To email the Comparative and Veterinary Specialty Section Leadership, please send an email to SOTHQ@toxicology.org.
Jennifer Duringer, PhD—President
Dr. Duringer is a Research Associate at Oregon State University in the Department of Environmental & Molecular Toxicology. Her research examines the biochemical effects, mechanisms of toxicity and ultimate biotransformation of plant and fungal toxicants in humans and animals; and phytoruminal bioremediation of explosives, with the goal of cleaning up contaminated lands so that they no longer pose a public health threat and ultimately return them to agricultural and other productive uses. She received her PhD in Toxicology from Oregon State University in 2003, as well as her BS in Zoology and BA in International Studies in 1998. She has been a member of SOT since graduate school and was part of the founding group that organized the Postdoctoral Assembly, serving as co-chair then chair from 2005–2007. She has also participated as an undergraduate program peer mentor at SOT annual meetings and served as Councilor, Vice-President elect, Vice-President and now President for the Comparative and Veterinary Specialty Section since 2013.
Sabitha Papineni, DVM, PhD—Vice President
Dr. Papineni is currently working as a Regulatory Toxicologist within the Human Health Assessment (HHA) group of Dow AgroSciences (DAS) LLC, Indianapolis. She received her Bachelor's in Veterinary Sciences and Animal Health from College of Veterinary Sciences, India in 2004 and earned her American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) ECFVG certification in 2009. She earned her PhD in Toxicology from Texas A&M University, College Station in December 2008. During her graduate program she was researching on mechanisms/mode of action of small molecule in cancer therapeutics in the laboratory of Stephen H. Safe with a focus on new synthetic derivatives of triterpenoids. In her current role as a regulatory toxicologist at Dow AgroSciences she provides subject matter expertise for global registration of DAS crop protection products/agrochemicals and biotechnology traits in seeds platform. As a subject matter expert she developed global toxicology testing strategies for discovery molecules and addressed number of scientific issues for existing business molecules. She also led cross functional scientific projects such as Endocrine Disruption Screening Program for DAS actives, biotechnology toxicology projects and actively engaged in industry task force team involving collaborations across organizations. She authored/co-authored 30 peer reviewed publications and co-authored couple of book chapters. Papineni is actively engaged with multiple cross industry groups, professional societies and task forces such as Society of Toxicology (SOT), Crop Life America (CLA) Human Health Risk Assessment Committee (HHRAC), Endocrine Policy Forum (EPF) and in plant biotechnology fronts within Crop Life International (CLI) Toxicology groups and International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) Task Force-13 on protein toxicology in addressing emerging issues and challenges in the areas of regulatory toxicology. Papineni also served as an invited speaker at different national/international scientific sessions to influence and shape regulatory toxicity testing (CLA/CLC Spring Conferences, Global toxicology Seminar in Japan by Wil Research, IUTOX Conference in East Africa).
Dr. Mohanan is an experienced toxicologic and experimental pathologist currently serving as Director of Pathology in GlaxoSmithKline, PA. He received his veterinary medical degree from the College of Veterinary Medicine in Kerala, India. He gained diverse research experience in the US working in muscle biology/pathology projects in University of Wisconsin-Madison and U. Penn before joining the comparative pathology residency program at Wake Forest School of Medicine. He became a Diplomate of American College of Veterinary Pathologists in 2010. In the same year Dr. Mohanan joined Cornell Comparative Biomedical Sciences PhD program. At Cornell, he worked on understanding the role of PAD enzymes and protein citrullination in cancer progression. Dr. Mohanan has co-authored more than 20 peer-reviewed scientific publications and book chapters. Sunish's previous industry experience include Principal Pathologist role in the Preclinical Safety Assessment group at Eli Lilly and Company and in that role he applied his toxicology and pathology expertise toward oncology drug development projects. Presently, as Director of Pathology at GSK Dr. Mohanan focuses on drug safety, clinical biomarkers, novel cancer epigenetics targets and immunopathology. He is also involved in biomarker strategy development, external contract research organization partnerships, and is active in various Society of Toxicologic Pathology committees.
Dr. Robin D. Tucker, DABT, DVM—Secretary/Treasurer
Dr. Robin D. Tucker is the Senior Clinical Veterinarian and Assistant Professor of Pathology at Georgetown University Medical Center, where she has performed medicine and surgery for multiple species, as well as provided expertise in pre-clinical safety and risk assessment (toxicology). She received her doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech in 1998, and is a Diplomate of the American Board of Toxicology (2005). She has also worked in Contract Research Organizations (in toxicology) and is very familiar with GLP requirements. She has been a member of the SOT since 2013.
Dr. Kinyamu-Akunda is a Director of Preclinical Safety (PCS) at Novartis Institutes of BioMedical Research (NIBR). In her role as a safety assessment expert, she is responsible for all the nonclinical safety aspects of drug candidates in development including the nonclinical strategy, study designs and interpretation, and nonclinical content of clinical and regulatory submissions. She also ensures resolution of nonclinical issues arising during discovery, clinical development or patient use. Jacqueline is also an adjunct Faculty in the Joint Graduate Program in Toxicology at Rutgers University. Before joining Novartis in 2011, Jacqueline was a Toxicology Project Leader at Eli Lilly and Company.
