My two-year term as the Chair of the ACS Division of Chemical Toxicology (TOXI) expired on December 31, 2018. Shana
Sturla, Professor of Toxicology at ETH, Zürich, and the new Editor-in-Chief of the journal Chemical Research in Toxicology, succeeds me in this position for a two-year term. It has been my pleasure to serve in that capacity with some wonderful people in the TOXI Executive Committee and the membership who generously gave their time and energy to foster the interests of our Division.
This past year, the annual meeting of the TOXI Division was held in historic Boston. The highlights of the meeting are discussed in the most recent TOXI Newsletter. Here, I will focus on other divisional news and activities.
In conjunction with the Division’s Executive Committee, we restructured the appointment schedules of our Program Chairs who have the responsibility of organizing our annual scientific meetings. These meetings represent one of the most important activities of our Division. They offer us opportunities for learning about different topics in chemical toxicology, and to meet face-to-face with colleagues and friends to discuss topics of mutual interest. Even those who are unable to attend these meetings, can view the program listings online and browse through ~ 90 – 100 TOXI abstracts.
Tom Spratt has been the Program Chair and organizer for the past two TOXI meetings (2017 and 2018), and will continue in this position for another year in 2019. A Program Committee consisting of five senior TOXI members assists the Program Chair in planning the contents of the meetings and to offer other advice as necessary. This year, the TOXI leadership decided to reorganize the appointment schedules to ensure the smooth transitions from one Program Chair to another. Two Program Chairs have been appointed: Penny Buening (2020-2021) is Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology and Northeastern University, and Michael Trakselis (2022-2023) Is Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Baylor University. These early appointments ensure the continuity of this most important science programming activity at least until the end of 2023. Each Program Chair will serve as the Program co-chair in the preceding two years in order to become familiar with the demands of this position before they assume the full responsibility that comes with it.
One of the important and ongoing efforts of our Division is to include a larger cross-section of the members in leadership activities and functions. In order to better engage younger members in the affairs of our Division, a Program Development Committee (PDC) was organized. The PDC members are appointed (11 members) that include Ujjal Sarkar (AstraZeneca) who helped me to organize this Committee. The new PDC committee has already made significant contributions by suggesting topics for future annual meetings, and by helping Tom during the 2018 meeting in Boston; they chaired some of the sessions, and helped to select the best poster and oral presentations at the Young Investigator Symposium. Thanks to a generous donation from Fred and Suan Beland, the TOXI Division was able to partially support the travel of eight young investigators (graduate students and postdocs) to the 2018 TOXI Boston meeting.
A highlight of this past year included the selection of Judy Bolton as the winner of the 2018 ACS Division of Chemical Toxicology Founders Award. Judy is the head of the Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy Department at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and has a long and distinguished research record in various areas of chemical toxicology, hormonal carcinogenesis, and chemoprevention related to post-menopausal women’s health issues. Recently, she has been focusing on the effects of botanical supplements in the treatment of menopause symptoms and cancer prevention, which was the topic of her Award lecture at the 2018 Boston meeting. Related to this event, Judy was interviewed by Chemical & Engineering News (September 3, 2018 issue), and authored an exciting forthcoming review in Chemical Research in Toxicology regarding molecular targets of hops compounds as natural alternatives to traditional hormone therapy for relieving menopausal symptoms. link to paper
In closing, I extend my best wishes to Shana for a successful two years as TOXI Chair. I am sure that she will be very successful. I look forward to serving these two years as the Past Chair and as a member of the Executive Committee.
Past Chair, Division of Chemical Toxicology