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 (2024–2025)

SoCal RC Officer

Mamta Behl


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

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

Christine Hoffmaster

Vice President-Elect

Dr. Hoffmaster is an Associate Director (Toxicologist) within Nonclinical Development at Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Christine has been in the pharmaceutical/biotech industry for more than 15 years specializing in toxicology and nonclinical drug development. Christine is a member of SOT and ACT and is currently engaged with a number of collaborative projects with the Health and Environmental Sciences Institute (HESI).

SoCal RC Officer

Amy Tran-Guzman


Dr. Tran-Guzman is a Scientist at Bristol Myers Squibb, where she supports the identification and management of toxicological liabilities using in vitro systems and provides target liability assessments to support drug discovery programs. She received a doctorate in Molecular Pharmacology and Toxicology from the University of Southern California in 2022, where she served as Chair of the USC Student Chapter of AAPS from 2018-2019 and as the Chair of Professional Development in the Pharmacy Graduate Student Alliance from 2020—2021. She has also been an active member of the USC School of Pharmacy Alumni Engagement Board since 2019. Dr. Tran-Guzman is the first author of four peer-reviewed publications and serves as a reviewer for Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology and Toxicological Sciences.

SoCal RC Officer

Dale Baker


Mr. Baker is a Senior Principal Research Scientist at Vertex San Diego. Mr. Baker is responsible for leading the early safety strategy for the Vertex San Diego pain portfolio. Additionally, he leads the global in silico genetox effort within Vertex. Mr. Baker received his BS in Biology from the University of Michigan in 1995 (Go Blue). Mr. Baker's specialty is in vitro toxicology as he was fortunate to mentor under leaders in this space. In more than 20 years as a toxicologist, he has worked with many talented scientists during his tenures at Pharmacia Upjohn, Amgen, Celgene, Allergan and Vertex; covering a variety of small and large molecule programs in oncology, inflammation, ocular, neurotoxin, general medicine, CF and pain. Mr. Baker has been a member of SOT and ACT since 2006 and has presented a poster at almost every SOT since becoming a member until he stepped away from the bench in 2015.

SoCal RC Officer

Gina Yanochko-Hoffman

Past President, Councilor

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

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

Sabitha Papineni


Dr. Papineni is the Global Head of Regulatory Sciences and Strategy at Labcorp Drug Development where she is responsible to develop and execute regulatory strategy for the regulatory consulting group to meet the needs of the clients and lead a global team of regulatory experts including toxicologists and environmental risk assessors. She is an experienced Regulatory Professional with 13+ years of global regulatory toxicology experience in crop protection industry with a specific focus in mammalian toxicology conducting human health risk assessments. She has effectively led many toxicology testing programs for new active ingredients and plant protection products and biotech traits globally with effective regulatory strategies to overcome regulatory challenges. She is proactive in external scientific outreach and has organized and chaired number of symposiums, workshops and continuing education courses and has been an invited speaker in international conferences (SOT, ACS,CLA, IUTOX, Toxforum). She is primary and co-author of 38 peer reviewed journal publications and couple of book chapters. Dr. Papineni obtained her PhD in Toxicology from Texas A&M University, College Station in 2008 with a dissertation work focused on exploring growth inhibitory and antiangiogenic responses of different analogues of synthetic derivative of natural compounds such as Diindolylmethanes (DIMs) in various cancer cell lines.

SoCal RC Officer

Stacy Schkoda

Postdoctoral Representative

Dr. Schkoda is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health. She received her doctorate in toxicology from North Carolina State University where she studied novel sex-specific targets of exposure. Dr. Schkoda has presented her work at local, regional, and international meetings and is actively involved in postdoctoral affairs at UCI.

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.


SoCal RC Officer

Allen Louie

Graduate Student Representative

Mr. Louie is a 4th year PhD student in the Molecular Toxicology Program at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He completed his BS at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) in biology with a minor in psychology in 2015. He was a research intern at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in Dr. Rolf Bodmer’s lab studying Parkinson’s disease and at and the California Institute of Biomedical Research (CALIBR) (Division of Scripps Research) working on small molecule drug discovery for M. tuberculosis and S. aureus. He then joined the Safety Assessment department at Genentech, analyzing toxicology data for preclinical drugs in the pipeline while generating health risk assessments to better protect worker and patient health. After working for a few years, he decided to go back to graduate school and completed his Master of Public Health (MPH) at the University of California, Berkeley (UCB) in environmental health science with a concentration in toxicology in 2020. As a Superfund Research Program trainee, he completed his graduate thesis in Dr. Martyn T. Smith’s lab and examined metabolic dysfunction induced by endocrine-disrupting compounds. He then transitioned into a Staff Researcher with UCB and started a pilot study on Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) and their ability to induce inflammation and immunosuppression. Currently, in the Environmental Cardiology and Vascular Biology (ECVB) Laboratory at UCLA, directed by Dr. Jesus A. Araujo, Mr. Louie is interested in determining the role of alveolar macrophages in the development of inflammation and cardiometabolic disorders, such as atherosclerosis, after exposure to ultrafine particulate matter in the air. Mr. Louie was a NRSA T32 Molecular Toxicology Fellow and has been a part of two peer-reviewed published papers, with 3 papers in preparation.

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)