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Environmental Factor, August 2012

Comparative genomics researcher gains toxicology certification

By Eddy Ball

Elena Braithwaite, Ph.D.

New diplomate Elena Braithwaite, Ph.D. (Photo courtesy of Veronica Godfrey Robinson)

NIEHS staff scientist Elena Braithwaite, Ph.D., is the latest Institute scientist to meet requirements for Diplomate of the American Board of Toxicology (DABT) certification. With its rigorous professional standards, DABT certification often offers an advantage in the job market and career advancement, and has been associated with higher levels of compensation.

Braithwaite is a member of the Comparative Genomics Group headed by lead researcher Jonathan Freedman, Ph.D. She studies the mechanisms by which exposure to metals affect the transcription of specific genes and entire genomes, activate signal transduction cascades, and induce post-translational modification of metal-responsive transcription factors. The group uses a variety of model systems, including yeast, C. elegans, and mammalian cell culture.

The American Board of Toxicology was established in 1979 to advance standards in the field of toxicology and confer recognition upon those members of the profession who, measured against such standards, demonstrate competence. Certification requirements include a combination of education and experience, and a three-part examination.

Several toxicologists at NIEHS and in NTP have qualified for the coveted DABT, among them NIEHS/NTP Director Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., who is the first toxicologist to head the Institute. Birnbaum offered Braithwaite her sincere congratulations. “Welcome to the club!” she wrote. “This marks a very important milestone in your career.”

Diplomates hold initial DABT certification for 5 years, and must demonstrate that they actively practice toxicology, engage in continuing education, and maintain expert knowledge in their field prior to receiving recertification.

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