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Postdoctoral Members

Postdoctoral membership in SOT provides early career toxicologists with opportunities for scientific growth, networking, and career advancement. All members of SOT who self-identify as postdoctoral scholars are part of the Postdoctoral Assembly (PDA), which was formed to increase involvement of postdocs in SOT and to address issues related to the postdoctoral experience. The PDA is governed by an elected PDA Executive Board who provide leadership for communications, strategic activities, and events of special interest to postdocs. Postdoctoral members serve leadership roles in the Society by participating as representatives for SOT Regional Chapters, Special Interest Groups, Specialty Sections, and to Committees.

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How SOT Defines a Postdoc

The Society of Toxicology aligns its definition of a postdoctoral researcher closely with the definition set by the National Postdoctoral Association.

Characteristics that define a postdoctoral position include:

  • The postdoctoral appointment is temporary.
  • Effort is focused primarily on research.
  • The development of professional skills prepares the postdoc to actively pursue a career.
  • The postdoc is supervised by at least one senior scholar.
  • The postdoc is allowed and encouraged to publish the results of his or her research or scholarship.
  • The appointment is not part of a clinical training program.
Postdoctoral Assembly Leadership

All SOT Postdoctoral members are part of the Society’s Postdoctoral Assembly (PDA), which is governed by the elected PDA Executive Board. Postdoctoral representatives are appointed to SOT Regional Chapters, Special Interest Groups, Specialty Sections, and some SOT Committees to enhance the involvement of postdoctoral scholars within SOT.

2016–2017 PDA Executive Board

  • Gabriel A. Knudsen, Chair (2016–2017)
  • Samantha Jean Snow, Vice-Chair (2016–2018)
  • Tongde Wu, Secretary (2015–2017)
  • Karilyn E. Sant, Treasurer (2016–2017)
  • Eugene Gibbs-Flournoy, Councilor (2016–2017)
  • Daniel Spade, Councilor (2016–2017)
  • Rosonald R. Bell, Council Contact (2016–2017)
Gabriel A. Knudsen, Chair

Dr. Knudsen is an NCI Research Fellow in the Laboratory of Toxicology and Toxicokinetics in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. He received his PhD in Medical Pharmacology from the University of Arizona in 2011 and his Master of Science in Pharmacology from the University of Michigan in 2005. Currently, his research focuses on the disposition, kinetics, and biological effects of novel brominated flame retardants used in consumer products. Dr. Knudsen has been an SOT member since 2005, served as Graduate Student Representative for the Mountain West Regional Chapter (2009–2011). He is an active member of the North Carolina Regional Chapter as well as Dermal Toxicology and Reproductive and Developmental Toxicology Specialty Sections. Dr. Knudsen is an active mentor and teacher for high school, undergraduate and graduate students and looks forward to continuing his service as the Chair of the Postdoctoral Assembly.


Samantha Jean Snow, Vice-Chair

Dr. Snow received her PhD in Toxicology from UNC-Chapel Hill (2013) and BS in Biology from Delaware State University (2007). She is currently an US EPA Postdoctoral Fellow conducting her research in the laboratory of Dr. Urmila Kodavanti. Her research focuses on investigating the adverse pulmonary, cardiovascular, and metabolic effects associated with exposure to ozone and photochemically-aged pollutants in susceptible animal models of diabetes and diet-induced obesity. Dr. Snow has been an active member of the Society of Toxicology since 2009 and has held several leadership positions including serving as the Postdoctoral Assembly Treasurer (2015), Inhalation and Respiratory Specialty Section postdoctoral representative (2013) and graduate student representative (2012), and as the postdoctoral representative (2013–2014) for North Carolina SOT. Additionally, Dr. Snow is involved with the local Rho Tau chapter of Graduate Women in Science and serves as secretary for their executive committee (2014–2016).


