2024–2025 Executive Committee

CTPVSS Councilor

Sunish Mohanan, BVSc, MS, PhD, Diplomate ACVP


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 PhD 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

Sonika Patial, DVM, PhD, Diplomate ACVP

Vice President

Dr. Patial is a Scientist/Pathologist in the Division of Translational Toxicology at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences where she leads the Toxicologic Pathology Training Program and is actively involved in translational environmental health research. Prior to this, she worked as a Tenure-Track Assistant Professor in the Department of Comparative Biomedical Sciences at Louisiana State University, School 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 a residency in Veterinary Anatomic Pathology at Louisiana State University. She is an author and co-author of more than 40 publications that include peer-reviewed publications and book chapters. She has received multiple awards over the years that includes recent university-wide LSU Alumni Association Rising Faculty Award and LSU Lung COBRE Successful Graduation award. She has also served on multiple NIH study sections in the last six years. Dr. Patial has been an active member of the SOT since 2015. She is also involved in other organizations including STP, ACVP, AAI, and ASIP. For the Comparative Toxicology, Pathology, and Veterinary Specialty Section Specialty Section (CTPVSS), she served as a Councilor between 2021–2023. Towards her potential role as a Vice President-Elect for the CTPVSS, she is looking forward to increasing the membership, providing mentorship opportunities to trainees, proposal development on environmentally relevant research topics, organizing Annual Meetings and mixers for members, and helping advocate and grow CTPVSS as an organization.

CTPVSS Officer

Tracey Papenfuss, DVM, MS, PhD, DACVP, FIATP

Vice President-Elect

Dr. Tracey L. Papenfuss is a board-certified veterinary pathologist and PhD immunologist with areas of professional interest in immunopathology and immunotoxicology evaluation, particularly for immune-impacting therapies and novel immunotherapies. She received her BS from the University of Fairbanks, Alaska, DVM and MS in veterinary biosciences from the University of Minnesota, and completed her residency and PhD in immunology from The Ohio State University. She held an appointment as research faculty and directed an NIH-funded immunopathology and early discovery immunotherapeutics laboratory at The Ohio State University studying immunological and anti-inflammatory therapies in animal models of autoimmunity, immuno-oncology, and infectious diseases. In 2014, she moved to industry to work as a toxicologic pathologist for discovery and safety assessment projects at WIL Research, MPI Research, Charles River, and StageBio. She is a Senior Pathologist, leads the Immune Service line, and provides scientific guidance to clients at StageBio. She has deep expertise in immunology and pathology which she leverages to promote biomedical research and promotes scientific engagement and consultation across teams to optimize science, operations, business growth, and policy.

Dr. Papenfuss is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Pathology (DACVP), a fellow of the International Academy of Toxicologic Pathology (IATP), and is an active member in numerous scientific organizations including the Society of Toxicologic Pathology (STP), Society of Toxicology (SOT), Health and Environmental Sciences Immunosafety Technical Committee (HESI-ITC), the American College of Toxicology (ACT), and American College of Veterinary Pathology (ACVP). She holds leadership positions in many of these organizations and focuses on promoting scientific education and outreach within comparative and translational biomedical fields. She has also mentored numerous trainees and early career scientists in both the veterinary, biomedical, pathology, and immunology fields and highlighted career opportunities within academia, industry, and beyond. Dr. Papenfuss has published over 50 articles and book chapters and given numerous presentations both nationally and internationally on the subjects of: immunology, pathology, immunosafety, veterinary and comparative medicine, and translational biomedical sciences.

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 Hepatobiliary system (STP). He is 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

Katharine Ann Marie Horzmann, DVM, PhD, DACVP

Past President and Councilor

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 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 receipent of the Roger O. McCellan Student Award and the Toshio Narahashi Neurotoxicology Fellowship Award. She has served as the Graduate Student Represenative of the Ohio Valley Regional Chapter (2018–2019), as Councilor of the Toxicologic and Exploratory Pathology Specality 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 sport fencing, hiking, and spending time outdoors.

