2014 Education-Career Development Sessions

2014 Education-Career Development Sessions

The SOT Annual Meeting and ToxExpo in 2014 featured five Education-Career Development Sessions. Information on and recordings of these sessions are available below.

Chairperson(s): Richard S. Pollenz, University of South Florida, Cell Biology, Tampa, FL, and Marie M. Bourgeois, University of South Florida, Environmental and Occupational Health, Tampa, FL.

Sponsor(s): Career Resource and Development Committee
Education Committee
Postdoctoral Assembly

The attrition of undergraduates who enter STEM degree programs but do not earn a STEM undergraduate degree is an area of national concern. “Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education,” the 2011 report from AAAS/NSF, and “Engage to Excel,” the 2012 report from the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), are two national calls to action on this issue and advocate for significant reform in the way undergraduate STEM education is delivered. A strategic goal of SOT is a commitment to education in toxicology and the recruitment of students and new members into the profession. Although the number of undergraduate toxicology degree programs is limited, toxicology is a STEM discipline and many SOT members currently engaged in teaching undergraduates incorporate toxicology into traditional STEM undergraduate degree programs such as biology, biomedical sciences, chemistry, public health, and nursing. The learning objectives of this interactive workshop are to, 1) provide context to the national call to action on undergraduate STEM education reform, 2) present four case studies of inquiry-based approaches in undergraduate STEM education that inspire students about the multidisciplinary science of toxicology, and 3) engage attendees to develop an “action plan” that incorporates toxicology and inquiry into a current STEM undergraduate degree program. During the workshop attendees will have the opportunity to network with practitioners who can help inform their practice. This session should have widespread benefit to anyone engaged in teaching “toxicology” at any level of academia or industry who has an interest in innovations that help to engage trainees to “work the problem.”


Introduction and Session Learning Objectives. R. S. Pollenz. University of South Florida, Tampa, FL.

The Changing National Landscape of STEM Education: Building Partnerships with Scientists and Educators. J. Labov. National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council, Washington, DC.

Case Study 1: Creating Research Experiences and Activities for Public Health Undergraduates through Teaching Enhancement (CREATTE). M. M. Bourgeois. Environmental and Occupational Health, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL.

Case Study 2: Integrating Toxicology into the Undergraduate Curriculum. T. Dodd-Butera. Nursing, California State University, San Bernardino, San Bernardino, CA.

Case Study 3: Integrating Toxicology into the Undergraduate Laboratory Curriculum. B. W. Brooks. Environmental Science, Baylor University, Waco, TX.

Case Study 4: Problem-Based Instruction of Pharmacokinetics. T. L. Leavens. Pharmacokinetic Consultant, Cary, NC.

Break-Out Session and Development of Individual Action Plan: Incorporating Inquiry into the Undergraduate Curriculum. S. M. Ford, and J. C. Pfau

Report Outs/Discussion/Closing Remarks. R. S. Pollenz. University of South Florida, Tampa, FL

Chairperson(s): Brinda Mahadevan, Abbott Laboratories, Medical Safety & Surveillance, Columbus, OH, and Prathibha Rao, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, Princeton, NJ.

Sponsor(s): Career Resource and Development Committee
Postdoctoral Assembly
Women in Toxicology Special Interest Group

In the 21st century, more than any other time in history, science is a team sport and requires cross-disciplinary/cross-functional interaction to meet the objectives and gain results. These interactions across multiple disciplines often require careful management and skillful leadership. Often times we fall prey to the belief that “a leader is always born”. However, all of us “lead” in everyday life subconsciously or rather unconsciously. A question that begs to be asked is, “Why should anyone be led by me?” The answer can be elusive and requires the recognition that not all leaders are born. Good leaders can be developed. This, of course, leads to question, “How?” That again has to be addressed directly in terms of tangible competencies and behaviors. Is this due to the perception that the scientific ladder and management ladder are parallel, and one cannot support the other? The 21st century demands that each of us “own” our careers as well as the contributions towards society in a variety of ways. The time has arrived to spur the enthusiasm to “lead” in all fronts—the classroom to the boardroom and beyond. This informational session will include presentations by key leaders from academia, industry, government, and consulting. The speakers will introduce the concept of leadership as it relates to the current and emerging work environment, followed by a testimonial of core skills and styles required to be an effective leader. The testimonials will be individual but will provide set of tangible core qualities that are key to succeed and lead—at all levels. The session is designed for presentation and includes time for questions and discussion.

