducer. At therapeutic doses, it is considered safe and effective; however, toxic doses leads to hepatotoxicity, which is by far the most common cause of acute liver failure in US and UK. Monocytes/macrophages, cells of innate immune system have been shown to play an important role in APAP-induced hepatotoxicity. However, the origin of these cells has not been established. Splenic monocytes/macrophages have been shown to accumulate at inflammatory sites following tissue injury. In the present studies, she and her colleagues analyzed the contribution of splenic monocytes/macrophages to liver inflammation and injury induced by APAP. Their data demonstrate, for the first time, a role of the spleen as a reservoir for proinflammatory monocytes/macrophages in APAP-induced hepatotoxicity. Her career goal is to become an independent research scientist in the field of immuno-toxicology. Her long-term research interests involve understanding the role of Th17 cells and their interaction with other innate and adaptive immune cells as well as inflammatory mediators in liver inflammation caused by hepatitis C (HCV). Treatments for patients with HCV are suboptimal and there is no vaccine available to prevent it.

Emil Alvin Pfitzer Drug Discovery Student Award Fund

Winner: Kazuhisa Miyakawa

Award Year: 2013
Current Degrees: DVM
Institution/Affiliation: Michigan State University

Kazuhisa Miyakawa is a graduate student of Michigan State University and received the Emil A. Pfitzer Drug Discovery Award for his work entitled, “Platelet Depletion Reduces Acetaminophen Hepatotoxicity in Mice.” Acetaminophen hepatotoxicity is the most common cause of acute liver failure in the US. Treatment for this toxicity is limited and there are interests in evaluating the possible progressive events that might lead to alternative treatments. He and his colleagues evaluated the contribution of platelets in this hepatotoxicity and suggested that platelets play a role in the generation of thrombin. They also evaluated the direct effect of thrombin on hepatocytes by isolating primary hepatocytes, however there was no direct effect. He wants to contribute to the research in the field of drug induced liver injury.

Emil Alvin Pfitzer Drug Discovery Student Award Fund

Winner: Arya Sobhakumari

Award Year: 2013
Current Degrees: DVM
Institution/Affiliation: University of Iowa

Arya Sobhakumari is a PhD candidate of the University of Iowa and she received the Emil Pfitzer Drug Discovery Award for her work entitled, “Role of NOX4 Mediated Autophagy in Reducing Cytotoxic Effects of EGFR Inhibitor Erlotinib in Head and Neck Cancer Cells.” Her research explored why head and neck cancers have become resistant to chemotherapy agent erlotinib after an initial favorable response. Her research focused on finding the mechanism that reduced the efficacy of erlotinib. The idea was that manipulating/inhibiting that specific mechanism would increase the treatment efficacy of erlotinib. She would like to play a part in the research that will find alternative methods for reducing the chemical burden on the body and find out cures for diseases that ensures that the toxicity or side effects to the patients are minimal.

Emil Alvin Pfitzer Drug Discovery Student Award Fund

Winner: Durga Tripathi

Award Year: 2013
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: Institute of Biosciences & Technology, Texas A&M Health Science Center

Durga Tripathi is a postdoctoral student of Texas A & M Health Science Center and he received the Emil A. Pfitzer Drug Discovery Award for his work entitled, “Reactive Nitrogen Species Regulate Autophagy through ATM-AMPK-TSC2-mediated Suppression of mTORC1.” Nitric oxide is an important signaling molecule involved in many physiological and pathological process. He identified a novel pathway by which nitrosative stress induced autophagy and killed the cancer cells. Suppression of mTORC1 induced autophagy and cell death in breast cancer cells, which are resistant towards apoptosis. As cancer cells are particularly sensitive to nitrosative stress, these data open new avenues for therapies capitalizing on the ability of RNS to induce autophagic cell death. He would like to advance the science of toxicology by delineating the role of autophagy in cancer and participate in CE courses.

Emil Alvin Pfitzer Drug Discovery Student Award Fund

Winner: Jennifer Foreman

Award Year: 2012
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: Pennsylvania State University

Jennifer Foreman, of Penn State University, for her work entitled, “Developmental and Species-Specific Sensitivity of PPARa Agonist-Induced Hepatic Effects.” Her work focused on the differences in liver injury in mice and humans after exposure to a drug developed to treat hypolipidemia. She and her team also investigated whether exposure during development sensitized individuals to the toxic effects of the compound. She would like to discover models that are more applicable to the human condition.

Emil Alvin Pfitzer Drug Discovery Student Award Fund

Winner: Rhiannon Hardwick

Award Year: 2012
Current Degrees: BS, BFA Ballet Pedagogy
Institution/Affiliation: University of Arizona

Rhiannon Hardwick, of the University of Arizona, for her work entitled, “Increased Susceptibility to Drug-Induced Toxicity in Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis.” Her project involved an investigation of susceptibility to multiorgan drug-induced toxicity in nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. Her dissertation work involves understanding how nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) alters drug metabolism and disposition. Co-morbibities of NAFLD include obesity and type 2 diabetes and she hopes that her research brings awareness to the healthcare community about the necessity of understanding the risk of toxicity in the patient population upon administration of pharmaceuticals.

Emil Alvin Pfitzer Drug Discovery Student Award Fund

Winner: Aik Jiang Lau

Award Year: 2012
Current Degrees: BS, PhD
Institution/Affiliation: The University of British Columbia

Aik Jiang Lau, of the University of British Columbia, for his abstract titled, “Functional Analysis of the SV23, SV24, and SV25 Splice Variants of Human Constitutive Androstane Receptor (CAR): Comparison of Ginkgo Biloba Extract with Other Known Activators of CAR.” Constitutive androstane receptor (CAR) controls the transcription of genes involved in a broad array of biological functions, including bioactivation and detoxification of toxicants, inflammation, glucose and lipid metabolism. This receptor exists in various isoforms in the liver. The purpose of his work is to compare the functionality of four different CAR isoforms using five different chemicals/drugs/natural products (Ginkgo biloba extract). Key findings indicate that the four different CAR isoforms respond differently to different chemicals/drugs/natural products. He is passionate about research and wants to continue in scientific research. His research interest is in drug-induced toxicities and the mechanisms underlying these toxicities. In the future, he hopes to advance the science of toxicology by finding ways/in vitro methods to better predict drug-induced toxicities and to prevent the toxicities. The overall goal is to ensure the safety of drugs to patients.

Emil Alvin Pfitzer Drug Discovery Student Award Fund

Winner: Michael Rouse

Award Year: 2012
Current Degrees: MS
Institution/Affiliation: University of South Carolina School of Medicine

Michael Rouse, of the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, for his work entitled, “Indoles Alleviate the Development of Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyeltitis (EAE) by Activation of Aryl Hydrocarbon and Estrogen Receptors Leading to Altered micro-RNA Regulation and Suppression of Th17 Activation.” He and his group examined how I3C and DIM could be used as both a preventative as well as a therapeutic treatment option for an active MS disease state. He hopes to develop safer, more effective treatments for the many disabling diseases and illnesses of the world.

Endowment - Jean Lu Student Scholarship Award Fund

Winner: Kathy Xue

Award Year: 2017
Current Degrees: BS
Institution/Affiliation: University of Georgia

She is very happy to receive this award. This is a rare opportunity to showcase her PhD research work and will have important impact on her on-going research and future career. Her research works, for which she won the award, focuses on studying toxic effects of naturally occurring foodborne contaminants (mycotoxins), especially for aflatoxins and fumonisins, on animal and human health, as well as their roles in contributing to cancer risks. Co-contamination of aflatoxins and fumonisins has been found world-wide, detectable in many food items, particularly in corn and corn products. Aflatoxins are known cancer causing agents in humans and can cause human liver cancer, while fumonisins are shown to be cancer promoting agents in animal models, and was associated with increased risk of human esophageal cancer.

Endowment - Jean Lu Student Scholarship Award Fund

Winner: Xiao Xiao

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: BS
Institution/Affiliation: University of Massachusetts Amherst

The purpose of Mr. Xiao's research is to determine the role of permethrin, a pyrethroid insecticide, on development of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Permethrin is a structural analog of pyrethrin, a naturally occurring pyrethroid insecticide from Chrysanthemum flower heads, accounting 17% of the world insecticide uses in 2013 and more than 60% of pyrethroids. Human exposure to permethrin is very likely to occur through food chain contamination and direct application to control ectoparasites. Concurrently, the rising rate of obesity and type 2 diabetes cannot be explained fully by considering changes in diet, lifestyle or genetics of individuals, suggesting the need to investigate other factors that may be involved in this disease outbreak. An increasing number of scientific studies have suggested a potential link between insecticide exposure and the development of obesity and type 2 diabetes. His research will help to fill the current knowledge gap between insecticide exposure and alteration of glucose and lipid metabolism. The research that helped him win the Jean Lu student award was determination of the role of permethrin and its interaction with dietary fat on development of obesity and diabetes in mice. This will be the first in vivo study determining the role of permethrin and development of obesity and type 2 diabetes. We tested three doses of permethrin, between acceptable daily intake and chronic no observed effect levels, in low-fat fed and high-fat fed mice for 12 weeks. Our results showed that permethrin treatment significantly increased weight gain, fat mass, and insulin resistance in high-fat fed groups, but no significant effect were observed in low-fat fed animals. These results suggest that increased dietary fat may have contributed to effects of permethrin in altered lipid and glucose metabolism. His next goal is to investigate detailed mechanism of how permethrin exposure, interacting with dietary fat, caused weight gain and insulin resistance by using a cell culture model.

Founders Award

Winner: John Thomas

Award Year: 2014
Current Degrees:
Institution/Affiliation:

Dr. John A. Thomas, PhD, DATS, FACT, is awarded the 2014 SOT Founders Award. Dr. Thomas received his PhD from the University of Iowa in 1961. Currently he a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Texas Health Science Center - San Antonio, in Texas; as well as an Adjunct Professor at the Indiana University School of Medicine, Indiana. Throughout his distinguished career, Dr. Thomas’s contributions to toxicological sciences in many different areas ranging from the safety of nutrients and food ingredients, to pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, health promoting agents and environmental chemicals have been highly recognized by his peers and the scientific community. He continues to be an educator and a scientist, and the discipline of toxicology will continue to benefit from his vision and leadership. During his years in academia, he mentored undergraduate and graduate students, post doctoral fellows and numerous colleagues. In addition to his several decades as an educator in the United States and internationally, Dr. Thomas has volunteered his expertise as a member of various governmental science boards and advisory committees, on various editorial boards, and has provided his expertise as a consultant to the FDA, National Academy of Sciences and the Department of Defense. Dr. Thomas is a past-President of the Academy of Toxicological Sciences and also the American College of Toxicology. He is a Fellow in the American College of Toxicology and also the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences As a member of SOT since 1971, Dr. Thomas has served as an SOT Continuing Education Lecturer (1983, 1985, and 1988); SOT Councilor (1985-1987); President of two Regional Chapter Executive Committees: Midwest Chapter (1988) and Gulf Coast Chapter (now Lone Star Chapter- 1998); and as the SOT Education Committee Chair (2000). He is the recipient of multiple prestigious awards including the SOT Merit Award (1998) and both the Commissioner’s and Distinguished Service Awards from the FDA.

Founders Award

Winner: William Suk

Award Year: 2013
Current Degrees: BS, MS, PhD, MPH
Institution/Affiliation: NIEHS-NIH

William Alfred Suk, PhD, MPH, is the 2013 SOT Founders Award recipient. Dr. Suk has served as director of the Superfund Hazardous Substances Basic Research and Training Program (Superfund Research Program) since its inception. He is also director of the Center for Risk & Integrated Sciences (CRIS) at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). His affiliation with a number of organizations and committees include: Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research, and Medicine, Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences; International Advisory Board of the Chulabhorn Research Institute, Bangkok, Thailand; and World Health Organization Consultation on Scientific Principles and Methodologies for Assessing Health Risks in Children Associated with Chemical Exposures. He is also a member of a number of trans-NIH committees. Dr. Suk received his PhD in microbiology from the George Washington University and his Masters in Public Health in health policy from the School of Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He sits on the editorial boards of a number of international journals, including Environmental Health, Toxicology and Environmental Chemistry, International Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health, and the Central European Journal of Public Health. Dr. Suk has been a National Science Foundation Fellow. The NIH has honored him for his many efforts and he has received the HHS Secretary’s Award for Distinguished Service. He is a recipient of the Roy E. Albert Memorial Award for Translational Research in Environmental Health from the University of Cincinnati; the Child Health Advocacy Award from the Children’s Environmental Health Network; the John P. Wyatt Lecture Award in Environmental Health and Disease from the University of Kentucky; and the Adel F. Sarofim Award for Outstanding Professional Achievement in Championing Research on the Origin, Fate and Health Effects of Combustion Emissions. In addition to these many honors, he is a Fellow of the Collegium Ramazzini. The Society is pleased to present Dr. Suk with the 2013 SOT Founders Award, sponsored by the SOT Endowment Fund.

Founders Award

Winner: John A. Moore

Award Year: 2012
Current Degrees: DVM, DABT
Institution/Affiliation: Hollyhouse Inc

John A. Moore, DVM, DABT, is presented the 2012 SOT Founders Award in recognition of his outstanding leadership in fostering the role of toxicological sciences in safety decision-making through the development and application of state-of-the-art approaches that elucidate, with a high degree of confidence, the distinctions for humans between safe and unsafe exposures to chemical and physical agents. Dr. Moore has distinguished himself in various governmental and private positions, holding a number of senior positions in the US government, including Deputy Administrator and Assistant Administrator for Pesticides and Toxic Substances of the US EPA, Deputy Director of the National Toxicology Program (NTP), and Director of Toxicology Research and Testing at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). He served for ten years as founder and President and CEO of the not-for-profit Institute for Evaluating Health Risks (IEHR) and recently completed a five-year term as principal scientist at the NTP Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction. Dr. Moore has served on several National Research Council committees, including being chair of the Subcommittee on the Toxicity of Diisopropyl Methylphosphonate and a member of the Subcommittee on Reproductive and Developmental Toxicology. Dr. Moore has also served as the President of the Toxicology Education Foundation. He also reviewed new scientific data and advised the manufacturer on additional studies that characterized the toxicity profile of perfluorinated chemicals such as PFOS. This work led to the quick withdrawal of such compounds from commercial use in an expedient and orderly manner. At IEHR and later for NTP’s Center for Evaluating Risks to Human Reproduction (CERHR), he designed and implemented a program to comprehensively review toxicology and exposure data on reproductive and developmental toxicology. This resulted in the strongest documents on this important area of chemical safety. Although retired, Dr. Moore has continued to serve on various panels and boards. For his contributions to toxicology and to the safety assessment and regulation of chemicals, the Society recognizes Dr. John A. Moore as the 2012 SOT Founders Award recipient.

Frank C. Lu Food Safety Student Award Fund

Winner: Alexandra Turley

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: BS in Food Science from the University of Delaware, PhD in Pharmacology and Toxicology from Michigan State University (in progress)
Institution/Affiliation: Michigan State University

Alexandra Turley is a Graduate Student at Michigan State University and received the Frank C. Lu Food Safety Student Award for her work entitled, "The Food Additive tBHQ Inhibits Activation of Primary Human CD4 T Cells." Her research investigates the effects of a food preservative that activates a ubiquitous cell stress response pathway on the immune system, specifically T cells. This work adds to both work done on understating T cell function and work on safety of food ingredients. The immune system mediates host defense, and also is involved in the pathology of a number of diseases such as autoimmunity and allergy. Understanding the effects of xenobiotics, both from foods and other sources, on the immune system is needed to ensure that these compounds do not have negative health effects.

Frank C. Lu Food Safety Student Award Fund

Winner: Brenna Flannery

Award Year: 2013
Current Degrees: Bachelor of Science
Institution/Affiliation: Michigan State University

Brenna Flannery is a graduate student of Michigan State University and she was the recipient of the Frank C. Lu for her work entitled, “Evaluation of Insulin-Like Growth Factor Acid-Labile Subunit as a Novel Biomarker of Effect to the Mycotoxin Deoxynivalenol.” The goal of her project was to evaluate insulin-like growth factor as a potential biomarker of effect for the mycotoxin Deoxynivalenol (DON). In humans, DON is reported to cause symptoms of acute gastroenteritis such as vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and fever upon acute high dose exposure. Low dose chronic DON exposure in humans has been frequently assessed using the biomarker of exposure DON-glucuronide; however, long-term effects of low dose DON exposure have been impossible to assess due to lack of biomarker of effect. One potential biomarker of effect for DON is plasma IGFALS. She is hopeful the outcomes of this project will advance the field of food safety because the results will help us to understand and predict adverse effects of an adulterant in our food. The award helped her attend the 2013 Society of Toxicology Meeting, where she formed relationships with new colleagues, acquired new ideas for her research and she also learned about potential opportunities for her future in science.

Frank C. Lu Food Safety Student Award Fund

Winner: Amanda Smolarek

Award Year: 2012
Current Degrees: BS
Institution/Affiliation: Rutgers University

Amanda Smolarek, of Rugters Unviersity, for her work entitled, “Dietary Administration of Delta- and Gamma-Tocopherol Inhibits Mammary Carcinogenesis.” Her work is focused on estrogen receptor positive breast cancer. In the lab, she focused on the prevention of breast cancer by treatment with natural compounds. As a senior graduate student, she is planning to finish her thesis work by the summer 2012. She asserts that although one form, alpha-tocopherol, is a major antioxidant, other forms such as delta- and gamma-tocopherol have better chemo-preventive effects. She hopes that her future research is something that is practical to everyday lifestyle and will make an impact of the way we live our lives. She would love to play a role in industry or academia, teaching a new generation.

Frank C. Lu Food Safety Students Award Fund

Winner: Blake Rushing

Award Year: 2017
Current Degrees: BS Chemistry
Institution/Affiliation: East Carolina University

When Mr. Rushing found out that he received the Frank C. Lu student award, he was absolutely ecstatic. He fels it is such a tremendous honor to be a recipient of this award and he is very grateful to be recognized for the work he put towards his dissertation research. Receiving such an award increases the attention that his lab receives which goes a long way towards improving the ability to share research with the rest of the world. His plan is to use the funds included in the award to support his travel to the SOT Annual Meeting where he can share my findings with other brilliant minds in the field and gain their feedback to bolster the quality of his work. His research is focused on detoxifying foods that are contaminated with a particular food toxin, aflatoxin B1. This toxin occurs naturally on foods worldwide due to production of a very common fungus that grows on crops. Aflatoxin B1 is also highly linked with the development of liver cancer, making exposure to this toxin highly concerning. The research that won this award was his development of a novel treatment method that can potentially be used on contaminated foods to deactivate the toxin. He and colleagues found that after processing foods with our method, the toxin is completely transformed into a new chemical form which no longer damages DNA, preventing the initiation of cancer. This finding can be used as a basis to make aflatoxin B1-contaminated food safe to eat again and hopefully reduce the occurrence of liver cancer worldwide. Firstly, his future goals include graduating with his PhD in Pharmacology & Toxicology in approximately a year from now. Afterwards, he hopes to stay in academia where he can continue to work on issues in food safety. His home state, North Carolina, is highly involved in agriculture making food toxicology a top priority for where he lives. It is his hope to learn as much as possible about the problems faced in food safety and use his research abilities to find solutions to provide safer and cleaner foods to people around the world.

Frank C. Lu Food Safety Students Award Fund

Winner: Gopi Gadupudi

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: BS, MS
Institution/Affiliation: University of Iowa

Mr. Gadupudi's research involves understanding the toxicity of food-borne chemicals such as PCB126. Specifically, this work involves characterizing the dose and time dependent toxicity of PCB126 in causing metabolic disorders such as diabetes, fatty liver and metabolic syndrome. Moving forward, he and his colleagues would like to understand the mechanisms involved in the PCB or POP induced metabolic disruption. Understanding these mechanisms would definitely aid in identifying adverse effects on human health and risk characterization.

Frank C. Lu Food Safety Students Award Fund

Winner: Mansi Krishan

Award Year: 2014
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: University fo Cincinnati

Mansi Krishan is a PhD candidate at the University of Cincinnati and she received the Frank C. Lu Food Safety Students Award for her work entitled, “Toxicology and Risk Assessment of Chemical Mixtures.” The purpose of her project is to research the state of science of the toxicology and risk assessment methodologies for chemical mixtures and to gather perspectives from regulatory agencies, scientific community and independent organizations regarding the on-going research on safety evaluation of chemical mixtures with a focus on food related chemical mixtures. Considering the current challenges in food mixtures such as heavy metals, pesticides and migrants from packaging, a case study was done to compare different methodologies and their applicability to food mixtures. Her research will help in understanding the landscape of toxicology and risk assessment of chemical mixtures. It will also help in identification and selection of most appropriate risk assessment methods for safety evaluation of chemical mixtures especially food related mixtures and contribute towards public health. She would like to create more awareness among students about the science of toxicology and how it relates to improving real life problems such as food safety and public health.

Gabriel L. Plaa Education Award

Winner: Joseph Cichocki

Award Year: 2017
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: Texas A&M University

Dr. Cichocki is honored to be a finalist for the Plaa award. This is one of the most highly-regarded awards that are offered to postdoc members of SOT. Being a finalist for this award has made him realize that the work that he is doing is recognized as being important for the field of Mechanistic Toxicology. He will definitely apply his knowledge in mechanistic toxicology as he pursues a career in the Pharmaceutical Industry. As he begins the next step in his career, he will be handing off some of this research to undergraduate and graduate students in the lab and will provide them guidance during their research so that they can continue to study the interaction between diet, disease, and genetics on chemical metabolism and target organ toxicity. His research is broadly focused on investigating inter-individual variability in susceptibility to chemical-induced toxicity. The project which has lead him to being a finalist for the Plaa award is focused on the effect of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease on tetrachloroethylene disposition, metabolism, and toxicity. His future goals for this project will be to train graduate and undergraduate trainees in the lab so that they will be able to take the project over once he transitions into a career in Pharma. He feels there is always more mechanistic work to be done on a project, and while he has made considerable strides to understanding the contribution of this disease on tetrachloroethylene toxicity, the work is not completely finished. Since he had an excellent career opportunity to join a really exciting company, he had to make the decision to hand of this project to others in the lab. He anticipates that they will be able to continue to investigate molecular mechanisms and the contribution of genetics, disease, and diet to inter-individual variability in tetrachloroethylene toxicity.

Gabriel L. Plaa Education Award

Winner: Matthew Dodson

Award Year: 2017
Current Degrees: MS, PhD
Institution/Affiliation: University of Arizona College of Pharmacy

Dr. Dodson was very pleased to find out that he was a finalist for the Gabriel L. Plaa Education Award for this year’s annual Society of Toxicology meeting. He is a second year postdoctoral researcher new to the toxicology field, and this is his first time attending the Society of Toxicology meeting, so being nominated for this award is a great honor. His goal is to become the head of his own research laboratory at an academic institution, where he will mentor students and postdocs, receiving an award named after someone who made such significant contributions towards the education and mentoring of future toxicologists is another big step towards achieving this goal. Receiving this award, and having the opportunity to present research at the SOT conference will significantly further his training, and help ensure that he makes significant contributions to the toxicology field. His current research project focuses on the impact of chronic exposure to inorganic arsenic on health and disease. Specifically, he is investigating the mechanisms by which arsenic inhibits the autophagy-lysosome pathway resulting in prolonged activation of the key antioxidant transcription factor NRF2. He is also interested in how arsenic and prolonged NRF2 activation affect long-term mitochondrial structure and function to contribute to the progression of metabolic syndrome. The goal of his research is to better understand specific targets affected by chronic arsenic exposure, as well as the mechanisms that contribute to the different pathologies associated with exposure to environmental toxicants. By better understanding how arsenic affects cellular function, we can begin to create more targeted therapies for the treatment of arsenic and other toxic metal-associated diseases. The research that he presented at this year’s meeting that was part of the consideration for an award focuses on the impact of arsenic on the mitochondrial network, and how NRF2 may regulate these changes.

Gabriel L. Plaa Education Award

Winner: Gregory Smith

Award Year: 2017
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: University of North Carolina

Dr. Smith was beyond excited! The Gabriel L. Plaa award is the most important award that he has received thus far in his career. Additionally, it has validated a switch that he made from more descriptive to mechanism-heavy studies. It has also emphasized his desire to continue to mentor new trainees in toxicology. It will undoubtedly boost his motivation to keep on the career path that he has been clearing for himself. His present and future work has been aimed at generating useful data that further our understanding of the mechanisms of environmentally-related disease. The research for which he won the Gabriel Plaa award investigated the role of a specific drug transport protein in the process of liver regeneration following injury using a knockout mouse model. Although the work did not rely on a specific toxicant, it has implications in our understanding of how the liver recovers from injury of all types. He is developing a research career that will continue to investigate the mechanisms of adverse health effects of chemicals, especially air pollutants. In the future he plans to investigate mechanisms of susceptibility to ozone and asthma.

Gabriel L. Plaa Education Award

Winner: Sridhar Jaligama

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: University of Tennessee Health Science Center

Dr. Jaligama's research is focused on understanding the mechanism of pulmonary immunosuppression during early-life exposure to radical containing ultrafine particulate matter (PM) and how such exposure during early stages of life would affect the infant pulmonary host response to lower respiratory tract infections such as influenza virus. His research findings reported the role of regulatory T cells and IL10 in mediating the immunosuppressive effects of PM and exacerbation of influenza disease severity. He and his colleagues observed a significant increase in regulatory T cells and IL10 in PM exposed mice. Specific depletion of Tregs in PM-exposed mice enhanced protection against influenza virus. Further, IL10 deficiency protected the mice by decreasing the morbidity and pulmonary viral load. Together, these findings demonstrated the role of Tregs and IL10 in mediating PM-induced exacerbation of morbidity and mortality associated with acute influenza infection. These finding were based on our earlier observations of pulmonary immunosuppression in neonatal mice after acute inhalation exposure to PM. A number of epidemiological studies indicate relation between exposure to elevated levels of PM and an increased rate of hospitalization of children with adverse pulmonary events. The research outcomes from my studies would provide valuable insights into understanding the underlying mechanism of these PM-induced adverse pulmonary events. Also, these studies would contribute to general understanding of infant immune responses to such similar PM. It is his belief that a deeper understanding of the mechanism of PM-induced adverse events is critical to protecting susceptible infant populations. He hopes his studies will provide important insights that are valuable for understanding the public health risks of exposure to PM and aid in developing therapeutic interventions for PM-induced respiratory illnesses.

Gabriel L. Plaa Education Award

Winner: Nicole Olgun

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: BS, MS, PhD
Institution/Affiliation: CDC/NIOSH

Dr. Olgun's research has always focused on preterm birth, and various methods of prevention. She has worked with cells, pregnant mice, and human placental explants to study inflammation in pregnancy and cytokine expression and production. Upon becoming a post doc at NIOSH, she joined a lab that focuses on metal toxicity and free radicals. The abstract for which she won an award this year, looked at the toxicity that exists between sintered and unsintered indium tin oxide, and how these particles are cause damage to cells. Workers that are exposed to indium tin oxide in the occupational setting experience pulmonary problems, so it is important that these workers be properly protected.

Gabriel L. Plaa Education Award

Winner: Karilyn Sant

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: PhD, MPH
Institution/Affiliation: University of Massachusetts Amherst

Dr. Sant is a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Alicia Timme-Laragy's laboratory at the University of Massachusetts. The lab uses a zebrafish model to better understand the effects of endocrine disrupting compounds on pancreatic organogenesis, and seeks to identify mechanisms by which these developmental exposures may lead to metabolic dysfunction throughout the lifecourse. Her current work used two transgenic zebrafish models to visualize dysmorphogenesis of the pancreas following exposure to perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), characterized changes in the gene expression of pancreas hormones at several developmental time points, and identified perturbations of embryonic redox state following exposure.

Gabriel L. Plaa Education Award

Winner: Eric Beier

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: Rutgers University

Eric Beier is a postdoctoral fellow at Rutgers University and received the Gabriel L. Plaa Education Award for his work entitled, "Farnesiod x Receptor enhances the neuroinflammatory response to MPTP." His work focused on the study pathways that mediate neuroinflammation in the dopaminergic centers of the brain that contribute to Parkinson's Disease. He would like to connect different systems of study - brain, bone - and investigate how the interplay between these areas contribute to complex diseases on which our knowledge is limited. He hopes his preclinical research will provide new therapeutic targets that may help to lessen the neuroinflammation that contributes to Parkinson's Disease, a disease that currently has limited treatment options and has a large environmental component to its etiology.

Gabriel L. Plaa Education Award

Winner: Anna Kopec

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: Michigan State University

Anna Kopec is a postdoctoral fellow at Michigan State University and received the Gabriel L. Plaa Education Award for her work entitled, "Role of fibrin(ogen) in hepatocyte proliferation after acetaminophen overdose." Her research focuses on understanding the role of fibrinogen in liver repair and regeneration following acetaminophen (Tylenol) overdose. Liver toxicity after an overdose of this common pain medication is the number one cause of drug-induced liver damage in the United States. In a small fraction of patients, the acute toxicity is irreversible leading to permanent liver damage which requires a liver transplant. Given the limited number of available donor livers, understanding the mechanisms of liver repair and liver regeneration is crucial to help to better allocate the organs to the patients where liver regeneration is not possible. She believes that the number one role in advancing the science of toxicology in the 21st century should be the education of the non-scientific audience. Lack of proper information portrayed by the media mostly instills fear about environmental contamination in food and water, having detrimental effect on people's lives. Educating people and introducing the concept of "dose making the poison" should be the priority of toxicologists.

Gabriel L. Plaa Education Award

Winner: Shaun McCullough

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: MS, PhD
Institution/Affiliation: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Shaun McCullough is a postdoctoral fellow at the US Environmental Protection Agency and received the Gabriel L. Plaa Education Award for his work entitled, "Exposure to Ozone Prior to Acrolein Primes Markers of Oxidative, but not Pro-inflammatory, Stress in a GSTM1-dependent Manner." His work focused on the mechanisms underlying the response of the airway to air pollutant exposure. This work involved characterizing the mechanistic response to both sing and multi-pollutant exposures in vitro and a clinical study examining the physiological effects of sequential pollutant exposure. Understanding the mechanisms underlying the effects of and susceptibility to toxicant exposure is critical to protecting susceptible populations and reducing the health impacts of toxicant exposure. The continual advancement of mechanistic models will generate information that can be used to develop better models for predictive toxicology. Ultimately, the development of these models will improve the accuracy of toxicology testing while reducing the need for controlled human and animal exposure studies. Further, by bettering our understanding of how toxicants exert their effects on individuals we can ultimately practice toxicology more efficiently, protect susceptible populations, and develop strategies to ameliorate the effects of toxicant exposure.

Gabriel L. Plaa Education Award

Winner: Jaime Mirowsky

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: University of North Carolina

Jaime Mirowsky is a Postdoctoral Scholar at the University of North Carolina and received the Gabriel L. Plaa Education Award for her work entitled, "Expression of proinflammatory and oxidative stress mediators induced by nitrogen dioxide and ozone in primary human bronchial epithelial cells." Her research compared the toxic response of two common air pollutants, ozone and nitrogen dioxide, which had previously been thought to elicit a harmful respiratory response in the same manner. Her work demonstrated suggestive evidence that these pollutants do not cause a harmful response in the same manner, opening up the door for future work on the mechanisms underlying these responses. Her research provides an interesting stepping stone for creating a safer and healthier world by challenging a long-established hypothesis about the toxic effects of nitrogen dioxide. Nitrogen dioxide is a toxicant found in the ambient air but also in high concentrations indoors and in occupational settings. It has previously been compared to ozone, a very well studied toxicant, and thought to elicit toxic responses via the same mechanism.

Gabriel L. Plaa Education Award

Winner: John Clarke

Award Year: 2014
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: University of Arizona

John Clarke is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Arizona and received the Gabriel L. Plaa Education Award for his work entitled, “Synergistic Interaction between Genetics and Disease on Pravastatin Disposition.” Adverse drug reactions are a major challenge in the management of medications in the clinic. Millions of people worldwide take the cholesterol lowering drugs known as statins. Pravastatin is one widely prescribed statin that is associated with a dose-dependent adverse drug reaction known as myopathy. Myopathy is known to contribute to cessation of therapy or may require additional visits to the clinic for dose adjustment and/or a change in statin prescription. Understanding the factors that contribute to the occurrence of these adverse drug reactions will help minimize the occurrence of these and other reactions. An increasingly prevalent liver disease known as nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) has been shown to slow the clearance of certain drugs from the body. This has major implications for drugs that have either a narrow therapeutic window or have dose-dependent adverse drug reactions. In the context of precision medicine, our data indicate that clinicians should be cognizant of the presence of underlying liver disease (i.e. NASH) when prescribing certain drugs. By accounting for this variable some of the adverse drug reactions that occur on a regular basis may be avoided. This will increase the safety of drug therapies and, in the case of statins, avoid costly medication changes and encourage more people to maintain their therapy rather than stop due to the uncomfortable side effect of myopathy. Collectively, this research illuminates an additional factor in inter-individual variability for drug response that previously has not been appreciated and accepted as a risk factor and provides the foundation for many future clinical studies in this important and emerging area.

Gabriel L. Plaa Education Award

Winner: Tetyana Kobets

Award Year: 2014
Current Degrees: MD, MSPH
Institution/Affiliation: Division of Biochemical Toxicology, National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR)

Tetyana Kobets is a researcher with the Division of Biochemical Toxicology, National Center for Toxicological Research and received the Gabriel L. PLaa Education Award for her work entitled, “Epigenetic Alterations in the Livers of Fisher 344 Rats Exposed to Furan.” The main focus of the recognized by this award study was to investigate the role of epigenetic alterations in the mechanisms of furan hepatotoxicity and carcinogenicity. The results of the study showed that exposure of male rats to furan caused dose-and time-dependent epigenetic changes in their livers. These findings significantly contribute to our understanding of the mechanisms of furan carcinogenesis and could be helpful for the future development of prevention strategies for early hepatic adverse effects associated with the furan exposure. Advanced understanding of mechanisms involved in liver carcinogenesis, and the role of environmental and lifestyle agents in the development of liver cancer will be helpful in determination and analysis of molecular targets of potential chemopreventive agents and in uncovering of molecular biomarkers of liver injury. This will help to develop a better strategies for carcinogens risk assessment, provide us with more data needed to decrease the incidence rates of liver cancer as it will result in the development of better ways to prevent, detect, diagnose, and treat this disease.

Gabriel L. Plaa Education Award

Winner: Kathryn Page

Award Year: 2014
Current Degrees: BSc, PhD
Institution/Affiliation: UC Berkeley

Kathryn Page is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of California, Berkeley and received the Gabriel L. PLaa Education Award for her work entitled, “Toxic Milk Leads to the “Mask” Phenotype in Hephaestin Knockout Mice.” Dr. Page feels especially delighted to be presented with the Plaa Award, due to the importance of the liver in iron homeostasis and metabolism, co-ordinating well with the seminal work by Dr Plaa on hepatotoxic mechanisms. Dr. Page's work focused on the mechanism behind iron deficiency hair-loss in mice. This work involves the hephaestin knockout mouse (lacking a copper-iron ferroxidase important for intestinal iron transport), which grows hair normally post birth, but cycles through a period of hair-loss at approximately 14 days, followed by regrowth around 40 days. The mechanism appears to be due to iron deficiency, and is passed on through the mother's milk, rather than by genotype. Continuation of her research will help to outline the mechanism behind iron deficiency, but also to highlight the link between human iron deficiency and hair-loss. She hopes to use this underlying mechanism to find drug targets, and develop therapeutics to reverse the toxic effects of iron dis-homeostasis. She feels her work is of interest to the general public, and hopes to highlight the toxicological community and the impact made on everyday life by working in this field.

