2022–2023 Executive Committee

CTPVSS Officer

Gopinath Palanisamy, DVM, PhD, DACVP


Dr. Palanisamy is a broad-based nonclinical drug development professional with a 10-year of experience working in the pharmaceutical/biotechnology industry and academia as a toxicologist and a board-certified pathologist. Industry experience includes roles at Theravance Biopharma, Genentech, and Pfizer. Led Phase 1 and Phase 3 cross-functional nonclinical development teams. Authored multiple regulatory documents including IND/CTAs and IBs with FDA, MHRA, and EMEA. Collaborative research experience as a pathologist working with scientists at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Received pathology residency training and Ph.D. in microbiology/pathology from Colorado State University. Received a Master’s in reproductive endocrinology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a doctorate in veterinary medicine from Tamilnadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, India. Been a member of SOT since 2014.

CTPVSS Councilor

Katharine Ann Marie Horzmann, DVM, PhD, DACVP

Vice President

Dr. Katharine Horzmann is an Assistant Professor of Pathology at the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine, where she is active in the teaching, diagnostic, and research missions of the College. Her research focus is on determining the effects of developmental exposure to common drinking water contaminants by using the zebrafish biomedical model. Interests include the developmental toxicity of chemical mixtures, the developmental origins of health and disease, and zebrafish behavior.

She received her BS in Animal Science, MPH, and DVM from the University of Missouri. She completed an Anatomic Pathology residency at Purdue University and was certified by the American College of Veterinary Pathologists in 2014. She received her doctorate in Toxicology from Purdue University in 2018 after researching the developmental toxicity of legacy, emergent, and current use environmental toxicants.

Dr. Horzmann has been a member of SOT since 2015 and is a former recipient of the Roger O. McCellan Student Award and the Toshio Narahashi Neurotoxicology Fellowship Award. She has served as the Graduate Student Representative of the Ohio Valley Regional Chapter (2018–2019), as Councilor of the Toxicologic and Exploratory Pathology Specialty Section (2019–2020), and continues to serve as a Councilor in the Comparative Toxicology, Pathology, and Veterinary Specialty Section. She is also involved in the American College of Veterinary Pathologists and in the Society of Toxicologic Pathology.

Outside of the lab, she enjoys sports fencing, hiking, and spending time outdoors.

CTPVSS Officer

Sunish Mohanan, BVSc, MS, Ph.D., Diplomate ACVP.

Vice President-Elect

Senior Director, Research Pathology (Clinical Biomarkers), Nonclinical Safety and Pathobiology, Gilead Sciences

Dr. Mohanan is a Senior Director of Research Pathology in the Gilead Nonclinical Safety and Pathobiology division-leading toxicologic and clinical translational pathology projects. Before joining Gilead, Sunish held the roles of Director of Pathology at GlaxoSmithKline and Principal Pathologist at Eli Lilly where he focused on both discovery/toxicologic pathology and clinical biomarker strategy in oncology and inflammation.

Dr. Mohanan received his veterinary medical degree from the College of Veterinary Medicine in Kerala, India. He completed biomedical research training from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and UPenn School of Medicine before joining the comparative pathology residency program at Wake Forest School of Medicine. He completed his Board certification as Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists in 2010. Later, Sunish received his Ph.D. from Cornell University Comparative Biomedical Sciences where he focused on cancer epigenetics and the role of histone citrullination in cancer progression. He has co-authored 30+ scientific publications/book chapters.

Dr. Mohanan is active in multiple scientific Societies and Consortia (STP, SOT, HESI, IQ) and his recent leadership roles include Chair of the STP Education committee (2018–2020), HESI immunotoxicology WG co-Chair (2019–2020), current STP SRPC member (Scientific and Regulatory Policy Committee) and IQ NMT (New Modality and Technology) WG member. He has been an active SOT member since 2013. He served as the Secretary-Treasurer and Vice-President Elect in the SOT Comparative & Veterinary Specialty Section and was part of the Leadership team that facilitated the formation of CTPVSS. He is passionate about mentoring junior toxicologists and pathologists and is an active participant in various mentorship initiatives.

