About the SoCal Regional Chapter

Founded in 1988, the SOT Southern California Regional Chapter is comprised of members living and working in cities such as Los Angeles, San Diego, Bakersfield, and Fresno, as well as other southern California locales.

View the SoCal Membership Directory

Officers (2023–2024)

SoCal RC Officer

Gina Yanochko-Hoffman


Gina Yanochko-Hoffman is the Director & Global Lead of the Investigative Cellular & Molecular Toxicology group at Janssen Research & Development. Gina has supported pharmaceutical drug discovery efforts through investigative toxicology and project toxicology work for 15 years, with an emphasis on the advancement of kinase inhibitors and degraders for oncology indications.

SoCal RC Officer

Mamta Behl

Vice President

Mamta Behl is a board-certified toxicologist who serves as Principal Scientist at Neurocrine Biosciences Inc., in San Diego where she plays a key role in the discovery and development of planning and implementation of preclinical testing using in vitro and in vivo approaches for new and current drug candidates. She provides strategic and operational direction ensuring studies are conducted in line with regulatory guidelines and manages the conduct and reporting of studies. Prior to her current position she was at the National Toxicology Program, NIEHS where she led the Developmental Neurotoxicity Health Effects Innovation Program.

SoCal RC Officer

Tejas Lahoti

Vice President-Elect

Tejas Lahoti is an American and European board-certified toxicologist, currently working as a Principal Scientist within the Drug Safety Research and Evaluation department at Takeda Development Center Americas, Inc. He has been an industry toxicologist for past eight years and actively involved with the SCCSOT chapter and a councilor for past four years.

SoCal RC Officer

Elizabeth Baker


Elizabeth Baker is the Regulatory Policy Director for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a nonprofit organization working for more effective, efficient, and ethical medical research and product testing. Elizabeth focuses on policy change needed to support the use of innovative, nonanimal nonclinical approaches. Elizabeth is new to the SCCSOT.

SoCal RC Officer

Dale Baker


Dale Baker is a Senior Principal Research Scientist (Associate Director) within Preclinical Safety Assessment for Vertex Pharmaceuticals. Dale has been in the pharmaceutical/biotech industry for over 20 years specializing in in vitro toxicology. He has also been a member of SOT and ACT since the early 2000s and is currently the treasurer of SCCSOT Regional Chapter.

SoCal RC Officer

Keri Cannon

Past President, Councilor

Keri Cannon is the Senior Director of Nonclinical Safety for Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Pfizer, Inc. Keri has been in the pharmaceutical/biotech industry for 15 years and actively involved in the SCCSOT Regional Chapter for over five years. She is currently serving as the president.

SoCal RC Officer

Tian Xia


Dr. Tian Xia is a professor in the Division of NanoMedicine, Department of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He has studied toxicology for over 20 years including air pollution particulate matter, electronic cigarette aerosol, and engineered nanoparticles. He is a Councilor for the Southern California Chapter of Society of Toxicology and is an Associate Editor for the journal Nanotoxicology.

SoCal RC Officer

Hermaj Dodiya


Dr. Hemraj B. Dodiya is a Senior Scientist at the Neurocrine Biosciences Inc., San Diego. Dr. Dodiya received his bachelor’s in pharmacy degree from India in May 2006 followed by a master’s in biotechnology in August 2007. He is an author/co-author of 27 peer-reviewed articles with citations of 4416 and h-index score of 21.




SoCal RC Officer

Esther Omaiye

Postdoctoral Representative

Dr. Omaiye is a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Molecular, Cell & Systems Biology at the University of California Riverside (UCR). She received her PhD in Environmental Toxicology from the University of California Riverside. Dr. Omaiye has authored/co-authored 12 peer-reviewed articles, served as a panelist on several science-related outreach events and presented her research at numerous local and national seminars and conferences.

SoCal RC Officer

Marisol Arellano

Graduate Student Representative

Marisol Arellano is a PhD candidate at the University of California, Los Angeles Molecular Toxicology Interdepartmental Graduate Program in the lab of Dr. Jeff Bronstein. Marisol's research focuses on studying the causes of Parkinson’s Disease, both environmental and genetic, using cell and zebrafish models. Marisol serves as the Graduate Student Representative for the SCCSOT Chapter and the Society of Toxicology Committee on Diversity Initiatives.


SoCal RC Officer

Rajat Gupta

Graduate Student Representative

Rajat Gupta is a 4th year doctoral candidate in the Molecular Toxicology interdepartmental program at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), in the laboratory of Dr. Jesus Araujo. Mr. Gupta has been an active member of SOT since 2020 and has presented his research at the annual SOT meetings, including regional SOT chapters, and his work has been recognized through best poster awards. Mr. Gupta has several scientific publications in high impact peer-reviewed journals. He has also peer-reviewed articles for renowned journals such as Nanotoxicology, Cardiovascular Toxicology and Environmental Health Perspectives.

Sites of Interest for SoCal Members

  • CAL-EPA (California Environmental Protection Agency)

  • CAT (California Association of Toxicologists)

  • CERES (California Environmental Resources Evaluation System)

  • CPCS (California Poison Control System)

  • GETA (Genetic and Environmental Toxicology Association [of Northern California])

  • PROP65 (California Proposition 65 Information)

  • SCALACS (Southern California Section American Chemical Society)

  • SoCal SETAC (Southern California Regional Chapter SETAC)