Gabriel L. Plaa Education Award Fund

Winner: John Clarke

Award Year: 2013
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: University of Arizona

John Clarke is a postdoctoral fellow of the University of Arizona who received the Molecular Biology Student Award for his work entitled, “Impaired Glycosylation and Membrane Localization of Uptake and Efflux Transporters in Human Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease.” Dr. Clarke’s research examined nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, which is a liver disease that is increasingly prevalent in the world. This disease can change the expression and function of proteins involved in the metabolism and movement of xenobiotics, including environmental toxins, drugs, and dietary constituents. Dr. Clarke and his colleagues showed that several uptake transporters and several efflux transporters altered expression and localization in human livers with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Also, they found that these changes in localization were caused by impaired N-linked glycosylation of proteins (including transporters) in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. These data provide mechanistic information into how xenobiotics have altered disposition in fatty liver disease. Dr. Clarke hopes to better understand the toxicological mechanisms that influence the transition from steatosis to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis and the transition from steatohepatitis to hepatocellular carcinoma. These diseases are a burden to patients and the health care system. By understanding how environmental factors contribute to the pathogenesis of these diseases, he can help advance of toxicology research in the 21st century.

Gabriel L. Plaa Education Award Fund

Winner: Tao Chen

Award Year: 2012
Current Degrees: MD, MS
Institution/Affiliation: Pennsylvania State University

Tao Chen, of Penn State University, for his abstract, “Proteasomal Interaction Regulates the Activity of the Human Constitutive Androstane Receptor.” His research project was to explore the activation mechanism of the human constitutive androstane receptor (hCAR), a nuclear receptor that plays significant and diverse roles regulating the metabolism of xenobiotic and endogenous substances, as a regulator of glucose and lipid metabolism, and modulator of cell cycle/death pathways. Using various cell-based assays, his research demonstrated a novel proteosomal pathway involved in hCAR regulation and activation. Xenobiotic exposure from various sources is a prominent and increasing public health concern, and nuclear receptors play pivotal roles in mediating biological responses to these exposures, through their abilities to reprogram gene transcriptional regulation. His research further delineates mechanistic pathways through which these responses are modulated. Going forward, he plans to participate actively in the Society of Toxicology. His goal is to participate as a scientific researcher and to help facilitate a broader understanding of the biological and toxicological impact of chemical exposures as mediated through the xenobiotic receptor network. The functional consequences of these chemical-receptor interactions include the modulation of xenobiotic metabolism, adverse drug reactions, drug-drug interactions and influences on lipid and energy homeostasis.

Harihara Mehendale Association of Scientists of Indian Origin Student Award Fund

Winner: Hanumantha Rao Madala

Award Year: 2017
Current Degrees: MS
Institution/Affiliation: Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

It was quite a surprising announcement in the ASIO ongoing meeting. He had submitted his abstract and thought someone was awarded and had just forgotten everything but when his name was announced, he was so shocked and felt so proud of his self and the research of his lab. It gave him a lot of confidence and will help him to pursue his dream in research with same hard work and efforts in future as well. Chemo drugs in the market kill everything non-selectively and the compound, KSS72, that we designed in our lab works with selectivity. It kills the cancer cells with around 20 times more selectivity. It's an analog of FDA approved, anti-hypertensive drug, ethacrynic acid. It permeates the brain and showed anticancer efficacy in various mouse models.

Harihara Mehendale Association of Scientists of Indian Origin Student Award Fund

Winner: Bharat Bhushan

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: University of Kansas Medical Center

Acetaminophen (APAP) overdose is the foremost cause of acute liver failure (ALF) in the US. Despite decades of research, current treatment options after APAP-overdose are extremely limited. Liver injury after APAP-overdose is subsequently followed by compensatory liver regeneration, which promotes recovery. Preventing liver injury and stimulating liver regeneration are potential strategies to develop novel therapies for APAP-induced ALF. However, mechanisms of APAP-induced liver toxicity or subsequent liver regeneration are not completely understood.The major focus of Dr. Bhushan's research work is to study these mechanisms. In the work that will be presented at the 2016 SOT annual meeting, we investigated role of EGFR (Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor) signaling in APAP-induced ALF. Role of EGFR signaling in APAP-induced liver toxicity and subsequent liver regeneration is completely unknown. In this extremely novel work, we demonstrated that EGFR signaling plays a dual role in APAP overdose and is involved in both initiation of APAP-induced liver injury (via mitochondrial damage) and in stimulating subsequent liver regeneration (via controlling cell cycle). Our work revealed an extremely novel and intriguing mechanisms about how a cell membrane receptor, EGFR, can translocate to mitochondria and cause both cell death or cell proliferation signaling in hepatocytes, in a time dependent manner, during APAP-induced ALF.

Harihara Mehendale Association of Scientists of Indian Origin Student Award Fund

Winner: Gopi Gadupudi

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: BS, MS
Institution/Affiliation: University of Iowa

Mr. Gadupudi's research works involves understanding the toxicity of food-borne chemicals such as PCB126. Specifically, this work involves characterizing the dose and time dependent toxicity of PCB126 in causing metabolic disorders such as diabetes, fatty liver and metabolic syndrome. Moving forward, we would like to understand the mechanisms involved in the PCB or POP induced metabolic disruption. Understanding these mechanisms would definitely aid in identifying adverse effects on human health and risk characterization.

Harihara Mehendale Association of Scientists of Indian Origin Student Award Fund

Winner: Alok Ranjan

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: BS
Institution/Affiliation: Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

Mr. Ranjan started his project on brain cancer with a very rational approach. Glioblastoma (Brain cancer) is one of the most malignant and incurable brain cancers. The median survival rate of glioblastoma patients is only 12%. Although, there are several treatment options available but glioblastoma still claims thousands of lives each year. Existing obstacles with current treatment options are (a) Recurrence of tumor within six months after surgical removal (b) Development of resistance to the current chemotherapeutic options available and (c) Inability of the drugs to cross the blood brain barrier. Most of the antipsychotic drugs cross blood brain barrier and reach the brain to provide a relief to the patients with psychotic disorder. This gave us the rationale to test toxic effect of the antipsychotic drugs against glioblastoma. We examined several antipsychotic drugs for their toxic effects against glioblastoma and discovered that penfluridol had significant toxicity against brain cancer cells. His studies also established anti-metastatic potential of penfluridol in several brain metastasis of breast cancer (Alok Ranjan, Parul Gupta and Sanjay Srivastava “Penfluridol: An antipsychotic agent suppresses metastatic tumor growth in triple negative breast cancer by inhibiting integrin signaling axis” Cancer Research 2015). We also observed that chronic treatment of mice with penfluridol was not associated with any toxicity or behavioral side effect. Since penfluridol is an FDA approved drug, the pharmacology, formulation and potential toxicities are already known. Our preclinical studies can fasten the clinical trial and review by Food and Drug Administration. This could bring relief to the patients with highly lethal and resistant brain tumor He has short term and long term goals. His goals are listed below. Short term goals: 1. He wants to have in depth knowledge of cell signaling pathways involved in glioblastoma progression, in vivo models and different skills useful in the research related to glioblastoma. 2. Publish research work in high impact factor journals. Long term goal: 1.After completing his doctoral studies, he wants to establish myself as an independent cancer researcher especially in brain tumor. 2.He wants to open a cancer center where poor or needy people suffering from cancer, who cannot afford expensive bills can get counseling and care at no cost/very low cost.

Harihara Mehendale Association of Scientists of Indian Origin Student Award Fund

Winner: Amruta Manke

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: BS, MS
Institution/Affiliation: West Virginia University

Amruta Manke is a graduate student at West Virginia University and she received the Harihara Mehendale Graduate Student Best Abstract Award for her work entitled, "Role of Stem-like Cells in Carbon Nanotube-Induced Fibrosis." Recent studies have shown that pulmonary exposure to carbon nanotubes (CNT), one of the most widely used nanomaterials in industry, results in rapid and progressive interstitial lung fibrosis in animals without causing persistent lung inflammation, which is normally associated with other known fibrogenic agents. This unusual fibrogenic effect of CNT raises important health issues since the exposure could result in deadly and incurable lung fibrosis. Through her research project which is aimed at investigating the mechanisms for nanomaterial-induced lung toxicity, her lab members hope to identify key nanoparticle characteristics and a set of in vitro screening assays for evaluation of the potential fibrogenicity of carbon nanomaterials (CNTs) in vivo. This study is important since it will enable identification of the molecular and cellular targets involved in associated with CNT induced fibrogenesis which may benefit in detection of novel biomarkers and drug targets. Moreover, the objectives laid out in this study are crucial because of the impact they will have in the area of nano-particle induced pulmonary toxicity as well as in understanding the pathogenesis of CNT induced interstitial fibrosis.

Harihara Mehendale Association of Scientists of Indian Origin Student Award Fund

Winner: Prajakta Shimpi

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: M.Pharm
Institution/Affiliation: University of Rhode Island

Prajakta Shimpi is a graduate student is a graduate student at the University of Rhode Island and received the Harihara Mehendale Graduate Student Best Abstract Award for her work entitled, "Early Epigenetic Modulation of Nrf2 and Lipogenic Genes by PNPP Exposure of Bisphenol A is Associated with Hepatic Steatosis in Female Mice." The work she is presenting this year focuses on plastic bottle component Bisphenol A. She treats pregnant mice with this compound and studies the effect on the pups. These pups develop fatty liver, which could be a risk factor severe liver condition. She is working on detecting the detailed molecular studies on how exactly bisphenol A affects liver pathways. Interestingly, the effects observed in pups also remain persistent in adult animals, indicating the potential danger these environmental chemicals pose to human health. She wants to continue her work on environmental toxicants, and elucidate mechanistic links of how these toxicants affect liver. The liver is an important organ, which performs several crucial functions in the body. Any chemical or disease that affects liver function is imperative to be studied. In continuing her work on environmental chemicals, she would like to study more and newer chemicals that are being used in larger amounts in the manufacturing industry.

Harihara Mehendale Association of Scientists of Indian Origin Student Award Fund

Winner: Siva Prasad Bitragunta

Award Year: 2014
Current Degrees: MSc
Institution/Affiliation: Birla Institute of Technology and Science, India

Siva Prasad Bitragunta is a Doctoral Candidate in the Department of Biological Sciences at Birla Institute of Technology and Science Pilani, Hyderabad Campus. The vital aspect of his research inheres in application of metabolomics to establish biomarkers of nanoparticle toxicity. He received the Harihara Mehendale Association of Scientists of Indian Origin Student Award for his work entitled “Physicochemical Characterization and Ecotoxicological Evaluation of TiO2 Nanoparticles in Earthworm Eisenia foetida”. The study revealed size dependent toxicity of titanium dioxide nanoparticle in earthworm by modified paper contact method of OECD-207 guidelines. It demonstrated the ability of titanium dioxide nanoparticles to induce oxidative stress in sentinel earthworm. It emphasized the need for review of standard guidelines to ascertain ecotoxicity of nanoparticles. Outcomes of the study will definitely assist in designing risk assessment methods to dispel adverse impacts of nanomaterials on environment. He hopes to be a part of the new dimensions of toxicology in 21st Century in assessing toxic effects of nanomaterials on living systems and environment. He aspires to advance the science of toxicology by integrating ‘omics’ approach to envision the toxicity of nanoparticles in environmental indicator species thereby delineating the impact of nanowaste on various compartments of environment.

Harihara Mehendale Association of Scientists of Indian Origin Student Award Fund

Winner: Shirisha Chittiboyina

Award Year: 2014
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: School of Public Health, Indiana University Bloomington

Shirisha Chittiboyina is a Graduate Student at the School of Public Health, Indiana University Bloomington and received the Harihara Mehendale Association of Scientists of Indian Origin Student Award for her work entitled “The Role of the Folate Pathway in Pancreatic Cancer Risk.” Her research showed that one of the risk factors for cancer as shown by recent literature is life style determinants like smoking, alcohol consumption and individuals dietary habits. Furthermore, pancreatic cancer especially has been shown to be associated with altered folate metabolism. Her research looked into the genes that are involved in folate metabolism , polymorphisms in these genes and how they affect the risk of pancreatic cancer. This award helps her move one step further towards her scientific goal to identify new therapeutic tools for pancreatic cancer and other cancers as well.

Harihara Mehendale Association of Scientists of Indian Origin Student Award Fund

Winner: Mansi Krishan

Award Year: 2013
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: University of Cincinnati

Mansi Krishan is a PhD candidate at the University of Cincinnati. She received the Harihara Mehendale Graduate Student Best Abstract Award for her work entitled, “Enhanced Intranasal Delivery of Gemcitabine to the Central Nervous System.” In this study, she and her lab partners used a permeableizer Papaverine to enhance the paracellualr permeability through nasal epithelial tight junctions and delivered significant amount of Gemcitabine to the brain through the nasal route. Receiving this ward will help her pursue her interests in the field of toxicology.

Harihara Mehendale Association of Scientists of Indian Origin Student Award Fund

Winner: Tejas Lahoti

Award Year: 2013
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: The Pennsylvania State University

Tejas Lahoti is a PhD candidate at Pennsylvania State University and received the Harihara Mehendale Graduate Student Best Abstract Award for his work titled, “Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor (AHR) Regulates Growth Factor Expression, Proliferation, Protease-dependent Invasion, and Migration in Primary Fibroblast-like Synoviocytes from Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients.” He would like to pursue a postdoctoral position after completing his PhD with a career goal of working in academia to inspire more students to go into research.

Harihara Mehendale Association of Scientists of Indian Origin Student Award Fund

Winner: Murli Mishra

Award Year: 2012
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: Graduate Center for Toxicology, University of Kentucky

Murli Mishra, of the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, for his work entitled, “In Silico Methods of Genotoxicity Prediction: Can it be Used Reliably for Prediction of In Vitro/In Vivo Genotoxicity?” His work involves the development of a QSAR model that is able to predict in vivo genotoxicity of compounds. There were a number of models that can predict in vitro genotoxicity, but none of existing model could predict, in vivo genotoxicity. He has joined the PhD program in toxicology at University of Kentucky now and wants to work to increase the reliability of existing computational models, and also would like to work later to develop some computational models of toxicity prediction that are having concordance comparable to existing in vitro and in vivo models of toxicity testing.

Harihara Mehendale Association of Scientists of Indian Origin Student Award Fund

Winner: Ashwini Phadnis

Award Year: 2012
Current Degrees: BS, MS
Institution/Affiliation: Michigan State University

Ashwini Phadnis, of Michigan State University, for his abstract entitled, “Suppression of Activation and Altered BCL-6 Regulation by 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin in Human Primary B Cells.” The overall objective of his work is to determine the effects of a potent environmental contaminant 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) on primary human B cells. Monitoring the effects of this toxicant on human B cells has generalized health implications, especially in determining the sensitivity of these cells to toxicants and understanding the mechanism underlying disruption of normal immune function. He identified BCL-6 as a candidate gene that is involved in disruption activation of human B cells. Upon completion of graduate studies, he plans to pursue postdoctoral research in a field wherein he can integrate genetics and toxicology. As we move towards toxicity testing in the 21st century, He would like to work on and be a contributor to screen potential human health hazards in a high-throughput manner by utilizing in vitro cultures of primary human cells.

Health and Environmental Science Institute Immunotoxicology Young Investigator Student Award Fund

Winner: Mili Mandal

Award Year: 2013
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: Rutgers University

Mili Mandal is a postdoctoral candidate at Rutgers University and she received the Health and Environmental Science Institute Immunotoxicology Young Investigator Travel Award for her work entitled, “Spleen as a Source of Inflammatory Macrophages: Role in Acetaminophen-induced Hepatotoxicity.” Her work involved Acetaminophen (APAP), a widely used over the counter pain-killer and fever reducer. At therapeutic doses, it is considered safe and effective; however, toxic doses leads to hepatotoxicity, which is by far the most common cause of acute liver failure in the US and the UK. Monocytes/macrophages, cells of innate immune system have been shown to play an important role in APAP-induced hepatotoxicity. However, the origin of these cells has not been established. Splenic monocytes/macrophages have been shown to accumulate at inflammatory sites following tissue injury. In the present studies, Dr. Mandal and her colleagues analyzed the contribution of splenic monocytes/macrophages to liver inflammation and injury induced by APAP. Her data demonstrate, for the first time, a role of the spleen as a reservoir for proinflammatory monocytes/macrophages in APAP-induced hepatotoxicity. Moreover, in the absence of these splenic inflammatory monocyte/macrophage populations, liver injury is reduced. These findings are novel and expand our knowledge of monocytes/macrophages function, fate, and influx to liver in acute inflammation during APAP-induced hepatotoxicity, which can have significant therapeutic implications. Her ultimate career goal is to become an independent scientist in the field of immuno-toxicology working in a university environment. Her long-term research interests involve understanding the role of Th17 cells and their interaction with other innate and adaptive immune cells as well as inflammatory mediators in chronic liver inflammation.

Health and Environmental Science Institute Immunotoxicology Young Investigator Student Award Fund

Winner: David Blake

Award Year: 2012
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: Fort Lewis College

David Blake, of Fort Lewis College, for his work entitled, “Sulforaphane Restores Histone Deacetylase Activity in Human Epithelial Cells Exposed to Cigarette Smoke Resulting in Decreased Cytokine Production.” His research project focused on the inflammatory effects of cigarette smoke on human cells. He characterized a compound, sulforaphane, which is found in broccoli that has anti-inflammatory effects in vitro. He hopes to identify how this compound works at the cellular level. He hopes to go on to graduate school next year with the goal of creating an environmental health program in the Four Corners region by teaching toxicology and immunology to undergraduate students in the program.

HESI Young Investigator Endowment Award

Winner: Anthony Franchini

Award Year: 2017
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: University of Rochester

Dr. Franchini's initial reaction to receiving the HESI Young Investigator award was glee mixed with disbelief. As a recent convert to the field of immunotoxicology, and while he has great respect for the field, he did not expect to be lauded with such an honor. Last year was his first chance to attend an SOT Annual Meeting and he was not disappointed. His greatest takeaway from that meeting was whom he met and conversations sparked during the poster sessions and the effect it had on the direction of his project. Building his professional network is a major priority at this time in his career, and the assemblage of scientists at SOT each year represents the best opportunity to do just that. It is his hope to continue to build on those relationships this year and start new ones. Receiving the award presented the greatest opportunity to better his understanding of the field of immunotoxicology and keep abreast of advancement in the field that will directly influence his work and thinking now and in the near future. The focus of his current project is to better understand how pollutants affect the ability of our immune system and its ability to response to viral infection. Specifically, the focus is on the role of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) within dendritic cells, a critical cell type that binds viral antigens and are required for initiating adaptive immune responses which ultimately control and clear the infection. His group had previously shown that exposure to chemicals that bind the AHR dampen the immune response, and this was traced back to the AHR's activity within the dendritic cell population. His research has built on this to investigate the exact mechanism by which this occurs. He's found that AHR activation lessens the ability of dendritic cells to attract T cells to them, via a protein called CCL17, a necessary step in presenting these immune cells with antigen and activating them to clear the infection. He also has uncovered evidence that lung dendritic cells less well equipped to pick up viral antigens because AHR activation reduces expression of a receptor called DC-SIGN. Furthermore, his work has expanded to work with human dendritic cells, where he has shown that similar changes derived from the mouse model are also seen in human dendritic cells after AHR activation.

HESI Young Investigator Endowment Award

Winner: Edmund O'Brien

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: BS, PhD
Institution/Affiliation: L'Oreal

Edmund O'Brien is a Postdoctoral Fellow with L'Oreal and received the HESI Young Investigator Endowment Award for his work entitled, "Inhalation of the Reactive Aldehyde Acrolein Promotes Antigen Sensitization and Enhances Allergic Responses to Ovalbumin." His work dealt with asthma development and asthma severity following inhalation of acrolein, an aldehyde present in tobacco smoke. This research demonstrated that acrolein modestly enhances asthma development and neutrophilia in the lung. He believes his research, when combined with previous studies from his lab, determined that acrolein exposure can have dramatically different effects on pulmonary inflammation associated with asthma depending on when acrolein exposure takes place during disease development. When applying this research to human exposures, the data suggest that the initial stages of asthma development are more affected by acrolein exposure. By applying this research to human health, limiting acrolein or tobacco smoke exposure during early postnatal development may aid it preventing pulmonary diseases like asthma, thus making a healthier world.

HESI Young Investigator Endowment Award

Winner: Fenna Sille

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: University of California Berkeley

Fenna Sille is a Postdoctoral Scholar at University of California Berkeley and received the HESI Young Investigator Endowment Award for her work entitled, "Arsenic and innate immunity: macrophage function upon arsenic exposure." She and her team hypothesized that arsenic ingestion permanently impacts the development of the immune system and increases the risks of cancer and TB later in life. They focused on the effects of arsenic on macrophages, immune cells known to influence tumor and TB progression and analyzed the secretion of various signaling molecules including cytokines, chemokines and lipids, as well as the capacity to control an M. tuberculosis infection. She says that her long-term research goal is to clarify the immunological mechanisms underlying chronic diseases and global infectious diseases caused by early-life environmental exposures. With her research, she aims to identify potential targets for intervention to reduce the burden of disease in exposed communities. Ultimately, she hopes her research will provide critical insights into desperately needed prevention strategies in order to create a safer and healthier world, right from the start of life.

Jean Lu Student Scholarship Award Fund

Winner: Marlene T. Kim

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: BS Biochemistry
Institution/Affiliation: Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Marlene T. Kim is a graduate student at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey and received the Jean Lu Student Scholarship Award for her work entitled, "From Individual Datasets to Big Data: Developing Mechanism-Driven Predictive Liver Toxicity Models." Compounds that are both biologically and chemically similar are considered likely to have similar toxicity mechanisms/effects. By calculating the biochemical similarity between two compounds based on common in vitro response profiles and chemical features (i.e., toxicophores), the similarity value can be used to determine the potential toxicity. She developed an automated workflow for predicting and modeling animal toxicity using in vitro data and chemical descriptors. The workflow consists of three major stages: 1) Creating a biological and chemical profile. Compound identifiers (e.g., CID or CASRN) are input into an in-house automated profiling tool, which retrieves bioassays [from public big data sources] and generates chemical descriptors, and outputs the biological and chemical profile. 2) Calculating the biological and chemical similarity between each pair of compounds. A Weighted Estimate of Biological Similarity (WEBS) tool was developed to read bioassay responses and calculate the biological similarity between pairs of compounds. Compounds are grouped based on common chemical features (e.g., toxicophores and fragments). Then, the WEBS for each pair of compounds in these chemical groups are calculated. 3) Predicting the toxicity of an unknown compound. The toxicity predictions are based on the average activities (toxicity values) of the nearest neighbor(s), which are similar compounds based on the biochemical similarity found in stage 2. This project embodies the SOT’s emphasis on the 3R’s: replacing, reducing, and refining animal tests. Her study focuses on improving the in vitro and in vivo relationship between cell-based assay responses and a targeted animal toxicity endpoint to replace the use of animal tests.

Jean Lu Student Scholarship Award Fund

Winner: Chuanwen Lu

Award Year: 2014
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: Texas Tech University

Chuanwen Lu is a Graduate Student at Texas Tech University and received the Jean Lu Student Scholarship Award his work entitled “CRM1: A Characteristic Feature of the Transformed Phenotype in Lung Carcinogenesis and a Potential Target for Lung Cancer Treatment.” His research showed that CRM1 plays an important role in lung cancer development, and that CRM1 overexpression is cooperating with p53 phosphorylation in cell transformation, which is a crucial step in lung carcinogenesis. Along with his previous findings, hisresults suggest that CRM1 may serve as a novel target and its combination treatment with other chemotherapy drugs may provide a promising basis for clinical trials on lung cancer treatment. In the future he hopes to do more work in regard to toxicology and benefit for the people's health and the environment.

Jean Lu Student Scholarship Award Fund

Winner: Weimin Chen

Award Year: 2013
Current Degrees: PhD candidate
Institution/Affiliation: Michigan State University

Weimin Chen is a PhD candidate of Michigan State University and she received the Jean Lu Student Scholarship Award for her work entitled, “Modulation of HIVgp120-Specific T Cell Responses by Delta9-Tetrahydrocannabinol In Vitro and In Vivo.” Her project focuses on studying the effects of marijuana-derived compounds, known as cannabinoids, on immune responses to HIV viral antigens. 25% HIV patients use marijuana for nausea, pain and wasting syndrome associated with HIV infection; however, the effects of these cannabinoids on immune system and immune function of immunocompromised HIV patients is not well understood. Cannabinoids are known to have immunomodulatory effects. Therefore, she is establishing mouse models to induce HIV viral antigen-specific immune responses and investigating the effects of cannabinoids on the responses. This award will help further her PhD research and provide financial support for her to attend scientific meetings to present her research and meet other colleagues in the field.

Jean Lu Student Scholarship Award Fund

Winner: Tongde Wu

Award Year: 2012
Current Degrees: MS
Institution/Affiliation: University of Arizona

Tongde Wu, of the University of Arizona, for his work entitled, “Xbp1 and Nrf2: At the Crossroads of Endoplastic Reticulum Stress and Oxidative Stress.” His work aims to reveal the delicate molecular mechanism that underlies signaling pathways and use them as a model system to guide further medical practice and applications. Investigation of the mechanisms of coordinate regulation will not only shed light on principles of stress response, but may also lead to new approaches to the treatment of stress related diseases. He is hopeful that his understanding in molecular toxicology will eventually turn into a powerful tool, which can provide people a better way to diagnose, treat, and prevent disease.

John Doull Award

Winner: Tanzir Mortuza

Award Year: 2017
Current Degrees: BS
Institution/Affiliation: University of Georgia

Mr. Mortuza was really excited upon receiving this award. As a risk assessor, he always wanted to get his recognition in this field. This award provided the platform to highlight his research in risk assessment. His end goal is to construct a comprehensive PBPK model to evaluate human risk assessment that will eliminate the uncertainty factor associated with children’s exposure of pyrethroids. This award will facilitate to present research at SOT and meet with experts in risk assessment. Meeting with other experts in the field will enhance his understanding of risk assessment which will enhance his understanding of toxicology. Awards such as this will enable learning of toxicology and will help him to be an independent researcher. Pyrethroids are widely used insecticides. There are more than 200 different kinds of pyrethroid compounds present on the commercial market. Most of these compounds are neurotoxic and highly lipophilic. The toxicity profiles of pyrethroids are compound-specific. Permethrin is one of the major pyrethroids used in pharmaceutical and household products including, lice treatment for children, shampoo, and pet spray. More than one million pounds of permethrin are used in the domestic US market every year. Children between the ages of one and three are most likely ingest these compounds by hand to mouth contact. Despite such wide use, there are limited toxicokinetic (TK) data available for permethrin. Furthermore, there are no comprehensive studies defining the age-dependent TK of pyrethroids. Permethrin is present as a mixture of its cis and trans isomer (CIS and TRANS) in commercial products. Metabolism of these two isomers is significantly different. TRANS is hydrolyzed by carboxylesterases and oxidized by cytochrome P450s (CYPs). CIS is minimally susceptible to hydrolysis and is therefore metabolized largely by CYPs. This difference impacts the overall TK of these isomers. However, there are no studies to characterize age-dependent differences in between CIS and TRANS target organ dosimetry. In many cases, animal models are used to predict human risks associated with a specific compound. Usually, a ten-fold uncertainty factor is used in risk assessment to account for inter-species and human sub-population differences. Physiologically-based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) models are widely used in human risk assessment to reduce the uncertainties associated with interspecies and intraspecies differences. Tornero-Velez et al. (2012) constructed a PBPK model for permethrin for different exposure patterns. The investigators monitored CIS and TRANS concentrations in blood and tissues of adult rats dosed with a commercial mixture of the two isomers, in order to assess the accuracy of their simulations. Additional work is necessary to extend their model to immature subjects. Time-course plasma and tissue concentration data are needed for different immature age-groups, as well as for adults. Isomer-specific TK data are required from animals dosed with the individual isomers, in order to avoid the metabolic interactions inherent with mixtures. We addressed this research gap by determining age-dependent TK in rats for CIS and TRANS at several dose levels that will facilitate construction of a comprehensive PBPK model for each isomer of permethrin.

John Doull Award

Winner: Julia Tobacyk

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: BS Biology
Institution/Affiliation: University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

In this project, Ms. Tobacyk investigated whether gene by environment interactions could contribute to obesity in the context of tributyltin (TBT) exposure. In these studies, she and her team exposed four different strains of mice prenatally to low concentrations of TBT in drinking water, a common route of exposure in human populations. Previous research reported that prenatal TBT exposure increases adipocyte size/number and leads to liver steatosis (Chamorro-Garcia et al. 2011). Their studies showed that there are chemicals such as obesogens that may alter lipid metabolism. Her lab became interested and excited about the outcome of their study and therefore, they decided to investigate the effect of genetic background on prenatal TBT exposure. They observed no TBT-dependent changes in bone or fat formation, hepatic steatosis, or hepatic glutathione levels, suggesting that TBT-induced obesogenic outcomes may be context-dependent with modifiers unrelated to gene sequence (such as diet, epigenetics, or yet unknown environmental modifiers). These data may therefore enrich the dialogue regarding how and whether chemicals with obesogenic potential ought to be regulated to protect human populations. She has always been fascinated with the concept of individual responses to xenobiotics within the human population. As a second year pharmacology student, she would love to pursue a career in academia or in industry where to further expand and develop her research interests.

John Doull Award

Winner: Yongquan Lai

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Youngquan Lai is a postdoctoral scholar at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and received the John Doull Award for his work entitled, "Formation of Endogenous and Exogenous DNA-Protein Crosslinks in Nonhuman Primates and Rats following Inhalation Exposure to [13CD2]-Formaldehyde." Formaldehyde is ubiquitous in indoor and outdoor air, and everyone is exposed to formaldehyde at some concentration daily. Formaldehyde’s well-known toxicity and carcinogenicity, coupled with widespread human exposure, has raised long-standing public health concerns. However, formaldehyde is actually produced inside our bodies as both a product of normal cellular metabolism and as an essential metabolic intermediate generated in all living cells. The challenge is to be able to differentiate whether formaldehyde found inside a person’s body come from external (exogenous) or internal (endogenous) sources, as well as which exposures are most likely to cause DNA damage that can lead to cancer. The most mutagenic form of formaldehyde-induced DNA damage comes from DNA-protein crosslinks (DPCs). We developed an ultrasensitive, specific method that is able to measure formaldehyde-induced DNA-protein crosslinks and can distinguish between those arising from exposure and those arising from inside our bodies. Our method and data provide critical evidence that inhaled formaldehyde only reached rat and monkey noses to cause DNA damage, but did not reach tissues distant to the site of initial contact. On the other hand, relatively high level of endogenous formaldehyde-induced DPCs were naturally present in all examined tissues. These data provide quantitative information on the formation of DPCs by internal and external formaldehyde as factors contributing to disease. Such new data greatly enhance the role of science over default approaches that focus on linear low-dose risk assessment and help set science-based regulatory policies for formaldehyde. Understanding the sources of mutagenic DNA damage that ultimately lead to disease lays the ground work for better disease management and risk assessment. Such data enhance the role of science over default approaches that focus on linear low-dose risk assessment, and promote science-based regulatory policies for creating a safer and healthier world.

John Doull Award

Winner: Melanie Adler

Award Year: 2014
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: Brigham and Women's Hospital, HIM, Renal Division

Melanie Adler is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Brigham and Women's Hospital, HIM, Renal Division and won the John Doull Award for her work entitled, “Cell-Based Approach to Predict Kidney Toxicity.” Her research in the field of Predictive Toxicology focuses on developing new alternative methods for toxicity testing. Her project emphasizes the application of new cutting edge technologies based on high-throughput measurement methods using primary human cell culture, which enables a better translation into a clinical setting. She is interested in establishing a cell-based quantitative high-throughput screening platform to accelerate safety screening and risk assessment of potential kidney toxic compounds. She hopes to generate a predictive toxico-response signature to classify drugs and chemicals based on their mechanism of toxicity. Furthermore, the human origin of the kidney cells enables a direct exposure and dose-extrapolation to humans. This project has the potential to reduce and replace the use of animals in preclinical toxicity studies. Her future research will focus on using new approaches to get a better mechanistic understanding of the nature of toxicity in order to find new strategies for early detection of toxicity. This involves the implementation of new in vitro models such as organ-on-a-chip, co-culture, and 3D-models.

John Doull Student Award Fund

Winner: Rachel Church

Award Year: 2013
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: The Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences

Rachael Church works for The Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences and received the John Doull Award for her paper entitled, “Identification of Genomic Regions Linked to Epigallochatechin Gallate Induced Liver Toxicity using the Diversity Outbred Stock.” She and her lab partners hypothesized that Genome Wide Association (GWA) mapping in DO mice exposed to EGCG would allow them to identify candidate genomic regions influencing the hepatotoxicity of EGCG. Similar to humans, EGCG treatment in DO mice precipitates wide variation in hepatotoxic response, evident from both changes in ALT (terminal-dose to pre-dose) and terminal liver necrosis. In a planned follow-up study, they will genotype suspected risk alleles in DNA collected by the Drug Induced Livery Injury Network (DILIN) from patients with suspected EGCG-induced liver toxicity. They have demonstrated the first application of the DO mice to the detection of xenobiotic risk alleles of toxicity responses. While further validation is needed, and their data suggest that QTL mapping in DO mice may aid in identification of pharmacogenetic risk alleles for compounds causing liver injury. She is hopeful that receiving this award will raise awareness about the value of the DO mouse population as a novel tool for modeling idiosyncratic toxicities and performing high resolution mapping to identify translational genetic risk factors.

John Doull Student Award Fund

Winner: Alice Crane

Award Year: 2012
Current Degrees: BA
Institution/Affiliation: University at Buffalo

Alice L. Crane, of the University of Buffalo, for her abstract entitled, “Effect of CYP2B6 Variants on Chlorpyrifos Metabolism: Implications for Human Risk.” Her work looks at human exposure and susceptibility to chlorpyrifos (CPF), an organophosphorus pesticide. CPF is in widespread use worldwide and mounting evidence is suggestive of neurobehavioral deficits in the chronically exposed. She examined the kinetics of this bioactivation reaction of CPF by common genetic variants of key enzymes involved in the metabolic pathway of CPF. Knowledge of how the genetic variation of these enzymes affect the bioactivation reaction of CPF and provides an understanding of the variability between individuals. Her current interest is in the examination of human susceptibility to environmental toxicants. She believes that there are many gaps in our current understanding of interindividual susceptibility and that this knowledge is needed to allow us to protect the most sensitive populations. She would like to contribute to risk assessment efforts by understanding the genetic basis of differences between individuals and incorporating this knowledge into models of human exposure.

Laxman S. Desai ASIO Student Award Fund

Winner: Prachi Borude

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: MTech BPT
Institution/Affiliation: University of Kansas Medical Center

The primary focus of Miss Borude's research is to study regulation of liver regeneration after Tylenol overdose, specifically to improve liver regeneration and save patient without liver transplant. In this awarded research work she found that DNA in our liver gets damaged after Tylenol overdose and if that damage is not repaired, the guardian of the genome/DNA (Cell cycle checkpoint) stops the liver regeneration and the recovery in mouse model. Improving the DNA repair and removing the checkpoint may have a therapeutic benefit.

