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President’s Message

Dear Midwest Chapter (MRC) Members and Friends,

The mission of the Midwest Regional Chapter (MRC) of the Society of Toxicology is to foster scientific exchange at the local level. We do this by serving as a focal point for toxicological interests in the region and encouraging interactions among toxicologists in government, industry, and academia. One of our primary contributions to the region is sponsoring scientific and educational programs in toxicology

The MRC-SOT Spring meeting held on May 18, 2018 focused on the continuing evolution in development of alternative assays aimed at replacing or reducing use of animals in scientific research. Many United States governmental agencies have taken a leading role in this effort, through contributions to the development of the vision and road map as well as the development and validation of novel assays. Our Keynote Speakers, Drs. Warren Casey from NIEHS (A strategic roadmap for establishing new approaches to evaluate the safety of chemicals and medical products in the United States) and Anna Lowit from EPA (Alternatives to acute systemic toxicity: EPA’s office of pesticide programs initiative to modernize the Acute 6-Pack) shared their perspectives on developments in this field. Dr. David Beebe, the 2018 Kenneth DuBois Award recipient works in this space and his research focuses on establishing in vivo microenvironments in in vitro cellular systems. The work of these scientists is very applicable to the field of toxicology and we anticipate gaining exceptional insights and learnings from them.

A recap of the 2017–2018 year confirms it has been a productive one.

  • Fall meeting topic focused on development of prostate cancer: The impact of early-life environmental toxicant exposure to disease development in adulthood
  • Continuation of the Career Outreach Initiative for students and postdocs was part of the Fall Meeting, with an on-site visit to AbbVie’s Preclinical Safety department to gain first-hand insight to the role, handling and socialization of research animals and included an in-depth dialog regarding the role of Investigative Toxicology and Pathology in drug discovery
  • Survey of attendees at the Fall Meeting confirmed the meeting presentations and Career Outreach workshop were well received
  • Presentation by the 2017 Young Investigator Award recipient, Rekha Balachandran, University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, sharing her research progress (Circadian Disruption Causes Deficits in Attention and Response Inhibition in Adult Long-Evans Rats)
  • Preparation and presentation of our Chapter’s poster at the annual SOT meeting in San Antonio by graduate student Saniya Rattan and postdoc Amy Irving
  • SOT Toxicology Scholar Michael Peterson was in our region to tour colleges and introduce undergraduates to toxicology through presentation of Toxicology 101; Bill Bracken joined Michael to introduce the toxicology concepts share the diverse career opportunities available to toxicologists
  • Participation by Councilor Don Korte, with other regional chapter representatives, in SOT’s RC4 advisory program to advice on regional issues and opportunities to strengthen collaboration between chapters. One major action was to establish a ‘needs based’ award program for an undergraduate student to attend the annual SOT meeting.
  • A student/postdoc advisory group is being formed to make proposals on activities that would provide valuable input to career development initiatives. This group will be co-chaired by our Student and Post-doc representatives.

One of the reasons this year has been rewarding for the Executive Committee are the contributions and involvement of student and postdoc representatives, Saniya Ratta and Amy Irving, respectively. Their enthusiasm and willingness to contribute was much appreciated. Beyond participation, though, their insights during Committee discussions were invaluable. We are also looking to develop a Council of Students and Postdocs to work with the Executive Committee to develop program ideas that are of interest and value to this community. Please, reach out to Bill Bracken, Past-President if you are interest in participating.

Finally, we want to acknowledge the contributions of outgoing Executive Committee members:
Gloria Frost (Cardinal Health)—Secretary
Don Korte (Concordia University)—Councilor
Christina Wilson (Purdue University)—Councilor
Bill Bracken (AbbVie)—Past-President¬†¬†
And welcome our incoming officers:
Chad Vezina (University Wisconsin)—President-elect
Chuck Mattis (AbbVie) —Secretary
Bob Lange (AbbVie)—Councilor
Matt Wolter (Kimberly-Clark)—Councilor

Lastly, we want to thank our membership for continued interest and contributions. Your ideas, contributions and encouragements are valuable contributions to maintaining the value of the Midwest Chapter.

On behalf of the executive committee,
Wei Xu, President