Regulatory and Safety Evaluation Specialty Section
Message from the President
It is with great honor that I undertake my term as President of the Regulatory and Safety Evaluation Specialty Section of SOT. I am both excited to serve and anxious to have to follow into the footsteps of Dr. Ed Ohanian. Thankfully he will remain on our Executive Committee (EC) for one more year as Past President. I am also blessed with a terrific team of energetic and dedicated EC members with Anne and Amy as Vice President and Vice President-Elect, April as Treasurer, Norman and Haitian as Senior and Junior Councilors, and Greg and Brett as our Postdoc and Grad Student Reps, respectively. I encourage you to visit our Officers’ page to find more about them.
As a Specialty Section, we seek to provide a forum for the interaction of SOT members to discuss the impact of regulations, guidelines, and guidance on the practice of toxicology and the safety evaluation of food additives, nutraceuticals, therapeutic drug products and environmental, industrial and household chemicals, and other products of concern. Our work embodies SOT's mission to create a safer and healthier world by advancing defensible science and increasing the impact of toxicology. One of my goals this year is to help progress the use of better approaches to safety evaluation into regulatory acceptance. There has been immense scientific progress in in vitro and computational toxicology and some of these assays may have better predictive value than the classical animal tests. I see as part of our duty to assess the value of these alternative models and help advance the best, fit-for-purpose, assays forward.
At the 2018 Meeting, RSESS continued with our traditional annual activities: Dr. Scott Jordan from Health Canada presented on the challenges associated with evaluating and monitoring the safety of dietary supplements; Drs. Mike DeVito and David Herr debated on the Relevance and Predictability of Animal Toxicity Studies for Human Toxicity during our highly-attended reception during which six postdoctoral (Drs. Miao Li, Rui Xiong, and Samantha Faber) and graduate students (Eva Vitucci, Jalissa Nguyen, and Yu-Syuan Luo) were awarded along with our best paper award (Dr. Bradley Lampe). New in 2018, RSESS hosted a mentoring luncheon (effort led by Ms. Monique Williams) that was extremely well received and we will certainly continue this new tradition in 2019. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Robert Budinsky and Mary Ellen Cosenza for their outstanding work chairing our proposal review committee this year. Together with their team (Angelique Braen, Maggie Dempster, Ryan Hamilton, Brian Hughes, Santhini Ramasamy, and David Allen) they reviewed and ranked a whopping 43 proposals, roughly 1/3 of all SOT proposals!
New initiatives coming in 2018–2019 include a budding relationship with the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC)—we are currently scoping which environmental and public health issues should be the focus of this joint effort. We will also seek to strike a collaboration with the American Society for Cellular and Computational Toxicology (ASCCT) who has expressed their interest in supporting an award that aligns with their mission. We will keep you posted on our progress. Another important activity will be the implementation of a new endowment fund. RSESS current endowment is in “spend down” mode; meaning that monies can no more be added and that the account must be emptied before the 2020 deadline. In 2018, we used the available funds for the awards and we plan to do the same in 2019. However, in order to ensure a sustainable future for the important programmatic activities supported by RSESS (awards, global regulatory breakfast, mentoring activity, webinar, reception and debate, etc.) we will be seeking your support to establish a permanently restricted endowment fund that will allow RSESS to keep on meeting the expectations of our membership. Finally, we will also look for your help in updating our graphic identity… keep your eyes open for a logo contest!!
RSESS is not only the largest Specialty Section, it is also at the cross roads of nearly all other SOT Specialty Sections. We epitomize the ultimate goal of every scientist and toxicologist: making a difference. Because Specialty Section members strive to improve the safety evaluation and regulatory acceptance of the best approaches, through the course of the year, we will also foster relationships with other Sections in order to increase our awareness of the most recent advances in toxicology testing. I think I speak for the entire EC when I say we look forward to serving you and to continuing to advance our values and aspirations as a Specialty Section. Please do not hesitate to reach out to any of us with your thoughts and suggestions to help us achieve our goals.
Looking forward to an amazing year, yours truly,
Marie C. Fortin, PhD, DABT, ERT
RSESS 2018–2019 President
—The mission of the Regulatory and Safety Evaluation Specialty Section of the SOT is to promote the development of sound governmental policies and regulations based on contemporary scientific knowledge arising from the disciplines encompassed by toxicology.