Laxman S. Desai ASIO Student Award Fund

Winner: Kshama Doshi

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: MS
Institution/Affiliation: University of Maryland Baltimore

Ms. Doshi's research is focused to design novel treatment regimens for improving long-term clinical outcome of acute myeloid leukemia patients with FLT3-ITD mutation. While doing so, she is studying various means and mechanisms to sensitize FLT3-ITD expressing leukemic cells to conventional chemotherapy. This award from ASIO-SOT is for her project which illustrates the effect of modulating Pim kinase activity to enhances the anti-cancer effects of the most widely used chemotherapy drugs

Laxman S. Desai ASIO Student Award Fund

Winner: Nikita Joshi

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: MSc, MS
Institution/Affiliation: Michigan State University

Nikita Joshi is a graduate student at Michigan State University who received the Laxman S. Desai Graduate Student Best Abstract Award for her work entitled, "Fibrin(ogen) engagement of aMß2-integrin limits chronic liver fibrosis induced by a bile duct toxicant in mice." Her laboratory previously demonstrated that mice deficient in the blood clotting protein fibrinogen, developed markedly worse liver injury in a model of chronic liver fibrosis. This finding challenged the assumption that the presence of fibrin clots in the liver is uniformly pathologic. Since joining the lab, she has sought to define the mechanisms that underlie the hepatoprotective effects of fibrinogen in this model. Her work has demonstrated that platelets are one mechanism by which fibrinogen inhibits liver injury. The abstract she submitted for presentation at the SOT 2015 meeting and for consideration for this award, describes another element of her research project highlighting a completely different and new mechanism by which fibrinogen inhibits xenobiotic induced liver fibrosis. Her studies over the last year have focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms whereby the key coagulation proteins and their interaction with integrin proteins inhibits liver fibrosis induced by a bile duct toxicant. Liver fibrosis can compromise liver function and cause various cancers. Continued investigation of the mechanisms whereby coagulation-mediated platelet activation inhibits liver fibrosis is warranted, particularly as elements of hemostasis gain traction as biomarkers and potential therapeutic targets in liver disease and health.

Laxman S. Desai ASIO Student Award Fund

Winner: Pooja Naik

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: MS
Institution/Affiliation: Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

Pooja Naik is a graduate student at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and received the Laxman S. Desai Graduate Student Best Abstract Award for her work entitled, "Differential Impact of Tobacco Smoke Exposure at the Blood-Brain Barrier Endothelium: A Special Focus on the Nrf2-Dependent Antioxidant Mechanisms." Her work is based on toxicological assessment of cigarette products in context of brain and brain vasculature in order to understand the harmful effects of smoking on the brain. For that purpose she conducted mechanistic studies using both cell culture and animal model approaches. Her doctoral research is focused on tobacco smoke (TS) induced toxicity at the blood brain barrier (BBB) microvascular physiology. Despite the strong evidence for an association between TS and vascular impairment, the impact of TS exposure on the BBB has been only marginally addressed. What her research postulates is that whole soluble TS toxicants can compromise BBB endothelium structure as well as function, lead to loss of BBB integrity and tightness, and thus eventually lead to several neurovascular and neurological complications.

Laxman S. Desai ASIO Student Award Fund

Winner: Neel Fofaria

Award Year: 2014
Current Degrees: BS
Institution/Affiliation: Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

Neel Fofaria is a Graduate Student at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and received the Laxman S. Desai ASIO Student Award for his work entitled “Novel Role of STAT-3 in Anoikis Resistance and Tumor Cell Metastasis” His research showed that cancer becomes lethal when it spreads across the body also known as metastasis. Anoikis is one of the most important processes that plays a vital role in cancer metastasis, which is by far the deadliest form of cancer. His findings established a critical role of STAT-3 in inducing anoikis resistance and therefore enhancing metastasis potential of majority of cancer cells. He hopes to advance his training and research by trying to elucidate the possible mechanisms of carcinogenesis and use that information to design newer therapeutics against cancer. Furthermore, he wishes develop drug delivery systems for tumor targeting and also ensure that any chemicals, oils, polymers, lipids that are used to formulate drug delivery systems are safe and without any adverse toxicity. In all, he wants to play a part in making this world a safer place to live in.

Laxman S. Desai ASIO Student Award Fund

Winner: Kevin Kumar

Award Year: 2014
Current Degrees: BS
Institution/Affiliation: Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

Kevin Kumar is a Graduate Student at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and received the Laxman S. Desai ASIO Student Award his work entitled “A High Throughput Screen for Modulators of Neuronal Manganese Status.” His research showed that Mn is a one of the strongest environmental risk factors for Parkinson’s Disease. He further identified pharmacologically targetable pathways that mitigate Mn as an environmental risk factor in human disease. He successfully conducted a high throughput screen of approximately 40,000 small molecules. He hopes to further focuses on the development and execution of a high-throughput screen (HTS) of small molecules to identify novel modulators of neuronal Mn accumulation. The ultimate goal of his studies is to characterize identified compounds’ clinical utility in the treatment and prevention of these progressive neurodegenerative disorders. He hopes to continue work in drug development and therapeutics for debilitating neurodegenerative diseases that have a toxicological etiology.

Laxman S. Desai Association of Scientists of Indian Origin Student Award Fund

Winner: Hemantkumar Chavan

Award Year: 2013
Current Degrees: MS
Institution/Affiliation: University of Kansas Medical Center

Hemantkumar Chavan is a graduate student at the University of Kansas Medical Center, who received the Laxman S. Desai Award for his paper entitled, “Xenosensors Mediated Regulation of ATP Binding Cassette Transporter B6 (ABCB6).” His research relates to drug metabolism and how Abcb6, an ATP binding transporter, is regulated by drug sensing receptors. In this study, he and his lab partners worked to show how Abcb6 is regulated by xenosensors like AhR and CAR. He also investigated the role of Abcb6 in regulation of cytochrome P450.

Laxman S. Desai Association of Scientists of Indian Origin Student Award Fund

Winner: Amy Sharma

Award Year: 2013
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: University of Toronto

Amy Sharma is a PhD student of Pharmacology of the University of Toronto, who received the Laxman S. Desai Association of Scientists of Indian Origin Student Award for her work entitled, “Nevirapine-induced Skin Rash is Caused by a Reactive Sulfate Metabolite Formed in the Skin.” Her doctoral thesis examines the role of drug induced adverse reactions. The primary focus of this work is the investigation of the idiosyncratic form, which is undetectable during preclinical or clinical trials. Circumstantial evidence suggests a role for drug metabolism leading to reactive metabolites, which can trigger a maladaptive immune response. The model she used is a skin rash model caused by nevirapine, an anti-HIV agent. Working with others, she elucidated the bioactivation and covalent binding of a nevirapine metabolite in the skin leading to the skin rash, and examined the role for the NLRP3 inflammasome in keratinocytes. Her ultimate goal is to further the field of Immunotoxicology in its entirety, and she wants to do this by becoming a leading expert in the area of drug-induced allergy and toxicity.

Laxman S. Desai Association of Scientists of Indian Origin Student Award Fund

Winner: Nivedita Banerjee

Award Year: 2012
Current Degrees: MS
Institution/Affiliation: Texas A&M University

Nivedita Banerjee, of Texas A&M University, for her work entitled, “Pomegranate Polyphenols Inhibit Breast Cancer Cell Growth Targeting miRNA-27a and miRNA-155 in the Reduction of Inflammation and Cell Growth” was very excited and thrilled that my work was appreciated through this award. My research involves the safety and efficacy of natural compounds and their role in chemoprevention and chemotherapy. My research interest is to develop functional food for prevention and therapy for various chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Laxman S. Desai Association of Scientists of Indian Origin Student Award Fund

Winner: Vijay More

Award Year: 2012
Current Degrees: MS
Institution/Affiliation: University of Rhode Island

Vijay More, of the University of Rhode Island, for his work entitled, “Too Much of a Good Thing: Enhanced Nrf2 Activity Leads to Obesity, Steatosis, and Glucose Intolerance.” His research involves Nrf2, which is one of the well-known transcription factors that protect various organs from oxidative stress. Recently, the new data is revealing that Nrf2 also plays role in obesity and diabetes etiology. He hopes to work as a toxicologist in a preclinical unit of a pharma industry. He would like to take part in the mentoring grad students once he gets settled in the industry and volunteer for various activities associated with the CE Program of SOT.

Mary Amdur Student Award Fund

Winner: Katherine Duke

Award Year: 2017
Current Degrees: BS, MS
Institution/Affiliation: North Carolina State University

Ms. Duke is extremely honored to be selected to receive this award. Occupational exposure to a fiber-like nanomaterial, multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs), may pose similar human health risks as asbestos when inhaled. She and colleagues are still investigating how their physiochemical properties affect pulmonary inflammation, fibrosis, allergic lung development, and potentially pre-neoplastic lesions in mice and what this means for humans. Katherine has determined the rigidity of two markedly different MWCNTs; she utilized a full body mouse knock-out for the signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT)-1, specifically because of its increased susceptibility to fibrogenesis in order to investigate the difference in fibrotic mechanism of each MWCNT. Her work has elucidated that the physicochemical properties of these materials result in greatly different pulmonary effects where the more rigid MWCNT cause prolonged inflammation, mucous cell metaplasia, and greater epithelial cell damage and airway fibrosis compared to the more tangled MWCNT. Furthermore, she has found that STAT1 suppresses the development of fibrosis by downregulating transforming growth factor (TGF) -ß1 production and canonical downstream TGF-ß1 signaling molecules. This work emphasizes the need for intelligent safe engineering of MWCNTs, considering both their applications in consumer products as well as how their physicochemical characteristics affect lung pathology and their implications in human health. Future aims of the project are to further investigate the mechanism of fibrosis resulting from these contrasting MWCNT rigidities in different cell types and to investigate the potential of these MWCNTs to cause pulmonary neoplastic lesions.

Mary Amdur Student Award Fund

Winner: Sheryse Taylor

Award Year: 2017
Current Degrees: BSc
Institution/Affiliation: Rutgers University

Ms. Taylor was surprised and extremely excited to receive this award as it will help fund future studies. Using this award she will be able to purchase materials to further explore the mechanism behind the effects she has observed. Her research focuses on understanding the role of macrophages and nitric oxide metabolism in various models lung injury. In the future she hopes to continue studying the role of the immune system in the development and treatment of cancer. The research for which she was given this award explored the effect of a nitric oxide donor in response to ozone exposure. She found that exposure to increased nitric oxide reduced ozone-induced injury by altering the pro-inflammatory response of the macrophages.

Mary Amdur Student Award Fund

Winner: Parker Duffney

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: MS
Institution/Affiliation: University of Rochester

People who are exposed to cigarette smoke are at an increased risk for viral lung infections, however the mechanism of how cigarette smoke affects the lung immune response to viral pathogens is not fully understood. Mr. Duffney's work investigates how cigarette smoke affects epithelial cells in the lung in the context of a viral challenge. His work shows that cigarette smoke impairs a proper antiviral response to a viral mimetic by disrupting the production of key antiviral molecules. Also he found that proteolytic processing of a key pathogen recognition receptor, TLR3, is necessary for proper anti-viral signaling. Furthermore, exposure to cigarette smoke alters proper TLR3 signaling resulting in a dampened response to a viral mimetic. Future aims of this project look to develop novel therapeutic strategies to resolve smoke-induced immune defects that can be used to treat smokers to lessen the risk of viral lung infections.

Mary Amdur Student Award Fund

Winner: Matthew Marshall

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: BS in Nuclear Engineering
Institution/Affiliation: New York University

It has been well documented that World Trade Center (WTC) dust has contributed to health problems in First Responders (FR). However, the mechanisms for how WTC dust chronically affects FR are not well understood, because a majority of studies have only focused on the fine particle fraction (< 2.5 µm) of WTC dust when it consists primarily of coarse (2.5-10 µm) and supercoarse (> 10 µm) particles. The pH of coarse and supercoarse particles is 10–11 so they have more potential to induce damage by causing prolonged irritation due to their highly alkaline properties. Mr. Marshall's research explores an in vivo model that simulates a WTC dust exposure comparable to 9/11/01 for FR near or around Ground Zero to see the health effects that arise over time from the WTC dust. He used RNA Sequencing to analyze the transcriptome of lung and liver samples from Day 7 and Day 360 post-exposure rats to discover and identify differentially-expressed genes (DEGs). Following RNA Sequencing, he performed pathway analysis on his DEGs to find disparate differences between Day 7 and Day 360. The results illuminated that WTC dust exacerbates injury with time, and it revealed crucial genes that could be causing molecular dysfunctions and disease. When comparing rat Day 360 lung samples to Day 7 lung samples, he found a pathway activation for atherosclerosis, atherosclerotic lesions, and a dilation of the left ventricle. He has received this award specifically for his research on the rat lungs and demonstrating how WTC dust causes irritation to the pulmonary system. This irritation from the coarse fraction of WTC dust creates an inflammatory response, which could be responsible for the formation of atherosclerosis and atherosclerotic lesions. Additionally, when comparing Day 360 liver samples to Day 7 liver samples, pathway analysis revealed an increased inflammatory response, increased proliferation of hepatic stellate cells (HSC), and decreased apoptosis of HSCs. His future research goals for this project are to take the current research and see how it relates to human tissue samples from FR. To date, there have been few transcript studies done on FR so this could help in disease mitigation and better targeted treatment therapies. These findings could truly benefit FR and better their lives.

Mary Amdur Student Award Fund

Winner: Mary Francis

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: BA
Institution/Affiliation: Rutgers University

Mary Francis is a graduate student at Rutgers University and received the Mary Amdur Student Award for her work entitled, "Tracking Inflammatory Macrophages Accumulation in the Lung after Ozone." Her research is related to infiltrating macrophage subpopulations that play a role in ozone-induced lung injury. A model was created to differentiate between resident and infiltrating macrophages. Both pro- and anti-inflammatory macrophages were observed to accumulate in the lung after ozone exposure. Further investigation revealed that these different populations are regulated through chemokine signaling. She believes her research gives insight about how macrophages can induce injury or repair after ozone exposure. It is important to identify mechanisms of macrophage accumulation. Ozone-induced pathogenesis can be selectively inhibited by interrupting one chemokine receptor, CCR2. This result can provide a novel therapeutic approach to lung inflammation and injury.

Mary Amdur Student Award Fund

Winner: Pamella Tijerina

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: BS
Institution/Affiliation: NYU School of Medicine

Pamella Tijerina is a graduate student at the New York University School of Medicine and received the Mary Amdur Student Award for her work entitled, "Prenatal and Postnatal Exposure to Concentrated Ambient Particulate Matter Alters The Developing Immune System of Mice." This study combined prenatal and postnatal exposure to best evaluate the consequences cumulative environmental exposure can have on the developing immune system. The mouse model is ideal due to easy and cost-effective maintenance, as well as having a well-defined immune system. Exposing mice in utero and postnatally to concentrated fine-sized ambient particles (CAPs) encompasses the exposure many children endure. Current results demonstrate the maturation and phenotype of immune cells are altered in a sex-dependent manner due to early life CAPs exposure. Immune responses with skewed cellular profiles have been suggested as a mechanism behind inflammatory diseases such as asthma. This suggests developmental exposure to air pollution may predispose children differently dependent on sex to respiratory diseases. Overall, air pollution continues to be a worldwide epidemic that can be controlled with the enough advocacy and supporting scientific data.

Mary Amdur Student Award Fund

Winner: Mary A. Popovech

Award Year: 2014
Current Degrees: MPH
Institution/Affiliation: New York University School of Medicine

Mary Popovech is a Graduate Student at New York University School of Medicine and won the Mary Amdur Student Award because of her work entitled, “Acute and Subchronic Exposure to Inhaled Silver Nanoparticles Results in Alterations in Gene Expression, Gene-Specific Promoter Methylation, and Mitochondrial Integrity.” The use of engineered nanomaterials is ubiquitous because of how rapidly they are advancing science and technology. As scientists we have an obligation to not only advance science and technology, but also ensure the safety of health and our environment. Currently, there is a gap in our understanding of the effects of nanomaterials. Her research focuses on expanding our understanding of how engineered nanomaterials interact with the intracellular environment. In vitro studies have suggested that exposure to relevant doses of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) pose a threat to human health and the assumption that AgNPs are safe by default is now actively being challenged. In vivo studies are needed to fully delineate and either support or refute recent questions and hypotheses raised by in vitro work. Further, there are critical gaps in our understanding of environmental epigenetics, in particular, concerning the existence of epigenetic alterations occurring from exposure to environmental toxicants, as well as, the time points at which these changes occur. Legitimate concerns exist regarding the potential adverse health effects from NP exposure. Therefore, research that addresses specific critical questions concerning the toxicity and hazards of these technologies is vital to the advancement of the field and the protection of our health and environment. My work has the potential to set standards for consumer products and occupational exposure limits, to safeguard our health.

Mary Amdur Student Award Fund

Winner: Desinia Johnson

Award Year: 2013
Current Degrees: BS
Institution/Affiliation: University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill

Desinia Johnson is a second year graduate student of the University of North Carolina Chapel and she received the Mary Amdur Student Award for her work entitled, “Ozone(03): A Potential Contributor to the Metabolic Syndrome.” She hypothesized that ozone exposure may increase systemic mediators that can subsequently target the liver, adipose, and muscle, resulting in glucose intolerance. She observed that Wistar Kyoto Rats exposed to .5 and 1 ppm of ozone had marked glucose intolerance following one and two days of exposure. She and her lab team also observed that there was an increase in specific inflammatory markers, not IL-6, and acute phase proteins in the serum of the ozone-exposed group. In addition, they detected changes in hormones that are involved in glucose homeostasis, such as insulin, leptin, and epinephrine. She is hopeful her work will continue to make an impact and a difference in the field of toxicology like Dr. Amdur did during her career.

Mary Amdur Student Award Fund

Winner: Alex Carll

Award Year: 2012
Current Degrees: MSPH, BA
Institution/Affiliation: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill/US EPA

Alex P. Carll, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, for his work entitled, “Treadmill Stress Test after Diesel Exhaust Particulate Exposure Reveals a Time-Dependent Shift from Parasympathetic to Sympathetic Dominance.” He incorporated a treadmill exercise stress test and the electrocardiogram to determine effects of diesel exhaust particle exposure on cardiovascular function in rats with preexisting cardiovascular disease. He hopes to advance the science of toxicology in the 21st century by incorporating physiologic measurements to yield new understandings of the mechanisms behind the adverse health effects of air pollution.

Molecular and Systems Biology Student Award Fund

Winner: Aditya Joshi

Award Year: 2013
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: University of Texas Medical Branch

Aditya Joshi is a postdoctoral fellow of the University of Texas Medical Branch and the recipient of the Molecular Biology Postdoctoral Fellow Research Award for his work entitled, “Transcription Regulation by Novel Interaction of Kruppel-Like Factor 6 with Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor at the NC-XRE.” In this study, he was able to show for the first time the novel interaction between KLF6 and Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor (AhR). AhR-KLF6 complex may contribute to dioxin-mediated carcinogenesis, particularly given the documented role for both proteins in cell cycle control. Alternatively, the AhR-KLF6 complex may serve regulatory functions unrelated to dioxin toxicity but be critically important in normal physiological events. Hence, genome-wide assessments of the transcriptional targets controlled by this new complex offer a means to address this issue and represent promising research opportunities. He is pursuing a career in molecular toxicology and eventually hopes to become a successful academic investigator.

Molecular and Systems Biology Student Award Fund

Winner: Tejas Lahoti

Award Year: 2013
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: The Pennsylvania State University

Tejas Lahoti is a postdoctoral student of the University of Pennsylvania and the recipient of the Molecular Biology Student Award for his work etitled, “Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor (AhR) Regulates Growth Factor Expression, Proliferation, Protease-dependent Invasion and Migration in Primary Fibroblast-like Synoviocytes from Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients.” His research involved using numerous molecular biology techniques to understand role of aryl hydrocarbon receptor in rheumatoid arthritis. Dr. Lahoti hopes to mentor undergraduate students to take up toxicology as a field of interest.

Molecular and Systems Biology Student Award Fund

Winner: Xiao Pan

Award Year: 2013
Current Degrees: BS
Institution/Affiliation: Michigan State University

Xiaao Panis a graduate student of the Michigan State University and received the Molecular Biology Student Award for her work titled, “Quantitative Phosphoproteomic Analysis of the Dynamic Signaling Network Mediating Proinflammatory Response in the Spleen of Mice under Deoxynivalenol-induced Ribotoxic Stress.” Her work involves finding out how a common food contaminating natural toxin causes toxicity in the immune system. She employed a large-scale approach called proteomics to profile protein modification changes that are indicative of cellular signaling. Research results provide information regarding the molecular mechanisms of this toxin, how such protein modification leads to the toxicity in the immune system of experimental animals, and eventually how to design mechanism-based strategies to counter and prevent the adverse consequences of this toxin in humans. Such systems biology methods could be used to understand the toxicity pathways of chemicals in human cell cultures, and in combination of pharmacokinetic models, employed for new paradigm of risk assessment. She is interested in pursuing a challenging position in the industry where she could apply toxicology knowledge and training to issues of product safety and public health.

Molecular and Systems Biology Student Award Fund

  Winner: Vincent Ramirez

Award Year: 2013
Current Degrees: BS
Institution/Affiliation: University of Connecticut

Vincent Ramirez is a graduate student of the University of Connecticut and the recipient of the Molecular Biology Student Award for his work entitled, “TNIP1 Regulates the Cell Stress Response through Repression of Heat Shock Proteins A6 and A1A.” His research examined the potential roles TNIP1 plays in regulating the cell stress response in keratinocytes. TNIP1 was found to play key roles in repressing TNFalpha signaling and the activity of nuclear receptors PPAR and RAR. Increased protein expression of TNIP1 resulted in reduced levels of several heat shock proteins mRNA and protein, including HSPA6 and HSPA1A. His work showed that the TNIP1-mediated inhibition of HSP expression decreased cell survival in response to heat stress. He hopes that his work now, and in the future, can contribute to reducing or refining the use of in vivo models and to generating a more predictive in vitro model. While he does not think that there will be a suitable replacement for in vivo models, he believes better in vitro models could be a first line of testing many toxicants.

Molecular and Systems Biology Student Award Fund

Winner: Ley Cody Smith

Award Year: 2013
Current Degrees: MS
Institution/Affiliation: University of Florida

Ley Cody Smith is a second year graduate student at the University of Florida and has received the first place award for his work entitled, “Effects of GPER Activation on (xeno) Estrogen-Induced Cellular Responses.” The focus of his work involved understanding the underlying mechanisms responsible for mediating the cellular responses to xenoestrogren exposure in order to identify potential therapeutic targets to xenoestrogren mediated diseases. He used a combination of functional genomic and global phosphoproteomic approaches to determine the potential for nuclear and membrane-bound estrogen receptors to engage in receptor crosstalk once activated by xenoestrogen binding with the overall goal of deciphering the cellular consequences of these interactions. Mr. Smith considers the field of phosphoproteomics as it relates to toxicology to be the next frontier in systems biology for understanding the cellular mechanisms responsible for adverse effects caused by exposure to environmental contaminants. His goal is to pursue a career in the academic or government field so that he can help to better protect human health and the environment, bridge the gap between the policy makers and the researchers, and streamline the process from discovery to public policy.

Molecular and Systems Biology Student Award Fund

Winner: Durga Tripathi

Award Year: 2013
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: Institute of Biosciences & Technology, Texas A&M Health Science Center

Durga Nand Tripathi is a postdoctoral fellow of the Institute of Biosciences and Technology, Texas A & M Health Science Center. He received the Molecular Biology Postdoctoral Fellow Research Award for his work entitled, “Reactive Nitrogen Species Regulate Autophagy through ATM-AMPK-TSC2-mediated Suppression of mTORC1.” His research involves nitric oxide (NO), which is an important signaling molecule involved in many physiological processes. NO in excess, however, causes nitrosative damage with pathological consequences. He identified a new pathway by which nitrosative damage induces autophagy, a self-digestion process for degradation and recycling of cellular molecules that participates in both cell survival and death pathways. These data identify nitrosative stress as an attractive therapeutic strategy to repress oncogenic mTORC1 signaling and induce autophagic cell death. He hopes to join the Molecular Biology Specialty Section in SOT, which he believes is a very good platform to interact, collaborate, and solve this puzzle.

Molecular and Systems Biology Student Award Fund

Winner: Britton Goodale

Award Year: 2012
Current Degrees: BS
Institution/Affiliation: Oregon State University

Britton Goodale, of Oregon State University, for his work entitled, “Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons Induce Distinct mRNA Expression Profiles in Developing Zebrafish.” His research is focused on characterizing diverse molecular mechanisms by which PAHs cause toxicity, using the embryonic zebrafish, which is an ideal model for investigating mechanisms of developmental toxicity. Using AHR-null zebrafish, he is investigating the role of the AHR in toxicity-induced by a diverse group of PAHs. He is also utilizing mRNA microarrays to identify novel differential pathways of toxicity and biomarkers of PAH exposure. He hopes to continue conducting research that furthers our understanding of mechanisms of developmental toxicity, as well as provide mentorship and encouragement to young scientists interested in this important field.

Molecular and Systems Biology Student Award Fund

Winner: Indira Jutooru

Award Year: 2012
Current Degrees: BVSc, PhD
Institution/Affiliation: Texas A&M University

Indira Jutooru, of Texas A & M University, for his work entitled, “STAT3 Regulation by Sp Transcription Factors in Pancreatic Cancer Cells.” His work is focused on STAT3 and Sp protein transcription factors and their role in pancreatic cancer. As a scientist working in the cancer field, he feels there is lot to explore in regards to identifying the mechanisms and/or in development of better drugs with low toxicity. His primary goal is to study cancer development, various pathways involved in carcinogenesis, and contribute his part in the development of chemotherapeutics with lowered toxicity that can help patients with various cancers.

Molecular and Systems Biology Student Award Fund

Winner: Kristy Kutanzi

Award Year: 2012
Current Degrees: BSc, PhD
Institution/Affiliation: National Center for Toxicological Research, Oak Ridge Research Institution for Science and Education

Kristy Kutanzi, of the US Food and Drug Administration, for her work entitled, “Epigenetic and miRNA Dysregulation in Liver Nongenotoxic and Genotoxic Tumorigenesis.” Her research aims to identify those events that are important for cellular transformation. This is crucially important for understanding the mechanisms of cancer progression and prevention. It is her hope that this award will draw further attention to the need for research in this field, and will bring researchers together to share their expertise to improve our understanding of the early events which drive cellular transformation. Ultimately, these collaborations will expand our research potential and enable us to identify early biomarkers that can be used to guide cancer detection and prevention strategies.

Molecular and Systems Biology Student Award Fund

Winner: Laura MacPherson

Award Year: 2012
Current Degrees: MSc, BMSc
Institution/Affiliation: University of Toronto

Laura MacPherson, of the University of Toronto, for her research entitled, “2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-Dioxin-Inducible Poly(ADP-ribose) Polymerase is a Negative Regulator of Dioxin-Induced Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor Transactivation and a Mono-ADP-Ribosyltransferase.” Her research examines an enzyme called TiPARP, which is currently an uncharacterized protein that belongs to a family of enzymes that only now is being better understood. The primary goal of the research was to describe the role of TiPARP in aryl. She hopes that her contributions towards the science of toxicology will provide a better understanding of the molecular pathways involved in environmental chemical exposure and methods and interventions by which these pathways can be inhibited.

Molecular and Systems Biology Student Award Fund

Winner: Hong Loan Nguyen

Award Year: 2012
Current Degrees: MS
Institution/Affiliation: Pennsylvania State University

Hong Loan Nguyen, of Pennsylvania State University, for his work entitled, “Peptide-Mediated Translational Regulation of Human Microsomal Epoxide Hydrolase (EPHX1).” The major scope of his research project deals with the regulation of microsomal epoxide hydrolase, at the translational level by upstream open reading frame (uORF) peptides. This enzyme is important in that it helps detoxifies many harmful foreign compounds as well as toxic metabolites produced by the body. However, this enzyme is also noted for its bioactivation ability such as converting cigarette smoke components into reactive cancer-causing metabolites. He hopes to continue partaking in advancing science in general and the science of toxicology specifically through his research work. By discovering the unknown, he wants to ensure his research will help toxicologists be more aware of the complex processes involved in regulating detoxification enzymes.

Molecular and Systems Biology Student Award Fund

Winner: Rachel Tanos

Award Year: 2012
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: Pennsylvania State University

Rachel Tanos, of Penn State University, for her research entitled, “The Ah Receptor Exerts a Regulatory Role in Hiomeostatic Control of Cholesterol Synthesis.” We have established the role of the Ah receptor in the repression of the cholesterol synthesis pathway through a cognitive response element independent manner both in mice and humans. This award represents appreciation of a full year of hard work and demonstrates to her that she is already contributing to the advancement of science in her field and that she is on the right track. She will pursue interesting science with high impact and it would be her turn to help other young scientist in their pursuit of their goals.

Molecular Biology Specialty Section Postdoctoral Fellow Research Award

Winner: Sarah Lacher

Award Year: 2017
Current Degrees: BS, PhD
Institution/Affiliation: University of Minnesota

Dr. Lacher was delighted and extremely honored to find out that she was the first place award winner for the MSBSS 2017 Postdoctoral Fellow Award. She chose to switch fields when starting my current Postdoctoral position, thus she is new to the field of Molecular and Systems Biology. She is honored be selected for this award as this suggests that her current research focus is meaningful to the MSBSS members. She presented a 5-minute research synopsis at the MSBSS reception which provided her with the much-needed opportunity to network with experts in the field of Molecular and Systems Biology. This extension of her network will undoubtedly lead to to future collaborations and success in her future research.Her current research is focused upon environmental stress at the cellular level. Specifically, she is interested in how the cell responds to stress in terms of global changes in gene transcription. She and colleagues are taking a genome-wide approach to this question by characterizing the regulatory network of one of the most well known stress-responsive transcription factors, Nrf2. Historically Nrf2 activation was considered protective, however, recently evidence has been presented that in certain contexts, Nrf2 activation can be harmful. Thus it is imperative to develop more comprehensive models of Nrf2-mediated gene transcription. She predicted that full characterization of the global NRF2 gene network would provide the mechanistic information needed to understand how NRF2 binding specificity influences gene transcription. She then used this information to characterize how individual genetic variation identified in genome wide association studies (GWAS) can influence Nrf2 binding, gene transcription, and disease risk. She shifted fields when she took her current postdoctoral position, and the gained expertise in molecular genetics and biochemistry has allowed her to diversify her skill set as a toxicologist and has poised her to reach the goal of becoming an independent investigator.

Molecular Biology Specialty Section Postdoctoral Fellow Research Award

Winner: Jenna Currier

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: ORISE at US EPA

As a current postdoctoral fellow at the U.S. EPA, Dr. Currier is studying the underlying mechanisms that differentiate cellular responses to oxidative exposures in human lung cells for the purpose of biomarker discovery and predictive model development using a systems biology approach. The work for which she won this award involved characterizing adverse effects in human lung cells and determining gene expression changes that can distinguish exposures at the tipping point of cell death.

Molecular Biology Specialty Section Postdoctoral Fellow Research Award

Winner: Anna Kopec

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: Michigan State University

Overdose of acetaminophen (APAP) is the leading cause of drug-induced acute liver injury in the U.S. and other developed countries, because APAP is present in >600 over-the-counter and prescription medications, making accidental (as well as intentional) overdose a serious public concern. Current therapies for management of APAP overdose patients are very limited and are usually only effective when administered very early. Understanding the mechanisms of liver repair after APAP overdose is necessary to develop effective therapies to stimulate liver regeneration and re-establish liver function in patients after APAP overdose. Dr. Kopec's work focuses on understanding the role of fibrinogen in APAP-hepatotoxicity. Utilizing mice with a specific mutation in fibrinogen molecule that lacks a binding motif for an integrin expressed on leukocytes she identified key molecular events and a novel pathway of liver regeneration after APAP overdose in mice. Her studies are aimed at identifying existing knowledge gaps and are likely to reveal novel strategies to prevent liver failure after APAP overdose, even in patients presenting with extensive hepatotoxicity.

Molecular Biology Specialty Section Postdoctoral Fellow Research Award

Winner: Priyanka  Trivedi

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: Harvard Medical School

Dr. Trivedi's research focuses on discovering therapeutic targets for acute and chronic kidney diseases. Kidney fibrosis, the hallmark of chronic kidney disease (CKD), is an irreversible process leading to the life-threatening end-stage renal failure. Unfortunately, no effective therapeutic strategies are available to cure this condition. This is due to lack of our understanding of the underlying mechanisms of fibrosis. Using RNA sequencing, she and her colleagues identified phospholipase D4 (PLD4) as one of the targets for the treatment of kidney fibrosis. Our research work deciphers a mechanistic role of PLD4 in the regulation of fibrosis. They observed that PLD4 was significantly increased in mechanistically different mouse models of kidney fibrosis as well as in patients with biopsy-proven kidney fibrosis. Furthermore, they found that PLD4 knockout mice (PLD4-/-) showed less fibrosis compared to the wild type (PLD4+/+) mice after folic acid injection- as well as unilateral ureteral obstruction-induced kidney fibrosis. This was attributed to mainly two reasons, (i) PLD4-/- mice had increased level of anti-fibrotic cytokines compared to the PLD4+/+ mice and, (ii) sustained activation of the proteases, due to decreased level of serpina1 (a protease inhibitor) in PLD4-/- mice, led to an efficient degradation of collagen rescuing these mice from scar tissue formation in the kidney. Thus they identified that PLD4 is a central target that can be intervened in preventing fibrosis-associated organ dysfunction. Her future goal is to continue contributing to the mechanistic toxicological sciences, which can be translated clinically.

Molecular Biology Specialty Section Postdoctoral Fellow Research Award

Winner: Aditya Joshi

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: University of Texas Medical Branch

Aditya Joshi is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Texas Medical Branch and received the Molecular Biology Postdoctoral Fellow Research Award for his work entitled, "Carbamoyl Phosphate Synthase 1 mediated homocitrullination of histone H1.2 constitutes a novel epigenetic mark associated with Aryl hydrocarbon Receptor driven gene expression." Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor (AhR) is a member of Per/Arnt/Sim family of transcription factor. In canonical AhR signaling upon ligand binding AhR binds to DNA on a site named Xenobiotic Response Element (XRE). We discovered a novel AhR binding site and termed it NC-XRE (Non-Consensus Xenobiotic Response Element). We also identified Carbamoyl Phosphate Synthase 1 (CPS1) as a novel binding partner of AhR at this site upon ligand activation. AhR and CPS1 binding at NC-XRE lead to homocitrullination (a novel posttranslational modification) of linked histone H1. This is responsible for increased Histone H1 mobility as well as transcription activation of various genes. Therefore this study presents homocitrullination as a novel epigenetic mark. He feels that exploring the mechanism, toxicological and physiological role of AhR is important from human health perspective.

Molecular Biology Specialty Section Postdoctoral Fellow Research Award

Winner: Anna Kopec

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: Michigan State University

Anna Kopec is a postdoctoral scholar at Michigan State University and received the Molecular Biology Postdoctoral Research Award for her work entitled, "Role of Fibrin(ogen) in Hepatocyte Proliferation after Acetaminophen Overdose." Her research is focused on investigating the mechanisms that can help understand how liver repairs itself after acetaminophen (Tylenol) overdose. Overdose with Tylenol is one of the most common drug-induced liver injuries in the United States, either via intentional or accidental overdose, since acetaminophen is present in hundreds of over-the-counter and prescription medications. During severe overdose, liver is irreversibly damaged leading to patients’ death. My research focuses on finding out ways to increase liver regeneration that could help save the lives of patients who have overdosed on acetaminophen. Utilization of sophisticated genetic mouse models to exactly pinpoint the role of fibrinogen in APAP overdose will be beneficial in elucidating the mechanism behind liver repair and will potentially highlight novel therapies to stimulate liver regeneration.

