Look Back at the Division of Chemical Toxicology Program 2019

October 2019 Newsletter

Table of Contents

Look Back at the Division of Chemical Toxicology Program at the American Chemical Society National Meeting

by Thomas Spratt, outgoing program chair.

The Program Committee thanks the NIEHS, Chemical Research in Toxicology, the ACS, TOXI members, and Frederick and Susan Beland for funding our program.  Review the Program and read the abstracts.

The TOXI program began early on Sunday morning with Harry Gray entertaining us with his experiments investigating electron movement within proteins.  This session revolving on Translation Aspects of DNA repair also included talks by Lawrence J Marnett, Irene Chiolo, John S Termini, and Yilun Liu.  This session was organized Sarah Shuck.  This was the first time that Sarah organized a session for TOXI, and it was an outstanding, very well-attended session.

Sunday afternoon was the Founders’ Award symposium organized by this year’s winner Trevor Penning.   The Founders’ Award is given by the Division of Chemical Toxicology to members whose work exemplifies excellence and innovation in the general field of chemical toxicology.  Trevor Penning has performed outstanding research in the areas of chemical toxicology and environmental science with over 500 publication. His research interest is in the role of aldo-keto reductases (AKRs) in intracrine hormone biosynthesis as it relates to prostate and breast cancer; and the development of inhibitors for said enzymes as chemical probes and therapeutics.  Trevor invited  Lawrence J Marnett, Ian A Blair, Vasilis Vasilou and John D Hayes to speak at the symposium in his honor on the topic of The Role of Carbonyl Metabolism in Health & Disease. Read more

Chair Shana Sturla presents the Founders’ Award to Trevor Penning

Trevor is the second individual from the University of Pennsylvania to win the Founder’s Award; Ian Blair won it two years ago.  Vanderbilt University (Larry Marnett and Fred Guengerich) and NYU (Nicholas Geacintov and Susy Brode) have also produced two Founders’ Award winners.

For those keeping score, Larry Marnett was invited to present two talks, in the Translational Aspects of DNA repair symposium he presented Competition between repair and oxidation of the endogenous DNA adduct, 3(2-deoxy-β-D-erythro-pentofuranosyl)pyrimido[1,2-α]purin-10(3H)-one (M1dG) while in the Founders’ Symposium he presented Histone modification by bifunctional electrophiles derived from lipid and carbohydrate metabolism,  However Larry was not alone in having multiple presentations at this year’s meeting.  Arnold Groehler traveled from South Korea to present a talk at the TOXI Young Investigators symposium Development of an Ultra Performance Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (UPLC-MS) Assay for the Quantification of Cisplatin-Induced DNA Intra- and Interstrand Cross-Links, in addition to a poster Studying the assembly of nucleotide excision repair complexes by biochemical and crosslinking mass spectrometry approaches.  Not to be outdone, Kurt Housh also present a talk Interstrand cross-links at strand breaks derived from abasic sites in duplex DNA and a poster Facile synthesis of DNA duplexes containing a chemically-defined, derivatizable, covalent cross-link.

On Monday Morning we had our TOXI young investigator symposium.  This symposium featured eleven talks by graduate students and post-doctoral scholars.  As outgoing program chair, I thank Erin Prestwich and Ujjal Sarkar for organizing this event for the past three years. We present awards to outstanding presentations.  This year the winning graduate students were  (1) Jessica R Murray, from Trevor M Penning’s lab, (2) Jenna Fernandez, from Natalia Y Tretyakova’s lab and (3) Judy Zhu from  Cindy Burrows’ lab.   The post-doc winners were (1)  Arnold Groehler (Orlando Schärer’s lab) and Yupeng Li (Stephen S Hecht’s lab)

On Monday Afternoon we had a joint symposium between TOXI and the Divisional of Medicinal Chemistry. Fred Guengerich and Nick Meanwall organized a symposium entitled Current Approaches to Discovery Phase Safety Assessment in the Industry.  In this symposium , scientist for six pharmaceutical companies described how they examine the safety of new drugs:   Mark Fielden (Amgen),  Joseph R Piccotti (Celgene), Russell Naven (Takeda),  Kevin J Coe (Janssen), Michael Gill (Bristol-Myers Squibb), and  Kaushik Mitra (Merck).  In my tenure as Program Chair, Fred and Nick organized three outstanding MEDI-TOXI joint symposia.  I thank them for their innovative ideas in drug toxicology topics

On Tuesday morning our symposium was our new Emerging Topics of Chemical Toxicology.  This session differed from our other thematic symposia in that the topics were not on a specific theme, but focused on innovative and/or timely research.  This year Antony J Williams discussed the EPA’s CompTox Chemicals Dashboard; Sheila S David discussed the connection between DNA Chemistry to Cancer; Irina Stepanov key considerations in designing E-cigarette in vitro and in vivo toxicology studies:and  Robert Sobol  identifying genotoxic signatures of DNA repair deficiencies.  If you enjoyed this type of symposium, let new Program Chair Penny Beuning or Program Chair-Select Michael Trakselis know.

On Tuesday afternoon, we attended the Chemical Research in Toxicology Young Investigator Symposium.  This award is given to an investigator within 15 years of receiving a PhD making significant contributions studying mechanisms of toxicity of exogenous or endogenous compounds. Silvia Balbo won the award this year for her work on tobacco and e-cigarettes.  Previous winners were Yinsheng Wang, Dean Naisbitt, Shana SturlaPenny Beuning, Yimon Aye, Huiwang Ai, and Simon Chan.

Editor-in-Chief Shana Sturla presents Young Investigator Award to Silvia Balbo
Silvia Balbo invited Peter Villalta, Gary Patti and Jiri Zavadil to speak at the symposium


Tuesday afternoon continued with the Keynote Lecture give by Brian Berridge, the Associate Director of the US National Toxicology Program.  He discussed his vision of how the NTP will evaluate toxicants in a talk entitled  “Embracing translation in toxicology: National toxicology program strategy.”

Tuesday Evening culminated with our Reception, Poster Session and Business Meeting.  Our reception consisted of crudite, pasta, flautas and a cash bar.   The science in the posters was excellent.  Awards for top poster presentations were given to:graduate students Ying Tan (Yinsheng Wang lab), Jiehong Guo,(Stephen S Hecht lab)  and Brent V Powell, (Ashis K Basu lab).  Post-doc winners were Medjda Bellamri (Rob Turesky lab); Kai Luo, (Stephen Hecht lab)  and Cindy Khuu (Sheila S David lab)

Tom Spratt, Ying Tan, Cindy Khuu , Brent Powell, Arnold Groehler, Yupeng Li, Kai Lou, Jiehong Guo, Judy Zhuu, Jenna Fernandez, Jessica Murray, Medjda Bellamri, Shana Sturla


On Wednesday morning, Natalia Tretyakova and Yinsheng Wang organized a symposium entitled “Epigenetic Response to Endogenous & Exogenous Toxins.”  In addition to Natalia and Yinsheng, Aaron Fleming, Yael David and Dong Wang discussed their current research.  On Wednesday Afternoon, the last session consisted of 11 short talks of contributed papers.  I thank Penny Beuning and Lin Zhao for organizing and presiding over this session.