CTPVSS Officer

Debabrata Mahapatra, DVM, MS, PhD, DACVP, DABT


Dr. Mahapatra is a Toxicologic Pathologist at INOTIV-RTP formerly Integrated Laboratory Systems, LLC (ILS), where he serves as the quality assessment (QA), pathology data review, and pathology working group (PWG) pathologist for various National Toxicology Program (NTP) studies. Additionally, he serves as a study pathologist for GLP commercial studies at ILS including sub-chronic, carcinogenicity, and Extended One Generation studies in rodent species. He received his doctorate in Comparative Biomedical Sciences from North Carolina State, College of Veterinary Medicine in 2017. Prior to this, he worked at the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Lab as a Pathologist/ Molecular Diagnostician (2010–2012). Dr. Mahapatra also serves on the INHAND expert working group on the Hepatobiliary system (STP). He is the author/co-author of 12 peer-reviewed articles and/or book chapters, etc. He has been a member of the SOT since 2014 and has not had the opportunity to serve the SOT in any capacity until now.

CTPVSS Officer

Satya Achanta, DVM, PhD, DABT

Past President and Councilor

Dr. Satya Achanta is an Assistant Professor in the department of anesthesiology at Duke University School of Medicine. After obtaining his veterinary degree from India in 2005, he worked in a mixed animal practice with the State Government. Then he moved to the United States to pursue graduate studies. He received his doctorate in Veterinary Biomedical Sciences in 2012 from the Center for Veterinary Health Sciences, Oklahoma State University. Before moving to Duke University, he worked as a lecturer and postdoctoral research associate at Yale University School of Medicine from 2012 to 2014. He has been working on projects to develop medical countermeasures against chemical threat agents-induced skin and lung injuries. He is particularly interested in developing translational large animal models of cardio-pulmonary diseases and test/develop mechanism-based therapeutics. He is currently licensed to practice veterinary medicine in North Carolina. He is also board certified by the American Board of Toxicology. Dr. Achanta authored/co-authored 17 peer-reviewed articles. He has been a member of the SOT and CVSS since 2013. He served as the postdoctoral representative of CVSS for three consecutive years (2015–2018) and as VP-Elect (2019–2020) for CVSS. Dr. Achanta also serves as Web Director for the Terrorism and Inhalation Disaster Section of the American Thoracic Society.

CTPVSS Officer

Sonika Patial, DVM, PhD, DACVP


Dr. Patial is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Comparative Biomedical Sciences at the Louisiana State University, College of Veterinary Medicine. She received her DVM from the College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Palampur, India and her PhD from Michigan State University in 2010. Thereafter, she completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and residency in Veterinary Anatomic Pathology at Louisiana State University. She was certified by the American College of Veterinary Pathologists in 2019. She is currently mentoring three graduate students and one post-doctoral fellow and has been on Dean’s Teacher Merit Honor Roll for the last three years. Her research program is focused on determining the health effects of environmental pollutants including ozone and hepatotoxicants on lung and liver physiology. She is an author or co-author on 28 peer-reviewed publications of which one was selected as “NIEHS Paper of the Year” and another was highlighted on the journal’s cover page. Dr. Patial is an active member of SOT since 2015 besides other organizations such as STP, AAI, and ASIP. She has received several honors and awards from these organizations including abstract awards from STP (2016), AAI Early Career Investigator award (2018), and Early Career Faculty Scholar Award from ASIP (2020). She is an active member of the Phi Zeta Society and has served as a Councilor and Treasurer of the Tau Chapter of Phi Zeta since 2019. She has also chaired “career development sessions” at NIEHS (2012–2016) and has also written articles for E-factor, an online news website for NIEHS. Towards her potential role as a Councilor of CTPVSS, she is looking forward to enhancing the membership of the specialty section, proposal development on environmentally-relevant research topics, organize annual meetings, and help advocate and grow CTPVSS as an organization.