Molecular Biology Specialty Section Postdoctoral Fellow Research Award

Winner: Natalia VanDuyn

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: ORISE - US EPA

Natalia VanDuyn is a postdoctoral fellow at US Environmental Protection Agency and received the Molecular Biology Specialty Section Postdoctoral Fellow Research Award for her work entitled, "Building Predictive Gene Signatures Through Simultaneous Assessment of Transcription Factor Activation and Gene Expression." Her work seeks to develop gene expression biomarkers (lists of genes that are indicative of a cellular process) that predict key events in these adverse outcome pathways. She is currently using genome-wide gene expression data and existing data from the EPA’s Toxicity Forecaster (ToxCast) program to develop biomarkers of key events that are relevant to many human health effects, including cancer. The predictive ability of the biomarker is tested against a large database of other gene expression studies. The methods developed here will allow for novel uses of existing data and can be applied to other key events and adverse outcome pathways. Overall, her research plays a part in developing an approach to predicting the toxicity outcomes of chemical exposure that will allow for faster, cheaper assessment of more chemicals and a better overall view of how they may impact the safety and health of the world.

Molecular Biology Specialty Section Postdoctoral Fellow Research Award

Winner: Jill Franzosa

Award Year: 2014
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: U.S. EPA/National Center for Computational Toxicology

Jill Franzosa is a postdoctoral fellow at the U.S. EPA/National Center for Computational Toxicology (NCCT) and received the Molecular Biology Specialty section Postdoctoral Fellow Research Award for her work entitled, “RNA-Sequencing Analysis of the Functional Link between Vascular Disruption and Adverse Developmental Consequences.” This research uses whole transcriptome profiling (RNA-Sequencing) to uncover the functional link between embryonic vascular disruption and developmental toxicity. It aims to better understand how environmental compounds can perturb blood vessel formation and vascular remodeling which are fundamental processes for fetal growth and development. These data facilitate the identification of molecular targets of putative vascular disrupting compounds (pVDCs) that can be incorporated into computational models along with high-throughput screening data to predict adverse biological consequences. This research demonstrates the use of robust toxicogenomics methods and bioinformatics techniques to identify molecular events influenced by pVDC exposure. This project incorporates these results into an adverse outcome pathway (AOP) framework which strengthens the pathway-level information used to relate embryonic vascular disruption to relevant regulatory toxicological endpoints such as reproductive and developmental outcomes. Such information can be used to understand and model the relationship between environmental exposure and adverse pregnancy outcomes. This will help to further predict the impact of chemicals on development to evaluate early life stage-specific risks and eventually support regulatory decisions.

Molecular Biology Specialty Section Postdoctoral Fellow Research Award

Winner: Shaun McCullough

Award Year: 2014
Current Degrees: M.S., Ph.D.
Institution/Affiliation: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Shaun McCullough is a postdoctoral fellow with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and received the Molecular Biology Specialty Section Postdoctoral Fellow Research Award for his work entitled, “Ozone Induces Lung Epithelial Cell Inflammation through MAP Kinase Activation without NF-κB Activation.” As an interface between the body and the environment, the airways play an important role as modulators of the body’s response to pollutant exposure. Despite our understanding of the general response of the airway to pollutant exposure, relatively little is known regarding the underlying sub-cellular mechanisms. A small number of studies have previously described ozone responsive mechanisms in cells that do not accurately reflect the function of normal cells of the airway. We examined the sub-cellular events that occurred in primary cells, which are a more accurate reflection of airway cells, following exposure to the pollutant ozone. Through these studies we identified the cellular signaling pathways that are responsible for the pro-inflammatory response of ozone-exposed airway cells. Ozone is a model pollutant and thus we can use data, such as these, to extrapolate the effects and mechanisms of other oxidant pollutants using computational models. Once developed, the application of these models will allow for the prediction of both susceptible populations and strategies for intervention, thus promoting public health.

Molecular Biology Specialty Section Postdoctoral Fellow Research Award

Winner: Tongde Wu

Award Year: 2014
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: University of Arizona

Tongde Wu is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Arizona and received the Molecular Biology Specialty Section Postdoctoral Fellow Research Award for her work entitled, “p97 Modulates Nrf2-KEAP1-Mediated Antioxidant Response.” Her current research involves a new mechanism of how protein quality control systems coordinate signals with antioxidant response in order to fence against environmental toxicants, such as sodium arsenite. P97 is one of the master regulators of protein folding and quality control within cells. Nrf2-Keap1 pathway is primarily responsible for regulating intracellular redox balancing, the signal can be activated by broccoli extract -- sulforaphane . Studying these two pathways will not only broaden our knowledge in cell defense system, but will also shed light on therapies that eventually improve human heath. As a researcher focusing on mechanism study, she wishes to do more work to explore the principles underlying cellular event. The more we know about the cellular process and how the machinery work, the better it will guide us to design molecules or treatments to battle against the deleterious environmental toxicants that put human health in jeopardy. It is therefore the duty of our generation of toxicologist to apply our skill and knowledge to real life scenario and come up with a cure.

Molecular Biology Student Award Fund

Winner: Gloria Garcia

Award Year: 2017
Current Degrees: BS in Biology
Institution/Affiliation: Oregon State University

Ms. Garcia was pleased to win the award. She is not sure how winning this award will help me pursue my research. Preparing the submission did help me with my science communication skills. The foundation of her research is based on the pursuit of understanding the relationship between the genotype-environment-phenotype. Her dream is to stay in academia and eventually run her own lab. Using the zebrafish model and a combination of techniques including anti-sense knockdown, qPCR, in situ hybridization, larval behavioral assays, and RNA-seq we are interested in testing the hypothesize that a conserved non-coding RNA (slincR) is a direct Ahr target gene that represses Sox9b upon induction by strong Ahr ligands to produce target organ toxicity.

Molecular Biology Student Award Fund

Winner: Elizabeth Mutter-Rottmayer

Award Year: 2017
Current Degrees: BS
Institution/Affiliation: University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

Ms. Mutter-Rottmayer is very excited to be the first place recipient of the Molecular and Systems Biology Specialty Section Graduate Student Award! Receiving this award is not only a great motivator, and has encouraged her to pursue future directions in understanding mechanisms of chemoresistance, but will also provide important exposure to this work that may ultimately lead to improved patient outcome. She is currently conducting research to uncover how mechanisms of DNA repair may alter both environmental susceptibility as well as the efficacy of chemotherapeutic genotoxins, thus contributing to carcinogenesis. She was specifically acknowledged for her research investigating a cancer cell-specific regulator of the Fanconi Anemia DNA repair pathway and its contribution to resistance of type I topoisomerase poisons, a class of commonly used chemotherapeutics. Ultimately she wants to utilize the improved understanding of the molecular mechanisms of chemoresistance to develop more effective treatment options for patients.

Molecular Biology Student Award Fund

Winner: Amin Sobh

Award Year: 2017
Current Degrees: BSc, MSc
Institution/Affiliation: University of California, Berkeley

Mr. Sobh was very delighted and grateful when he received this award. He felt proud of his accomplishments as a graduate student. Realizing that experts in the field recognize the importance of his work motivates him to work harder and be even more enthusiastic to pursue his research. His research involves identifying cellular components and pathways that affect toxic responses to chemical exposures. The ultimate goal of his work is to better understand the toxicity mechanisms of certain chemicals and reveal the determinants of human susceptibility to such chemicals in order to advance risk assessments of corresponding exposures. In the current study, he investigated the toxicity of acetaldehyde and arsenic trioxide in human erythroleukemic cells. He used a functional genomics approach to identify genes whose disruption alters sensitivity to each of the studied chemicals. His approach identified multiple candidate genes that are potentially involved in the mechanism(s) of toxicity of each chemical. Consistent with the reported role of aldehydes in DNA damage, his work demonstrated that disruption of genes encoding DNA repair enzymes increases the toxic effect of acetaldehyde. His results also suggest a role for mitochondrial fragmentation as one of the mechanisms underlying acetaldehyde toxicity. His study on arsenic trioxide suggested a predominant role of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the mechanism of toxicity and revealed a novel link between arsenic toxicity and selenocysteine metabolism.

Molecular Biology Student Award Fund

Winner: Vivekkumar Dadhania

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: MS (Pharm)
Institution/Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM)

It is widely known that low to moderate doses of hepatotoxicants such as acetaminophen (APAP), carbon tetrachloride (CCl4), and thioacetamide (TA) cause minimal liver necrosis in mice and rats. At such low doses, the initiated injury does not expand to cause the organ failure and animal death due to the stimulated compensatory liver regeneration (CLR). At lethal doses however, the initiated injury expands uncontrollably causing liver failure and death of the animals. This expansion occurs even after the offending toxicant is completely eliminated from the body by 8 to 10 half-lives (10h for APAP in mice). This indicates that the continued progression of liver injury at lethal doses of toxicants is not dependent on the presence of toxicants in the body. So how does that injury expand? To the best of our knowledge, entire biomedical literature is silent on what causes the unabated expansion of toxicant-initiated liver injury in the absence of offending toxicant in the body. Therefore, it is worthwhile to identify such mechanisms of liver injury expansion. Moreover, finding out the mechanisms of liver regeneration that can potentially restore the damaged liver to its normal structure and function is equally important to rescue the toxicant-poisoned patients. Mr. Dadhania's thesis work addresses this area of toxicology. He and his colleagues found that Ca2+-dependant hydrolytic enzyme such as secretory phospholipase A2 (sPLA2) get spilt out of the dying cells after lethal dose exposure. The spilt sPLA2 is highly activated by the extracellular high Ca2+ (1.3mM), now termed as death protein, and causes the expansion of APAP-initiated liver injury in mice. This mechanism of injury expansion is independent of the presence of toxicant in the body. Our data indicate that hepatic expression of annexin A1 (ANX1) and annexin A2 (ANX2), the endogenous inhibitors of sPLA2, in the proliferating hepatocytes during the pre­placed CLR in response to liver injury induced by a small dose of TA affords protection against a lethal dose of APAP (TA+APAP treated mice). ANX1 and ANX2 expression on the plasma membrane of the hepatocytes strongly supports our hypothesis of the inhibition of spilt sPLA2-mediated unrestrained destruction of the hepatocytes. We also found that it is timely activation and appropriate termination of the Wnt/ß-catenin signaling that drives well-balanced liver regeneration in the TA+APAP treated mice. Their studies demonstrate that a novel life-saving strategy can be developed by targeting death protein sPLA2 and Wnt/ß-catenin pathway to rescue the APAP-overdosed patients. Mr. Dadhania feels that his graduate studies at the ULM have provided a solid toxicology background with exceptional research training. In particular, he found the hepatotoxicity and liver regeneration research of Dr. Mehendale and Dr. Apte highly intriguing and exhilarating. Soon after his PhD, he looks forward to have an outstanding opportunity to make a successful career as a toxicology scientist and continue his relationship with SOT in whatever manner he can.

Molecular Biology Student Award Fund

Winner: Gloria Garcia

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: BS
Institution/Affiliation: Oregon State University

Ms. Garcia's research uses the zebrafish model to understand unexplored mechanisms of gene expression. Specifically, she is trying to determine the relationship between a nuclear receptor (AHR), a transcription factor required for proper vertebrate development (Sox9b), and a regulatory RNA molecule (Sox9b-lncRNA) in the context of normal development and under chemical perturbation. Thus far, she and her colleagues have determined that Sox9b-lncRNA is expressed in distinct tissue-specific patterns adjacent to Sox9b, the expression levels and patterns of Sox9b-lncRNA are altered by strong AHR ligands in an AHR dependent manner, and normal Sox9b mRNA expression levels and in situ patterns require the presence of Sox9b-lncRNA. Our data has led to the following hypothesis: The conserved Sox9b-lncRNA is a direct AHR target gene that transcriptionally represses Sox9b upon induction by strong AHR ligands to produce target organ specific toxicity. Her long term career goal is to become an independent investigator running her own laboratory using the zebrafish model and systems biological approaches to identify mechanistic links between chemical exposures, lncRNA regulation, and pathology of disease.

Molecular Biology Student Award Fund

Winner: Rance Nault

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: BSc, MSc
Institution/Affiliation: Michigan State University

Mr. Nault's research examines the role of environmental contaminants of the development of fatty liver disease. In order to explore these questions a combination of ‘omic’ techniques is used to examine changes in gene expression regulation, gene expression, and metabolites, and integrate these using a variety of computational tools. Consequently, by using these data together he and his colleagues can look at changes within the context of the whole system. In the future Mr. Nault will delve deeper into key features that were highlighted by these high-throughput evaluations, more specifically on the role of PKM2 in fatty liver caused by 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) which is the research for which this award was given. They found that following TCDD exposure, a change in the PKM isoform is observed which reprograms metabolism similar to that of a cancer cell. Further evidence in metabolite and protein levels demonstrated that the livers of TCDD treated mice exhibit many features of cancer cells despite the absence of cancer. He concludes that this isoform switching likely plays a role in antioxidant defenses. Future work will examine this hypothesis in further depth using genetic models.

Molecular Biology Student Award Fund

Winner: Jeffrey Willy

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: BS, BM, MS
Institution/Affiliation: Indiana University School of Medicine

Currently a Ph.D. candidate at Indiana University School of Medicine, Mr. Willy studies the role of the Unfolded Protein Response (UPR) in the progression of NASH. Specifically, he has shown that the UPR regulates both secretion and autophagy through a novel adapter protein IBTKa during the progression of NASH at both the cellular level and in human patient samples. It is his hope to apply his molecular and translational training to better understand preclinical and clinical risk assessment.

Molecular Biology Student Award Fund

Winner: Kelly Fader

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: Honours Bachelor of Science
Institution/Affiliation: Michigan State University

Kelly Fader is a graduate student at Michigan State University and received the Molecular Biology Student Award for her work entitled, "The role of the intestine in TCDD-mediated steatohepatitis in C57BL/6 Mice." Her research investigates dioxin-induced changes along the intestinal tract that contribute to the accumulation of fat and inflammation in the liver. In addition to providing further insight into dioxin-mediated toxicity, and aims to identify novel therapeutic targets for the treatment of complex metabolic diseases. The worldwide prevalence of metabolic syndrome (MetS) is continuously increasing, and approaching pandemic levels in the United States. In addition to providing insight into TCDD-mediated hepatotoxicity, these studies may also identify novel targets for the treatment of MetS and its associated metabolic diseases including diabetes, cardiovascular disease and hepatocellular carcinoma.

Molecular Biology Student Award Fund

Winner: Dilshan Harischandra

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: BS
Institution/Affiliation: Iowa State University

Dilshan Harischandra is a graduate student at Iowa State University and received the Molecular Biology Student Award for his work entitled, "Lysosomal Dysfunction Regulates the Release of z-Synuclein Protein Aggregates from Exoomes during Manganese-induced Neurotoxic Insult." This project studied the effect of environmental neurotoxicants in developing and progression of Parkinson ’s disease (PD). His team looked into the interaction of manganese and prominent protein (alpha-synuclein) implicated in PD and studied how manganese exposure will cause protein to aggregate and accumulate in the brain as a result of dysfution in autophagy regulation. Most importantly, they found a possible mechanism via which these mis-folded proteins leave the “sick” cells and enter healthy cells, making them sick too. This mechanism uses very small vesicles to transport these proteins in a cargo-like manner. This could potentially help develop pharmacological strategies to block protein transfer and develop therapies against neurodegenerative diseases.

Molecular Biology Student Award Fund

Winner: Prajakta Shimpi

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: M.Pharm
Institution/Affiliation: University of Rhode Island

Prajakta Shimpi is a graduate student at the University of Rhode Island and received the Molecular and Systems Biology Student Award for her work entitled, "Early Epigenetic Modulation of Nrf2 and Lipogenic Genes by PNPP Exposure of Bisphenol A is Associated with Hepatic Steatosis in Female Mice." Her work focuses on plastic bottle component Bisphenol A. She treats pregnant mice with this compound and study the effect on the pups. These pups develop fatty liver, which could be a risk factor severe liver condition. Her work is to detect how exactly bisphenol A affects liver pathways. Interestingly, the effects observed in pups also remain persistent in adult animals, indicating the potential danger these environmental chemicals pose to human health. This work will be published soon and available in public domain for information. Overall, her research focuses on an important area of toxicology- the environmental chemicals, and also on the obesity- fatty liver disease, which is prevalent in population. This certainly contributes to SOT’s mission to creating safer and healthier environment for people.

Molecular Biology Student Award Fund

Winner: Tejas Lahoti

Award Year: 2014
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: The Pennsylvania State University

Tejas Lahoti is a PhD Candidate at the Pennsylvania State University and received the Molecular Biology Student Award for his work entitled, “Activation of aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) synergistically induces lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-mediated transcription of pro-inflammatory chemokine (c-c motif) ligand 20 (Ccl20).” This work is highly innovative as it helps us understand how aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) can alter immune regulation. The AHR has been shown to be involved in regulation of immune cells. However, the exact mechanism behind such a regulation is not well understood. He hopes his research will help in understanding how chemokine (c-c motif) ligand 20 (Ccl20)can help in maturation of dendritic cells and Th17 cells.

Molecular Biology Student Award Fund

Winner: Xi Li

Award Year: 2014
Current Degrees: BSc
Institution/Affiliation: Texas A&M University

Xi Li is a graduate student at Texas A&M University and received the Molecular and Systems Biology Student Research Award for his work entitled, “Diindolylmethane (DIM) Analogs as a New Class of NR4A1 Antagonists.” His research was focused on identifying novel chemotherapeutic agents. In this study, he and his team investigated the anticancer effects of small molecules, specifically, the anticancer effects of diindolylmethane (DIM) analogs in colon cancer cells. They found that treatment of these small molecules decreased colon cancer cell survival, proliferation and invasion. In addition they found that these compounds modulated the transcriptional activity of the orphan nuclear receptor NR4A1 and knockdown of NR4A1 by RNA interference resulted in anticancer effects similar to that after compound treatment. It was determined that DIM analogs were inactivators of NR4A1 and their anticancer effects were mediated through inactivation of NR4A1. We concluded that the DIM analogs represented a new class of NR4A1 antagonists. He beleives that better understanding of the molecular mechanisms could not only facilitate development of potent drugs but also avoid the toxicity issues associated with conventional chemotherapy.

Molecular Biology Student Award Fund

Winner: Mary A. Popovech

Award Year: 2014
Current Degrees: MPH
Institution/Affiliation: New York University School of Medicine

Mary Popovech is a Graduate Student at New York University School of Medicine and the recipient of the Molecular Biology Student Award for her work entitled, “Acute and Subchronic Exposure to Inhaled Silver Nanoparticles Results in Alterations in Gene Expression, Gene-Specific Promoter Methylation, and Mitochondrial Integrity.” The use of engineered nanomaterials is ubiquitous because of how rapidly they are advancing science and technology. Currently, there is a major gap in our understanding of the effects of nanomaterials. Dr. Popovech’s research focuses on elucidating and expanding our understanding of how engineered nanomaterials interact with the intracellular environment. In vitro studies have suggested that exposure to relevant doses of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) pose a threat to human health and the assumption that AgNPs are safe by default is now actively being challenged. In vivo studies are needed to fully delineate and either support or refute recent questions and hypotheses raised by in vitro work. Further, there are critical gaps in our understanding of environmental epigenetics, in particular, concerning the existence of epigenetic alterations occurring from exposure to environmental toxicants, as well as, the time points at which these changes occur. Legitimate concerns exist, regarding the potential adverse health effects from NP exposure. Therefore, research that addresses specific critical questions concerning the toxicity and hazards of these technologies is vital to the advancement of the field and the protection of our health and environment. Dr. Popvech’s work has the potential to set standards for consumer products and occupational exposure limits, to safeguard our health.

Perry J. Gehring Best Postdoctoral Abstract Award

Winner: Michelle DeSimone

Award Year: 2012
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: North Carolina State University

Michelle DeSimone, of North Carolina State University, for her abstract entitled, “A Systems Genetics Approach to Investigating Cancer Susceptibility Due to Low-Dose Co-Exposures to Environmental Carcinogens.” Human exposure to environmental carcinogens often occurs as complex mixtures at low doses, and such interactions between individual compounds may contribute significantly towards human cancer risk. As a result of the award presentation, she initiated new collaborations with individuals involved in risk assessment, and importantly gained additional mentors for her future research career. She envisions that her role in advancing the science will come in three parts: First, the continuation of strong, innovative research that contributes to filling significant knowledge gaps in risk assessment. Second, the development of risk-based decisions that drive the regulatory changes needed to overcome such challenges. Third, the role of a mentor who trains young toxicologists urging them to take on the challenges of tomorrow.

Perry J. Gehring Biological Modeling Endowment Award

Winner: Marie-Emilie Willemin

Award Year: 2017
Current Degrees: PhD, PharmD
Institution/Affiliation: US FDA/NCTR

Dr. Willemin was very excited and honored to receive this award, especially because her work was rewarded by the Biological Modeling Specialty section in relation to my field of expertise (computational modeling). As a young researcher, receiving such a prestigious award by her peers is very rewarding in light of all her efforts and commitment towards the research project as a postdoctoral fellow. For the team, the award recognizes the interest among members in the field in the methodology and the outcomes of our research topic. The award will definitely highlight the ongoing and future research of the lab. And it has already helped her to pursue her career goals in research as she takes her next career step from a postdoctoral researcher to a research scientist. The objective of the project is the evaluation of the effects of a mixture of environmental chemicals (e.g., perchlorate, thiocyanate), on the thyroid system of pregnant women and her fetuses. Pregnant women are sensitive to thyroid perturbations which could lead to thyroid hormone insufficiency. This is a health concern due to the key role thyroid hormones play in the neurodevelopment of the fetus. She and her team chose to model mechanistically the various modes of action of the global mixture of these thyroid-active chemicals, found in food, drinking water, or cigarette smoke, as the scenario of co-exposure is a more realistic one. Specifically, in this work, we modelled the different mechanisms of action of thiocyanate on the thyroid system in rats, in addition to the development of a PBPK model for thiocyanate in rats and its extrapolation to humans. In the future, the thiocyanate mode of action model will be extrapolated to pregnant women and integrated with perchlorate dose-response model in pregnant women developed earlier in our lab.

Perry J. Gehring Biological Modeling Student Award Fund

Winner: Rachel Worley

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: BS, MA
Institution/Affiliation: CDC/ATSDR, University of Georgia

Ms. Worley's research applies in vitro-to-in vivo extrapolation to develop a a PBPK model for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in the rat that includes physiological descriptions of transporter kinetics in the kidney. PFOA exhibits sex-specific clearance in the rat. This is thought to be primarily driven by hormonally regulated expression of organic anion transporters (OATs) on the apical and basolateral membranes of the proximal tubule cells. Her model includes in vitro-derived descriptions of these transporters and successfully simulates time-course serum, liver, and urine data for intravenous (IV) and oral exposures in both male and female rats. Thus, this work supports the hypothesis that sex-specific serum half-lives for PFOA are largely driven by expression of transporters in the kidney and contributes to the development of PBPK modeling as a tool for evaluating the role of transporters in renal clearance. Future work will apply this method to develop a PBPK model for PFOA exposure in humans that includes physiologically-based descriptions of kidney transporters.

Perry J. Gehring Biological Modeling Student Award Fund

Winner: Jeremy Leonard

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: PhD, MS, BS
Institution/Affiliation: US EPA

Jeremy Leonard is a postdoctoral scholar at the US Environmental Protection Agency and received the Perry J. Gehring Biological Modeling Student Award for his work entitled, "Development of a Conceptual Module to Investigate Pharmacokinetic Influences when Evaluating Chemicals in Adverse Outcome Pathways." This work involves examining the absorption, distribution, and metabolism of chemicals to which an organism may be exposed and relating this to high-throughput results derived from analyses of thousands of chemicals simultaneously. This, in turn, provides a framework that aids in prioritization of chemicals whose mode of action at a molecular target is generally considered to be the initiating step of a series of events that lead to adverse apical endpoints. He wishes to demonstrate the need for caution in interpretation of such high-throughput results as well as to apply other means of high-throughput testing, such as computational predictive models.

Perry J. Gehring Biological Modeling Student Award Fund

Winner: Axelle Marchand

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: Université de Montréal

Axelle Marchand is a postdoctoral scholar at Université de Montréal and received the Perry J. Gehring Biological Modeling Award for her work entitled, "Evaluation and Modeling of the Impact of Co-Exposures to Voc Mixtures on Urinary Biomarkers." The objective of the project was to evaluate if chloroform could interact with others volatil organic compounds (i.e. toluene, ethylbenzene and m-xylene) following inhalation exposure and how it would affect biomonitoring data. Therefore they exposed human volunteers to different combinations of solvents to adapt existing models for urinary excretion of metabolites and to validate those models. They proved to be very accurate in predicting parent compound levels in blood and exhaled air and metabolites in urine. Those models could be useful in interpreting biological data in large scale biomonitoring studies. She thinks chemical mixtures will always be of interest because it will always exist. PBPK models are great tools to evaluate many toxicological issues. Possibilities seem to be unlimited. She would like to be a pioneer in modeling, to explore those unlimited possibilities and to share them.

Perry J. Gehring Biological Modeling Student Award Fund

Winner: Huali Wu

Award Year: 2014
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: The Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences

Huali Wu is a PhD candidate at The Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences and received the Perry J. Gehring Biological Modeling Student Award for her work entitled, “Can the Association between Serum Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) and Delayed Menarche Be Explained on the Basis of Physiology and Pharmacokinetics?” Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is a perfluorocarbon (PFC) compound that has been widely used as surfactants in industrial and consumer products. A recent epidemiological study reported that higher serum concentrations of PFOA were associated with delayed menarche in girls living in Mid-Ohio Valley. Since the concentrations of PFOA in this study are considerably lower than those associated with toxicological effects in animals, this association may not be causal. PFOA has a half-life of about 3 years, it is expected that growth dilution and the development of a new route of excretion through menstrual cycling can affect PFOA kinetics. Therefore, the role of physiological changes during puberty in the reported association need to be investigated prior to causal inference. Dr. Wu and her colleagues applied a Monte Carlo Physiologically-based Pharmacokinetic (MC-PBPK) model of PFOA to assess whether and how much of the observed association between PFOA and delayed menarche was caused by the changing pharmacokinetics during puberty. They found that variations in PFOA kinetics due to growth dilution and an additional excretion route associated with menstruation may underlie the reported relationship between serum PFOA levels and age at menarche. In addition, their study demonstrated the feasibility of a MC-PBPK modeling approach to assess whether and how much of the apparent epidemiological association can be explained on the basis of pharmacokinetic variability rather than an effect of the chemical itself.

Perry J. Gehring Biological Modeling Student Award Fund

Winner: Zhoumeng Lin

Award Year: 2013
Current Degrees: MB
Institution/Affiliation: University of Georgia

Zhoumeng Lin is currently a PhD student of the University of Georgia and received the Perry Gehring Student Award for his work entitled, “Gestational and Lactational Physiologically-based Pharmacokinetic (PBPK) Models for the Herbicide Atrazine in Rats: Development and Optimization.” According to Mr. Lin, the focus of his research is on the neurotoxicity of the herbicide atrazine and the development of physiologically-based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) models for atrazine in rodents across different age spectra, from fetal to adult stages. In the work that he presented, he and his lab group developed PBPK models of atrazine in rat dams, fetuses, and neonates. Model predictions provide insights into designing and interpreting early life toxicity and pharmacokinetic studies with this herbicide and the development of these models is very necessary because the developing nervous system is much more sensitive to atrazine than adult nervous system and none of the existing developmental toxicity studies of atrazine correlates internal fetal/neonatal tissue dosimetry with the points of departure. Mr. Lin is working to revise his manuscript and expects to publish it in a prestigious journal in the field of toxicology shortly. In addition, this award is a significant asset to his curriculum vitae and he hopes this award will help him obtain a postdoctoral position in the field of toxicology.

Perry J. Gehring Biological Modeling Student Award Fund

Winner: Kathleen Holm

Award Year: 2012
Current Degrees: PhD, MS, BS
Institution/Affiliation: US Environmental Protection Agency

Kathleen Holm, of the US Environmental Protection Agency, for her research entitled, “Identifying the Sources of Uncertainty in the Process of Reconstructing Exposures to Carbaryl Using Exposure-to-Dose Modeling.” In this study, the sources of uncertainty involved in exposure reconstruction for a rapidly eliminated chemical, carbaryl, were characterized using an exposure model, Cumulative and Aggregate Risk Evaluation System (CARES), and a human physiologically-based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) model. CARES was used to generate time-concentration profiles for 500 virtual individuals exposed to carbaryl in food and drinking water for 365 days. Using these time-concentrations profiles as inputs to the PBPK model, biomarker (1-naphthol in urine) time course simulations were produced. These simulated biomarker data were then used to reconstruct an average daily carbaryl intake under various conditions. We found that additional exposure information is needed to successfully reconstruct exposure to carbaryl. She wants to continue to use computer modeling to simulate scenarios, allowing one to test hypothesis and design experiments up front. Though, not all questions can be answered using in vitro data and simulation alone, these tools will impact fewer animal studies over all. Her research uses computational modeling to characterize the sources of uncertainty in exposure reconstruction. Determining the parameters that drive the uncertainty informs the type of data we need to collect in order to more efficiently conduct risk assessment.

Perry J. Gehring Diversity Student Travel Award

Winner: Lizbeth Perez-Castro

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: Undergraduate Student
Institution/Affiliation: University of Puerto Rico at Cayey

Perry J. Gehring Diversity Student Travel Award

Winner: Alexandra  Colón-Rodriguez

Award Year: 2013
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: Michigan State University

Perry J. Gehring Risk Assessment Best Postdoctoral Fellow Abstract Award

Winner: Fabian Grimm

Award Year: 2017
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: Texas A&M University

Dr. Grimm felt honored having been selected as the recipient of the 2017 Perry J. Gehring Risk Assessment Best Postdoctoral Abstract Award. Selection for this award by the Risk Assessment Specialty Section is strongly motivating, as it is not only reflective of the quality of his research, but it is an affirmation that he can make a meaningful impact in the field. His research focuses on advancing chemical safety evaluations through biological read-across and inter-individual variability assessments using high-content screening of organotypic in vitro models. Currently, the implementation of such models is impeded by the lack of testing strategies that are amenable for (1) inter-individual susceptibility assessments and (2) extrapolation of in vitro data to physiologically-relevant exposure levels. His SOT abstract summarizes one of his team's projects that addresses these two key challenges using a population-based cardiotoxicity model. After completing his postdoctoral training, he is interested in pursuing a career either in industry or academia.

Perry J. Gehring Risk Assessment Best Postdoctoral Fellow Abstract Award

Winner: Marjory Moreau

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: Health Canada

The use of computational modeling can help interpret and integrate in vitro screening data and biomonitoring results to improve the prioritization of chemicals in risk assessment. There is still work needed to improve at making these toxicity screening results more relevant to human exposure and risk assessment. The work of Dr. Moreau and colleagues will be used to assist in developing predictive tools and informing the utility of non-traditional toxicity data for Health Canada assessment of chemicals. The general population is exposed to many chemicals that can have various possible health effects. Levels of exposure of a population to these chemical or their metabolites can be surveyed using biomonitoring data. Despite the usefulness of this data, it is sometimes difficult to interpret the levels of exposure in a risk assessment context. The past few years, advances in toxicity testing methods such as systems biology and high-throughput screening have brought new ways to assess the potential harm from chemicals. Margin of exposures between endpoints and exposure levels can be used to bridge the data generated from these new toxicity methods and effectively screen biological activities into a common measure. The purpose of my research is (1) to estimate exposure from biomonitoring levels in the population using physiologically-based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) model for flame retardants (hexabromocyclododecane, HBCD) and (2) to compare human equivalent dose metrics based on in vitro and in vivo endpoints from high throughput screening assays (HTS) results.

Perry J. Gehring Risk Assessment Best Postdoctoral Fellow Abstract Award

Winner: Marjory Moreau

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: Health Canada

Marjory Moreau is a postdoctoral scholar at Health Canada and received the Perry J. Gehring Risk Assessment Award for her work entitled, "Comparison of phthalate biomonitoring and high throughput screening data using pharmacokinetic modeling." Her research focused on the development of approaches by which high throughput screening data and toxicogenomics can be used for chemical evaluations, in addition to identifying useful tools that can be used to address data-poor chemicals.

Perry J. Gehring Risk Assessment Best Postdoctoral Fellow Abstract Award

Winner: Rachel Church

Award Year: 2014
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: The Hamner Institute for Drug Safety Sciences

Rachel Church is a PhD candidate at The Hamner Institute for Drug Safety Sciences and she received the Perry J. Gehring Risk Assessment Best Postdoctoral Fellow Abstract Award for her work entitled, “Doxorubicin-Induced Glomerular Injury is Associated with MicroRNA Alterations in the Rat.” The project focused on identifying microRNA (miRNA) based biomarkers that are released into the urine in response to glomerular renal injury. Her goal is to participate in collaborative research projects that will reduce the liability of a xenobiotic to precipitate organ injury in the human population. Currently her major research focus centers around identifying microRNA biomarkers that show increased sensitivity and specificty for early detection of drug-induced organ injury. Identification of these markers may allow for the early termination of unsafe compounds, hastening the development of safer alternatives. Additionally, because microRNAs are highly conserved between species, these biomarkers may be translatable to use in the clinic. This line of work may lead to the development of a biomarker that is sensitive and specific for glomerular injury that can be utilized during nonclinical testing. Validation of a miRNA biomarker may not only aid in the drug development process but will additionally be useful in assessing the potential of any xenobiotic exposure to precipitate damage to the glomeruli.

Perry J. Gehring Risk Assessment Student Award

Winner: Nicholas Heger

Award Year: 2012
Current Degrees: BS
Institution/Affiliation: Brown University

Nicholas Heger, of Brown University, for his abstract entitled, “Interspecies Approach to the Assessment of Human Susceptibility to Phthalate-Induced Endocrine Disruption.” His lab is interested in understanding how human exposures to toxicants can disrupt fetal development of the testis, and possibly result in subsequent disease in later childhood or early adulthood. Previous work with phthalate esters by many researchers has shown that rats exposed in utero to these chemicals exhibit substantial decreases in testosterone during development, while mice exhibit no overall suppression. The species specific differences in response highlighted the importance in understanding how the human might respond. Accordingly, Heger developed a rodent-based xenograft bioassay, where we surgically implant fragments of human fetal testis collected from spontaneously aborted fetuses, and then expose the rodent host to phthalates to examine cellular and molecular changes which occur in the human testis xenograft. He wants his next steps to be to transition to clinical toxicology. His plan is to take a two-year internship with the American Association for Clinical Chemistry at Children's Hospital Boston.

Perry J. Gehring Risk Assessment Student Award Fund

Winner: Abhishek Venkatratnam

Award Year: 2017
Current Degrees: BTech, MS
Institution/Affiliation: University of North Carolina

Mr. Venkatratnam is deeply honored to be the recipient of this award. His doctoral research focuses on evaluating and characterizing population-variability in responses to trichloroethylene (TCE), a ubiquitous environmental contaminant and a known human carcinogen. In addition, provide mechanistic underpinnings on the molecular events driving differences in TCE toxicity. The award recognizes the current findings of this study and its relevance to risk assessment for which he is very grateful. One of the many challenges in toxicology is addressing human variability in adverse effects with exposure to agents. Traditional toxicity testing of chemicals is routinely performed in a single strain of rodent for dose-response assessment and to derive toxicity values, a key aspect in the risk assessment framework that aids in the regulatory decision making processes. The goal of this study is to provide experimental data by evaluating the quantitative extent of variability in toxic responses in a genetically-diverse mouse population and also characterize the mechanistic underpinnings driving such responses by incorporating genetic data. The findings from this study provide mechanistic evidence on variability in TCE toxicokinetics and also demonstrates a novel feedback loop between PPAR signaling, an adverse outcome pathway in rodents, and oxidative metabolism of TCE. My long-term goal is to become a toxicologist and conduct research relevant to risk assessment either in academia or industry.