Tongde Wu, Secretary

Dr. Wu, Cys Fibrosis/Marsico Lung Institute, School of Medicine, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Tongde is in her second year of postdoctoral fellowship with Dr. Robert Tarran at UNC Chapel Hill, conducting mechanistic research SPLUNC1 modulated Ca2+ signaling in asthmatic airway hyperresponsiveness. She graduated from The University of Arizona in 2013 with a PhD degree in Pharmacology and Toxicology. In her previous graduate studies, she elucidated the mechanism in which Nrf2 antioxidant response is downregulated under ER stress conditions. This work has been recognized by several SOT special interest groups and specialty sections (Mechanisms SS Carl C. Smith Graduate Student Award First Place, American Association of Chinese in Toxicology SIG Jean Lu Student Scholarship Award, American Association of Chinese in Toxicology SIG Charles River Best Abstract Award First Place, Molecular and System Biology SS Postdoctoral Fellow Research Award, 3rd Place and Mechanisms SS Postdoctoral Student Travel Award, etc). She has presented her data both orally and as poster presentations at regional and national SOT meetings (2012–2014). In 2014 SOT, she also volunteered to help out with the PDA luncheon, which she considers as a great opportunity for her to reach out to peer postdoctoral researchers in toxicology field, to greet old friends and to establish new bonds and collaborations.


Karilyn E. Sant, Treasurer

Dr. Sant received her BS in Biology & Environmental Science in 2008, her MPH in Environmental Health in 2010, and her PhD in Toxicology in 2014 from the University of Michigan. Her research focused on embryonic nutrition & epigenetic consequences of phthalate exposures. She is currently a postdoc at the University of Massachusetts, investigating embryonic exposures to endocrine disruptors, pancreatic dysmorphogenesis, and resulting metabolic dysfunction. Dr. Sant was recently awarded the Best Postdoctoral Poster Award at the 2015 SOT Northeast Regional Chapter Meeting and 1st place in the postdoctoral poster competition for the Reproductive & Developmental Toxicology SS at the 2016 SOT Annual Meeting. She was a recipient of the 2016 SOT Gabriel L. Plaa Education Award and elected Associate Chair of the 2017 Gordon Research Seminar on Cellular & Molecular Mechanisms of Toxicity. She has been attending SOT meetings since joining in 2010. Dr. Sant has held leadership positions within SOT for five years, two of which as an Executive Board member of the Graduate Student Leadership Committee and as 2015–2016 Postdoctoral Assembly Councilor. She hopes to continue to serve the postdoctoral membership through improving involvement and communication.


Eugene Gibbs-Flournoy, Councilor

Dr. Gibbs is an ORISE postdoctoral fellow in the Cardiopulmonary and Immunology Branch at the US Environmental Protection Agency. Currently, he participates in a few different projects with his major focus examining the oxidative effects of cook-stove exhaust emissions using in vivo and in vitro exposure models. In 2013, Dr. Gibbs graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with a PhD in toxicology. He also holds BS and MS degrees in Biology and Environmental Toxicology, respectively. Eugene has attended five of the past six SOT Annual Meetings. His most recent leadership roles include being a Councilor for the 2015 SOT Postdoctoral Assembly and Chair of the 2016 SOT Poster Tours for Trainees planning committee. Additionally, he has served as the graduate student representative for the SOT TAO SIG, a SOT GSLC representative, and the facilities subcommittee co-chair for the 18th Annual NIEHS Career Symposium.


Daniel Spade, Councilor

Dr. Spade is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Brown University. He received a PhD in Veterinary Medical Sciences with a Toxicology concentration from the University of Florida in 2011 and a BS in Biology from Penn State University in 2007. Dan’s research area is male reproductive toxicology, primarily focusing on the effects of phthalates on fetal testis development. He has been an SOT member since 2010, and is a member of NESOT, the Reproductive and Developmental Toxicology Specialty Section, and the Molecular and Systems Biology Specialty Section (MSBSS). He has served as the postdoctoral representative for MSBSS (2013–2014) and the Education Committee (2014–2016). He previously helped with Poster Tours for Trainees as a volunteer and served as co-chair for the In vitro Toxicology Lecture and Luncheon at the 2015 and 2016 SOT Annual Meetings.


