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Recent Endowment Fund Award Recipients

2014 Endowment Awardees

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: 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: 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.

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: 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 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.

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 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 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: 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: 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.

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.

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: 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

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: 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.

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: 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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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 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 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: 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.

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.

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 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 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.

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: 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: 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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

SOT/AstraZeneca/SOT Endowment Fund/IUTOX Travel Awards

Samir Abbès, PhD, Higher Institute of Biotechnology of Béja, Béja, Tunisia
Wafa Hassen, PhD, High Institute of Biotechnology, University of Monastir, Monastir, Tunisia
Gopabandhu Jena, PhD, National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER), Mohali, India
Sameeh A. Mansour, PhD, National Research Centre, Giza, Egypt
Siti N. Mubarokah, MSc, Laboratory of Pharmacology, School of Medicine
University of Islam Malang, Malang, Indonesia
Olufunke E. Ola-Davies, PhD, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria
Iyekhoetin M. Omoruyi, MSc, Benson Idahosa University, Benin City, Nigeria
Ishiaq Omotosho, PhD, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria
Muneeb U. Rehman, PhD, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Kashmir, Sprinagar, India
Yang Song, PhD, Zhejiang Academy of Medical Sciences, Hangzhou, China
Jing Zhang, MSc, Shanxi Medical University, Taiyuan City, China