Perry J. Gehring Risk Assessment Student Award Fund

Winner: Brittany Weldon

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: BS
Institution/Affiliation: University of Washington School of Public Health

Ms. Weldon's research focuses on assessing the risk of adverse health effects from exposure to silver nanoparticles by various exposure routes. Additionally, her research investigates the potential for silver nanoparticles to interact with sensitive organ systems such as the developing central nervous system and reproductive system. This award will help her continue in these endeavors and with the broader goals of applying toxicological sciences to improve human and environmental health.

Perry J. Gehring Risk Assessment Student Award Fund

Winner: Mylene Ratelle

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: University of Montreal

Mylene Ratelle is a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Montreal and received the Perry J. Gehring Risk Assessment Award for her work entitled, "Time Courses and Variability of Biomarkers of Exposure to Pyrethroids in a Group of Agricultural Workers." The aim of this study was to characterize typical urinary time courses of biomarkers of cypermethrin exposure in 34 agricultural workers in Quebec to better assess within- and between-subject variability, according to different professional tasks. Documenting time courses also aimed to assess appropriate sampling strategies for routine monitoring. Within-subject variability in biomonitoring data and between-subject variability in concentrations or rates were assessed for the 3-day work shifts were also estimated. Founding were that 12% of workers showed profile descriptive of an high occupational exposure. Between-subject factors associated with higher metabolite levels were the main professional task and farm size. According to the work, a good strategy for routine biomonitoring was suggested to evaluate the range of occupational exposure. She would like to focus herwork on the study of the effects of chronic exposure to environmental contaminants in humans, as well as the applicability of this knowledge and the implementation of hygiene measures and supervision of use in a perspective of decreasing risk for population. She feels link between science discovery and applicability is often thin and would like to help to strengthen it.

Perry J. Gehring Risk Assessment Student Award Fund

Winner: Mia Johansson

Award Year: 2014
Current Degrees: Master of Science in Biotechnology Engineering
Institution/Affiliation: Work Environment Toxicology, Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet

Mia Johansson is a graduate student at the Institute of Environmental Medicine at Karolinska Institutet and received the Perry J. Gehring Risk Assessment Student Award for her work entitled, “Does Industry Take the Sensitive Subpopulation of Asthmatics into Account when Setting Derived No-Effect Levels under REACH?” According to the European Union´s chemical legislation, Registration Evaluation Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), all registered substances that are manufactured, imported and used in quantities of 10 tons or more per year should have a health benchmark defined as the Derived-No-Effect Level (DNEL). The DNEL represents an exposure level below which no adverse health effects in humans are expected. The DNEL values are aimed to protect both the working and the general population, including some sensitive subpopulations (e.g. people with pre-existing diseases) toward chemical exposure. There are about 300 million people worldwide suffering from asthma and they may constitute a sensitive population in relation to exposure to airborne chemicals. In this study, she and her team evaluated the inclusion of asthmatics in the DNEL setting process and if asthmatics are protected by the DNEL values. Their results suggest that few documents on chemicals include data on asthmatics and that this group may not be protected by the DNEL values. This suggests that availability of data on asthmatics should be carefully examined in the development of DNELs, and that the lack of such data should be explicitly noted for respiratory irritants. Further guidance from ECHA on how to address sensitive subgroups in DNEL setting may improve the consistency of DNEL values. She believes the relatively large subpopulation of asthmatics (~5-10% of the world population) deserves to be protected against chemical release in both emergency and occupational settings and that these studies will contribute to a safer and healthier world.

Perry J. Gehring Risk Assessment Student Award Fund

Winner: Virunya Bhat

Award Year: 2013
Current Degrees: MS
Institution/Affiliation: University of California

Virunya Bhat works for NSF International and received the Perry J. Gehring Best Graduate Student Award for her work entitled, “Concordance of Transcriptional and Apical Benchmark Dose Levels for Conzaole-induced Liver Effects in Mice.” Current approaches to assessing potential human health risks resulting from exposure to environmental chemicals are time and resource-intensive. Incorporating newer data types, such as toxicogenomic data, can make the risk assessment process more efficient, feasible, and less reliant on animal testing. Grouping related chemicals and conducting chemical class-based risk assessment is also more efficient than a chemical-by-chemical risk assessment. Her project examined five members of the same chemical class using a combined approach that integrates newer, toxicogenomic data with traditional toxicity data. She and her group reached similar conclusions after a 30-day chemical exposure compared with risk assessments conducted using a traditional approach based on the results of two-year animal studies. She wants to continue her efforts to identify more efficient and feasible methods to assess potential human or environmental health risks of industrial chemicals.

Perry J. Gehring Risk Assessment Student Award Fund

Winner: Merrie Mosedale

Award Year: 2013
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: The Hamner Institutes

Merrie Mosedale, who works at The Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences, received the Perry J. Gehring Best Postdoctoral Fellow Abstract Award for her work entitled, “Safety Assessment of a Novel Antibiotic Using a Mouse Population-Based Approach Predicts Risk of DILI in Humans Where Classical Models Fail.” The work for which she won this award is the outcome of a unique partnership between academia and the pharmaceutical industry. She and her team described the use of an inbred, laboratory mouse diversity panel to effectively predict the liver injury liability of a new drug candidate in clinical trials where classical rodent models had failed. She and her colleagues also tapped into the broad genetic diversity and extensive genetic characterization of this mouse population to perform genome wide association mapping to identify those genes that underlie DILI susceptibility. The work they conducted highlights the potential for population-based approaches to improve human risk assessment in drug-safety testing as well as to provide mechanistic insights into drug toxicity. She believes that her award is instrumental in allowing her to share her research with other scientists in the field. She hopes to gain valuable feedback and insight to help move the project forward.

Regulatory and Safety Evaluation Specialty Section Student Award

Winner: Jasmine Brown

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: BS
Institution/Affiliation: US Environmental Protection Agency

Thousands of environmental compounds have not been characterized for their potential to cause developmental neurotoxicity (DNT). Due to the need for DNT hazard identification, efforts to develop alternative screening assays is a high priority. In an effort to address this issue, Ms. Brown's research focuses on developing a high-throughput in vitro method for screening compounds for DNT potential. This research evaluates the use of primary cortical neural cultures on microelectrode arrays (MEAs) to screen compounds for DNT hazard. The MEA platform utilizes an electrophysiological approach to identifying compounds as having the potential to cause DNT by measuring the changes in neural function of treated primary cortical cultures. Specifically, she discusses further evaluation of a set of known DNT compounds as well as compounds that show no evidence of DNT in vivo using the MEA platform discussed earlier. Near future goals include analyzing this content rich data to provide us with more information on how “hits” would be determined in this assay. Eventually, she and her colleagues hope to implement this method as an initial screen allowing for prioritization of these compounds for further testing, and providing support for regulatory decision making.

Regulatory and Safety Evaluation Specialty Section Student Award

Winner: Brittany Weldon

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: BS
Institution/Affiliation: University of Washington School of Public Health

Ms. Weldon's research focuses on assessing the risk of adverse health effects from exposure to silver nanoparticles by various exposure routes. Additionally, her research investigates the potential for silver nanoparticles to interact with sensitive organ systems such as the developing central nervous system and reproductive system. This award will help her continue in these endeavors and with the broader goals of applying toxicological sciences to improve human and environmental health.

Regulatory and Safety Evaluation Specialty Section Student Award

Winner: Dana Lauterstein

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: BA, MS
Institution/Affiliation: New York University

Dana Lauterstein is a graduate student at New York University and received the Regulatory and Safety Evaluation Specialty Section Student Award for her work entitled, "E-cigarettes— A Global Challenge: Imprinting the Central Nervous System of the Next Generation." Her research will impact SOT's vision of creating a safer and healthier world by advancing the science of toxicology through investigation of a controversial product whose safety is not yet known. The emergence of e-cigarettes into the global market, and their rising popularity among the public, especially in adolescents, is a growing public health concern. Presently, there is a limited amount of toxicity data concerning e-cigarettes and they are unregulated by the FDA in the U.S., unless specifically marked for therapeutic purposes. E-cigarettes could have the potential to be used as a cessation or alternative product for traditional cigarette smokers, blurring whether they should be classified as medicinal or tobacco products, and how they should be regulated. The use of e-cigarettes during early life stages may pose a significant risk to the developing central nervous system, and this project sought examine potential adverse outcomes associated with exposure to these products throughout gestation and lactation. Furthermore, this project addresses the emerging need for studies examining early life exposure to environmental toxicants and later adult disease. Maternal and adolescent use of conventional cigarettes has been correlated with adverse neurological outcomes, and studies have demonstrated that tobacco smoke can alter both the genome and the epigenome. However, prior to this study there was virtually no data on gene expression concerning e-cigarette products. Looking at genomic effects resulting from toxicant exposures can help to delineate pathways that are altered or damaged, and be an important stepping-stone in determining the safety of a toxicant, such as e-cigarettes. The data obtained in this project helps to start filling a large gap in the toxicological assessment of the safety of e-cigarettes regarding vulnerable the population discussed here.

Regulatory and Safety Evaluation Specialty Section Student Award

Winner: Kpobari Nkpaa

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: BSc, MSc
Institution/Affiliation: University of Port Harcourt

Kpobari Nkpaa is a Graduate Student at University of Port Harcourt and received the Regulatory and Safety Evlauation Specialty Section Student Award for his work entitled, “Health Risk Assessment of Heavy Metals for Population via Consumption of Seafood from Ogoniland, Rivers State, Nigeria; a case study of kaa, B-Dere and Bodo City.” He found that people that consume seafood contaminated by crude oil on a regular basis have a higher probability of developing adverse health effect over a period of time. While still a young scientist in the field of environmental toxicology, he would like to help develop new scientific concept that will eliminate uncertainties and other confounding issues that may invalidate scientific findings in the field of Toxicology.

Regulatory and Safety Evaluation Specialty Section Student Award

Winner: Linda Schenk

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: MSc, PhD
Institution/Affiliation: Karolinska Institutet

Linda Schenk is a postdoctoral scholar at Karolinska Institutet and received the Regulatory and Safety Evaluation Specialty Section Award for her work entitled, "REACH registrants fail to use available dermal uptake data in their derivation of dermal DNELs." In the present work her team investigated whether registrants under REACH have derived dermal DNELs or DMELs for substances that may be taken up via the skin in significant amounts. Further they studied if registrants made use of the available scientifically published dermal uptake data, and whether there is a selection bias towards choosing data that would increase the level of the dermal DNEL or DMEL. the findings were that the absence of dermal DNELs or DMELs many times were not consistent with the described uses of the substance. Furthermore, registrants frequently failed to use scientifically published data on dermal uptake. As the reported dermal uptake rates differ by orders of magnitude between studies choice of key study has a huge impact on the dermal DNEL. However, there was no clear trend in direction or magnitude of differences in cited absorption between registrants’ data (published or unpublished) and the data compiled by her team. This study highlights both the need for better use of available scientific studies in DNEL-derivation and the difficulty of determining an external exposure limit for the dermal route as uptake.

Regulatory and Safety Evaluation Specialty Section Student Award

Winner: Joey Stevens

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: BS, BA
Institution/Affiliation: US Environmental Protection Agency

Joey Stevens is a graduate student with the US Environmental Protection Agency and received the Regulatory and Safety Evaluation Specialty Section Student Award for her work entitled, "A Simplified and Rapid Screening Assay Using Zebrafish to Assess Cardiac Effects of Air Pollution-derived Particulate Matter." Particles in the air as a result of air pollution exact a substantial health burden. These particles have been linked specifically to adverse cardiovascular effects in humans after inhalation. As no two air sheds are alike, there are an enormous number of air pollution mixtures that need to be assessed, and current methods are unable to keep up. Her work is aimed at creating a quick and widely available screen to determine components of air pollution mixtures that cause cardiovascular effects in zebrafish as a predictive model of human response. This will help us to prioritize highly potent components for more targeted testing.

Regulatory and Safety Evaluation Student Award Fund

Winner: Merrie Mosedale

Award Year: 2013
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: The Hamner Institutes

Merrie Mosedale is a postdoctoral fellow of the Hamner Institutes and she received the Regulatory and Safety Evaluation Student Award for her work entitled, “Safety Assessment of a Novel Antibiotic Using a Mouse Population-Based Approach Predicts Risks of DILI in Humans where Classical Models Fail.” Her work involved a unique partnership between academia and the pharmaceutical industry in which she and her colleagues describe the use of an inbred, laboratory mouse diversity panel to effectively predict the livery injury liability of a new drug candidate in clinical trials where classical rodent models have failed. The work she conducted highlights the potential for population-based approaches to improve human risk assessment in drug-safety testing. The award allowed her to share her research with other scientists in the field. She hopes to advance toxicology in the 21st century by exploring the potential for novel animal and in vitro models to predict and understand adverse drug reactions in human populations.

Renal Toxicology Fellowship Award Fund

Winner: Qian Lin

Award Year: 2017
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: University of Louisville

Dr. Lin was very surprised when she received the award. She felt really appreciative of her mentor. She was so happy to get this award and feels confidence in her project. She felt that only a very interesting project would gain the attentions from other scientists. It makes her feel motivated to do more to further studies in her field. She is a PhD student in UofL, and is working on diabetes. She is interested in doing research in diabetes. To explore promising drugs and to discover the deep mechanisms of how drugs work on diabetes is meaningful to our society. Her goal is to join a group which is working on drug discovery in diabetes. After the graduation, she would like to find a Postdoc position to learn more about diabetes. To her present project on diabetic nephropathy, which part of kidney is really affected by the FGF1 and which targets of FGF1 is working on should be further studied. She would like to continue exploring this field in the future.

Renal Toxicology Fellowship Award Fund

Winner: Priyanka Trivedi

Award Year: 2017
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: Harvard Medical School

Dr. Trivedi was really excited and pleased when she received this award. She immediately shared the good news with her advisor and also thanked him for all his support and encouragement. This award will provide recognition to her work and complement her research in the field of renal toxicology. She will use this award as a springboard for her career in which she plans to make important contributions to advancing our understanding of toxicology research. Her research focuses on discovering therapeutic targets for acute and chronic kidney diseases. In order to identify druggable targets, she and her team performed RNA sequencing in mouse model of toxic kidney fibrosis and identified Phospholipase D4 (PLD4), a single pass transmembrane glycoprotein, as one of the highly up-regulated genes. Up-regulation of PLD4 was confirmed in three mechanistically distinct mouse models as well as in patients with biopsy-proven kidney fibrosis. Mechanistically, they show that PLD4 facilitates fibrogenesis by modulating innate and adaptive immune responses thereby promoting a TGF-ß signaling pathway. Moreover, PLD4 induced the expression of a1-antitrypsin protein (a serine protease inhibitor) that resulted in subsequent down-regulation of a protease neutrophil elastase (NE) expression, thereby leading to the accumulation of extracellular matrix proteins. Interestingly, therapeutic targeting of PLD4 using specific siRNA also protected the mice from kidney fibrosis by inhibiting TGF-ß signaling and inducing NE expression. In conclusion, their findings identified PLD4 as a novel therapeutic target for kidney fibrosis - an unmet medical need. Her future goal is to continue contributing to the toxicological science, which can be directly applied clinically to benefit the society.

Renal Toxicology Fellowship Award Fund

Winner: Ramya Kolli

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: MS
Institution/Affiliation: Interdisciplinary Toxicology Program

Ozonation is used for the disinfection of drinking water and one of its major byproducts is bromate. Bromate is a possible human carcinogen whose mechanism of action is not totally understood. Ms. Kolli and her colleagues study the effects of bromate on one of the cell cycle checkpoint proteins p21, which is protective against various nephrotoxic effects. However it is also hypothesized to drive carcinogenesis via its ability to inhibit apoptosis. They previously showed that bromate increased p21 expression in renal cells in vitro. She and her colleagues hypothesize that this occurs via epigenetic mechanisms. To test this hypothesis we analyzed DNA methylation and histone acetylation using high-throughput techniques like next-generation sequencing and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays, respectively. Understanding the effects of bromate on DNA methylation and histone acetylation of p21 would bridge the gaps-in-knowledge about the mechanisms of bromate-induced nephrotoxicity. This knowledge would further facilitate understanding the carcinogenic effects of bromate and mechanisms of action of other disinfection byproducts.

Renal Toxicology Fellowship Award Fund

Winner: Mira Pavkovic

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: Harvard Medical School - LSP

Drug-induced kidney injury is frequently encountered in hospitalized patients, but routinely used markers are insensitive and nonspecific. Dr. Pavkovic is evaluating a small class of RNAs, microRNAs, in urine as new biomarkers for this type of kidney injury. For the evaluation she is using urine samples from two cohorts of patients with acetaminophen- or cisplatin-induced kidney injury. Our results indicate that three specific microRNAs (miR-21, -200c and -423) in combination with the known protein biomarker KIM-1 could be non-invasive as well as specific biomarkers for the detection of drug-induced kidney injury in patients. Based on the kidney expression and target analysis of the three microRNAs they could add information about the affected molecular pathways in the injured kidney.

Renal Toxicology Fellowship Award Fund

Winner: Priyanka  Trivedi

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: Harvard Medical School

Dr. Trivedi's research focuses on discovering therapeutic targets for acute and chronic kidney diseases. Kidney fibrosis, the hallmark of the chronic kidney disease (CKD), is an irreversible process leading to life-threatening end-stage renal failure. Unfortunately, no effective therapeutic strategies are available to cure this condition. This is due to lack of our understanding of the underlying mechanisms of fibrosis. Using RNA sequencing, we identified phospholipase D4 (PLD4) as one of the targets for the treatment of kidney fibrosis. Her research deciphers a mechanistic role of PLD4 in the regulation of fibrosis. She and her colleagues observed that PLD4 was significantly increased in mechanistically different mouse models of kidney fibrosis as well as in patients with biopsy-proven kidney fibrosis. Further, they found that PLD4 knockout mice (PLD4-/-) showed less fibrosis compared to the wild type (PLD4+/+) mice after folic acid injection- as well as unilateral ureteral obstruction-induced kidney fibrosis. This was attributed to mainly two reasons, (i) PLD4-/- mice had increased level of anti-fibrotic cytokines compared to the PLD4+/+ mice and, (ii) sustained activation of the proteases, due to decreased level of serpina1 (a protease inhibitor) in PLD4-/- mice, led to an efficient degradation of collagen rescuing these mice from scar tissue formation in the kidney. Thus they identified that PLD4 is a central target that can be intervened in preventing fibrosis-associated organ dysfunction. Her future goal is to continue contributing to the mechanistic toxicological sciences, which can be translated clinically.

Renal Toxicology Fellowship Award Fund

Winner: Blessy George

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: PharmD
Institution/Affiliation: Rutgers University

Blessy George is a graduate student at Rutgers University and received the Renal Toxicology Fellowship Award for her work entitled, "Urinary KIM-1 Detection of Subclinical Nephrotoxicity in Oncology Patients Treated with Cisplatin." Her research examined acute kidney injury induced by a chemotherapeutic agent, cisplatin. Cisplatin causes nephrotoxicity in about one-third of the patients that receive the agent. It is also a dose-limiting side effect in an otherwise effective medication. Cisplatin continues to be a mainstay in solid-tumor regimens; therefore ways to monitor and limit its nephrotoxic potential is essential. In her study she and her team examined several novel biomarkers that show potential to be highly sensitive to subclinical acute kidney injury. Preliminary data shows that several novel biomarkers including kidney injury molecule-1 (KIM-1) are elevated 10 days after cisplatin infusion compared to baseline in the absence of serum creatinine elevations. One way in which we can create a safer world is by identifying and preventing danger before it occurs. Current methods of detecting kidney injury are not the safest or most effective especially in the face of growing pre-clinical evidence. her research focuses on ideally detecting kidney toxicity closest to the point of injury and to understand the degree of injury at earlier time points.

Renal Toxicology Fellowship Award Fund

Winner: Susanne Ramm

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: Harvard Medical School

Susanne Ramm is a postdoctoral scholar at Harvard Medical School and received the Renal Toxicology Fellowship Award for her work entitled, "Live cell high-content imaging to mechanistically classify kidney toxicity." Her research aims at developing new methodologies that will allow us to predict which chemicals and drugs are the most likely culprits as nephrotoxicants. Using their technique, cells obtained from human kidneys are grown in a dish and then exposed to a wide range of drugs – many of which are known to cause kidney damage. Using new, state-of-the-art microscopy techniques, they are able to image several different biological processes taking place in these living cells in response to the drugs within 24 hours. To date, their data suggests that visualizing these processes in kidney cells may not only provide a very powerful way of predicting which drugs are likely to cause kidney injury but also gain knowledge on how exactly they damage the cells. Additionally, instead of focusing on probing for known toxicity patterns, they are using techniques that will allow for interrogation of broad phenotypic changes as well as acquire detailed information about the molecular changes of the perturbed cells. This screening in live cells includes very early time points, accounting for the fact that toxicity also can be manifest in pre-lethal alterations in cell function, without cellular death. This approach might also enable them to identify unknown mechanisms of toxicity that would not have been detected by conventional in vitro methods.

Renal Toxicology Fellowship Award Fund

Winner: Jessica Sapiro

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: BS, MS
Institution/Affiliation: University of Arizona

Jessica Sapiro is a graduate student at the University of Arizona and received the Renal Toxicology Fellowship Award for her work entitled, "Molecular Mechanisms of All Trans Retinoic Acid Mediated Selective Cytoprotection Against Renal Injury." Acute renal injury is increasing in occurrence resulting from various compound exposure to the body and the formation of breakdown products in the body. It can present itself as a co-morbidity with other medical conditions in patients yielding a substantial concern. her dissertation work explores how a vitamin A metabolite, all-trans-retinoic acid (ATRA), can protect against kidney injury in cell culture and animal models. This work demonstrates that ATRA can induce several cellular stress proteins in its mechanism of protection. In addition, a novel approach exploring a direct chemical interaction between ATRA and toxicants is being investigated. Based on her findings, she hopes that ATRA and/or analogs thereof may serve as an effective therapeutic intervention in acute renal injury.

Renal Toxicology Fellowship Award Fund

Winner: Mark Canet

Award Year: 2014
Current Degrees: BS
Institution/Affiliation: Univeristy of Arizona

Mark Canet is a graduate student at the University of Arizona and received the Renal Toxicology Fellowship Award for his work entitled “Altered Expression of Renal Drug Transporters in Multiple Rodent Models of Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis.” His work aims on developing a better understanding of how disease alters a persons ability to properly metabolize and eliminate drugs from their body, specifically known as nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). He views his role in advancing the science of toxicology as investigating how these diseases alter drug metabolism and disposition so that appropriate dosing regimens can be established that would not only avoid drug-induced toxicity but increase the pharmacological efficacy of medications. His work has shown that throughout the most progressive stage of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, renal transporters that function to secrete drugs into the urine for excretion, are altered. These alterations in transporter expression and function could cause increased drug exposure and place these patients at an elevated risk of developing adverse drug reactions. Therefore, by identifying these patients with these alterations, safer drug dosing regimens could be met that will better manage drug levels in the body. Ultimately, this work will aid clinical practice in achieving safer drug dosing routines for patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

Renal Toxicology Fellowship Award Fund

Winner: L. Jay Stallons

Award Year: 2014
Current Degrees: Ph.D
Institution/Affiliation: Elanco Animal Health

L. Jay Stallons completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Medical University of South Carolina and received the Renal Toxicology Fellowship Award for his work entitled, “Urinary Mitochondrial DNA As a Novel Biomarker of Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Human Acute Kidney Injury.” The primary focus of his work was the discovery of a biomarker of mitochondrial dysfuntion in the kidney. When the kidneys of humans and mice are injured by various insults renal function is lost. This condition, called acute kidney injury (AKI) is traditionally diagnosed using very insensitive clinical biomarkers, meaning that early diagnosis is difficult. In addition, the mechanisms underlying AKI are poorly understood. One particular mechanism leading to renal failure is damage to mitochondria. He determined that renal ischemia, which damages mitochondria, causes cells in the kidney to selectively release mitochondrial DNA into the urine. Urinary mitochondrial DNA was a highly sensitive biomarker of injury and correlated with established measures of mitochondrial damage. He propose urinary mitochondrial DNA to be the first non-invasive method of measuring mitochondrial dysfunction. Since many environmental and xenobiotic toxicants damage the kidney and specifically renal mitochondria, this new assay is a novel method of measuring this potential harbinger of clinical outcomes without a renal biopsy. As with most diseases, renal disease needs to be diagnosed early to be effectively treated. In addition, this biomarker could provide new insight into the mechanism of renal injury in patient subpopulations. Jay is currently a Research Scientist at Elanco Animal Heath in companion animal product development.

Renal Toxicology Fellowship Award Fund

Winner: Raghu Tadagavadi

Award Year: 2014
Current Degrees: DVM, MVSc, PhD, DABT
Institution/Affiliation: Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine

Raghu Tadagavadi is a Research Associate at the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine. He has received the Renal Toxicology Fellowship Award for his research entitled, “Renal Dendritic Cells Attenuate Cisplatin Nephrotoxicity Independent of Neutrophil Regulation.” Toxic kidney injury is a common and occasionally life threatening side effect caused by many therapeutic interventions. Kidney injury, similar to other organs, is considered to result from leukocytes, particularly the neutrophils. Cisplatin is a commonly used anticancer drug, but is known to cause kidney injury. In earlier studies, we showed that dendritic cells and interleukin 10 of dendritic cells are protective, and their ablation causes marked renal dysfunction and neutrophil infiltration into kidneys. Here, we examined the effects of neutrophil depletion on cisplatin nephrotoxicity. Although cisplatin nephrotoxicity caused marked induction of neutrophils, their depletion did not affect renal tissue injury or function. However, neutrophil in circulation served as good biomarkers for early detection of cisplatin-induced kidney injury. In contrast to earlier understandings, these findings indicate that drug toxicity can occur independent of neutrophils, and neutrophils can be used as early marker of cisplatin nephrotoxicity.

Renal Toxicology Fellowship Award Fund

Winner: Greg Landry

Award Year: 2013
Current Degrees: BS
Institution/Affiliation: Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center

Greg Landry is a graduate student of Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center and received the Renal Toxicology Award for his work entitled, “Diglycolic Acid Induces Cytotoxicity in Human Proximal Tubule Cells via Preferential Inhibition of Succinate Dehydrogenase and Oxidative Phosphorylation.” His work focuses on determining the mechanism of action for the toxic metabolite of diethylene glycol, diglycolic acid (DGA), in kidney proximal tubule cells. He and his colleagues determined that DGA preferentially inhibits certain enzymes and processes that are critical for the cell to produce its needed energy (ATP); thereby, inducing cell death. After he completes his PhD and postdoctoral work, he plans to attain a tenure-track faculty position, and continue biomedical research within the renal toxicological field.

Renal Toxicology Fellowship Award Fund

Winner: Jessica Sapiro

Award Year: 2012
Current Degrees: BS, MS
Institution/Affiliation: University of Arizona

Jessica Sapiro, of the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy, for her research entitled, “All-Trans Retinoic Acid Affords Cytoprotection Against Reactive Oxygen Species-Induced Renal Injury.” The focus of her dissertation work is the protection afforded by all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) against acute kidney injury. ATRA is a biologically active metabolite of vitamin A and Jessica postulated that consuming safe levels of vitamin A in the diet will protect individuals from acquiring kidney disease. In the work presented, she demonstrated that ATRA protects against several nephrotoxicants including 2,3,5-tris-(glutathion-S-yl)hydroquinone (TGHQ)-induced, ROS-dependent cell death in a human proximal tubule cell line. Her findings indicate that ATRA may provide an effective therapeutic strategy in chemical-induced renal injury where reactive oxygen species contribute to the disease progression. She is interested in finding ways to protect against acute kidney injury. This pathological process is a common co-morbidity in hospitalized patients.

Robert J. Rubin Student Award Fund

Winner: Yvonne Chang

Award Year: 2017
Current Degrees: BS
Institution/Affiliation: Oregon State University

Ms. Chang is very excited to be able to present her research at the 56th SOT Annual Meeting, and looks forward to attending platform presentations and learning more about carcinogenesis and systems biology. Her dissertation research in Dr. Susan Tilton’s lab focuses on studying mechanisms of carcinogenesis of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and PAH mixtures in a human bronchial epithelial cell (HBEC) model. The goal is to use in vitro data to predict in vivo tumor outcomes and to classify PAHs as carcinogenic or non-carcinogenic. Currently, she has analyzed global gene expression and pathway enrichment between two carcinogenic PAH treatments to our human bronchial epithelial model, benzo[a]pyrene (BAP) and dibenzo-[def,p]chrysene (DBC). She and her colleagues found that short-term 48-hour exposures to BAP and DBC treatment results in a markedly unique transcriptional signature through qRT-PCR and global gene expression analysis. They have identified subsets of shared and uniquely significant pathways, as well as genes that are oppositely regulated by these two PAHs. By using computational and bioinformatics approaches, they were able to extensively profile the mechanisms of toxicity. She has also analyzed global gene expression data for additional treatments of carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic PAHs, as well as one synthetic mixture and one complex environmental mixture.

Robert J. Rubin Student Award Fund

Winner: Gopi Gadupudi

Award Year: 2017
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: University of Iowa

Dr. Gadupudi feels that this award is a very nice recognition from the Risk Assessment and Mechanisms Specialty Section! He appreciates the efforts of both of these specialty sections in making this "Robert J. Rubin Student Travel Award – Honorable Mention" award possible. It clearly speaks, how dedicated the SOT Specialty Sections work in order to recognize and encourage early career toxicologists. He has been trying to understand the role of environmental contaminants such as PCBs, in causing metabolic diseases, especially fatty liver. Non-alcoholic fatty liver, a disease condition caused by undue accumulation of fat in the liver, compromises the function of the liver in maintaining metabolic and energy balance. Despite being one of the most prevalent metabolic disease, the underlying mechanisms that cause this is largely unknown. Going forward, he would like to understand the mechanistic role of toxicants in causing this fatty liver disease. The specific research that helped me win this award, was to identify and characterize a molecular event that leads to decreased phosphorylation of protein called CREB, during PCB126-induced Fatty liver.

Robert J. Rubin Student Award Fund

Winner: Kristin Bircsak

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: BS
Institution/Affiliation: Rutgers University

Ms. Bircsak's dissertation research focuses on the regulation of the placental BCRP transporter, which is an efflux transporter that helps to protect the developing fetus from xenobiotic exposure by actively transporting chemicals out of the placenta. Previously, she and colleagues characterized the ability of soy dietary component, genistein, to inhibit the BCRP-mediated transport of the gestational diabetes medication, glyburide by two distinct mechanisms: 1) competitively inhibiting glyburide transport and 2) reducing BCRP protein expression in a placental cell model. More recently, we observed transcription factor expression and genetic variants to be associated with up to a 6-fold variation in BCRP mRNA expression between healthy, human term placentas. Importantly, two genetic variants in the non-coding region of the BCRP gene were associated with reduced BCRP mRNA expression in the placentas of Asian infants. This research aims to identify a population that may be vulnerable to fetal exposure to harmful chemicals, which in turn may help to improve the individualized prescribing of drugs during pregnancy.

Robert J. Rubin Student Award Fund

Winner: Dana Lauterstein

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: MS, PhD Candidate
Institution/Affiliation: New York University

The use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) during early life stages may pose a significant risk to the developing central nervous system, and Ms. Lauterstein's work seeks to examine potential adverse outcomes associated with exposure to these products throughout gestation and lactation. Furthermore, this work addresses the emerging need for studies examining early life exposure to environmental toxicants and later adult disease. She received this award for a portion of her doctoral work that was presented this year at the SOT Annual Meeting. She exposed pregnant mice to aerosols produced from e-cigarettes with and without nicotine via whole body inhalation. The mice were exposed throughout gestation, and after birth both mothers and offspring were exposed to e-cigarette aerosols together throughout the lactational period. Following lactational exposure a subset of male and female offspring were sacrificed (~1-month-old at time of sacrifice) and RNA Sequencing was preformed on frontal cortex samples to examine global genomic changes. Subsequently, pathway analyses enabled the prediction of downstream biological outcomes associated with the observed changes in levels of gene expression. Results from this study demonstrated that e-cigarettes, both with and without nicotine, induced sex-dependent gene expression changes associated with predicted adverse neurobiological and neurobehavioral outcomes similar to those associated with early life exposure to the smoke from conventional cigarettes. Another subset of mice was used for behavioral testing in adulthood (done in collaboration with Dr. Cory-Slechta at the University of Rochester). I wish to contribute much-needed research for the toxicological assessment of alternative tobacco products (ATPs). Many ATPs, including e-cigarettes, are being used widely in the U.S. and around the world today. Many, if not all of them pose sizeable health risks, but are not adequately studied and/or regulated and thus are perceived to have reduced harm when compared to conventional cigarettes. After she finishes her doctoral degree Ms. Lauterstein would like to have a career in risk assessment for a regulatory agency where her work directly influences public health policy decisions. She also wishes to play a role in communicating scientific findings with the general public to further their knowledge of potential toxicological dangers in their environment.

Robert J. Rubin Student Award Fund

Winner: Mary Francis

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: BA
Institution/Affiliation: Rutgers University

Mary Francis is a graduate student at Rutgers University and received the Robert J. Rubin Student Award for her work entitled, "Tracking Inflammatory Macrophages Accumulation in the Lung after Ozone." Her research focuses on infiltrating macrophage populations that are involved with ozone-induced lung injury. A model was created to differentiate between resident and infiltrating macrophages. Both pro- and anti-inflammatory macrophages were observed to accumulate in the lung after ozone exposure. Further investigation revealed that these different populations are regulated through chemokine receptors. She hopes her research will give insight about how macrophages can induce injury or repair after ozone exposure. She feels it is important to identify mechanisms of macrophage accumulation. Ozone-induced pathogenesis can be selectively inhibited by interrupting one chemokine receptor, CCR2. This result can provide a novel therapeutic approach to lung inflammation and injury.

Robert J. Rubin Student Award Fund

Winner: Paige Smith

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: MS, BS
Institution/Affiliation: FDA/NCTR and Colorado State University

Paige Smith is a graduate student at Colorado State University and received the Robert J. Rubin Student Award for her work entitled, "A Computational Approach for a Quantatative and Mechanistic Understanding of Thiocyanate Kinetics and Dose Response" She worked closely with a team at the National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR) to develop a computational model that they could use as a hypothesis testing tool to better understand the kinetics of thiocyanate. Their hope is to use this information to further investigate the effects of thyroid hormone perturbations in multiple thyroid active chemicals, including thiocyanate, and determine any effects or risks that may be associated with thyroid active chemical exposures in pregnant women. Since humans are exposed to many thyroid active chemicals simultaneously, their data is an important factor in understanding the effects of total thyroid active chemical exposure in pregnant women. This data will advance the science of toxicology by allowing them to perform more advanced risk assessment analyses regarding the dose response processes of thyroid active chemicals as a whole.

