April 2020 Newsletter

April 2020 Newsletter

Message from Chair
Call for Abstracts
Founders’ Award
TOXI National ACS Meeting Program
Travel Awards for Students and Post-Docs
TOXI Future National ACS meeting program
Chemical Research in Toxicology, Young Investigator Award

Message from Chair

I hope all members of our TOXI community, and friends and family are safe and healthy in these extraordinary times. I live in Switzerland, and we are experiencing one of the most rapid growth rates of disease worldwide and the actual numbers are much higher than reported confirmations.  At the moment, plans are well underway for the ACS meeting in San Francisco in August and I am hopeful that widespread action now to curb disease transmission will give us a brighter outlook by then. With co-workers and colleagues locked out of the lab and office, it is a good time to keep some positive momentum on scientific activities you are always trying to fit in between the fray: write an abstract, nominate a colleague for an award, write a manuscript or review article for CRT!  The abstract deadline for our meeting has been extended to 20 April, however, we do not expect the possibility of a further extension and our program planning team are eager to see your contributions come in. Of course, if you choose to make any travel arrangements for the meeting, be sure you have appropriate insurance. Read more in this newsletter about the fantastic program, exciting announcement of this year’s CRT-TOXI Young Investigator Awardee and Open Nomination Calls.

Wishing you my very best in taking care of yourselves and others, and keeping the Safety in TOXI.

Shana Sturla
ETH Zurich
Chair, Division of Chemical Toxicology

Call for Abstracts

The Call for Abstracts is open for the Fall Meeting of the American Chemical Society in San Francisco CA, on August 16-20.  We have three open session in which scientists can submit abstracts.

  1. Student & Post-Doctoral Scholar Symposium is an oral session for students and post-docs.  Individuals present 15 minute talks with 5 minutes of discussion.
  2. Topics in Chemical Toxicology is oral session in which scientists present 15 minute talks with 5 minutes of discussion.
  3. General Posters is a poster session that occurs during our Division Reception.

Submit abstracts at: https://callforpapers.acs.org/sanfrancisco2020

Abstract submission deadline is April 20.

We hope to see you there!


Founders’ Award Winner:  Peter Dedon 

Pete Dedon is Underwood-Prescott Professor of Biological Engineering at MIT, and Lead Principal Investigator, Antimicrobial Resistance IRG, Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology.

Lab Web Site

Pete graduated with a B.A. in Chemistry from St. Olaf College in 1979, and then obtained an M.D. and a Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of Rochester in 1987. He went on to pursue 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.

Pete joined the Division of Chemical Toxicology at its beginning in 1996.  He served as Program Chair and on the Nominations Committee.  In addition he led the Finance Committee and stabilized our finances in the early 2000s.

Pete Dedon’s research program applies chemical approaches to understanding nucleic acid biology in human disease.His goals re to develop

  • new enzymatic tools for biotechnology,
  • new methods for industrial microbiology and protein production, and
  • novel antimicrobial agents in screening- and structure-based drug discovery programs.

His research group has developed a variety of analytical and informatic platforms for discovery science in epigenetics and epitranscriptomics in infectious disease and cancer.

He utilizes comparative genomics, single-molecule real-time sequencing, and mass spectrometry to discover novel epigenetic marks, such as the Dedon Lab’s recent discovery of phosphorothioate and 7-deazaguanine modifications in bacterial and bacteriophage genomes in the human microbiome.

In the realm of epitranscriptomics, his team has applied systems-level analytics to discover a mechanism of translational control of cell response in eukaryotes and bacteria involving site-specific reprogramming of tRNAs and an alternative genetic code.

TOXI National ACS meeting program

Program Chair, Penny Beuning, Northeastern University.

Abstract submission is open for the Fall ACS National Meeting, August 16-20, 2020, in San Francisco.
TOXI programming will be held Sunday-Wednesday. Submit abstracts at: https://callforpapers.acs.org/sanfrancisco2020

Abstract submission deadline is April 20.

There are several opportunities for oral presentations, and we expect there to be substantial travel funding for students and postdocs.

Symposium sessions are:

Chemical Exposures and Impact on Health.
Organizers: Rob Turesky, University of Minnesota, and Sarah Shuck, City of Hope

Chemical exposures linked to neurotoxicity and cognitive function is an area of ever-increasing importance to public health. The risk assessment of health hazards requires knowledge about environmental and chemical exposures, followed by mechanistic studies to understand toxicity, which can be linked to epidemiology observations and biomarkers on health effects in human cohorts. In this symposium, state-of-the-art mass spectrometry technologies are presented to identify exposures to a wide range of toxicants in the environment, followed by mechanistic studies on chemicals that impact cognitive function/neurotoxicity, and findings in human cohorts.

