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Environmental Factor, January 2012

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Freedman represents NIEHS/NTP at conference in Peru

By Eddy Ball

Jonathan Freedman, Ph.D.

NIEHS/NTP representative Jonathan Freedman (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Crest of the National University of San Marcos

Crest of the National University of San Marcos

Try as she may, NIEHS/NTP Director Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., can’t attend every major meeting that NIEHS co-sponsors. For one such meeting, the II International Congress and IV Peruvian Congress of Toxicology in Lima, Peru Nov. 21-23, 2011, Birnbaum tapped NIEHS/NTP lead researcher Jonathan Freedman, Ph.D., to attend in her place.

Freedman is head of the NTP Biomolecular Screening Branch WormTox Group, which uses medium-throughput screening to study response to transition metals in a nematode, or roundworm, model. “Linda felt the content of the meeting would be interesting to the NIEHS community,” Freedman said afterwards. “Also, she likes the idea of Institute scientists going to less frequented locations to promote the NIEHS mission and environmental health in general.”

Advancing global environmental health

“NIEHS can contribute a lot to emerging cross-disciplinary toxicology programs worldwide,” Birnbaum explained. “Not surprisingly, toxicologists in developing countries look to NIEHS/NTP as a model for what good programs should be doing.”

The congress was organized by the Academic/Professional School of Toxicology of the National University of San Marcos in Lima, the oldest university in South America and widely considered the leading university in Peru. Like many developing countries, especially ones with a wealth of mineral resources, Peru is faced with developing the scientific infrastructure to deal with threats to its population’s environmental health.

The goals of the congress were to promote a multidisciplinary approach to general and environmental toxicology, disseminate information about risks to health and the environment from toxicants, stimulate scientific investigation especially in the area of mechanisms of toxicity, and emphasize the need to prevent, detect, and treat intoxications. The agenda included a series of precongress courses, roundtables, themed conferences, and platform sessions.

The Spanish Society of Toxicology co-sponsored the event. Society of Toxicology (SOT) member participation in the congress and other scientific activities in Peru was funded by the SOT Education Committee through the Global Toxicology Scholar Program.

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