CTPVSS Officer

Elizabeth S. Roberts, DVM, PhD, DABT


Dr. Roberts is a licensed veterinarian and board-certified toxicologist (DABT) with 15+ years of industry experience. Dr. Roberts is currently the Global Head of Safety at Dechra Pharmaceuticals PLC responsible for setting the global strategy for hazard and exposure assessment of all candidates in development (innovative and generic). She leads the Safety Team in the design, execution, interpretation, and reporting of safety studies, performance of due diligence investigations for potential new investment opportunities, and risk assessment for out-of-specification and impurities associated with the manufacture of veterinary medicinal products. Along with her team of toxicologists, she ensures the delivery of all safety objectives and the achievement of key performance indicators with operational excellence. Dr. Roberts is a recognized expert in the assessment of clinical safety in pharmaceutical laboratory and field trials conducted globally in food animal, equine, and companion animal species and as a safety expert technical lead in the area of feline dermatology and veterinary biotherapeutics. She has been successful in the submission and approval of multiple global products in the areas of postoperative pain and inflammation; dermatology; and internal and external parasitic diseases of the dog, cat, and sheep. She maintains an active role in veterinary medicine, is an international invited speaker and lecturer in toxicology and clinical nutrition and is the author of more than 40 scientific publications.

Dr. Roberts received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and Doctorate in Physiology and Nutrition from North Carolina State University in 1996 and 2000, respectively. She was a postdoctoral fellow in the North Carolina State-US Environmental Protection Agency cooperative and the CIIT Centers for Health Research (formerly the Hamner Institute). Dr. Roberts was elected to the Board of the American Board of Toxicology in 2020 and serves on various committees. She has been a member in good standing of the Society of Toxicology since 2003, was awarded the SOT’s Risk Assessment Specialty Section outstanding presentation in risk assessment by a post-doctoral scientist in 2006, and is an associate of the North Carolina chapter.

CTPVSS Postdoc Rep

Catherine F. Wise, PhD

Postdoctoral Representative

Dr. Catherine Wise is a Postdoctoral Associate at the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University. Her research investigates environmental exposures in pet dogs as a One Environmental Health model to ascertain critical information about potential exposure risks for disease etiology across species; with an overarching goal to demonstrate pet dogs as powerful sentinel species for human health. She received her doctorate in toxicology from North Carolina State University in 2020. She has been a member of SOT since 2017 and presented posters as an undergraduate researcher at four annual meetings (2011–2014). She was a runner-up in the NC SOT 2019 regional chapter meeting graduate student platform presentation competition and was a recipient of the SOT 2020 graduate student travel award. She is an author of 16 publications, including peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, ranging from cell culture-based studies to environmental exposure studies. Her work has focused on numerous species including whales, alligators, sea turtles, and dogs. Dr. Wise served SOT in the past as an undergraduate student host and as Councilor for the Postdoctoral Assembly.

CTPVSS Graduate Student Rep

Catherine Rojas, BS

Graduate Student Representative

Ms. Rojas is a Ph.D. student in the Rutgers University Joint Graduate Program in Toxicology, where she is working under the mentorship of Dr. Debra Laskin to understand ozone-induced inflammatory pathways in mouse lungs. She received her Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry/ Molecular Biology from Stockton University in 2019. She worked as a medical laboratory technician for Bio reference Laboratories where she validated new methods for COVID-19 detection in pharyngeal samples and trained employees on essential techniques. She has received fellowships from SUPER-GRAD and IMSD which aim to support driven Ph.D. students who come from underrepresented backgrounds.

To contact the CTPVSS Specialty Section Leadership, please send an email to SOT Headquarters.

Download the Executive Committee Officer Roles and Responsibilities .