NIEHS and National Toxicology Program (NTP) Director Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., will receive the Distinguished Toxicology Scholar award at the 56th annual Society of Toxicology (SOT) meeting in Baltimore. In addition, NIEHS and NTP scientists will present dozens of talks and scientific posters throughout the Mar. 12-16 conference.
The Distinguished Toxicology Scholar award recognizes an accomplished SOT member who has made substantial contributions to the field of toxicology and is still actively involved in toxicological research. During her Mar. 15 award lecture, Birnbaum will discuss how research on dioxins, which are harmful industrial byproducts that do not easily break down, contributed to the discovery of the aryl hydrocarbon (Ah) receptor in cells. When activated, the Ah receptor helps to mediate the toxic effects of dioxins. It is also a key regulatory protein for development and cell differentiation.
“I am thrilled to receive this award from an organization that has been so central to my career as a toxicologist and leader in environmental health,” said Birnbaum. “I am also looking forward to reviewing what we’ve learned about the multifaceted Ah receptor through research on dioxins.”
Recognition for advancing animal welfare
NTP contractor David Allen, Ph.D., will receive the 2017 Enhancement of Animal Welfare award from SOT during a Mar. 12 ceremony. This annual award acknowledges an SOT member who is developing laboratory methods that reduce the need for animal testing.
Allen, of Integrated Laboratory Systems, Inc., is a lead researcher for the NTP Interagency Center for the Evaluation of Alternative Toxicological Methods (NICEATM) support contract, where he directs a team of scientists in the evaluation and validation of alternative approaches to toxicity testing, to reduce the use of animals. Allen has supported NICEATM and the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods (ICCVAM) for more than 15 years.
“I'm certainly humbled to receive this award, but I'm even more proud that it's a recognition of the amazing people I've been fortunate enough to surround myself with,” Allen said. “This really is a collective team award that I'm proud to accept on their behalf.”
Opportunities to learn more about NIEHS and NTP
The popular Meet the Directors session on Mar. 13 will give attendees a chance to interact with Birnbaum and Robert Kavlock, Ph.D., deputy assistant administrator for science in the Office of Research and Development at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The question-and-answer format provides an opportunity for informal discussion about the operation of these federal organizations and upcoming scientific priorities.
ICCVAM is hosting two prominent events. “Developing a Strategy and Roadmap on New Approaches for Safety Testing of Drugs and Chemicals in the U.S.” is a strategic planning session scheduled for March 13. A review of “ICCVAM Tools for Validation and Regulatory Application of Alternative Methods,” co-sponsored by NTP, the National Library of Medicine, and EPA, will take place on March 15.
The NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP) is presenting a historical highlights session Mar. 15 titled “NIEHS Superfund Research Program: A History of Cutting-Edge Science and Innovative Technologies.” The session will review contributions over the past 30 years from SRP’s unique combination of scientific research and engineering solutions.
Researchers interested in applying for NIEHS-sponsored grants can attend multiple information sessions hosted by the NIEHS Division of Extramural Research and Training. Meeting attendees can drop in or set up an appointment with NIEHS program officers in the Research Funding Insights room, available daily March 13-15. There will also be a Mar. 14 special session titled “Research Funding 101: Multiple Perspectives.”
(Virginia Guidry, Ph.D., is a technical writer and public information specialist in the NIEHS Office of Communications and Public Liaison, and a regular contributor to the Environmental Factor.)