Marcus S. Delatte, PhD—Councilor
Dr. Delatte became a scientist based on his interests to understand the effects of drugs in organisms and to impact public health. His interests led him to earn a PhD in Pharmacology from the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center (2004) and to complete a postdoctoral fellowship at the Harvard Medical School/McLean Hospital (2008). As a graduate student, he designed and conducted experiments focused on understanding the effects of drugs on simple and complex behaviors in various animal species. This research resulted in the publication of a variety of peer-reviewed research articles on the neurotoxic effects of MDMA ("ecstasy") in new world monkeys and rats; the disruptive effects of delta9-THC (psychoactive ingredient in marijuana) on learning in acutely and daily treated rats; and the self-administration of cocaine in old world monkeys. Findings from these studies provided him with an in-depth understanding of the effects of different drug classes on behavior studied in various contexts. As a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School/McLean Hospital, he studied the effects of drugs on behavioral and physiological endpoints measured in monkeys. His research focused on the evaluation of cannabinergic drugs synthesized via a collaborative project with a Chemistry laboratory that developed potential pharmacotherapies for cannabis addiction. This research resulted in the publication of peer-reviewed research articles on the pharmacological profile of novel cannabinergic ligands in monkeys and the formal introduction of Dr. Delatte to the drug discovery process. These experiences increased his drive to help develop treatment approaches for patients with substance-abuse disorders. Following the completion of his fellowship, Dr. Delatte joined the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a Pharmacology/Toxicology Reviewer. At the FDA, he currently reviews applications to conduct clinical studies, as well as to acquire marketing approval for pharmaceutical products. These applications typically cover therapeutics developed as antidote, analgesic, anesthetic, or addiction medications. Overall, Dr. Delatte's experience in drug compound research and development is extensive and includes nearly nine years of experience advising companies on regulatory and safety issues related to conducting clinical trials and gaining marketing approval for products. These experiences enabled him to serve as teaching faculty at the LSUHSC (Medical Pharmacology course) and the Foundation for Advanced Education in Sciences Graduate School at the National Institutes of Health (Nonclinical Evaluation of Novel Drugs and Beyond course). Dr. Delatte continues to work hard to expand his impact on public health issues by advising individual scientists and companies on how to develop pharmacotherapies and by mentoring young scientists.
Dr. Logeswari Ponnusamy, DVM, MVSc, PhD [Principal Scientist- Regulatory Toxicology , Safety Sciences, Metabolism and Safety Division, Veterinary Medicine Research and Development, Zoetis, MI]
Dr. Ponnusamy is a Principal Scientist- Regulatory Toxicology within Safety Sciences at Zoetis, MI. Her scientific background includes DVM, Masters in Pharmacology and Toxicology and PhD in Toxicology. In her current role, Dr. Ponnusamy provides subject matter expertise that integrates toxicology, human food safety, target animal safety, and user safety assessments for veterinary medicinal products regulatory submission. She also involves in toxicological assessments for residual solvents, excipients, etc. in the manufacturing process. In addition, she also serves as study director/sponsor representative for GLP/ non-GLP studies. Dr. Ponnusamy has authored / co-authored 11 peer reviewed research papers, and contributes to the toxicology community as a peer- reviewer for various scientific journals including Food and Chemical Toxicology.
Dr. Ponnusamy has been an active member of the SOT since 2013 and served on various leadership roles within SOT including student representative for CRAD, Carcinogenesis SS, Comparative and Veterinary SS, GSLC and K-12 outreach committees. She has received various research grants, fellowships, and multiple awards including SOT SS awards, GSLC-outstanding leadership award and International ToxScholar outreach grant. In addition to holding positions of increasing responsibilities within the industry, Dr. Ponnusamy has been actively promoting toxicological sciences from K-12 to undergraduate level and STEM mentoring through the New York Academy of Sciences. In addition to SOT, Dr. Ponnusamy has been an active member in American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), European Society of Toxicology In Vitro, and has served on AACR- Associate Member Council.
Dr. Achanta is an Associate in Research at Duke University School of Medicine. Dr. Achanta received his veterinary degree from India and worked as a veterinarian for the State Government of Andhra Pradesh, India for two years before he moved to the United States. Dr. Achanta obtained his PhD in Veterinary Biomedical Sciences at the Center for Veterinary Health Sciences, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK under the mentorship of Dr. Lara Maxwell, DVM, PhD, DACVCP. Then, he joined as a postdoctoral research associate in Dr. Sven Jordt's laboratory at Yale University where he developed several mouse cutaneous injury models of chemical threat agents and screened potential therapeutic agents based on mechanism of action. Dr. Achanta moved to Duke University School of Medicine in 2014. Currently, he is licensed to practice veterinary medicine in North Carolina. Dr. Achanta developed large animal inhalational models of acute lung injury and screened potential transient receptor potential (TRP) channel inhibitors. Some of his screened potential medical countermeasures are in advanced stages of development/testing.
Apart from research, Dr. Achanta is also interested in teaching pharmacology and toxicology courses. Dr. Achanta taught "The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics" course at Yale University. Currently, he is teaching "Pharmacology 350: Drug Actions and Reactions" course at Duke University.
Dr. Szafran has been a DVM/PhD dual-degree student at Mississippi State University since August of 2013. She graduated with her DVM in May 2017 and is now continuing with her work on her PhD in Environmental Toxicology. Her research involves studying the response of endocannabinoid metabolizing enzymes under conditions of inflammation or after exposure to a toxicant. She is a native of the state of West Virginia where she completed her undergraduate education at West Virginia University. During her early veterinary school years, she founded and led an MSU-CVM One Health club, successfully organizing several One Health events. She was actively involved in several other CVM student clubs, most notably the Student Chapter of the Disaster Animal Response Team, the Student American Veterinary Medical Association, and MSU-CVM's student chapter of the World Aquatic Veterinary Medical Association. She is still an active member of the Mississippi Animal Response Team and has previously responded to one natural disaster. This recent SOT meeting in Baltimore, MD was her first SOT meeting, and she had the honor of presenting a poster. At this point in her education, she has presented a poster at one other national meeting, five local graduate research symposiums, and she has one peer-reviewed first-author publication. Her hobbies include fencing, ballroom dancing, and raising salamanders.