Environmental Factor, September 2009, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Wilson Chairs Gordon Conference on Genetic Toxicology
By Eddy Ball
NIEHS Laboratory of Structural Biology (http://www.niehs.nih.gov/research/atniehs/labs/lsb/index.cfm) (LSB) Principal Investigator Samuel Wilson, M.D., (http://www.niehs.nih.gov/research/atniehs/labs/lsb/dnarna/index.cfm) served as the chair of the 2009 Gordon Conference on Genetic Toxicology August 9—14 at Colby-Sawyer College in New London, NH. Among the approximately 150 attendees were several NIEHS intramural scientists and grantees who made presentations, along with other specialists in public sector and private sector research. More than 25 percent of posters entered into competition represented the work of NIEHS-supported investigators.
Genetic toxicology is an interdisciplinary endeavor that combines investigations into structural, molecular and cellular biology, genetics, biochemistry, epidemiology, toxicology, adverse drug reactions, toxicogenomics and hazard assessment. The program (http://www.grc.org/programs.aspx?year=2009&program=gentox) was divided into four areas of investigation - Environmental and Endogenous Genotoxic Stress, Mutagenesis and Lesion By-Pass, Chromatin and Links to Genotoxicity, and DNA Damage and Cellular Decisions
Presentations by NIEHS intramural scientists reflected the broad range of research interests reported during the meeting. LSB Chief Tom Kunkel, Ph.D., explored "Efficiency of repairing polymerase- and strand-specific DNA replication errors." Laboratory of Molecular Genetics (LMG) Principal Investigator Mike Resnick, Ph.D., addressed "The expanding p53 universe of target genes," and his colleague, Staff Scientist Dmitry Gordenin, Ph.D., spoke on "Damage-induced localized hypermutability." Former LMG Principal Investigator Ben Van Houten, Ph.D., who is now at the University of Pittsburgh, discussed "Reactive oxygen species an genotoxic stress."
Notable NIEHS grantees included Director of the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health Frederica Perera, Dr.P.H., and Massachussets Institute of Technology Professor and Director of the Center for Environmental Health Sciences Leona Samson, Ph.D. Perera described recent work with a cohort of mothers and infants in New York, "Effect of prenatal environmental exposures on the genome and epigenome." Samson focused on the inflammatory cascade linked to cancer in "Complex response to alkylating agents."
The biannual Gordon Conference on Genotoxicology was first convened in 1981. The meetings provide an international forum for the presentation and discussion of pioneering research in the biological, chemical, and physical sciences, as well as their related technologies.