Introduction. B. Mahadevan. Abbott Laboratories, Columbus, OH.

Leadership—Doing the Right Things. L. S. Birnbaum. NIEHS, Research Triangle Park, NC/

Developing a Leadership Style That Works for You. H. Swanson. University of Kentucky, Lexington,

Leadership Skills and Styles to Be Effective across Different Organizations. A. Chappelle. Principal, Chappelle Toxicology

Leadership—What Would You Do If You Weren’t Afraid? L. Burns Naas. Gilead Sciences Inc., Foster City, CA.

Panel Discussion/Q&A.

Chairperson(s): Mark S. Miller, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, and William B. Mattes, PharmPoint Consulting, Toxicology, Poolesville, MD.

Sponsor(s): Regulatory and Safety Evaluation Specialty Section
Women in Toxicology Special Interest Group

During the past decade, a significant number of industrial and academic scientists have pursued full or part-time careers in toxicology consulting. Resources describing the nuts and bolts of how to set up a consulting business are often very general and do not address specific issues related to toxicology. The best safety assessment and product development efforts take a village, namely a team with a wide variety of detailed scientific knowledge, regulatory skills, and practical experience in product development, occupational toxicology, genetic toxicology and carcinogenesis, public health, etc. In many cases such knowledge, skill, and experience lie outside the internal resources of a firm. Toxicology consultants are a diverse external resource with varied specialties who can quickly and effectively address serious issues in safety assessment and/or product development. They can also perform more standard tasks when firms are constrained by the availability of internal toxicologists. In addition, toxicology consultants play a critical role in the interface between the scientific and lay communities when legal issues arise. This career development session will provide practical advice for those considering entering the field of toxicology consulting on a part-time or full-time basis, provide a comprehensive discussion of how toxicology consultants can satisfy critical needs of various types of clients, and provide guidance on leveraging their expertise in advancing the science and practice of toxicology. The talks will cover the full spectrum of consulting environments, including independent consultants, consulting in an academic environment, and consulting as part of a large firm, as well as examples of the client-consultant relationship.

The Role of Consultants in the Science and Practice of Safety Assessment. M. S. Miller. Cancer Biology, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC.

Introduction. W. B. Mattes. PharmPoint Consulting, Poolesville, MD.

Toxicology Consulting Demystified: How One Starts and Survives. J.C.L. Schuh. JCL Schuh, PLLC, Bainbridge Island, WA.

Consulting in an Academic Environment. M. S. Miller. Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC.

The Consulting Toxicologist—Helping Industry Comply with Regulations and Evaluate Their Environmental Policies. L. J. Bradley. AECOM Environment, Chelmsford, MA.

Case Study: How Consultants Help Impact the Science of Nanomaterial Safety Assessment. D. W. Hobson. LoneStar PharmTox LLC, Boerne, TX.

Chairperson(s): William J. Brock, Brock Scientific Consulting, Montgomery Village, MD, and Mary Beth Genter, University of Cincinnati, Environmental Health, Cincinnati, OH.

Sponsor(s): Career Resource and Development Committee
Education Committee
Ethical, Legal, and Social Issues Specialty Section

For many involved in toxicological research and publishing, it may seem strange or uncomfortable to engage in a discussion of the practicality of ethics. However, with the daily pressures of career advancements and salary increases as well as notoriety and professional recognition, engaging in this discussion will permit continued awareness of the pitfalls of poor ethical behavior that can lead to catastrophic career outcomes. The scientific community has been rocked by unfortunate media reports over the years that call into question the results of studies and fallibility of science. Although these reports may represent a small percentage of individuals, the impact is far-reaching throughout the scientific community. There have been several reports in the past few years that suggest that the number of retracted papers in scientific literature has increased 10-fold over the previous decade, and that a majority of the retracted papers was due to scientific misconduct that included fraud, plagiarism, and outright data falsification. In spite of the increase in retractions, many of those retracted papers continue to be cited in subsequent publications and grant submissions. Plagiarism by far represents the more common concern in scientific writing. Whether this occurs from the originating author or the wording is “stolen” by others to improve or even exaggerate a conclusion has led to a change in peer-review processes, development of plagiarism software, and mandatory training in certain academic circles. In addition, “ghost” and “in absentia” authors have raised significant data credibility concerns in a regulatory environment. In this session, the background of the problem is presented with real-world examples from literature and reports, and the impact of this problem on a career. Can the peer-review process reduce the likelihood of scientific misconduct? Discussion will occur on the peer-review process and how that process affects the publishing of duplicative or plagiarized data.

