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Division of Chemical Toxicology

The mission of the Division is to improve human health and public welfare by promoting the understanding of chemical mechanisms that govern disease processes and the toxicity of drugs, environmental agents, and endogenous chemicals. This will be accomplished by (1) providing a forum for communicating research in the field of chemical toxicology; (2) encouraging further research into chemical mechanisms of toxicity; (3) providing a rigorous scientific basis for risk assessment; (4) providing continuing education, leadership training, and career development opportunities for our fellow chemists; and (5) sponsoring with other societies and divisions, symposia and other programs of mutual interest.

Division of Chemical Toxicology News

Pete Dedon has won the 2020 Founders’ Award.

Pete Dedon  is Underwood-Prescott Professor of Biological Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  He is Lead Principal Investigator, Antimicrobial Resistance IRG, Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology, and a Member of the MIT Center for Environmental Health Sciences

Biography: Peter Dedon graduated with a B.A. in Chemistry from St. Olaf College in 1979, and  an M.D. and a Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of Rochester in 1987. He pursued postdoctoral research in chromatin biology at the University of Rochester and the chemical biology of DNA-cleaving anticancer drugs at Harvard Medical School. In 1991, Dedon joined the MIT faculty and helped create the Department of Biological Engineering in 1998. As an Underwood Prescott Professor in Biological Engineering, he is currently the Lead PI in the SMART Antimicrobial Resistance group and a member of the MIT Center for Environmental Health Sciences.

Research in the Dedon Lab focuses on the chemical biology of nucleic acids in three broad areas: epigenetics, epitranscriptomics, and genetic toxicology.

Pete’s lab is using analytical chemical techniques to study the ~20 DNA modifications that comprise the epigenome and the >140 chemical modifications of all forms of RNA (epitranscriptomics).

The Dedon Lab uses comparative genomics, single-molecule real-time sequencing, and mass spectrometry to discover novel DNA modifications, such as phosphorothioate and 7-deazaguanine modifications in bacterial and bacteriophage genomes. Work in bacteriophage points to a tremendous variety of DNA modifications with implications for biotechnology, synthetic biology, and human health and disease. For example, we has lab has found oxidation-sensitive phosphorothioate DNA modifications in 10-20% of the organisms in the human microbiome.

In the realm of the epitranscriptome, they applied systems-level analytics to discover a mechanism of translational modulation of gene expression common to humans, parasites, yeast, bacteria, and viruses. Here, environmental stressors cause a “reprogramming” of dozens of tRNA modifications to facilitate selective translation of codon-biased mRNAs critical to the cell stress response and survival, with families of stress-response genes defined by unique biases in the use of synonymous codons.

The Dedon Lab has had a long-standing interest in chemical etiology of human disease, with a focus on the role of inflammation and endogenous DNA damage as drivers of carcinogenesis and age-related diseases. They developed a variety of analytical tools to interrogate genetic toxicology and endogenous molecular damage, including sensitive chromatography-coupled mass spectrometric methods to quantify dozens of different DNA, RNA and protein damage products.

Learn more about Peter Dedon’s work on his lab website.

The winner of the Chemical Research in Toxicology Young Investigator Award for 2020 is Elijah Peterson of the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
Elijah Peterson will lead a half-day conference session as part of the ACS Division of Chemical Toxicology program at the ACS Fall National Meeting in San Francisco, California.

Elijah graduated from Case Western Reserve University in 2003 with BS and MS degrees in Civil Engineering and a BA in Psychology. He received a PhD at the University of Michigan studying the uptake and elimination behaviors of carbon nanotubes using earthworms and sediment-dwelling oligochaetes. He then received a Fulbright scholarship to do postdoctoral research at the University of Joensuu in Finland where he studied the uptake and elimination of carbon nanotubes and fullerenes in Daphnia magna. Elijah joined NIST as a National Research Council postdoctoral research fellow from 2009-2010 and then became a staff research scientist in 2010.

Developing robust assays will enable understanding the potential risks of nanomaterials through the development of a scientifically rigorous research foundation. This will help enable the safe usage of these products thus promoting human and ecological health and facilitating economic activity through the safe commercialization of products utilizing nanotechnology.

His research involves developing robust standard methods for assessing the potential impacts of nanomaterials to organisms and humans.  He is studying how nanomaterials impact the standard battery of toxicological assays as well as developing new tests.  Thus, a research focus in my team is to identify potential artifacts and design control experiments and other modifications to those assays to minimize artifacts and misunderstandings. In addition, he is studying the use of NIST reference materials (RMs) as positive or negative controls for standard toxicity methods to improve assay reliability and generate reference data.

An example of his research is  the development of standard methods with C. elegans for use with nanomaterials and the application of advanced microscopy techniques to improve the robustness of the assays. The sources of variability for an ISO method for C. elegans growth inhibition are being evaluated through cause & effect analysis and experimentation to identify the most critical sources of variability in the assay. I am also focused on the development of methods to accurately quantify nanomaterial concentrations in environmental matrices and organisms to enable bioaccumulation protocols and provide number-based nanoparticle concentrations.

 

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Previous winners of the award are:

2012:  Yinsheng Wang

2013:  Dean Naisbitt

2014:  Shana Sturla

2015:  Penny Beuning

2016:  Yimon Aye

2017:  Huiwang Ai

2018:  Simon Chan

2019: Silvia Balbo

Visit the CRT website for more information

Travel Awards to the 258th ACS Meeting in San Franciosco.

Travel awards for students and post-docs will be available for the TOXI Program at the ACS Meeting  in San Diego.  The students and post-docs will receive up to $750 to help pay for their travel expenses to the ACS Meeting.

The student must

  • be presenting a poster or talk at the TOXI program
  • be a TOXI member.  (You can join now.  Download application and follow instructions)

The application should consist of a single pdf file containing:

1.       A nomination letter from the faculty advisor or laboratory director. The letter should explain why Travel Assistance Award funds are needed.

2.       A curriculum vitae for the applicant.

3.       The abstract for the work to be presented by the nominee at the meeting.

Email applications to Program Chair Penny Beuning at P.Beuning@northeastern.edu.

The deadline for applications is May 15, 2020.

ACS Fellows 2020 Class.

Now is the time to nominate members of the Division to become ACS Fellows. These nominations can be made by individuals or by the TOXI Division. Divisional nominations made by the Chair of the Division are limited to no more than 4.

The American Chemical Society Fellow  designation is awarded to a member who has made

  1. exceptional contributions to the science or profession and
  2. has provided excellent volunteer service to the ACS community.

Successful nominations need to document scientific accomplishments and service to ACS. Nominations without documentation of a considerable service component will be declined.  To learn more about the nomination process and for a list of current ACS fellows please visit: ACS Fellows Website

Contact Kent Gates, Chair, Awards Committee Division of Toxicology if you would like the Division to consider a nomination at gatesk@missouri.edu

Contact Thomas Spratt if you would like to add another news item to this page