Jon Sobus, EPA National Exposure Research Laboratory
Kurt Pennell, Brown University
Pam Lein, MIND Institute, UC Davis
Jamie C. Dewitt, East Carolina University Brody School of Medicine
David Balshaw, NIEHS, Branch Chief, Exposure, Response, and Technology Branch

Genome-wide Perspectives on the Formation, Repair, and Consequences of DNA Damage.  Organizers: Sabrina Huber, ETH Zürich, and Maureen McKeague, McGill

Toxicant-induced, covalent modification of DNA, resulting in the formation of DNA adducts, is one of the earliest events in chemical carcinogenesis. If not repaired, these modifications can lead to mutations, which can alter gene expression and disrupt normal cell function. Thus, the study of DNA adduct formation, abundance, and mutagenic consequences is of fundamental importance to better understand the biological consequences of exposures and their associated mechanisms of toxicity as a basis for promoting prevention strategies in environmental health. This session will provide an overview of mutation signatures in toxicology, illustrate chemical approaches to shed light on mechanisms of DNA damage, repair, and maintenance in normal physiology and disease.

Maureen McKeague, McGill
Aaron Fleming, University of Utah
Sarah Delaney, Brown University
John J. Wyrick, Washington State University
John Essigmann, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Metabolism of Fluorinated Compounds and Safety Relevance
Organizers: Nicholas Meanwell, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Fred Guengerich, Vanderbilt University

Fluorine is widely used in medicinal chemistry and of the 38 small molecule drugs that were approved by the FDA in 2018, 18 contain fluorine. In the presence of a nucleophile or drug-metabolizing enzymes, the release of fluoride can be facile and for a drug suffering from significant C−F bond cleavage, fluoride’s strong affinity for bones may lead to safety issues such as skeletal fluorosis. Considering the reactivity of some fluorinated drugs and their metabolites, they may alkylate biological targets and lead to toxicity, especially if the fluorine is positioned close to a cysteine thiol when the drug molecule is bound to an off-target protein. Cytochrome P450-mediated hydroxylation at fluorinated aliphatic carbons can also release fluoride and produce toxic metabolites.

Nicholas Meanwell, Bristol-Myers Squibb
Benjamin Johnson, Bristol-Myers Squibb
Qiuwei Xu, Merck
Russell Naven, Takeda
Peter Jeschke, Bayer

Toxicology of Antibody-Drug Conjugates.  Organizers: Natalia Tretyakova, University of Minnesota, and Michael Trakselis, Baylor University

Antibody-drug conjugates (ADC) represent an exciting new area of anticancer drug discovery. This approach allows for targeted drug delivery to the tumor with increased accuracy and reduced side effects. However, studies in laboratory animals and clinical trials revealed unexpected dose limiting toxicity for many ADCs, which is not completely understood. This session will focus on the design, clinical effects, and mechanisms of toxicity ADCs. ADC drugs currently in clinical trials, novel approaches, and challenges with ADC safety will be discussed.

Carolyn Bertozzi, Stanford
Peter Senter, Seattle Genetics
Willy Solis, Sutro Biopharma
Melissa Schutten, Genentech
Jagath Reddy, ModMabs


Keynote address

The Keynote address will be presented by Cynthia Burrows.  Dr Burrows is Distinguished Professor and Thatcher Presidential Endowed Chair of Biological Chemistry at the University of Utah.  She has performed outstanding research in mechanisms of DNA damage formation and repair.


Chemical Research in Toxicology Young Investigator Award

The Chemical Research in Toxicology Young Investigator Elijah Peterson of the National Institute of Standards and Technology  will organize a session.

Founders Award Lecture and Symposium

The Founders’ Award recipient this year is Peter Dedon from MIT.

Poster session

This session is currently accepting submissions.

Student and Post-Doctoral Scholar Symposium

This session is currently accepting submissions.

Topics in Chemical Toxicology

This session is currently accepting submissions.

Travel Grants for Students and Post-docs

The Division of Chemical Toxicology (TOXI) will make available Travel Assistance Awards to undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral researchers. The awards, up to $750, will reimburse travel and hotel costs for the National ACS meeting in San Francisco this August (receipts will be required). Applications will be awarded on the basis of financial need, scientific merit, and diversity factors. Preference will be given to first-time attendees.

All students and postdocs who are members or affiliates of TOXI and who have submitted an abstract to the TOXI program at National ACS meeting are eligible to apply.  You can register to be a TOXI member by downloading our application and mailing it to our treasurer.

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.

TOXI Future National ACS meeting program

We invite you to suggest TOXI symposia for future ACS National Meetings. Note that programming occurs well in advance of the national meeting. Proposals for the 2021 meeting (August 22 – 26, 2021, in Atlanta, GA) are due May 15, 2020.

Early submissions are encouraged as proposals are considered as they are submitted. Proposals not selected for the current meeting may be considered for future meetings.

The symposium proposal form is at: http://www.acschemtox.org/news-and-events/ under Symposium Proposals.

Get involved and make sure TOXI programming is of wide interest!

Chemical Research in Toxicology Young Investigator Awardee Elijah Peterson

The 2020 Chemical Research in Toxicology Young Investigator Award goes to Elijah Petersen, Research Scientist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Petersen will be invited to 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. The session will include a lecture by the award winner and scientific presentations by the award winner’s choice of speakers.