Robert J. Rubin Student Award Fund

Winner: Vivekkumar Dadhania

Award Year: 2014
Current Degrees: MS (Pharm)
Institution/Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Monroe

Vivekkumar Dadhania is a Graduate Student at the University of Louisiana at Monroe and received the Robert j. Rubin Student Award for his work entitled, “Hepatic Overexpression of Annexin A1 in Thioacetamide-Primed Mice Protects Them from Liver Failure and Death Induced by a Lethal Dose of Acetaminophen.” Heteroprotection is a model where a small dose of a toxicant protects animals against a lethal dose of another subsequently administered type of toxicant. If both toxicants are the same, then the model is known as autoprotection. It has been reported that it is stimulated tissue repair response after a small priming dose of toxicant that protects animals from a subsequently administered lethal dose of either the same or a different type of toxicant. Currently we are working on a heteroprotection model using two different types of hepatotoxicants- thioacetamide (TA) and acetaminophen (APAP). In our experiment, mice survived a lethal dose of APAP (600 mg/kg, ip) given at 36h after a 1/12th of a lethal dose of TA (40 mg/kg, ip). Our working hypothesis is that overexpression of annexin A1 (endogenous inhibitor of death protein phospholipase A2) in the newly divided hepatocytes that result from a priming dose of TA protects mice against a lethal dose of APAP by inhibiting the destructive action of death protein secretory phospholipase (sPLA2) in mice liver. We found that overexpression of annexin A1 in TA-primed mice protects them against a lethal dose of APAP.

Robert J. Rubin Student Award Fund

Winner: Mary Francis

Award Year: 2014
Current Degrees: BA
Institution/Affiliation: Rutgers University

Mary Francis is a graduate student of Rutgers University and received the Robert J. Rubin Student Award for her work entitled, “Role of Spleen Monocytes (Mo) in Ozone-induced Lung inflammation and Injury.” Her work centered around studying the role of the spleen in ozone-induced lung injury. To test this hypothesis, she used techniques in immunolabeling and flow cytometry to characterize the phenotype of macrophages in the lung after ozone exposure. Also being investigated are the origin of these inflammatory cells and mechanisms mediating their accumulation in the lung. These studies may lead to the development of novel approaches for treating lung injury associated with inflammation. These findings suggest that while the spleen is a source of pro-inflammatory macrophages, the bone marrow may be a source of anti-inflammatory macrophages. To further investigate with the help of the award, she will use transgenic mice CX3CR1+/GFP CCR2 +/RFP, which will allow cells involved in lung injury to fluoresce. This would shed light on the mechanism of accumulation after ozone-induced lung injury. The decrease of Cd11b+ MP in the lung followed by splenectomy can indicate that the spleen contributes to the lung tissue injury. Spleen monocytes are dependent on angiotensin II signaling to migrate to the site of injury. In the future, researchers can possibly inhibit angiotensin-converting enzyme to prevent the release of monocytes ozone-inhalation. A strong understanding of the mechanism of monocyte migration and recruitment can provide possible therapeutic approaches for the population.

Robert J. Rubin Student Travel Award Fund

Winner: Xiao Pan

Award Year: 2013
Current Degrees: BS
Institution/Affiliation: Michigan State University

Xiao Pan is a graduate student of the Michigan State University and received the Robert Rubin Student Travel Award for her work entitled, “Quantitative Phosphoproteomic Analysis of the Dynamic Signaling Network Mediating Proinflammatory Response in the Spleen of Mice under Deoxynivalenol-induced Ribotoxic stress.” Her research involves learning how a common food contaminating natural toxin causes toxicity in the immune system. The results of her work will provide information regarding the molecular mechanisms of this toxin, how such protein modification leads to the toxicity in the immune system of experimental animals. Eventually, she hopes to learn how to design mechanism-based strategies to counter and prevent the adverse consequences of this toxin in humans. She hopes to contribute to the new paradigm of risk assessment in the 21 century.

Robert J. Rubin Student Travel Award Fund

Winner: Leena Mol Thuruthippallil

Award Year: 2012
Current Degrees: Graduate Student
Institution/Affiliation: Ehime University

Leena Mol Thuruthippallil, of Ehime University, Japan, for her research entitled, “Transactivaton Potencies of Common Cormorant (Phalacrocorax Carbo) AHR1 and AHR2 by Dioxins and Related Compounds: An Alternative Approach to Wildlife Testing for Toxicological Research.” She study assesses the risk of pollutants like dioxins to wild animals. This study also provides an alternative method to animal testing for toxicological risk assessment studies. In the future, Leena sees herself as an expert in toxicology, who will create better policies and make better decisions to control environmental pollution. In the future she would also like to develop new methods and assays to better assess the risk of exposures to environmental chemicals.

Roger O. McCellan Student Award Fund

Winner: Manushree Bharadwaj

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: BVSc
Institution/Affiliation: Oklahoma State University

Despite recent advances in therapy, heart failure is a major public health problem with persistently high morbidity and mortality rates and high health care costs. The background and preliminary data available today provide a strong rationale for our current study of the therapeutic strategy of augmentation of cardiac parasympathetic signaling in heart failure. Under normal conditions, the heart is involuntarily under the control of our nervous system which is called as the Autonomic nervous system. This autonomic nervous system has two limbs, sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. These two systems work antagonistically, for example, sympathetic system increases the heart rate and parasympathetic system decreases the heart rate. Under healthy conditions there exists a balance between these two systems. This balance is lost during the conditions of the failing heart. Sympathetic over-activity and parasympathetic withdrawal indicate profound dysregulation of autonomic control. Currently, high sympathetic tone is controlled by the administration of beta-blockers, such as atenolol. Additionally, activation of the parasympathetic tone improves autonomic balance and may lead to a better prognosis for heart failure patients (Adamopoulos et al., 1995). Pyridostigmine is an acetylcholinesterase inhibitors which increases the activity of the parasympathetic system in the heart. It is a quaternary ammonium compound which belongs to the class of carbamates. This drug is used by militaries as a prophylactic agent against organophosphate poisoning and is also indicated for the symptomatic treatment of Myasthenia gravis. Ms. Bharadwaj's overall hypothesis is that “pyridostigmine administration will improve autonomic regulation during congestive heart failure and enhance the rate of survival associated with this disease, as predicted by pharmacokinetic parameters and their associated covariates.” Her overall objective is to develop a population PK/PD model to predict the association between human PK/PD parameters and the covariates and establish an exercise model of rodent to determine the effects of pyridostigmine on heart rate recovery in rat. In order to test the above hypothesis, she and her colleagues have designed three specific aims. As their first aim, they are developing highly sensitive and specific analytical assays to be able to quantify the amount of pyridostigmine and its metabolite, 3-hydroxy-N-methylpyridinium, in plasma samples from heart failure patients. In the second specific aim, we will collect all available information about the pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic parameters tested in the patients, details of the covariates etc. Using this information, they will perform population pharmacokinetic (PK) and pharmacodynamic (PD) modelling to identify the covariates that affect the disposition of pyridostigmine. For this purpose we will use non-linear mixed effect modelling software, abbreviated as NONMEM. The third aim for this research was to develop an animal exercise model to be able to estimate post-exercise heart rate recovery in rats. She won the award for this section of her research. According to our hypothesis, administration of pyridostigmine in rats will enhance the heart rate recovery after submaximal exercise on a treadmill. To test this hypothesis, they investigated the effects of pyridostigmine administration on cardiac parasympathetic function in rats. Radiotelemetry device was surgically implanted in rats to record ECG and heart rates. The rats were treated with pyridostigmine and observed for any cholinergic signs. The rats followed an exercise protocol on treadmill, so that heart rate during rest and after exercise was recorded to calculate the heart rate recovery at 1 and 5 minute post-exercise. They found that HRR was significantly higher in the PYR rats on days 7, 14 and 28 (p=0.003, <0.001, 0.03). Vagal tone (measured as HR after atropine treatment) was increased in PYR rats which was shown by a 17% decrease in HR compared to only 3% in CTL rats (p<0.001). Together, these data supported the hypothesis that PYR enhances HRR by increasing cardiac vagal tone. Post-exercise HRR can be used in toxicology or pharmacology studies to assess parasympathetic tone in rats. Her future goal is to further confirm the stability and tolerability of pyridostigmine in congestive heart failure patients. It is also required to determine the effect or toxicity of pyridostigmine, if any, in patients who are already taking some prescription drugs to manage their heart conditions.

Roger O. McClellan Student Award Fund

Winner: Erin Quist

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: DVM, MS
Institution/Affiliation: NTP/NIEHS

Erin Quist is a postdoctoral scholar at NTP/NIEHS and received the Roger O. McClellan Student Award for her work entitled, "Hepatic mitochondrial alteration in CD-1 mice associated with prenatal exposures to low doses of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)." PFOA is primarily used as an industrial surfactant. It is persistent within the environment with an average half-life in humans of 3.8 years. The current mean PFOA serum concentration among the general U.S. population is 3.12 ng/ml, with the highest mean serum PFOA concentrations among children aged 2-5 years. Several studies have demonstrated the hepatotoxic and carcinogenic potential of PFOA using the rodent model and suggest that peroxisome proliferator activated receptor-alpha (PPAR-alpha) activation is critical to the mode of action for PFOA-induced hepatocarcinogenesis. In a previous study, her research revealed an increased incidence of hepatocellular adenomas among 18 month-old CD-1 mice prenatally exposed to PFOA. The current study was designed to identify any adverse or pre-neoplastic hepatic changes present at earlier developmental time-points that might give rise to the types of tumors observed in these mice. Pregnant CD-1 mice were orally gavaged from gestation days 0 through 17 with low doses of PFOA that were considered to be within the higher end of the reference interval for human exposures (0,0.01,0.1,0.3 and 1 mg/kg). Livers were collected on post-natal day (PND) 21 and 91 and routinely processed for histological evaluation, transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and DNA microarray analysis. On PND 21, histopathologic changes in the liver of offspring included hepatocellular hypertrophy and periportal inflammation that increased in severity by PND 91. TEM of liver from PND 91 mice revealed PFOA-induced cellular damage and mitochondrial abnormalities with no evidence of peroxisome proliferation, the latter of which represents a novel observation that differs from that of adult rodents exposed to similar doses of PFOA. Within affected hepatocytes, mitochondria also exhibited altered morphologies suggestive of increased or uncontrolled fission and fusion reactions. Based on her findings, her team concluded that developmental exposures to low doses of PFOA induce hepatocellular hypertrophy due to mitochondrial proliferation, not peroxisome proliferation; data that suggests a PPAR-alpha-independent mode of action. Preliminary microarray analyses suggest that alterations in cellular survival, proliferation and/or mitochondrial function may be driving the hypertrophy response in these animals, and, she suspects that when prolonged, these alterations may lead to tumor development in aged mice.

Roger O. McClellan Student Award Fund

Winner: Kazuhisa Miyakawa

Award Year: 2014
Current Degrees: BVSc
Institution/Affiliation: Michigan State University

Kazuhisa Miyakawa is a graduate student at the Michigan State University and received the Roger O. McCellan Student Award for his work entitled, “Contribution of Par-4 and Thrombin to Acetaminophen Hepatotoxicity in Mice.” His work focused on evaluating the contribution of one of the thrombin receptors known to exist on mouse platelets using genetic modification (ie, deleting the receptor in mice) and further evaluating the contribution of thrombin using a direct thrombin inhibitor. Both of these modifications resulted in decreased liver injury from acetaminophen. Furthermore, both caused a decrease in thrombin activation and platelet accumulation in the liver, further supporting the importance of thrombin and platelets in APAP hepatotoxicity in mice. The results presented at 2014 SOT indicate that platelets and protease-activated receptor-4 (PAR-4) contribute to amplification of thrombin generation and to the progression of liver injury from APAP overdose. The results raise the possibility that platelet-directed intervention might provide adjunctive therapy in APAP poisoning cases. Also, many of the drugs that cause drug-induced liver injury (including idiosyncratic drug-induced liver injury) seem to involve a progression events similar to APAP hepatotoxicity. The contributions of thrombin and platelets to these other drug toxicities have not been evaluated yet, and such evaluation might lead to adjunctive therapies for other drugs that cause liver injury.

Roger O. McClellan Student Award Fund

Winner: Vinicius Carreira

Award Year: 2013
Current Degrees: DVM DACVP
Institution/Affiliation: University of Cincinnati

Vinicius Carreira, whose specialty is veterinary pathology at the University of Cincinnati, received the Roger McClellan Award for his work entitled, “The AHR Contributions to Cardiovascular Development, Developmental Toxicity, and Adult Disease.” His laboratory is interested in studying the roles of the Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor (AHR) protein in normal cardiovascular development. Furthermore, he also is interested in how perturbing the endogenous physiology of this protein during critical developmental windows may underlie neonatal and adult disease (developmental origins of neonatal and adult disease). He notes that as we currently live immersed in ever-increasing amounts of persistent organic pollutants (POPs), which are potential AHR-ligands, understanding how inappropriate exogenous ligand signaling adversely affects development is critical. He would like apply his training in veterinary medicine, anatomic pathology, and toxicology to advance our understanding of science whether it is an academic or industry setting. He also hopes to help train future students who are interested in pursuing a similar career.

Roger O. McClellan Student Award Fund

Winner: Amber Roegner

Award Year: 2012
Current Degrees: BS, (DVM/PhD Candidate)
Institution/Affiliation: UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine

Amber Roegner, of University of California—Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, for her work entitled, “Application of Easily Synthesized Internal Standards for Rapid Quantitative Analysis of Cyanobacterial Blooms for Hepatotoxic Microcystins by MALDI-MS.” In collaboration with the laboratory of Dr. Gualberto Gonzalez-Sapienza at the Universidad de la Republica in Uruguay, she developed a quantitative method for detection of a class of harmful algae bloom toxins that impact freshwater ecosystems, recreational surface waters and potable water sources worldwide. The blooms produce toxins that impact both human and animal health and improved methods for prevention, detection and removal must be developed to better serve public health. She hopes to return to Montevideo and further strengthen the collaboration and quality of research. Ideally, the method would be developed for detection of the same cyanotoxins in fish, shellfish, and possibly mammalian tissues. She wants to facilitate communication between the public and research community through her role as a veterinary researcher. She believes strongly in community-based translational science, including bidirectional communication, and hopes toxicology expands to include more active engagement with communities and more transparency at large. In addition, she hopes to mentor a younger generation to continue to challenge and push the frontiers of toxicological science.

Ronald G. Thurman Student Travel Award

Winner: Diptadip Dattaroy

Award Year: 2017
Current Degrees: MS
Institution/Affiliation: University of South Carolina

Mr. Dattaroy was very excited and happy about receiving the award. This award is very encouraging and it has definitely improved his CV. His research here describes the therapeutic role of a plant derived anti-inflammatory compound which can be a possible drug to treat liver inflammation and fibrosis in a disease called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. He would like to pursue a postdoctoral position after my PhD and would like to venture into industry/academic position after that.

Ronald G. Thurman Student Travel Award

Winner: Ramiya Kumar

Award Year: 2017
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: Clemson University

Dr. Kumar would like to thank Mechanisms Specialty section officers and Ronald G. Thurman Travel award's committee for presenting me this travel award. She is very happy and excited to have received this award, which is given for research focused on mechanistic studies on liver and getting recognized by mechanisms SS will help me to meet new collaborators and progress her research. The travel award will help her to attend SOT 2017 at Baltimore, MD and present her research at the poster session, network with Toxicology experts through chat with the expert and poster tour events and also meet fellow aspiring toxicologists from around the world. This meeting will give her the opportunity to meet with experts at different career stages and from different domains such as industry, academia and government who are willing to share their career and research experiences. Overall, she feels this meeting will enlighten her about career choices and prospective employers, brief idea about job responsibilities, current trends in toxicology research, meet future collaborators and make new friends. As a doctoral candidate closer to graduation this meeting will give her a broad perspective about toxicology research in general while she plans her next steps to achieve her career goal of joining industrial research career with a focus on development of personalized medicine. World health organization has declared that over 600 million adults are obese around the world. There is a dire need to develop new strategies to tackle the increasing obesity numbers because the current treatment regimes of healthier food choices and active lifestyle changes are not successful. We are exposed to growing number of chemicals, which are metabolized and cleared from our body by specific liver enzymes- “Cytochrome P450 (CYP)”. And earlier studies in obese patients have shown significant changes in CYP genes. Consequently, they used a mouse model missing CYP3A genes and developed a mouse model missing CYP2B and compared their responses to mice that have all genes (wild type mice) to demonstrate if the absence of CYP genes would increase the progression of obesity. They also treat them with diet rich in 60% fat, which resemble western diet to determine role-played by CYP3A and CYP2B in lipid metabolism. In future, they plan to identify chemicals that can inhibit CYP2B and determine if they perturb lipid metabolism. Her current SOT poster is on "Cyp2b9/10/13-null male mice are susceptible to diet-induced obesity". They developed the mouse model missing Cyp2b9, 10 and 13 and treated them with high fat (60% fat) and other group with chow diet to demonstrate if lack of three cyp2b genes exacerbate lipid metabolism when coupled with high fat diet. Their data indicate that male Cyp2b-null but not female mice gain 15% more body weight and 1x more white adipose tissue weight than wild type mice when they were fed a high fat diet. Male cyp2b-null mice on high fat diet show significant metabolic changes such as higher blood cholesterol and increased levels hormones such as adiponectin and leptin. Male cyp2b-null mice accumulate significantly more triglyceride in liver and lower serum triglyceride compared to the wild type mice. They are yet to determine changes in gene and protein expression and also changes in lipid profile. Overall, her results show that lack of cyp2b9, 10 and 13 perturbs lipid metabolism and increase progression to diet-induced obesity. Also, gender based differences are observed in the Cyp2b-null mice while responding to the diet treatment.

Ronald G. Thurman Student Travel Award

Winner: Yu Syuan  Luo

Award Year: 2017
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: Texas A&M University

Dr. Luo feels it is a great honor to receive this award. This travel award not only provides him with financial support to cover the traveling expenses, but also recognizes his work on the metabolism and toxicities of trichloroethylene. It also offers an great opportunity to present his work in the 2017 SOT Annual Meeting, and to receive very valuable feedback from the audience. He believes that these intellectual inputs can further improve his research, and increase scientific impacts of his efforts.His work is to understand the role of an important enzyme, cytochrome P450 2E1 (CYP2E1), on the metabolism and toxicities of trichloroethylene(TCE). Metabolism of TCE is associated with its organ-specific toxicities. His research will clarify how CYP2E1 gets involved in the metabolism of TCE, and how the altered levels of TCE metabolites further modified the exerted TCE toxicities. In addition, he also advances our understanding of the inter-individual and inter-species differences in metabolism and toxicities of TCE by using CYP2E1 knockout and humanized transgenic mice, which could be critical to conducting health risk assessment of TCE. His future work will further investigate the metabolism and toxicities of a structural-similar chemical of TCE, perchloroethylene (PERC), and then conduct a parallel comparison of TCE and PERC. Collectively, their study is expected to advance our knowledge in metabolism and toxicities of these chlorinated solvents, which are of critical concerns in their health risk assessments.

Ronald G. Thurman Student Travel Award

Winner: Bharat Bhushan

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: University of Kansas Medical Center

Acetaminophen (APAP) overdose is the foremost cause of acute liver failure (ALF) in the US. Despite decades of research, current treatment options after APAP-overdose are extremely limited. Liver injury after APAP-overdose is subsequently followed by compensatory liver regeneration, which promotes recovery. Preventing liver injury and stimulating liver regeneration are potential strategies to develop novel therapies for APAP-induced ALF. However, mechanisms of APAP-induced liver toxicity or subsequent liver regeneration are not completely understood. The major focus of my research work is to study these mechanisms. In the work that will be presented at the 2016 SOT Annual Meeting, Dr. Bhushan and colleagues investigated role of EGFR (Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor) signaling in APAP-induced ALF. Role of EGFR signaling in APAP-induced liver toxicity and subsequent liver regeneration is completely unknown. In this extremely novel work, they demonstrated that EGFR signaling plays a dual role in APAP overdose and is involved in both initiation of APAP-induced liver injury (via mitochondrial damage) and in stimulating subsequent liver regeneration (via controlling cell cycle). Their work revealed an extremely novel and intriguing mechanisms about how a cell membrane receptor, EGFR, can translocate to mitochondria and cause both cell death or cell proliferation signaling in hepatocytes, in a time dependent manner, during APAP-induced ALF.

Ronald G. Thurman Student Travel Award

Winner: Suvarthi Das

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: MS
Institution/Affiliation: University of South Carolina

CYP2E1 has been found to play a key role in the development of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. CYP2E1-mediated oxidative stress leads to hepatocellular necrosis and release of damage associated molecular patterns including NAD, ATP and HMGB1. Interestingly, DAMPs are known to act as ligands to pattern recognition receptors like P2X7r and toll like receptors. Our previous results showed a clear role of TLR4 trafficking into lipid rafts that was dependent on NADPH oxidase induced peroxynitrite in NASH pathogenesis. Extending our previous findings we test the hypothesis that CYP2E1-mediated oxidative stress and its downstream HMGB1 release regulates Myd88 expression that is critical for innate immune activation in NASH. Using a high fat (60%kcal) induced NASH model where bromodichloromethane is used as a second hit, we show that there was a significant increase in MyD88 mRNA and protein in NASH mice while the levels were significantly decreased in a CYP2E1 KO and Diallyl sulfide-treated (CYP2E1 inhibitor) groups. HMGB1 levels were significantly higher in NASH group as compared to only high fat diet-treated group and CYP2E1 KO or DAS-treated group suggesting a strong correlation. Higher HMGB1 and higher MyD88 also correlated strongly with NASH progression, higher serum ALT, hepatocellular necrosis, ballooning and inflammation while MYd88 KO mice receiving identical treatment showed significant decrease in these symptoms. Mechanistically immortalized Kupffer cells treated with HMGB1 and leptin (represents strong leptin resistance) showed a significant increase in MyD88 and 3-nitrotyrosine formation while apocynin or Fetpps blocked the increase suggesting a possible role of NADPH oxidase mediated peroxynitrite. To show the role of oxidative stress and activation of PI3K pathway, HMGB1-primed cells were treated with PI3/AKT pathway inhibitor LY294002. Results showed that LY294002 significantly inhibited MyD88 levels, CD68 expression and MCP1 release suggesting a strong role of PI3/AKT pathway in redox stress mediated MyD88 expression and Kupffer cell activation. In conclusion Ms. Das and colleagues report a novel role of redox stress mediated MYD88 induction in NASH pathogenesis that might be complementary to the TLR4 pathway.

Ronald G. Thurman Student Travel Award

Winner: Hui Li

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: MS
Institution/Affiliation: University of Arizona

Ms. Li's research is concentrating on adverse drug reactions (ADRs) associated with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease(NAFLD), the most common chronic liver disease across the world. Her lab has demonstrated that patients with NAFLD could experience higher risk of potential ADRs. They further observed that expression and activity of many enzymes involved in drug metabolism processes were significantly altered during NAFLD progression. Her research is focusing on one important category of those enzymes, called Cytochrome p450s (CYPs). They play very critical roles in the metabolism of majority of clinical drugs. In this present study, she evaluated the activity of a few major members from CYPs in the pediatric patients with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, the most severe form of NAFLD. She reported significant alterations in these enzymes in pediatric NASH. These alterations could introduce unexpected ADRs in these pediatric patients. With this study, they intend to alert current clinical practice to recognize NAFLD and NASH as one potential risk factor of ADRs, and take this into consideration during dosage determinations.

Ronald G. Thurman Student Travel Award

Winner: Anika Dzierlenga

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: BS
Institution/Affiliation: University of Arizona

Anika Dzierlenga is a graduate student at the University of Arizona and received the Ronald G. Thurman Student Travel Award for her work entitled, "Mechanistic Basis of Altered Morphine Disposition in Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis." Adverse drug reactions remain a clinically significant complication and can be prevented by accounting for variability in disposition. Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is a liver disease known to alter the function of enzymes involved in drug disposition. The purpose of this project was to determine the role of NASH as a variable in morphine metabolism and elimination. This study observed an increase in morphine metabolism and a decrease in the elimination of morphine and its metabolites in rats with NASH compared to healthy rats. We also identified that the mechanism behind the increased levels of metabolite in NASH involves increased expression of Ugt2B1, mislocalization of Mrp2 (the transporter that helps the metabolite leave the body), and increased expression of Mrp3 (the transporter that shuttles the metabolite back into the blood). This is particularly important because one of the metabolites of morphine, M6G, is known to have a therapeutic effect ten times stronger than morphine itself. Identifying the mechanism behind the change in morphine disposition that occurs in NASH is crucial to understanding and preventing the potential for adverse drug reactions in human NASH patients.

Ronald G. Thurman Student Travel Award

Winner: Dushani Palliyaguru

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: BA
Institution/Affiliation: University of Pittsburgh

Dushani Palliyaguru is a graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh and received the Ronald G. Thurman Student Travel Award for her work entitled, "Withaferin A is a Potent Inducer of the NRF2-Mediated Environmental Stress Response." Prevention and treatment of acetaminophen hepatotoxicity is currently an important goal in the world of public health. Her work has identified a compound that is plant-based and naturally-occurring that is able to protect against acetaminophen hepatotoxicity in mice. She has also characterized that this compound modulates the Nrf2 signaling-mediated environmental stress response in both cell culture and in mice which provides the opportunity to specifically target this molecular pathway to prevent acetaminophen hepatotoxicity. The long-term implications of my study present the possibility of extrapolating this data to human populations. Prevention of disease and forms of toxicity can lead to longevity and overall better living conditions for humans. Experts also agree that prevention is financially less cumbersome on health systems as compared to treatment of disease. Utilizing plant-based agents that could be administered as part of a person's diet would make it even more convenient. Studying the science behind these plant-derived agents, understanding the molecular players involved and determining their toxicological and pharmacological parameters are imperative to achieving this goal.

Ronald G. Thurman Student Travel Award

Winner: Prajakta Shimpi

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: MS
Institution/Affiliation: University of Rhode Island

Prajakta Shimpi is a graduate student with the University of Rhode Island and received the Ronald G. Thurman Student Travel Award for her work entitled, "Early Epigenetic Modulation of Nrf2 and Lipogenic Genes by PNPP Exposure of Bisphenol A is Associated with Hepatic Steatosis in Female Mice." Her research focuses on plastic bottle component Bisphenol A and on detecting the detailed molecular studies on how exactly Bisphenol A affects liver pathways. Interestingly, the effects observed in mice also remain persistent in adult animals, indicating the potential danger these environmental chemicals pose to human health. This work will be published soon and available in public domain for information. Her research can be used as a model for toxicological investigations, where she determines epigenetic and non-epigenetic mechanisms of bisphenol A induced fatty liver disease. In another project, she is also working on organic flame retardant chemicals that accumulate in the body for longer periods of time. Biological effects of these chemicals may not be too intense by themselves, however its very critical to consider them as ‘contributing factor’ to rising numbers in population for metabolic syndrome/obesity/diabetes related diseases. Overall, her research focuses on an important area of toxicology- the environmental chemicals, and also on the obesity- fatty liver disease, which is prevalent in population. This certainly contributes to SOT’s mission to creating safer and healthier environment for people.

Ronald G. Thurman Student Travel Award

Winner: Dwayne Carter

Award Year: 2014
Current Degrees: BS
Institution/Affiliation:

Dwayne Carter is a graduate student at the University of Texas Medical Branch and won the Ronald G. Thurman Student Travel Award for his work entitled, “Conditional Knockout of the Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor in the Liver Alters Mouse Phenotype as well as Glucose and Lipid Homeostasis.” His work focuses on the underlying mechanism by which AH receptor biology in the liver confers cyto-protection against ER stress and oxidative stress. As his research is geared towards liver injury, therapeutics developed against diseases such as cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma caused by liver injury will reduce the economic impact of these diseases. His research is not limited to alcohol induced liver injury but also improving liver function regardless of the injury. This type of research will provide a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying protection against liver injury.

Ronald G. Thurman Student Travel Award

Winner: Kazuhisa Miyakawa

Award Year: 2014
Current Degrees: BVSc
Institution/Affiliation: Michigan State University

Kazuhisa Miyakawa is a graduate student at the Michigan State University and received the Ronald G. Thurman Student Travel Award for his work entitled, “Contribution of Par-4 and Thrombin to Acetaminophen Hepatotoxicity in Mice.” His work focused on evaluating the contribution of one of the thrombin receptors known to exist on mouse platelets using genetic modification (ie, deleting the receptor in mice) and further evaluating the contribution of thrombin using a direct thrombin inhibitor. Both of these modifications resulted in decreased liver injury from acetaminophen. Furthermore, both caused a decrease in thrombin activation and platelet accumulation in the liver, further supporting the importance of thrombin and platelets in APAP hepatotoxicity in mice. The results presented at 2014 SOT indicate that platelets and protease-activated receptor-4 (PAR-4) contribute to amplification of thrombin generation and to the progression of liver injury from APAP overdose. The results raise the possibility that platelet-directed intervention might provide adjunctive therapy in APAP poisoning cases. Also, many of the drugs that cause drug-induced liver injury (including idiosyncratic drug-induced liver injury) seem to involve a progression events similar to APAP hepatotoxicity. The contributions of thrombin and platelets to these other drug toxicities have not been evaluated yet, and such evaluation might lead to adjunctive therapies for other drugs that cause liver injury.

Ronald G. Thurman Student Travel Award

Winner: Pranav Shah

Award Year: 2014
Current Degrees: BPharma
Institution/Affiliation: University of Houston

Pranav Shah is a graduate student at the University of Houston and received the Ronald G. Thurman Student Travel Award for his work entitled, “Role of TRIF and MAP Kinases in TLR3 & 4 Mediated Regulation of Drug Metabolizing Enzymes and Transporters.” It is well known that inflammation affects drug metabolism and is an underlying component of several diseases like heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, etc. Any changes in behaviour of drugs in these diseases will lead to toxicity or inefficacy both of which are extremely dangerous for the patient. His work focuses on the involvement of mitogen activated protein (MAP) kinases in regulating changes in drug metabolizing enzymes during viral infections and we are trying to target these MAP kinases in order to reverse the infection mediated changes in drug metabolism. His focus is to understand the mechanisms by which different types of inflammation affect drug metabolism and toxicity. Understanding the mechanism would help identify potential targets so as to avoid toxicity in patients.

Sheldon D. Murphy Award Fund

Winner: Kelly Fader

Award Year: 2017
Current Degrees: BSc
Institution/Affiliation: Michigan State University

Ms. Fader felt it was an honor to learn that she had been selected to receive the 2017 Sheldon D. Murphy Student Travel Award. She immediately shared the news with my principal investigator, Dr. Timothy Zacharewski, as well as the postdoctoral researchers in the lab, who shared in her excitement. This award allowed her to present her research at the 2017 Society of Toxicology Annual Meeting, providing the opportunity to receive valuable feedback and develop collaborations with other researchers in the field of biomedical toxicology. Metabolic syndrome, a disease which consists of obesity, elevated blood lipids, high blood pressure and high blood sugar, is approaching epidemic levels in the United States. In the liver, MetS is first observed as fat accumulation which can develop into non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a risk factor for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and liver cancer. Recently, several environmental contaminants including dioxin have been implicated in MetS development. In mice, dioxin causes accumulation of fat in the liver (fatty liver), primarily originating from the diet, which progresses to inflammation and fibrosis over time. Her research investigates dioxin-induced changes along the intestinal tract that promote the development of NAFLD and other complex metabolic disorders. Specifically, her application for the Sheldon D. Murphy Student Travel Award discussed the role of dioxin-elicited iron overloading in the progression of NAFLD. Upon completing her PhD at Michigan State University, she plans to obtain further postdoctoral training before pursuing an independent research career at either an academic institution or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). She would like to remain in the field of biomedical toxicology, investigating the effects of environmental contaminants, food ingredients, and drugs on human health and disease. In particular, She is interested in investigating the role of gene-environment interactions in the development and progression of complex multifactorial diseases such as metabolic syndrome and cancer.

Sheldon D. Murphy Award Fund

Winner: Gopi Gadupudi

Award Year: 2017
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: University of Iowa

Dr. Gadupudi is very thankful to the mechanisms specialty section and the SOT for providing this award, especially for encouraging early career scientists to pursue further research. He has been working towards understanding the role of pollutants such as PCBs on liver metabolism. The current work identifies the disruption of a critical event called "REBECA-phosphorylation" that is necessary to produce glucose in the liver during a process called gluconeogenesis. Moving forward, he and colleagues would like to understand the implications of the Persistent organic pollutant accumulation in the liver and their effects on metabolic and energy homeostasis.

Sheldon D. Murphy Award Fund

Winner: Cory Gerlach

Award Year: 2017
Current Degrees: BS
Institution/Affiliation: Harvard Medical School

When Mr. Gerlach learned that he won this award, he yelled out loud in his lab with excitement. Not only will the money help pay for his expenses incurred by coming to the SOT Annual Meeting, but it was also an enormous honor to be recognized for his work. This award gives him the confidence that what he is researching is important to the field of toxicology. Also, it will be great to get feedback on his project at the meeting. Acute kidney injury (AKI) is increasing worldwide and if severe or repeated could lead to chronic kidney disease (CKD) or end-stage renal failure. Currently, there are no treatments that prevent the progression of AKI to CKD, and if kidney function deteriorates only dialysis or kidney transplantation are available. Therefore, our goal is to identify the mechanisms of kidney disease progression so that we can intervene and improve outcomes for patients. To this end, we have identified microRNA (miR)-132 as potentially mediating kidney injury. MicroRNAs have gained immense interest over the years as researchers have identified their importance in disease pathogenesis and have developed methods to modulate their expression. Specifically, miR-132 is highly expressed in response to injury in various kidney disease models in mice. When overexpressed in primary human kidney cells, important protective pathways are downregulated. Importantly, overexpression of miR-132 makes these cell more sensitive to the nephrotoxin cisplatin. He is interested in investigating these pathways more carefully in mice to see if inhibition will lead to protection from acute injury and therefore improve kidney function in the long-term.

Sheldon D. Murphy Award Fund

Winner: Nehal Gupta

Award Year: 2017
Current Degrees: MPharm, BPharm,
Institution/Affiliation: Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

Ms. Gupta was very excited after receiving Sheldon D. Murphy travel Award. She would like to thank Mechanisms Specialty Section for selecting her for this award. This award would offer a tremendous financial support to attend the 2017 SOT Annual Meeting. It will be an excellent opportunity to meet scientists across the globe and share her work with them, which will provide novel insights to her work. Also, recognition by awards committee has boosted her morale to do better work. She started her project on breast cancer, which is one of the most malignant carcinoma in women worldwide. Despite of current available treatment options, breast cancer kills approximately 40,000 women every year, making it the second-leading cause of cancer related deaths. Resistance to current chemotherapeutics is the major obstacle in treating breast cancer patients. She and colleagues developed resistance towards paclitaxel in various breast cancer cell lines (MCF-7, 4T1, HCC1806). With extensive research, they are able to unravel the mechanism behind the resistance and based on previous publication (Ranjan et al. “Penfluridol: An antipsychotic agent suppresses metastatic tumor growth in triple negative breast cancer by inhibiting integrin signaling axis” Cancer Research 2015), they are able to develop penfluridol as a treatment option to overcome resistance. Their results showed that penfluridol treatment synergistically enhanced the growth suppressive effects of paclitaxel in vitro as well as in vivo. They also observed that chronic treatment of mice with penfluridol was not associated with any toxicity or behavioral side effect. Therefore, combining penfluridol with paclitaxel will reduce the dose as well as toxic side effects of current chemotherapy. Since penfluridol is an FDA approved drug, the pharmacology, formulation and potential toxicities are already known. Their preclinical studies can fasten the clinical trial and review by Food and Drug Administration. This could bring relief to the patients with highly lethal and resistant breast tumors. For her long term goal, she would like to develop her professional career as an academic scientist in the field of Oncology. She has been mentored by one student that gave her motivation to train new researchers in cancer field.