Rosonald R. Bell, Council Contact

Dr. Bell received his BS in biology/premedicine from Florida Agriculture and Mechanical University in Tallahassee, Florida in 1981 and his MS and PhD in pharmaceutical sciences with a concentration in pharmacology/toxicology from Florida Agriculture and Mechanical University in 1989 and 1992, respectively. In 1992, Dr. Bell accepted a two-year postdoctoral research position with The Upjohn Company (now Pfizer Inc.) in Kalamazoo, Michigan under the direction of Dr. Gerald J. Kolaja, where he was involved in nephrotoxicity method development and gained a familiarity with nonclinical drug safety assessment. In 1994, following his postdoctoral fellowship, Dr. Bell joined Ciba Pharmaceuticals Corporation (now Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation) in Summit, New Jersey as study director and also managed both the general and reproductive toxicology groups. He became certified in general toxicology in 1996, as a diplomate of the American Board of Toxicology. In 1998, Dr. Bell joined GD Searle/Monsanto in Skokie, Illinois and his primary role was as a Discovery and Development Project Team representative on projects in the arthritis and inflammation therapeutic area. In 2003, Dr. Bell accepted an associate research fellow position with Pfizer Inc. Dr. Bell currently serves as both a regulatory strategy lead and a drug safety team lead at Pfizer Inc., Groton, Connecticut, with the primary responsibility for Pre-FIH—LOE oversight of submissions and regulatory strategies. His responsibilities also include the design and implementation of research projects to support nonclinical safety evaluation of therapeutic agents with special emphasis on injectable anti-inflammatory biotherapeutics. His research interest is in heavy induced pulmonary toxicity with an emphasis on uncovering the biochemical and cytological alterations.

Postdoc Regional Chapter, Special Interest Group, and Specialty Section Representatives

Each SOT Regional Chapter, Special Interest Group, and Specialty Section may appoint a Postdoctoral Representative to provide leadership for their group and communication with the PDA. The representative encourages membership in SOT and the component group as well as development of activities to enhance involvement of postdocs in SOT. The complete list of current representatives is available on ToXchange.

Postdoc Committee Representatives

Some SOT Committees invite the PDA Executive Board to appoint a Postdoctoral Representative to serve as an ad hoc member of the committee to provide the perspective of, and communication with, SOT postdoctoral scholars.

Career Resources and Development Committee
Ashwini Phadnis-Moghe
Michigan State University

Committee on Diversity Initiatives
Banrida Wahlang
University of Kentucky

Continuing Education Committee
Joseph Cichocki
Texas A&M University

Education Committee
Alison Sanders
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Membership Committee
Teresa De Jesus Palacios-Hernandez
US Food and Drug Administration

Best Postdoctoral Publication Award

The Best Postdoctoral Publication Award recognizes outstanding work accomplished during formal, mentored postdoctoral traineeships by recognizing recently published exceptional papers in the field of toxicology. Applications are reviewed by the Postdoctoral Assembly Board and outside reviewers with appropriate scientific expertise, following NIH conflict of interest, confidentiality, and nondisclosure rules.

2017 Recipients

BPP Awardee Fabian Grimm, PhD, Texas A&M University. A Chemical–Biological Similarity-Based Grouping of Complex Substances as a Prototype Approach for Evaluating Chemical Alternatives.
Green Chemistry in May 2016.
BPP Awardee Sascha C.T. Nicklisch, PhD, University of California, San Diego. Global Marine Pollutants Inhibit P-glycoprotein: Environmental Levels, Inhibitory Effects, and Cocrystal Structure.
Science Advances in April 2015.
BPP Awardee Mira Pavkovic, PhD, Harvard Medical School. Detection of Drug-Induced Acute Kidney Injury in Humans Using Urinary KIM-1, miR-21, -200c, and -423.
Toxicological Science in July 2016.
Postdoc Events and Activities

Poster Tours for Trainees

The Postdoctoral Assembly organizes Poster Tours for Trainees at the SOT Annual Meeting for graduate students and postdoctoral scientists to participate in a one-hour guided poster tour with a toxicologist guide. These small group tours provide the opportunity for trainees to take part in critical evaluation of cutting-edge toxicology methods and research findings and network with a senior toxicologist.

PDA Luncheon

To encourage increased participation and networking among postdoctoral scholars, the Postdoctoral Assembly (PDA) Board hosts a luncheon at the SOT Annual Meeting exclusively for postdocs to gather in an informal setting to relax, network, and celebrate their achievements others, including PDA officers, Postdoctoral Representatives, and SOT Councilors.

Postdoc Resources

PDA Webinars and Career Development Sessions

The PDA organizes webinars designed to provide postdocs with career tips and advice. The PDA also helps organize Career Development Sessions each year at the SOT Annual Meeting and ToxExpo. Recordings of these webinars and information on the Career Development Sessions are available in the Careers section of the website.

Go to: Career Development Advice and Tips for webinar and session information

PDA-Hosted Webinar on Tips for Organizing and Presenting a Webinar

Postdoc Career White Papers

Post-y Newsletter

The Post-y is produced by the Postdoctoral Assembly on a biannual basis to feature news and articles of interest to SOT postdoctoral members throughout the year.