Scientific Ethics in Research and Publications. W. J. Brock¹, and M. Genter². ¹Brock Scientific Consulting, Montgomery Village, MD; and ²University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH.

Introduction. W. J. Brock¹, and M. Genter². ²Brock Scientific Consulting, Montgomery Village, MD; and ²University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH.

Introduction to Scientific Misconduct: The Problem, the Results, and the Potential Impact of Advancing a Career Path. W. J. Brock. Brock Scientific Consulting, Montgomery Village, MD.

Responsible Research: What Is It and Can It Be Done? P. Zigas. East Carolina University, Greenville, NC.

Authorship and Scientific Misconduct. W. B. Mattes. PharmPoint Consulting, Poolesville, MD.

Seeking, Identifying, and Preventing Plagiarism: Manuscript Submissions and Peer Review. M. Genter. University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH.

Panel Discussion/Q&A.

Chairperson(s): Courtney E. Sulentic, Wright State University, Pharmacology&Toxicology, Dayton, OH, and Donald A. Fox, University of Houston, College of Optometry, Houston, TX.

Sponsor(s): Career Resource and Development Committee
Education Committee
Graduate Student Leadership Committee

The training and continuing education of toxicologists is a priority for the SOT membership as demonstrated by the SOT Professional Needs Assessment Task Force (PNATF) and the Education Summit. But what defines a well-trained toxicologist or the “Total Toxicologist?” Does the definition vary depending on the employment sector? Do current graduate programs and continuing education programs provide the necessary and sufficient training for toxicologists? To initiate a discussion regarding these questions, SOT and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences sponsored the 2011 Toxicology Educational Summit, which brought participants from academia, industry, and government together to better define the necessary skill sets for the Total Toxicologist (Tox Sci 127:331, 2012). Conclusions from the Summit underscored a deficiency in critical thinking, communication skills, and practical application of laboratory data to drug development and risk assessment as well as a need for improved educational opportunities for mid-career toxicologists. Sustaining a career in the current and future global environment, with the ever-changing and rapid advances in technology, requires partnerships between academia, industry, and government to train and re-train the Total Toxicologist. The goal of this session is to offer multi-faceted perspectives on the skill sets (both hard and soft) required for a successful career as a Total Toxicologist and will include talks from early-, mid-, or late-career toxicologists currently employed in academia, industry (pharmaceutical and agricultural/chemical), or government. The session will also provide a brief summary of the results from the PNATF survey to offer a perspective from the SOT membership regarding their perceived training needs. This session should be of interest to students, postdocs, and early and mid-career toxicologists and is consistent with SOT’s goals to continue educational awareness and advancements for all toxicologists.

Training and Continuing Education for the “Total Toxicologist”: How Do We Optimize Training and Educational Opportunities for Different Job Sectors? C. E. Sulentic¹, and D. A. Fox². ¹Wright State University, Dayton, OH; and ²University of Houston, Houston, TX.

Introduction. C. E. Sulentic. Wright State University, Dayton, OH.

Planning from Day 1: Timely Completion of Your Training, and Specialized Training for the Job That You Want. M. Genter. University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH.

Creating Futures for New Toxicologists: Challenges in Academic Toxicology Training for 21st-Century Jobs. D. L. Eaton. University of Washington, Mukilteo, WA.

Skill and Career Growth for the Toxicologist in the Pharmaceutical Industry. M. S. Bogdanffy. Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc., Ridgefield, CT.

What Do I Need in My Toolbox? Defining the Core Skill Set for a 21st-Century Toxicologist in the Chemical Industry. L. Murphy. The Dow Chemical Company, Midland, MI.

From Research to Regulatory Science: Toxicology Careers in Government. D. R. Germolec. NIEHS, Research Triangle Park, NC.

Panel Discussion/Q&A.