Sheldon D. Murphy Award Fund

Winner: Madelyn Huang

Award Year: 2017
Current Degrees: BS
Institution/Affiliation: University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

Ms. Huang was very honored to receive this award from the Mechanisms Specialty Section. She feels that it is encouraging to see that scientists from different fields of research value the work that she has done. With the award, she will be able to fund her attendance at the SOT Annual Meeting, to present her research and build her network. She anticipates graduating at the end of 2017 so attendance at the SOT Annual Meeting this year is most advantageous in finding the next step in her career. Numerous epidemiological studies have found a significant association between exposure to arsenic and increased incidence or prevalence of type 2 diabetes. However, the mechanisms underlying this association is unclear. The team at her lab seeks to understand mechanisms of arsenic-associated diabetes, through cell and animal studies. Previously, they have shown that arsenic exposure inhibits insulin secretion in pancreatic beta-cells. Her research shows that this inhibition in insulin secretion may be due, at least in part, to inhibition of calcium signaling in the beta-cell. In the future, she would like to continue research in the field of environmental endocrine disruptors, and also investigate how nutritional status can modify an individual's susceptibility to toxicants.

Sheldon D. Murphy Award Fund

Winner: Aram Cholanians

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: BS
Institution/Affiliation: The University of Arizona

Parkinson's Disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder, belonging to a larger family of diseases collectively known as synucleinopathies. This family of diseases is characterized by accumulation of a small prion-like neuronal protein, alpha-synuclein. Mr. Cholanians and his colleagues currently show that exposure to environmentally relevant concentrations of Arsenic, induces accumulation of alpha-synuclein and other stress markers. Moreover, in their animal model, animals that were exposed transiently to arsenic show signs of increase in alpha-synuclein and other stress markers. Their research suggests that low level arsenic exposure, even for a short period of time, may increase the risk of developing synucleinopathy and/or neurodegeneration.

Sheldon D. Murphy Award Fund

Winner: Mary Francis

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: BA
Institution/Affiliation: Rutgers University

Ms. Francis is currently studying a nuclear receptor, farnesoid x receptor (FXR), that is involved in bile acid synthesis in the liver. This nuclear receptor is not well studied in the lung, however,FXR activation is known to attenuate the inflammatory response. To evaluate the contribution of FXR to ozone-induced lung injury and repair, FXR-/- mice were used. This research suggests that FXR plays a role in anti-inflammatory activities that counters ozone injury. Identification of the FXR activity may be important in the development of novel therapeutics aimed at reducing lung inflammatory diseases.

Sheldon D. Murphy Award Fund

Winner: Ludwik Gorczyca

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: BA
Institution/Affiliation: Rutgers University

Currently Mr. Gorczyca is working on determining the regulation of various transporters in the placenta and whether or not it can be affected by changes in oxygen tension, a common phenomenon during the placental development. Specifically, compared to atmospheric levels (20% O2), the early placenta develops under hypoxic conditions (3% O2) and by the second trimester the oxygen tension rises to 8% O2. He has shown that exposure of BeWo human choriocarcinoma cells and term human placental explants (n=6) to 3, 8, and 20% oxygen for 24 h alters the mRNA, protein, and function of uptake and efflux transporters (BCRP, MRP1-3,5, MDR1, OATP4A1). Exploring the potential transcriptional regulatory factors of BCRP down-regulation he found a significant reduction of mRNA expression of nuclear receptors PPAR gamma and RXR alpha as well as transcription factors AhR and NRF2 under hypoxic conditions. Together, these data suggest that placental expression of transporters is differentially regulated by hypoxia, and that the fetus may be at higher risk of exposure to some xenobiotics early in pregnancy and during fetal diseases associated with hypoxia such as preeclampsia.

Sheldon D. Murphy Award Fund

Winner: Natalie Holman

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: BS Biology
Institution/Affiliation: University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

Ms. Holman's research focuses on mechanisms of drug-induced liver injury, specifically the role of small extracellular vesicles known as exosomes in early liver stress. This award was granted based on her work establishing alterations in hepatocyte-derived exosome content prior to overt hepatocellular toxicity in rats and humans. She and her colleagues are currently expanding on these findings to understand the signaling capacity of exosomes released after drug exposure. Her goal is to utilize this knowledge to better understand the mechanisms underlying drug-induced liver injury and ultimately improve its prediction and treatment.

Sheldon D. Murphy Award Fund

Winner: Leah Norona

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: BS
Institution/Affiliation: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Ms. Norona's research interests involve understanding the fundamental mechanisms underlying drug- and chemical-induced liver injury leading to fibrosis. Fibrosis is essentially an abnormal wound healing response to chronic insult and involves multiple cell types. In order to better understand the early events leading to fibrosis, she and colleagues turned to a three-dimensional approach which has a number of advantages over some of the simple and short-lived conventional model systems. They were able to demonstrate compound-induced fibrosis in this 3D model system which recapitulated some key features of fibrotic disease giving us confidence in the model system to study the series of early and adaptive events and a better understanding of fibrosis development. Her future goals are to better understand and develop more physiologically relevant in vitro model systems useful for toxicity risk assessment.

Sheldon D. Murphy Award Fund

Winner: Dwayne Carter

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: BS
Institution/Affiliation: UTMB

Dwayne Carter is a Graduate Student at the University of Texas Medical Branch and received the Sheldon D. Murphy Travel Award for his work entitled, "Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor Activation By Cinnabarinic Acid Is Required for Stanniocalcin-2 mediated Protection Against Alcohol Induced Hepatic Injury." This award is administered by the Mechanisms Specialty Section and Mr. Carter was recognized at Mechanisms reception at the SOT Annual Meeting.

Sheldon D. Murphy Award Fund

Winner: Michael  Osborne

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees:
Institution/Affiliation: Imperial College London

Michael Osborne is a Graduate Student with the Imperial College London and received the Sheldon D. Murphy Travel Award for his work entitled, "Exploring Phenobarbital's Mechanisms of Action in the Rat." This award is administered by the Mechanisms Specialty Section and Mr. Osborne was recognized at their reception during the SOT Annual Meeting.

Sheldon D. Murphy Award Fund

Winner: Saurabh Vispute

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: BS
Institution/Affiliation: St. John's University

Saurabh Vispute is a Graduate Student at St. John's University and received the Sheldon D. Murphy Travel Award for his work entitled, "Dexamethasone Induces Fibroblas Growth Factor (Fgf) 21 Expression via Activation of Glucocorticoid Receptor." This award is administered by the Mechanisms Specialty Section and Mr. Vispute was recognized at their reception during the SOT Annual Meeting.

Sheldon D. Murphy Award Fund

Winner: Jason Neil  Franklin

Award Year: 2014
Current Degrees: BS
Institution/Affiliation: East Carolina University

Jason Neil Franklin is a Graduate Student at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University and received this award for his work entitled “The Immune and Neurological Impacts of Developmental BPA Exposure.” Thanks to the Sheldon D. Murphy Travel Award, he was able to travel from East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina to Phoenix, Arizona to present at the largest and most respected toxicology conference in the world. Due to his participation at the conference he made connections with researchers in the top of their field and made bonds that he hopes will last a lifetime. He hopes these networking opportunities will lead to jobs and collaborations with researchers from across the country in the future. He hopes that the this funding continues to be there for students on limited resources so they may be able to attend and participate in such a respected and notable annual conference in the future.

Sheldon Murphy Fund—Graduate Student Travel Award

Winner: Kevin Beggs

Award Year: 2013
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: Michigan State University

Sheldon Murphy Fund—Graduate Student Travel Award

Winner: Tami Swenson

Award Year: 2013
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

SOT/AstraZeneca/IUTOX/SOT Endowment Fund Travel Fellowships

Winner: Sunisa Chaiklieng

Award Year: 2012
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: Department of Environmental Health Science

Sunisa Chaiklieng, of the Dept. of Environmental Health Science, Faculty of Public Health, Khon Kaen University, Muang Khon Kaen, Thailand, a recipient of the SOT/IUTOX/Endowment Fund, for her active research program in Thailand, where toxicology is underrepresented. Chaiklieng is an assistant professor with ten years of teaching experience in toxicology. She also is conducting a number of health-related research projects and her fields of interest include ergonomics and health risk assessment. She presented a paper entitled, “Health Risk Assessment on Occupational Hazards Exposure Among Workers Involved in Jasmine’s Agriculture” at the 51st SOT Annual Meeting and ToxExpo that was held in San Francisco. According to Chaiklieng, “This research is of particular interest to the Thai agriculture and environment health fields.” She hopes that after attending the SOT Annual Meeting, she can “bring new ideas and research strategies back to my home country in order to help conducting the research and the scientific meeting of the Toxicology Society in the future.”

SOT/AstraZeneca/IUTOX/SOT Endowment Fund Travel Fellowships

Winner: Jianlin Lou

Award Year: 2012
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: Zhejiang Academy of Medical Sciences

Jianlin Lou, of the Zhejiang Academy of Medical Sciences, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China, a recipient of the SOT/IUTOX/Endowment Fund, for his research work in China where toxicology is underrepresented. Lou serves as the Vice Director of the Department of Environmental Medicine and his research involves the cyto-genotoxicity of radiation, chemotherapy drugs, heavy metals, and cigarette smoke. The purpose of his research is to find sensitive biomarkers for people exposed to these hazard factors, and to protect human health. Most recently, he has been studying the aberrant DNA methylation induced by heavy metals such as hexavalent chromium and its possible role in the development of cancer, and altered expression levels of some specific genes after exposure of human lymphocytes to polychlorinated biphenyls in vitro. With this award, Lou feels he can present his research to a wide variety of toxicologists who attend the SOT Annual Meeting and ToxExpo. He said, “Receiving this award will allow me to attend and give me a good chance to network with many professional scientists in the same field and we can seek more opportunities to cooperate in the future, which will, to some extent, improve the development of toxicology in my institute and even in my country.”

Toshio Narahashi Neurotoxicology Fellowship Award Fund

Winner: Gelareh  Alam

Award Year: 2017
Current Degrees: Pharm D, PhD
Institution/Affiliation: Northeast Ohio Medical University

Dr. Alam was really honored and grateful to receive this award. She has been working really hard in the field of neurotoxicology for the past couple of years, and has tried her best to be an active member of the scientific field and society. However, due to financial limitations attending the relevant meetings can be challenging sometimes. Receiving this award has provided motivation to work harder as a researcher and also has provided her with the opportunity to attend the SOT Annual Meeting. Presenting her research in the meeting and interacting with other great researchers will give her an exceptional opportunity to learn the progressive science in the field and also inspire her to come up with great ideas and projects that might be of significance in the field. She has been working on neurodegenerative disease with a focus on Parkinson's disease. Investigating the role of gene environment interactions in the progression of the disease is where her true interest lies. Additionally, detecting the genetic and protein profile of the distinct dopaminergic neuronal populations susceptible to toxicant-induced neruodegeneration is the focus of her current research for which she has received the award. Her long term goal is to become a successful independent researcher, making significant contributions to the field of neurotoxicology and neurodegenerative diseases. Also she would like to be a great teacher to the student who are passionate about science and the beauty it has to offer.

Toshio Narahashi Neurotoxicology Fellowship Award Fund

Winner: Shelbie Burchfield

Award Year: 2017
Current Degrees: BS
Institution/Affiliation: Northeast Ohio Medical University

Ms. Burchfield was very excited and grateful when she found out that she had received this award. The award greatly helped her to pay for travel to and from the Society of Toxicology meeting, where she had the opportunity to present her data, learn about current progress in the field, and network with great scientists. She is currently working on research that is looking at the role of neuroinflammation in neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's disease. The research she did for this award involves the investigation of a bile acid receptor most commonly found in the liver and intestine as a potential therapeutic target for inflammation in the brain. It is her hope to continue investigating the role of inflammation in neurodegenerative disease and finding other potential therapeutic targets for neuroinflammation.

Toshio Narahashi Neurotoxicology Fellowship Award Fund

Winner: Pallavi Pilaka

Award Year: 2017
Current Degrees: Undergraduate
Institution/Affiliation: Virginia Commonwealth University

When Ms. Pilaka received the Toshio Narahashi Award she was honored and excited. This award will help her pursue her research interests by allowing her to cover the costs of travel to the 2017 SOT Annual Meeting. It is a particularly important opportunity, given her upcoming transition from undergraduate to graduate studies. This meeting will allow her to interface with faculty and students from laboratories that she is considering for graduate studies. The exposure and networking opportunities that this meeting affords are critical to an informed decision this spring. Attending SOT 2017 and interfacing with the Neurotoxicology Specialty Section will also give her a greater appreciation of the field, ongoing research and career opportunities available beyond her training. Secondhand smoke exposure during the juvenile developmental period continues to be a problem in the United States. Previous studies have shown that secondhand smoke exposure increases mitochondrial densities in the brain. Behavioral studies have revealed deficits in attention and impulsivity in juvenile animals exposed to secondhand smoke. The goal of my research project is to understand the causal relationship between mitochondrial densities caused by secondhand smoke exposure and behavioral problems in attention and impulsivity. Her future goals are to attend a graduate program to further understand the brain and the pathways involved in different neurological and toxicological disorders.

Toshio Narahashi Neurotoxicology Fellowship Award Fund

Winner: Jasmine Brown

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: BS
Institution/Affiliation: US Environmental Protection Agency

Thousands of environmental compounds have not been characterized for their potential to cause developmental neurotoxicity (DNT). Due to the need for DNT hazard identification, efforts to develop alternative screening assays is a high priority. In an effort to address this issue, Ms. Brown's research focuses on developing a high-throughput in vitro method for screening compounds for DNT potential. This research evaluates the use of primary cortical neural cultures on microelectrode arrays (MEAs) to screen compounds for DNT hazard. The MEA platform utilizes an electrophysiological approach to identifying compounds as having the potential to cause DNT by measuring the changes in neural function of treated primary cortical cultures. Specifically, my poster discusses further evaluation of a set of known DNT compounds as well as compounds that show no evidence of DNT in vivo using the MEA platform discussed earlier. Near future goals include analyzing this content rich data to provide us with more information on how “hits” would be determined in this assay. Eventually, their hope is to implement this method as an initial screen allowing for prioritization of these compounds for further testing, and providing support for regulatory decision making.

Toshio Narahashi Neurotoxicology Fellowship Award Fund

Winner: Miles Bryan

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: BS Marine Biology
Institution/Affiliation: Vanderbilt University

Mr. Bryan's research is focused on understanding how disruptions in manganese homeostasis may contribute to Huntington's Disease (HD) pathology. In particular, he is interested in how Mn deficiency might disrupt critical cell signaling pathways which give rise to HD symptoms and phenotypes. The work presented this year at SOT is focused on how PI3K and autophagy might regulate Mn homeostasis and also how Mn uptake might be able to stimulate and rescue autophagy pathways which are defective in HD.

Toshio Narahashi Neurotoxicology Fellowship Award Fund

Winner: Briana De Miranda

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: University of Pittsburgh

Dr. De Miranda's research is focused on using gene therapy to mitigate the death of dopamine neurons, and the underlying pathology of Parkinson’s disease. Using the pesticide rotenone, a mitochondrial toxin, she and her colleagues can recapitulate several of the features of human Parkinson’s disease, including the loss of dopamine producing neurons. This study focuses on injecting a lentivirus (containing the human protein DJ-1) into the rodent brain that is targeted for astrocytes, the most abundant cell type in the central nervous system. They have found that astrocyte-specific expression of human DJ-1 protein is protective against the neurotoxicity of rotenone. This study has shown that targeting non-neuronal cells is a possible mechanism for successful mitigation of the underlying pathology of Parkinson’s disease. The next phase of this project will begin to look at the mechanisms behind astrocyte-specific DJ-1 protection of dopamine neurons in the rotenone model of Parkinson's disease.

Toshio Narahashi Neurotoxicology Fellowship Award Fund

Winner: Marshall Edwards

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: BS Microbiology
Institution/Affiliation: The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio

The focus of Mr. Edward's research involves investigating the role of serotonin and how it modulates social behavior. The lab he currently work in measures preference for social interaction in mouse models. His work that won the NTSS Toshio Narahashi Neurotoxicology Fellowship Award, he and colleagues decided to characterize the cytokine profile (immune response), following injection with acetaminophen, in mice shown to exhibit an autistic-like phenotype. These mice were then allowed to mature to postnatal day 80 in which their behavior was observed and measured. They aimed at investigating the effect such a challenge would elicit in these mice in regards to their social behavior. After he graduates with his MS in Immunology & Infection, he plans on entering a PhD program to further my education.

Toshio Narahashi Neurotoxicology Fellowship Award Fund

Winner: Shivani Ghaisas

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: BS, MS
Institution/Affiliation: Iowa State University

Broadly, Ms. Ghaisas's focus on comprehending the impact of environmental toxins on the enteric nervous system and its downstream effects on the central nervous system (CNS) via the gut-brain axis. In conjunction with this project, she is also assessing the effect of metal toxicity on the gut physiology and gut-brain axis. Another project deals with the development of a nano-vaccine platform to effectively deliver drugs protecting the CNS from traumatic brain injury induced neuro-inflammation and neuro-degeneration.

Toshio Narahashi Neurotoxicology Fellowship Award Fund

Winner: Kimberly Keil

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: University of California Davis

Neurodevelopmental disorders affect 1 in 10 children in the US and rates are increasing. Environmental factors are implicated in these disorders and are thought to interact with genetic susceptibilities. However, mechanisms by which environmental chemicals interact with genetic factors to confer individual risk remain a current knowledge gap in our understanding of these diseases. Epigenetic changes, which are modifications to DNA that alter gene expression without altering the DNA sequence, are one mechanism by which genes and environment may interact to influence individual neurodevelopmental disease risk; however, there is a paucity of experimental data in direct support of this mechanism. The goal of Dr. Keil's current research is to address this gap, yielding novel mechanistic data regarding not only the developmental neurotoxicity of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which are a current risk to the developing human brain, but also the role of the epigenome, specifically DNA methylation, in gene-environment interactions that confer risk for adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes. Collectively, her results presented at the 2016 SOT meeting suggest that enzymes responsible for DNA methylation regulate basal dendritic growth in vitro and that their expression can be modified by PCB 95. These observations suggest DNA methyltransferase enzymes as a target of PCB developmental neurotoxicity that may represent a convergence point for gene-environment interactions that influence the risk and/or severity of neurodevelopmental disorders. This information is urgently needed to inform rational strategies for minimizing neurodevelopmental risk by mitigating relevant exposures and for identifying novel therapeutic targets and is an area she intends to pursue in her career goal of becoming a tenure track faculty member.

Toshio Narahashi Neurotoxicology Fellowship Award Fund

Winner: Dana Lauterstein

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: MS, PhD Candidate
Institution/Affiliation: New York University

The use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) during early life stages may pose a significant risk to the developing central nervous system, and Ms. Lauterstein's work seeks examine potential adverse outcomes associated with exposure to these products throughout gestation and lactation. Furthermore, this work addresses the emerging need for studies examining early life exposure to environmental toxicants and later adult disease. She has received this award for a portion of her doctoral work that is being presented this year at the SOT Annual Meeting. Her project involved exposing pregnant mice to aerosols produced from e-cigarettes with and without nicotine via whole body inhalation. The mice were exposed throughout gestation, and after birth both mothers and offspring were exposed to e-cigarette aerosols together throughout the lactational period. Following lactational exposure a subset of male and female offspring were sacrificed (~1-month-old at time of sacrifice) and RNA Sequencing was preformed on frontal cortex samples to examine global genomic changes. Subsequently, pathway analyses enabled the prediction of downstream biological outcomes associated with the observed changes in levels of gene expression. Results from this study demonstrated that e-cigarettes, both with and without nicotine, induced sex-dependent gene expression changes associated with predicted adverse neurobiological and neurobehavioral outcomes similar to those associated with early life exposure to the smoke from conventional cigarettes. Another subset of mice was used for behavioral testing in adulthood (done in collaboration with Dr. Cory-Slechta at the University of Rochester). Her wish is to contribute much-needed research for the toxicological assessment of alternative tobacco products (ATPs). Many ATPs, including e-cigarettes, are being used widely in the U.S. and around the world today. Many, if not all of them pose sizeable health risks, but are not adequately studied and/or regulated and thus are perceived to have reduced harm when compared to conventional cigarettes. After she receives her doctoral degree she would like to have a career in risk assessment for a regulatory agency where her work will directly influence public health policy decisions. She also wishes to play a role in communicating scientific findings with the general public to further their knowledge of potential toxicological dangers in their environment.

Toshio Narahashi Neurotoxicology Fellowship Award Fund

Winner: Katriana Popichak

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: BS
Institution/Affiliation: Colorado State University

Ms. Poichak is a PhD candidate in the Cell and Molecular Biology Program at Colorado State University in Dr. Ronald Tjalkens' laboratory. Together they research neurodegenerative disease, such as Parkinson's disease and manganism. Her research involves the identification of what causes these diseases and how we can halt their progression. I hope to determine what environmental factors and exposures, as well as genetics and cellular pathways, are involved in the death of neurons. The research for which she was awarded is to identify the cellular mechanism that a novel anti-inflammatory drug is able to inhibit cellular injury and death in a Parkinson's disease model in astrocytes, brain cells needed to support neurons. She hopes to be a professor at the university level so that she may encourage and inspire young researchers to achieve greatness.

Toshio Narahashi Neurotoxicology Fellowship Award Fund

Winner: Marissa Sobolewski

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: University of Rochester

Recent research has shown that developmental exposure to low-dose endocrine disrupting chemical (EDC) mixtures can produce enhanced male reproductive disease, yet, little is known about the extension of such cumulative effects to the central nervous system (CNS). As a key target of EDCs, multiple hits, even small ones, along a hormonal cascade may overwhelm the neuroendocrine system’s ability to compensate, altering pathways that converge downstream on a single disease phenotype. To address this possibility, Dr. Sobolewski's research aims to understand how exposure to relatively low doses of four EDCs, all with different modes of action, but common downstream consequences on mesocorticolimbic (MESO) neurotransmitter function and behavior: Atrazine, Perfluorooctanoic acid, Bisphenol-A, 2,3,7,8- tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin and their mixture (MIX), can disrupt neurobehavioral development. Preliminary data revealed male-specific enhanced responses to MIX, including increased postnatal testosterone (T), life-long endocrine and neurotransmitter deficits, reproductive malformations and adult behavioral deficits. The male-specific, enhanced behavioral deficits occurred across behavioral domains mediated by MESO function, including reduced attention/memory, increased risk-taking, implusitivity, and reduced sociality. In contrast, no enhanced MIX effects were observed in females, despite single EDCs producing deficits. Altered attention, impulsivity, decreased sociality, increased developmental testosterone with concomitant reproductive alterations have all been associated with the etiology of male-biased neurobehavioral diseases, such as ADHD and autism spectrum disorders. Given that humans are chronically exposed to mixtures and the highly sex-specific nature of our findings, the proposed studies provide an ideal platform to study the role of EDC mixtures in the etiopathology of behavioral disorders with sex-biased prevalence rates. Her future goals are to continue this research to unveil the complicated systems-level changes that occur with early disruption of endocrine signaling during development.

Toxicologists of African Origin Endowment Fund

Winner: Salmon Adebayo

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: Tshwane University of Technology

The use of herbal remedies for therapeutic purpose is widely considered to be safe due to its long history of use and anecdotal claim of efficacy. However, some plant species are known to synthesize poisonous chemical that are capable of adversely impacting on the health of consumers. Unfortunately, thorough evaluation of herbal products for safety is rare and manufacturers are not mandated to proof the safety of their products before making them available to the public. Dr. Adebayo's research is focused on the evaluation of herbal products for safe use, and the potential impact on the health and well being of consumers. In addition, assessments of possible interaction occurring as a result of concurrent use of herbal products and conventional drugs is of great interest to him. According to the WHO, more than 80% of the people in developing countries rely on traditional medicare systems for their primary health care needs. Therefore, assessments of herbal remedies for safety is vital for the protection of public health and possibly the quality of life of consumers. The TAO award is a testament to the interests of the award committee in the promotion of the quality of life of users of herbal products in developing countries.

Toxicologists of African Origin Endowment Fund

Winner: Motunrayo Akande

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: DVM, MVM, PhD
Institution/Affiliation: University of Abuja

Dr. Akande lectures and conducts research in Veterinary Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Abuja in Nigeria. Her research focus is the alleviation of cases of poisoning caused by pesticides and heavy metals through the use of functional amino acids that have antioxidant and bioprotective effects. Her future goals are to develop additional antidotes for the abrogation of pesticides and heavy metals toxicities in biological systems. She also intends to mentor students and professional colleagues in Veterinary Toxicology. The specific research for which she won this award entailed the attenuation of neuromuscular dysfunction by taurine (a semi essential functional amino acid)in male Wistar rats exposed to chronic chlorpyrifos (an organophosphate insecticide) toxicity.The results of the research indicated that chlorpyrifos might have induced deficits in neuromuscular coordination through oxidative stress and inhibition of acetylcholinesterase. It was deduced that taurine might be beneficial for the protection of animals against the toxic effects of chlorpyrifos through its antioxidative and acetylcholinesterase restorative properties.

Toxicologists of African Origin Endowment Fund

Winner: Ashley Jordan

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: BS Chemistry
Institution/Affiliation: New York University Sackler Institute

Ms. Jordan's lab (Dr. Max Costa) focuses mainly on the toxic and carcinogenic effects of various metals. Her thesis work as been specifically focused on the carcinogenic effects of nickel. Her ultimate goal is to conduct relevant and meaningful research that will advance the field of environmental toxicology. It is imperative to the health of humans and animals alike that we understand the effects and mechanisms of action of environmental toxins that we are exposed to. With regard to the work she is presenting this year, her lab found that a particular gene, SATB2 may play a key role in metal (specifically nickel) induced carcinogenesis. Understanding the induction of the SATB2 gene could potentially lead to new diagnostic tests and treatments for those living with the effects of metal induced toxicity and/or cancer.

Toxicologists of African Origin Endowment Fund

Winner: Olalekan Ogunsakin

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: MD, MPH, PhD
Institution/Affiliation: Tulane University

In the last couple of years, Dr. Ogunsakin has had the opportunity and rare privilege of learning from and working closely with my Research Advisor and Principal Investigator, Dr. Michael McCaskill. Thier research is focused on understanding the mechanisms by which excessive alcohol affect vitamin D metabolism and the subsequent effects (chronic and acute) on anti-microbial peptides in human lung. Specifically, in the award-winning abstract, his poster will show our research findings that chronic over-consumption of alcohol reduces the levels of anti-microbial peptides in different human samples and tissues (BALF, monocytes and alveolar epithelial cells. This reduction has a potential adverse effect on human health as it predisposes vulnerable individuals to severe forms of associated lung infection, especially bacteria pneumonia, which has been widely documented to be highly prevalent and severe among patients diagnosed with Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). His future goal is to pursue a career as a toxicologist in academia or industry and work extensively on projects in the field of toxicology (translational), especially as it relates to human exposure and health.

Toxicologists of African Origin Endowment Fund

Winner: Chiagoziem Otuechere

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: MSc
Institution/Affiliation: Redeemer's University

Mr. Otuechere is working on a remedy for liver diseases by screening potential medicinal plants. He is also elucidating the molecular mechanisms for their protective action. He aims to win grants to further this line of research and also to be an authority/mentor in the field of molecular toxicology. His research, which won this award, for the first time, demonstrated the hepatoprotective effects of a locally consumed vegetable in Nigeria, Pterocarpus mildbraedii on pesticide-induced liver injury.

Toxicologists of African Origin Endowment Fund

Winner: Gbedolo Honesty Tohon

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: MPH, MSC
Institution/Affiliation: University of Montreal

The work described in Mr. Tohon's poster presentation consists in reconstructing the toluene concentrations in residential indoor air concordant with the blood measurements reported by the Canadian Health Measures Survey using reverse dosimetry modeling. The overall aim of his research is to improve the toxicological risk assessment by providing new tools for estimating external exposure to VOCs (alone or combinations)from their biomonitoring data increasingly available in national health surveys. These tools will help us to use human biological data to estimate the relevant environmental concentrations that reflect the real human exposure conditions (e.g.: multiple exposures, differences between exposure levels in human populations). Comparisons can then be made with guidance values which are derived from the traditional toxicological method using animal models and with the qualitative values from epidemiological surveys. A very important aspect taken into account in this work concerns the physiological inter-individual variability that is integrated into his models.

Toxikon, a Preclinical Tox Organization, & Dr. Dharm Singh ASIO Award Fund

Winner: Krishnaprahlad Maremanda

Award Year: 2017
Current Degrees: MS Pharm
Institution/Affiliation: Niper

He feels that receiving this award is really encouraging as it will definitely leave a positive imprint on his mind to further apply and do these kinds of research. He highly appreciates and thanks the team for giving him this opportunity. He looks forward to serving the society when ever and which ever way it is possible in future. His research involves elucidating the mechanism of the germ cell toxicity in rat induced by anti-cancer drugs. Especially involving the role of zinc in counteracting these toxicity. we found that zinc homeostasis is disturbed by anticancer drugs in testes, which might contribute to the toxicity. So in a nut shell zinc supplementation studies deserve further attention in patients undergoing chemotherapy and their levels need to be monitored.

Toxikon, a Preclinical Tox Organization, & Dr. Dharm Singh ASIO Award Fund

Winner: Siva Prasad Bitragunta

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: MSc, PhD
Institution/Affiliation: Birla Institute of Technology and Science Pilani, Hyderabad Campus, India

Applications of nanotechnology led to the intentional and unintentional release of nanomaterials into various compartments of environment. It raised the concerns about environmental health impacts of nanomaterials. In this regard, one of the new dimensions of toxicology in 21st Century inheres in assessing the environmental health impacts of nanomaterials. In this context, outcomes of Dr. Bitragunta's research in the field of nanoecotoxicology assist in codifying the influence of nanomaterial properties on their fate and behavior in environment. The study also paraphrases the importance of invertebrate sentinels in divulging the basis nanoparticle toxicity. In future, he is planning to pursue post-doc research in nanotoxicology and allied areas. After his post-doc, he wants to focus career trajectory into the line of academics or research. He won the award for encompassing the principle of ‘omics’ to unravel biomarkers of TiO2 nanomaterial toxicity in coelomic fluid of invertebrate, earthworm. In conclusion, his research definitely aids in interpreting nanomaterial toxicity thereby designing innovative approaches to environmental monitoring of nanomaterials. Consequently, he is interested in unifying the outcomes of current toxicology research in disseminating the knowledge of environmental nanotoxicology in 21st Century.

Toxikon, a Preclinical Tox Organization, & Dr. Dharm Singh ASIO Award Fund

Winner: Indarchand Gupta

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: MSc
Institution/Affiliation: Institute of Science

Now a days Silver nanoparticles are getting more attention in nanotechnology. Through several methods they are being synthesized and are used for many applications. Our lab has expertise in synthesizing silver nanoparticles by using fungi. This technique is called as Mycosynthesis of silver nanoparticles. This method of synthesis is preferred over other methods of synthesis such as Chemical and Physical methods.It is because this method is biocompatible and does not uses any toxic material for the synthesis. Such mycosynthesised silver nanoparticles are finding many applications. But the possible harm/toxicity associated with their overuse has been less studied. Therefore, Mr. Gupta's aim is to study the toxicity of these mycosynthesised silver nanoparticles on animal cell lines and soil beneficial bacterium. The award winning paper describes the toxicity of mycosynthesised silver nanoparticles to Pseudomonas putida which is the bacteria beneficial for soil environment. After analysing the obtained data through this study we concluded that if such nanoparticles get accumulated in the soil, it will disturb the soil ecosystem and therefore their use should be controlled.

Undergraduate Educator Award

Winner: Mindy Reynolds

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: Washington College

Dr. Reynolds has demonstrated dedication and a commitment to undergraduate education in toxicology. When she arrived at Washington College in 2008 there were no toxicology courses offered and no toxicological research was being conducted. Within her first year she had strived to develop a course in the Principles of Toxicology and by spring of 2009 she had begun to teach this course to undergraduate students. This course has been offered every spring since then. Dr. Reynolds also makes it a priority to oversee the independent research of undergraduate students each summer in an intensive 11 week research program. In addition to her teaching of toxicology to undergraduate students, Dr. Reynolds demonstrates a passionate commitment to the teaching of toxicology to undergraduates. She has given numerous presentations to undergraduate educators and pedagogy on the integration of toxicology into an undergraduate curriculum. She is very active within the metals toxicology and includes cytotoxic and genotoxic effects of multiple heavy metal exposure in human cells, but has expanded her research to include whole animal ecotoxicology in both vertebrate and invertebrate models. She actively involves students in this research and has mentored over 18 students on their senior thesis projects, several of which have dealt directly with her research. Dr. Reynolds has been a member of the Society of Toxicology since 2004. Since that time she has been very active working towards her longtime mission of advancing the science of toxicology to undergrads. She currently serves as Chair of the SOT Education Subcommittee on Undergraduate Education and has served as a member of this committee since its inception, in 2009. In 2010 she led the Undergraduate Subcommittee Workgroup to develop an online resource for undergraduate instructors. Under her leadership the subcommittee has developed multiple programs for faculty including a webinar series. Dr. Reynolds was a featured speaker at the 2011 SOT Education Summit to provide perspective on undergraduate teaching to help develop SOT strategic efforts. Such is her commitment to her undergraduates that many students in her laboratory present their research annually at the SOT Annual Meeting and receipt awards such as the Pfizer/SOT Undergraduate Travel Award. The Society is pleased to present Dr. Reynolds with the 2015 Undergraduate Educator Award.

Undergraduate Educator Award

Winner: William Atchison

Award Year: 2014
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: Michigan State University

William D. Atchison, PhD, is awarded the SOT 2014 Undergraduate Educator Award. Dr. Atchison received his PhD in Pharmacology from the University of Wisconsin, School of Pharmacy. Currently he serves as Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University. There he received the MSU Distinguished Faculty Award, which is among the highest honors bestowed upon faculty members. Dr. Atchison’s research has resulted in over 95 articles in peer-reviewed literature and 14 book chapters. During his tenure, he has trained 17 PhD students, 6 graduate students and more than 100 undergraduate students. Dr. Atchison’s passion is to provide opportunities for undergraduate education in the biomedical sciences coupled with research experiences aimed at under-represented minority students. In collaboration with the University of Puerto Rico, he developed and established an NIH, NINDS-funded R25-Diversity Education grant that provides research experiences for Hispanic undergraduates, since 2005. Dr. Atchison makes annual visits to campuses of the University of Puerto Rico to recruit/interview students for the program. Many of these students have gone on to participate in SOT’s Annual Meeting by presenting their research. To date, 40 undergraduate students have received training through this program. Similarly, Dr. Atchison has received funding from Michigan State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine to initiate a smaller program for preveterinary students. Dr. Atchison has been very active member of SOT. He has served on the SOT Program Committee and as Secretary/Treasurer and then President of the Neurotoxicology Specialty Section. He is a recipient of the SOT Astra Zeneca Travelling Lectureship and at the SOT Annual Meeting, Dr. Atchison contributes yearly to the Undergraduate Education Program that serves under-represented minority students.