CTPVSS Officer

Govindarajan Thangavelu, DVM, MSc, PhD, DABT


Govindarajan Thangavelu is working in the industry specializing in the development of CAR-T cells. He holds a veterinary medical degree from Madras Veterinary College and is a board-certified toxicologist. Dr. Thangavelu received his doctorate in immunology from the University of Alberta and was a research fellow at the University of Minnesota. He is the author or co-author of 30+ publications and a book chapter. He has been a member of the editorial board for a few peer-reviewed journals.

CTPVSS Officer

Christina Wilson-Frank, MS, PhD, DABT


Dr. Wilson-Frank received her MS degree (2001) in toxicology and PhD in analytical chemistry (2006) from Purdue University. She has a dual appointment at Purdue University, serving as the Supervisor of the Toxicology Section at the Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory and as a Clinical Professor of Toxicology in the Department of Comparative Pathobiology. Under her direction, the Toxicology Section provides veterinary diagnostic testing services at the state, regional, and federal levels to diagnose toxicities in companion animals, aquatic species, wildlife, and food animals. Due to her expertise in analytical chemistry and diagnostic toxicology, Dr. Wilson-Frank has previously served on committees to provide input on analytical methods development and method validation guidelines for the US Food and Drug Administration through the Food Emergency Response Network (FERN) and the Veterinary Laboratory Investigation and Response Network (Vet-LIRN). As faculty, she is actively involved in teaching analytical chemistry or clinical toxicology in the DVM and forensic sciences programs at Purdue University in the professional, graduate and undergraduate curriculums. Peer-reviewed publications and book chapters for which Dr. Wilson-Frank has authored/co-authored encompass diagnostic toxicology case studies, validated toxicology tests developed in her laboratory, and toxicoproteomics. She has been a member of the Society of Toxicology and the Comparative and Veterinary Specialty Section since 2008 and has served as Councilor (2016–2018) and Treasurer (2007–2009) and President (2011–2012) of the Midwest Regional Chapter of the Society of Toxicology. She has also served as President of the American Academy of Veterinary and Comparative Toxicology (2017–2019) and is a Diplomate of the American Board of Toxicology.

CTPVSS Postdoc Rep

Ishita Choudhary, PhD

Postdoctoral Representative

Dr. Ishita Choudhary is a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Department of Population Health and Pathobiology at North Carolina State University. She received her PhD (2019-2023) from Louisiana State University. Her dissertation research was focused on investigating the cell-specific role of IL4Rα signaling in allergic asthma pathogenesis. Besides allergic asthma, she is also interested in investigating the pathogenesis of ozone-induced lung diseases, cystic fibrosis, and bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis. Prior to her PhD, she received a Bachelor of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry (BVSc & AH; DVM equivalent) degree from India and worked as a veterinarian for four years. She has been an active member of SOT, the Society of Toxicologic Pathology (STP), American Association of Immunologists (AAI), International Eosinophil Society (IES), and the American College of Toxicology (ACT). She received more than 20 honors and awards. She has presented multiple posters and delivered platform talks at various regional and national level meetings. She is an author of 11 publications involving research on cancer, LPS-induced model of acute lung injury, ozone-induced lung injury, cystic fibrosis, and proteomics and transcriptomics studies. As the CTPVSS Postdoctoral representative, Dr. Choudhary wishes to avail this opportunity to increase the involvement of students and postdocs in the CTPVSS and would like to contribute to expanding the educational activities of this Specialty Section.

CTPVSS Graduate Student Rep

Gina Capece, BS

Graduate Student Representative

Gina Capece is a PhD student in the Rutgers University Joint Graduate Program in Toxicology, where she is working under the mentorship of Dr. Lauren Poole to characterize the role of blood coagulation in chronic liver disease. She received her Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from The Pennsylvania State University in 2022 and graduated cum laude from the Schreyer Honors College and Millennium Scholars Program. During her undergraduate career, Ms. Capece participated in the STEP-UP NIH program at George Washington University as well as the RISE and SURF programs at Rutgers University. She was a recipient of the Rutgers SUPER-GRAD Fellowship, which is awarded to top scholars from underrepresented backgrounds. Additionally, she was selected as a recipient of the 2022-2023 Grover Fellowship to support her graduate studies. Ms. Capece currently serves as a teaching assistant for the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy. She has been a member of SOT since 2022.

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

Download the Executive Committee Officer Roles and Responsibilities .