Environmental Factor

February 2011

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SOT to celebrate 50th anniversary benchmark

By Ed Kang
February 2011

Benchmarks in Toxicology banner
Dr. Birnbaum speaks with a 2010 SOT meeting attendee

Birnbaum, left, is shown with one of the many people she talked with at the 2010 SOT meeting about one of her favorite topics - the importance of NIEHS efforts in the quest to improve public health. (Photo courtesy of Ed Kang)

NIEHS and NTP scientists, including Director Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., will be among the 7,000 toxicologists from 50 countries expected to attend the Society of Toxicology's (SOT) 50th annual meeting from March 6-10 in the nation's capital. While the conference traditionally provides a thought-provoking program that captures the latest scientific advances of the prior 12 months, this year's event will also showcase a host of celebratory events, publications, and sessions befitting a golden anniversary celebration.

One such commemoration is a special poster titled "Benchmarks in Toxicology" that will be unveiled at the meeting. Created by NIEHS/NTP, the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, and SOT, the poster will showcase the people, innovations, discoveries, and events that have been milestones in the development of the field.

"This poster will be something special, and it draws upon themes that resonate with the toxicology community," said Birnbaum, who was president of the Society in 2004. "I'm thrilled that more than 200 nominations for benchmarks were received from SOT members - everything from historical figures to the latest mechanistic research." The nominations were carefully reviewed for relevance by a distinguished scientific panel, including several former SOT presidents.

Visitors to the conference will be able to take home their own commemorative poster, which will be available at the NIEHS booth and throughout the conference venue. In addition to the poster, NIEHS and NTP scientists will also be featured in dozens of scientific sessions and workshops. Among them, staff from the NIEHS Division of Extramural Research and Training (DERT) will be on-hand to discuss grant opportunities, and Birnbaum will speak March 9 at 9:30 a.m. about the future directions of NIEHS and the NTP and emerging trends in toxicology research.

Other keynote speakers for the 50th annual meeting include Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., director of the National Institutes of Health; Margaret Hamburg, M.D., commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration; Lisa Jackson, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; and John Howard, M.D., director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Throughout the weeklong event, NIEHS and NTP scientific and program staff will be providing live updates on all the innovations, breakthrough research, award presentations, and interesting people that make SOT so unique. The updates will be posted on the NIEHS SOT Web site and on http://twitter.com/niehs Exit NIEHS.

(Ed Kang is a public affairs specialist in the Office of Communications and Public Liaison and a regular contributor to the Environmental Factor.)

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