Undergraduate Educator Award

Winner: Sidhartha Ray

Award Year: 2013
Current Degrees: PhD, FACN
Institution/Affiliation: Manchester University College of Pharmacy

Sidhartha D. Ray, PhD, FACN, is awarded the 2013 SOT Undergraduate Educator Award. Dr. Ray is professor and chair, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Manchester University College of Pharmacy, Fort Wayne, Indiana since May 2011. Dr. Ray chairs programs of education, research and service in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences and is a member of the Dean’s Management Council. Prior to joining Manchester University, Dr. Ray served as professor of toxicology at the Arnold and Marie Schwartz College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences of Long Island University, New York, where he taught several courses in toxicology, medical microbiology and immunology for nearly two decades. In his 28 years of academic experience in pharmacy teaching and research, he has trained numerous undergraduate and graduate students in toxicology. Dr. Ray is both a dedicated teacher and a formidable scientist who passionately teaches his students how to be “lifelong learners”! He currently teaches several undergraduate core courses in biomedical sciences, toxicology, and integrated pharmacotherapeutics. Over the last decade, Dr. Ray has contributed greatly to our knowledge on the apoptosis in the toxicity of acetaminophen as well as a stunning variety of drugs and chemicals. His research has influenced the development of safety measures for a number of drugs and chemicals. He is nationally recognized as a leader in the scientific community and was the first to organize continuing education courses on the role of apoptosis in health and disease at the Annual Meeting of the Society of Toxicology in 1996 in Los Angeles, California, and again in 2002 in Nashville, Tennessee. Based upon his seminal work over the past two decades focused on understanding fundamental mechanisms of how cells die (apoptosis) at the cellular, subcellular and genomic levels, Dr. Ray received several prestigious awards. These include the Abraham Krasnoff Memorial Award for Lifetime Scholarly Achievement, the David Newton Award for Excellence in Teaching Pharmacy, and the American Academy of Clinical Toxicology Research Award. He is internationally known for his ground-breaking work on drug and chemical-induced programmed cell death in the liver and kidneys in vivo and its prevention strategies by various phytochemicals. He currently serves on the NIH–NLM–Toxlearn Project and SOT Undergraduate Task Force Subcommittee (both, 2007–present), and has previously served on the SOT Education Committee (2007–2010). The Society is pleased to present Dr. Ray with the 2013 SOT Undergraduate Educator award.

Undergraduate Educator Award

Winner: Sue Ford

Award Year: 2012
Current Degrees: PhD, DABT
Institution/Affiliation: St John's University

Sue M. Ford, PhD, DABT, Associate Professor, Toxicology, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions, St. John’s University, Jamaica, New York, is the recipient of the 2012 SOT Endowment Fund Undergraduate Educator Award. After completing her postdoctoral training in 1987, Dr. Ford joined the faculty of the College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professionals at St. John’s University, where she set out to establish a new undergraduate curriculum in toxicology. Her efforts and effectiveness have been recognized on numerous occasions by her institution; in 2005 Dr. Ford received the St. John’s Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and in 2007 she was awarded a fellowship that allowed her to develop methods or incorporate new technologies in the classroom to enhance undergraduate instruction. She has continued this trend of teaching excellence through to the present. Her enthusiasm for her students is exemplified in her serving as faculty advisor to the St. John’s University Undergraduate Toxicology Club T, and in her chairing the Educational Policy Committee for the undergraduate toxicology program. Dr. Ford’s accomplishments in undergraduate toxicology teaching reach beyond the boundaries of her university and include a highly active record of contributing to the undergraduate education initiative within the Society of Toxicology. She has greatly encouraged her students to participate at the national level as well, from traveling to and participating in the K–12 programs at the Annual Meetings to competing for summer internships through SOT. Therefore, SOT has drawn great benefit from Dr. Ford’s years of commitment to undergraduate toxicology education as she has generously, and enthusiastically, contributed to undergraduate education workshops held by SOT and served on an instrumental SOT Focus Group on Undergraduate Education. Her continued leadership in this area is demonstrated by the abstract entitled “Introduction of Undergraduate Students to Toxicology Related Issues Through Journaling,” which she presented at the 50th Annual Meeting of SOT in 2011. For her unwavering and steadfast commitment to undergraduate education, the Society of Toxicology is pleased to recognize Dr. Sue M. Ford with the 2012 SOT Endowment Fund Undergraduate Educator Award.

Vera W. Hudson and Elizabeth K. Weisburger Scholarship Fund

Winner: Katelyn Lavrich

Award Year: 2017
Current Degrees: BS
Institution/Affiliation: University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

She is extremely grateful for this generous award. This award will allow jer to travel to the 2017 SOT Annual Meeting, where she hopes to discuss her research with other scientists from around the world and brainstorm new insights. She also hopes to network with fellow toxicologists to foster new collaborations and explore career opportunities for the next step. She is currently researching how air pollution causes human health effects. While the diseases associated with air pollution exposure have been well-described, the mechanisms that initiate adverse health effects have not been characterized. One frequently cited mechanism involved in the development of adverse health effects after air pollution exposure is oxidative stress, or the imbalance of harmful oxidants and antioxidants. Mitochondria are potent sources of oxidants in the cell. She is investigating how air pollution components increase oxidants in the cell through inhibiting mitochondria. For this award, she optimized new techniques to measure mitochondrial function in primary macrophages collected from human subjects via two different techniques. Using these techniques, she showed that macrophages from different physical locations within human airways respond differently to an air pollution component. Ultimately, we hope to use this information to better understand and prevent air pollution health effects. Her long term goals are to improve human health by better understanding how different pollutants cause toxic effects and translate that research into effective policy.

Vera W. Hudson and Elizabeth K. Weisburger Scholarship Fund

Winner: Kristal Rychlik

Award Year: 2017
Current Degrees: BS
Institution/Affiliation: Texas A&M University

She was happily surprised when she opened the email stating that she had received the award. In past years, when she has seen the scholarship awardees’ credentials, she always thought that those women seemed so accomplished. Is that her now? She is honored to be awarded the Vera W. Hudson and Elizabeth K. Weisburger Scholarship Fund Student Award. It validates the work that she has done in the past and motivates her to continue to give the same level of commitment to her research, mentoring, and leadership roles as she finishes up her PhD work this year. Being awarded this scholarship puts her mind at ease and allows her to focus on her research goals and not worry about the financial burdens that graduate school can place on a family. Her dissertation research has been dedicated to better understanding the interaction between environmental exposures during pregnancy, genetic differences, and asthma development in children. She has been investigating these interactions in a mouse model of exposure to particulate air pollution during pregnancy and allergic airway disease induction during early life. Specifically, the work included in her abstract for SOT involves two strains of mice, C57Bl/6 and BALB/c, time-mated and exposed throughout pregnancy to a representative mixture of air pollutants similar in makeup to measured pollutant levels in Beijing, China. Following birth, the pups were chronically exposed to house dust mite allergen to induce an asthma-like state. After four weeks of exposure, the mice were sacrificed and multiple assessments were performed to evaluate airway hyperresponsiveness, inflammation, and remodeling. Interestingly, preliminary findings indicate an immunosuppressive effect of exposure to pollutants during pregnancy. This may reveal a window of susceptibility to respiratory infection following exposure to relevant levels of air pollutants during pregnancy. Importantly, pregnant mice were exposed to 101.94 µg/m3 of PM2.5 (particulate matter 2.5 µm in diameter or less) for 6 hours per day during pregnancy which averages over 24 hours to a level of 25.49 µg/m3 PM2.5. This level is lower than the current NAAQS standard of 35 µg/m3 over a 24 hour period. Since the exposure levels are so low, this work outlines the need for more research into susceptible populations, such as pregnant women and young children, when assessing inhaled pollutants and determining safe standard levels. Future work in her current lab includes assessing these samples for epigenetic alterations in multiple tissue types and moving on to characterize methylation patterns in cord blood samples from a small cohort of pregnant women in Nanjing, China. Her future career goals include finding a postdoctoral position in a lab involved with prenatal exposure assessment and childhood health outcomes. She hopes to add to her expertise in animal models and biomarker assessments by learning more about statistical modelling methods in larger data sets during my postdoctoral training.

Vera W. Hudson and Elizabeth K. Weisburger Scholarship Fund

Winner: Lisa Weatherly

Award Year: 2017
Current Degrees: BA
Institution/Affiliation: University of Maine

She was very excited and honored to receive this award. This award will enable her to attend the SOT Annual Meeting where she will participate in many networking activities and forums for learning about postdoctoral job opportunities. Triclosan (TCS) is an antimicrobial that has recently been banned from soap products following the FDA’s 2016 risk assessment. However, TCS still remains in other consumer products such as toothpaste and surgical soaps. TCS is readily absorbed into human skin and oral mucosa and has been found in various human tissues and fluids. Mast cells are ubiquitous immune effector cells that are involved in allergies and asthma. Mast cells release chemical mediators (such as histamine) through a signaling cascade, termed degranulation, after stimulation. Our previous studies show that TCS inhibits mast cell degranulation. We also show that non-cytotoxic, µM levels of TCS inhibit the cells energy production via disruption of ATP and oxygen consumption rate in multiple cell types. These results indicate that TCS is a mitochondrial uncoupler. Known mitochondrial uncouplers have been shown to disrupt mitochondrial morphology. Using fluorescence photoactivation localization microscopy (FPALM) with the outer mitochondrial membrane marker Dendra2-TOM20, we show that TCS disrupts mitochondrial ultrastructure. TCS decreases mitochondrial perimeter, major axis, and elongation: evidence that TCS causes mitochondrial fission. TCS can also cause mitochondria to undergo a recently described morphology termed toroid or “donut” morphology. Also, TCS increases reactive oxygen species production and inhibits calcium signaling, processes which have been linked to fission. In antigen-stimulated RBL-2H3 mast cells, TCS inhibits mitochondrial translocation, which is critical for degranulation. Our findings provide a mechanism for TCS disruption of both mast cell degranulation and universal dysfunction of mitochondria.

Vera W. Hudson and Elizabeth K. Weisburger Scholarship Fund

Winner: Logeswari Ponnusamy

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: DVM, MVSc
Institution/Affiliation: The Institute of Environmental and Human Health, Texas Tech University

Ms. Ponnusamy's current doctoral research focus on the role of epigenetic mechanisms in oxidant/pro-oxidants induced oxidative stress mediated resistance to chemotherapeutic drugs in cancer cells. Chemotherapy is the only treatment of choice for advanced-stage cancer while resistance to chemotherapy accounts 90% of treatment-failure that remains major hurdle for clinical management. Mounting evidences strongly associates the role of environmental-toxicants and oxidative stress in both cancer development and chemotherapeutic resistance. Thus the interaction between gene-environment (epigenetic regulation) is crucial event in chemotherapeutic response. As limited knowledge exists on epigenetic regulation of acquired chemoresistance, fathoming epigenetic mechanisms in relevant resistance cell model resembles the clinical resistance could advance mechanistic basis to understand drug resistance. Bringing together her multifaceted scholarship (DVM and Masters in Veterinary Pharmacology and Toxicology), she wants to become an interdisciplinary cancer researcher incorporating toxicology elements. Specific research for which she has won the award focuses on the role of chronic oxidative stress and associated epigenetic mechanisms in chemoresistance development. Her novel research findings have provided direct evidence for role of chronic oxidative stress in acquired resistance for doxorubicin in renal carcinoma cells, and for the first time revealed that oxidative stress induced acquired resistance is mechanistically mediated by DNA hypermethylation mediated silencing of mismatch repair (MMR) gene MSH2 and loss of MMR-dependent apoptosis. These findings are highly significant clinically, as they may open a new avenue for application of epigenetic and/or anti-oxidant therapy in renal cell carcinoma patients.

Vera W. Hudson and Elizabeth K. Weisburger Scholarship Fund

Winner: Kyla Walter

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: BA
Institution/Affiliation: University of California Davis

Ms. Walter's research focuses on developing a better understanding of the impacts of exposure to thyroid hormone disrupting compounds. Thyroid hormones (THs) are known to be important for multiple cellular processes from development through adulthood and play an especially critical role in fetal neurodevelopment. There are a number of environmental contaminants that are known to disrupt TH-mediate signaling, thus they are suspected to cause developmental neurotoxicity. However the identification of mechanisms linking TH disruption to adverse impacts on neurodevelopment have been limited by major gaps in the understanding of how THs influence specific neurodevelopmental processes and the identification of endpoints that are sensitive to TH. Her project aims to develop a better understanding of how THs contribute to neurodevelopment, using larval zebrafish as a model, and to identify endpoints that are sensitive to TH disruption. By establishing TH-sensitive neurodevelopmental endpoints in larval zebrafish, her research project will facilitate the future development of mechanism based in vivo screening tools to identify TH disrupting chemicals that cause developmental neurotoxicity and pose a risk to human, animal, and environmental health.

Vera W. Hudson and Elizabeth K. Weisburger Scholarship Fund

Winner: Andree-Anne Hudon Thibeault

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: BSc
Institution/Affiliation: INRS-Armand-Frappier institute

Andree-Anne Hudon Thibeault is a graduate student at INRS-Armand-Frappier institute and she received the Vera W. Hudson and Elizabeth K. Weisburger Scholarship Fund Student Award for her work entitled, "A feto-placental co-culture model shows the complex disruptive effect of antidepressant fluoxetine and metabolite norfluoxetine on estrogen biosynthesis." In her PhD project, she worked on pregnant women health to look at the effects of depression and anti-depressant treatments on the placental functions, which are crucial for good fetal development and pregnancy outcome. The health of women during pregnancy is especially important because of the developing fetus that can be influenced by either a pathology and/or its treatment. This project will allow to better understand the effects of depression and anti-depressant treatment on this interaction and thus, the effect on pregnant women and their offspring’s health. This study is important for the decision making process in the treatment of depressed women with anti-depressant during pregnancy. As a PhD student and future researcher, she hopes to play a role in the communication of science and information to women on their health, on the impact of the environment, including medication, during a part of their life where they are especially vulnerable and where those expositions might have an influence on future generations. She also wishes to be a part in the formation of the young scientific, mentoring students in their academic progress. Eventually, she would like to play a role in the government policy-making process that will influence the life of our societies.

Vera W. Hudson and Elizabeth K. Weisburger Scholarship Fund

Winner: Jessica Sapiro

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: BS, MS
Institution/Affiliation: University of Arizona

Jessica Sapiro is a graduate student at the University of Arizona and received the Vera W. Hudson and Elizabeth K. Weisburger Scholarship Fund Student award for her work entitled, "Molecular Mechanisms of All Trans Retinoic Acid Mediated Selective Cytoprotection Against Renal Injury." Acute renal injury is increasing in occurrence resulting from various compound exposure to the body and the formation of breakdown products in the body. It can present itself as a co-morbidity with other medical conditions in patients yielding a substantial concern. Her dissertation work explores how a vitamin A metabolite, all-trans-retinoic acid (ATRA), can protect against kidney injury in cell culture and animal models. This work demonstrates that ATRA can induce several cellular stress proteins in its mechanism of protection. Acute kidney injury (AKI) is a common problem affecting critically ill patients but at the present, there is no specific treatment. Patients manage the condition by consuming adequate fluids and electrolytes and obtaining nutrients from the diet. Chemical-induced nephrotoxicity is a major etiology of this condition. In its pathogenesis, reactive oxygen species (ROS) are produced resulting in damage to DNA, proteins, and lipids under stressful conditions. Small molecule preconditioning prior to insult cytoprotects the damage. Thus, the development of a therapeutic agent may prove beneficial in treating patients suffering from AKI. The therapeutic agent we are interested in is a vitamin A metabolite, all-trans-retinoic acid (ATRA).

Vera W. Hudson and Elizabeth K. Weisburger Scholarship Fund

Winner: Mary A. Popovech

Award Year: 2014
Current Degrees: MPH
Institution/Affiliation: New York University School of Medicine

Mary Popovech is a Graduate Student at New York University School of Medicine and received the Vera W. Hudson and Elizabeth K. Weisburger Scholarship Fund for her work entitled “Acute and Subchronic Exposure to Inhaled Silver Nanoparticles Results in Alterations in Gene Expression, Gene-Specific Promoter Methylation, and Mitochondrial Integrity.” Her research focused on the examination of the biological effects of NPs at the molecular level and examined the safety of engineered nanoparticles. She hopes to continue working in the field of toxicology, both in academia and in industryand is committed to examining issues affecting our health and environment. She aspires to follow in the footsteps of Dr. Amdur, by tackling the challenges of advancing science and technology, while safeguarding health and the environment. She hopes to do this through the use of innovative translational research approaches, which have the potential to impact policies and regulations.

Vera W. Hudson and Elizabeth K. Weisburger Scholarship Fund

Winner: Weimin Chen

Award Year: 2013
Current Degrees: PhD candidate
Institution/Affiliation: Michigan State University

Weimin Chen is a PhD candidate at Michigan State University and she received the Vera W. Hudson and Elizabether Weisburger Scholarship Fund Award for her work entitled, “Modulation of HIVgp120-Specific T Cell Responses by Delta9-Tetrahydrocannabinol In Vitro and In Vivo.” Her work focuses on studying the effects of marijuana-derived compounds, known as cannabinoids, on immune responses to HIV viral antigens. 25% HIV patients use marijuana for nausea, pain and wasting syndrome associated with HIV infection; however, the effects of these cannabinoids on immune system and immune function of immunocompromised HIV patients is not well understood. Cannabinoids are known to have immunomodulatory effects. Therefore, she has been working to establish mouse models to induce HIV viral antigen-specific immune responses and to investigate the effects of cannabinoids on the responses. This award will help further her PhD study and research in the toxicology area, which involves modulation of immune responses directed against HIV viral antigens by marijuana-derived compounds. This award will provide financial support for her to attend scientific meetings to present her research, meet other colleagues in the field, and train outside of her lab.

Vera W. Hudson and Elizabeth K. Weisburger Scholarship Fund

Winner: Alice Crane

Award Year: 2012
Current Degrees: BA
Institution/Affiliation: University of Buffalo

Alice L. Crane, of the University of Buffalo, for her abstract entitled, “Effect of CYP2B6 Variants on Chlorpyrifos Metabolism: Implications for Human Risk.” Her work looks at human exposure and susceptibility to chlorpyrifos (CPF), an organophosphorus pesticide. CPF is in widespread use worldwide and mounting evidence is suggestive of neurobehavioral deficits in the chronically exposed. She examined the kinetics of this bioactivation reaction of CPF by common genetic variants of key enzymes involved in the metabolic pathway of CPF. Knowledge of how the genetic variation of these enzymes affect the bioactivation reaction of CPF and provides an understanding of the variability between individuals. Her current interest is in the examination of human susceptibility to environmental toxicants. She believes that there are many gaps in our current understanding of interindividual susceptibility and that this knowledge is needed to allow us to protect the most sensitive populations. She would like to contribute to risk assessment efforts by understanding the genetic basis of differences between individuals and incorporating this knowledge into models of human exposure.

Women in Toxicology SIG Celebrating Women in Toxicology Award

Winner: Alison Sanders

Award Year: 2017
Current Degrees: PhD, MS
Institution/Affiliation: Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

She is honored to receive the 2017 postdoctoral CWIT award. For the last decade, she has dedicated her career to the field of toxicology and to developing the research, teaching and leadership skills that will carry her through her future academic career. SOT's recognition of her efforts through the CWIT award will undoubtedly help her to achieve her overarching career goal of becoming an independent investigator environmental perinatal health, and conducting research that will protect vulnerable populations from toxic insults. Her research focuses on how toxic metal exposure (e.g. lead, mercury, cadmium) during pregnancy alters epigenetic marks and molecular pathways of pediatric and later life hypertension. She has acquired interdisciplinary training ranging from geospatial statistics, computational and molecular biology, and epigenetic epidemiology to in vitro toxicology. During her pre- and postdoctoral training in environmental health, she applied these approaches to the study of birth defects and preterm birth, two leading causes of infant mortality in the US. She has published 16 peer-reviewed manuscripts (10 as first or last author). In a series of recent studies, she analyzed levels of 800 microRNAs in cervical samples collected from 80 pregnant women. She identified several candidate microRNAs and signaling pathways associated with lead exposure and shorter gestations. In parallel, she conducted analyses of 400 children in the same cohort with prenatal lead exposure and blood pressure measured at 4 years of age; she identified a significant positive relationship among children born preterm. It is this work that has inspired her current research, which investigates how prenatal metal exposure mediates childhood hypertension through epigenetic mechanisms, and the unique susceptibility of babies that are born prematurely. The knowledge gained will ultimately lead to a better understanding of epigenetic pathways in chronic disease and new avenues for therapeutic development.

Women in Toxicology SIG Celebrating Women in Toxicology Award

Winner: Jessica Sapiro

Award Year: 2017
Current Degrees: MS
Institution/Affiliation: University of Arizona/Wayne State University

Upon notification, she was quite pleased and honored that my research and leadership was found noteworthy and significant by colleagues in the Women in Toxicology Special Interest Group to be an award recipient. As a young and rising scientist and leader, it is important to see herself advancing in the field. SOT awards are quite competitive so being recognized as a strong researcher and leader to compete against her peers is quite rewarding. Acute renal injury is increasing in occurrence resulting from various compound exposure to the body and the formation of breakdown products in the body. It can present itself as a co-morbidity with other medical conditions in patients yielding a substantial concern. My dissertation work explores how a vitamin A metabolite, all-trans-retinoic acid (ATRA), can protect against kidney injury. This work demonstrates that ATRA can induce several cellular stress proteins in its mechanism of protection. Specifically, the cellular stress kinase, ERK, plays a key role in the protection process. Based on our findings, we hope that ATRA and/or analogs thereof may serve as an effective therapeutic intervention in acute renal injury. Currently, we have established a cell culture model to assess ATRA cytoprotection and have generated mechanistic findings. This award will allow for more extensive mechanistic investigation exploring ERK activation and the continued development of a rodent model to assess ATRA protection. Following graduate school, she wishes to continue exploring the discovery and investigative toxicology space. The development of agents that have therapeutic potential against injuries and diseases is prominent in our goal of creating a safer and healthier world. In addition to kidney toxicity, it would be interesting to explore the development of a therapeutic agent that has clinical application to multiple organs. She also plans to continue in her future endeavors mentoring and training younger scientists to keep our field growing with fresh talent and innovation.

Women in Toxicology SIG Celebrating Women in Toxicology Award

Winner: Priyanka Trivedi

Award Year: 2017
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: Harvard Medical School

She was really excited and pleased when she received this award. She immediately shared the good news with her advisor and also thanked him for all his support and encouragement. This award will provide recognition to her work and complement her research in the field of renal toxicology. She will use this award as a springboard for her career in which she will make important contributions to advancing our understanding of toxicology research. Her research focuses on discovering therapeutic targets for acute and chronic kidney diseases. In order to identify druggable targets, we performed RNA sequencing in mouse model of toxic kidney fibrosis and identified Phospholipase D4 (PLD4), a single pass transmembrane glycoprotein, as one of the highly up-regulated genes. Up-regulation of PLD4 was confirmed in three mechanistically distinct mouse models as well as in patients with biopsy-proven kidney fibrosis. Mechanistically, we show that PLD4 facilitates fibrogenesis by modulating innate and adaptive immune responses thereby promoting a TGF-ß signaling pathway. Moreover, PLD4 induced the expression of a1-antitrypsin protein (a serine protease inhibitor) that resulted in subsequent down-regulation of a protease neutrophil elastase (NE) expression, thereby leading to the accumulation of extracellular matrix proteins. Interestingly, therapeutic targeting of PLD4 using specific siRNA also protected the mice from kidney fibrosis by inhibiting TGF-ß signaling and inducing NE expression. In conclusion, our findings identified PLD4 as a novel therapeutic target for kidney fibrosis - an unmet medical need. Her future goal is to continue contributing to the toxicological science, which can be directly applied clinically to benefit the society.

Women in Toxicology SIG Celebrating Women in Toxicology Award

Winner: Kimberly Keil

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: PhD
Institution/Affiliation: University of California Davis

Neurodevelopmental disorders affect 1 in 10 children in the US and rates are increasing. Environmental factors are implicated in these disorders and are thought to interact with genetic susceptibilities. However, mechanisms by which environmental chemicals interact with genetic factors to confer individual risk remain a current knowledge gap in our understanding of these diseases. Epigenetic changes, which are modifications to DNA that alter gene expression without altering the DNA sequence, are one mechanism by which genes and environment may interact to influence individual neurodevelopmental disease risk; however, there is a paucity of experimental data in direct support of this mechanism. The goal of Dr. Keil's current research is to address this gap, yielding novel mechanistic data regarding not only the developmental neurotoxicity of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which are a current risk to the developing human brain, but also the role of the epigenome, specifically DNA methylation, in gene-environment interactions that confer risk for adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes. Collectively, her results presented at the 2016 SOT meeting suggest that enzymes responsible for DNA methylation regulate basal dendritic growth in vitro and that their expression can be modified by PCB 95. These observations suggest DNA methyltransferase enzymes as a target of PCB developmental neurotoxicity that may represent a convergence point for gene-environment interactions that influence the risk and/or severity of neurodevelopmental disorders. This information is urgently needed to inform rational strategies for minimizing neurodevelopmental risk by mitigating relevant exposures and for identifying novel therapeutic targets and is an area she intends to pursue in her career goal of becoming a tenure track faculty member.

Women in Toxicology SIG Celebrating Women in Toxicology Award

Winner: Dana Lauterstein

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: MS
Institution/Affiliation: New York University

The use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) during early life stages may pose a significant risk to the developing central nervous system, and Ms. Lauterstein's work seeks examine potential adverse outcomes associated with exposure to these products throughout gestation and lactation. Furthermore, this work addresses the emerging need for studies examining early life exposure to environmental toxicants and later adult disease. She has received this award for a portion of her doctoral work that she is presenting this year at SOT. For her project she exposed pregnant mice to aerosols produced from e-cigarettes with and without nicotine via whole body inhalation. The mice were exposed throughout gestation, and after birth both mothers and offspring were exposed to e-cigarette aerosols together throughout the lactational period. Following lactational exposure a subset of male and female offspring were sacrificed (~1-month-old at time of sacrifice) and RNA Sequencing was preformed on frontal cortex samples to examine global genomic changes. Subsequently, pathway analyses enabled the prediction of downstream biological outcomes associated with the observed changes in levels of gene expression. Results from this study demonstrated that e-cigarettes, both with and without nicotine, induced sex-dependent gene expression changes associated with predicted adverse neurobiological and neurobehavioral outcomes similar to those associated with early life exposure to the smoke from conventional cigarettes. Another subset of mice was used for behavioral testing in adulthood (done in collaboration with Dr. Cory-Slechta at the University of Rochester). She wishes to contribute much-needed research for the toxicological assessment of alternative tobacco products (ATPs). Many ATPs, including e-cigarettes, are being used widely in the U.S. and around the world today. Many, if not all of them pose sizeable health risks, but are not adequately studied and/or regulated and thus are perceived to have reduced harm when compared to conventional cigarettes. After she finishes her doctoral degree she would like to have a career in risk assessment for a regulatory agency where her work directly influences public health policy decisions. She also wishes to play a role in communicating scientific findings with the general public to further their knowledge of potential toxicological dangers in their environment.

Women in Toxicology SIG Celebrating Women in Toxicology Award

Winner: Kristin Licko

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: BS
Institution/Affiliation: Water Quality Association

As the Toxicology Manager for the Water Quality Association, Ms. Licko collaborates with other members of the Joint Peer Review Steering Committee (JPRSC) which is comprised of representatives from competing ANSI accredited product certification bodies working together to reconcile and develop safe levels for chemicals found in drinking water treatment products. It is a delicate balance of sharing expenses, directives, and producing defensible criteria – in addition to all of our individual organizational priorities. We have made exceptional progress toward making sure all products are evaluated to the same safe levels, no matter where product certification is sought. In choosing this profession and expanding upon her education, she hopes to work to continue the directive of the JPRSC and improve her skills in order to develop risk assessments for chemicals we are exposed to that have not yet been evaluated.

Women in Toxicology SIG Celebrating Women in Toxicology Award

Winner: Samantha Snow

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: BS, PhD
Institution/Affiliation: US EPA

Dr. Snow's research focuses on investigating the adverse pulmonary, cardiovascular, and metabolic effects associated with exposure to gaseous pollutants in susceptible animal models, and determining the role stress hormones may play in these adverse responses. This current research explores the notion that dietary supplementation with fish oil or olive oil would attenuate ozone-induced metabolic impairments.

Young Soo Choi Student Scholarship Award Fund

Winner: Yoonjeong Jang

Award Year: 2016
Current Degrees: DVM, BS
Institution/Affiliation: Seoul National University

As a research vet, Miss Jang performs not only in vivo experiments for cancer therapy but also in vitro studies for alternative toxicity test. The purpose of her research is to benefit both human and animals. By bringing out the strong point of research vet, she is eager to be a distinguished worldwide toxicologist who contributes to development of our society. She has a dream to become a global scholar and heighten Korean status in the world. She hopes that her achievements will contribute to the enhancement of scientific technology.

Young Soo Choi Student Scholarship Award Fund

Winner: Woo-Cheol Sim

Award Year: 2015
Current Degrees: BS
Institution/Affiliation: Seoul National University

Woo-Cheol Sim is a graduate student at Seoul National University and received the Young Soo Choi Student Scholarship Award for his work entitled, "LXRa antagonist, SPA088 attenuates T0901317-induced nonalcoholic fatty liver." Nonalcoholic fatty liver (NAFLD) is associated with metabolic disease whose occurrence rate is increasing worldwide. NAFLD is reversible state in which the liver can go back to normal state, but it can develop into steatohepatitis (liver with inflammation) and liver cirrhosis (irreversible state). LXR alpha controls cholesterol metabolism and promoting reverse cholesterol transport which is associated with removing bad cholesterol (VLDL). But increasing LXR alpha function can cause lipid accumulation and developing LXR agonist was banned because of this side effect. In his work, SPA088 which acts as specifically inhibit LXR alpha which can cause nonalcoholic fatty liver. Nonalcoholic fatty liver is an increasing health issue wordwide. So far, there is not any direct cure (FDA approved) about fatty liver disease. Liver X receptor (LXR) is associated with many biological functions such as cholesterol metabolism, de novo lipogenesis, glucose homeostasis, inflammation and so on. There was an attempt to develop LXR agonist to facilitate reverse cholesterol transport and attenuate atherosclerosis but this makes nonalcoholic fatty liver in vivo. This unwanted side effect made withdraw LXR agonist development. His research about attenuating fatty liver disease through LXR alpha specific antagonist decreases de novo lipogenesis through LXR and SREBP (which acts as major lipogenes regulator) target genes without affecting reverse cholesterol metabolism.

Young Soo Choi Student Scholarship Award Fund

Winner: Jinyoung Lee

Award Year: 2014
Current Degrees: MPH
Institution/Affiliation: Purdue University

Jinyoung Lee is a Graduate Student at Purdue University and received the Young Soo Choi Student Scholarship Award Fund for her work entitled “Spatial Localization and Altered Quantitative Expression of Genes Associated with Alzheimer’s Disease in Zebrafish Brains During Normal Senescence and with a Developmental Lead Exposure.” Her research identified the association between developmental Pb exposure in early life stages and AD pathogenesis occurring in adulthood, using the zebrafish model as a research tool. Briefly, zebrafish eggs were exposed to aquaria water with or without an environmentally relevant concentration of Pb treatment during early developmental stages, and then reared until adulthood. It revealed the genes expressed throughout the zebrafish brain, and also observed a significant difference in gene expression between zebrafish with and without developmental Pb treatment. She hopes to become a toxicologist to help better policy making on public health matters, and hopes to continue to focus onlong-term impacts of environmental lead exposure as a global health concern and as a major community health issue.

Young Soo Choi Student Scholarship Award Fund

Winner: Narae Lee

Award Year: 2013
Current Degrees: MS, PhD candidate
Institution/Affiliation: Tulane University

Narae Lee is a doctoral candidate of Tulane University, who received the Young Soo Chai Student Scholarship for her work titled, “The Potential Therapeutic Role and Toxicity of Secreted Antiviral Entry Inhibitory (SAVE) Peptides in Transduced MSCs for AIDS.” She has a passion for the biological and toxicological fields of science and wants to pursue her PhD. Thus far, she has published nine publications about adult stem cells and the Wnt/Dkk-1 signal transduction pathway. Her thesis project involves HIV inhibitors, which could have a potential in terms of treating HIV-infected patients. She wants to be a principal investigator and is working hard to achieve this goal.

Young Soo Choi Student Scholarship Award Fund

Winner: Hae-Ryung Park

Award Year: 2012
Current Degrees: Doctoral Program
Institution/Affiliation: University of Michigan

Hae-Ryung Park, of the University of Michigan, for her abstract entitled, “Brominated Diphenyl Ether-47 Enhanced mRNA Expression of Proinflammatory Cytokines and Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthase 2 in Human Placental Cells.” His primary research interest is to identify the ways in which environmental toxicants impact individual sensitivity and susceptibility to preterm birth, defined as delivery before 37 weeks of gestation. Preterm birth is associated with significant infant morbidity and mortality. She wants to provide scientific basis to establish efficient and rational policies for public and environmental health to meet the international standards. In parallel, she plans to keep on conducting my own research as a principal investigator at an academic institution. She is also interested in exploring new areas of research to expand my professional knowledge and research vision. She will make full use of the new knowledge that she acquires to compliment previous training and she will aspire toward the improvement of human health and life.

Young Soo Choi Student Scholarship Award Fund

Winner: Juyoung Shim

Award Year:
Current Degrees: PhD candidate
Institution/Affiliation: University of Maine

She was very excited and honored to receive the award. Jer current project’s goals include utilizing super-resolution imaging with fluorescence photoactivation localization microscopy (FPALM), which has been developed by Dr. Hess laboratory in University of Maine. FPALM is uniquely suited to access both nm-length scales and dynamics in living cells. FPALM will allow her to directly image the structure and dynamics of interactions between key cell signaling proteins on nanometer length scales with time resolution of seconds to milliseconds, such that she can perform very sensitively test where and on what timescale signaling molecule interactions and to quantify the mechanism for effects of toxicants on, not visible in traditional microscopy. This field is fairly new to toxicology and requires intensive training. Young Soo Choi scholarships will be a tremendous help for her to explore this new method and pursue state-of-art technology. Triclosan (TCS) is a synthetic antimicrobial that is used in hospitals, consumer goods, and personal care products, leading to prevalent exposure of humans. Recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey monitoring indicated that 75% of urine samples contained TCS, suggesting that hundreds of millions of U.S. citizens are exposed. Even though FDA recently banned the use of TCS in some of consumer products, ubiquitous exposure of the U.S. population to this chemical calls for an urgent need for information on the mammalian toxicology and pharmacology. Mast cells, found in nearly every human tissue and in numerous species, are critical players in numerous diseases, including allergy, asthma, autoimmunity, infectious disease, cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, autism, and multiple sclerosis. Our lab has reported that mast cell function is strongly surpassed by TCS, thus, we have been investigating the molecular mechanisms underlying TCS’s inhibitory effects on mast cells. Her current project's goals are to interrogate TCS effects on sub-cellular localization and dynamics of key proteins in live mast cells using confocal and super-resolution imaging with fluorescence photoactivation localization microscopy (FPALM) microscope. This research will fill in knowledge gaps of effects of TCS on mammalian signaling and will allow prediction of TCS effects in disparate cell types that share common signal transduction elements.

SOT/AstraZeneca/SOT Endowment Fund/IUTOX Travel Awards

Khaled Abdou, PhD, Beni Suef University, Beni Suef, Egypt
Amos O. Abolaji, PhD, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria
Motunrayo G. Akande, PhD, University of Abuja, Abuja, Nigeria
Huawei Duan, PhD, National Institute of Occupational Health and Poison Control, Beijing, China
Patient Guedenon, PhD, University of Abomey-Calavi, Cotonou, Littoral, Benin
Jin Hongtao, PhD, New Drug Safety Evaluation Center of Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Beijing, China
Carine J. Marks, MSc, Tygerberg Hospital Poison Centre, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa
Davaadorj Rendoo, MD, National Institute for Public Health, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Palanisamy Sankar, PhD, Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, India
Tawit Suriyo, PhD, Chulabhorn Research Institute, Laksi, Bangkok, Thailand