April 14, 2023

Golden award

Researchers from NIEHS Environmental Health Sciences (EHS) Core Centers were recognized for their contributions to scientific discovery, mentorship, and education at the 2023 Society of Toxicology (SOT) conference, held March 19-23 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Acknowledged for their individual research and training endeavors, six Core Center scientists received awards at the conference.

Meet the Awardees

Kjersti Aagaard, M.D., Ph.D.,

Kjersti Aagaard, M.D., Ph.D., a member of the Baylor College of Medicine EHS Core Center, received the 2023 SOT Translational Impact Award. This award honors a scientist whose recent research has improved human or public health in an area of toxicological concern.

Aagaard was selected for her research revealing the molecular mechanisms linking environmental and nutritional exposures that occur early in life to later childhood and adult disease. Her work has significantly contributed to the understanding of the genomic and epigenomic mechanisms underlying the developmental origins of health and disease.

Lauren M. Aleksunes, Pharm.D., Ph.D.

Lauren M. Aleksunes, Pharm.D., Ph.D., D.A.B.T., of the Rutgers University EHS Core Center, was presented with the 2023 SOT Undergraduate Educator Award which recognizes outstanding contributions to the teaching of undergraduate students in toxicology and toxicology-related areas.

Aleksunes was acknowledged for her mentoring of undergraduate pharmacy students and her efforts to develop new curricula and instructional approaches to attract, educate, and retain students in the field.

Jamie C. DeWitt, Ph.D.

Jamie C. DeWitt, Ph.D., of East Carolina University, received the 2023 SOT Public Communications Award for her work to broaden the public’s awareness of toxicological issues. A member of the EHS Core Center at North Carolina State University, Dewitt has more than 15 years of experience researching environmental contaminants of emerging concern, including per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). She uses this expertise to inform state and federal health guidelines for emerging contaminants and works with PFAS-impacted communities to ensure residents understand health risks and ways to reduce their exposures.

Elaine M. Faustman, Ph.D.

Elaine M. Faustman, Ph.D., was named the 2023 SOT Arnold J. Lehman Award recipient. The award recognizes a researcher who has made a major contribution to risk assessment or the regulation of chemical agents. Faustman is a member of the EHS Core Center at the University of Washington.

In the mid 1980’s, Faustman incorporated the benchmark-dose method into the regulatory toxicology process. The benchmark-dose method helps risk assessors estimate the amount, or dose, of a chemical needed to cause an adverse health outcome. This method is now used by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and around the world to support chemical risk assessments and regulatory actions.

Irfan Rahman, Ph.D.

Irfan Rahman, Ph.D., of the University of Rochester EHS Core Center, received the 2023 SOT Leading Edge in Basic Science Award. This award honors a scientist whose research within the last five years has advanced our understanding of the fundamental mechanisms of toxicity.

Rahman was recognized for his contributions to the pulmonary toxicological sciences. He studies how electronic cigarettes and cigarette smoke cause lung injuries and disease in humans, with a focus on DNA damage and cellular aging.

Robyn Leigh Tanguay, Ph.D.

Robyn Leigh Tanguay, Ph.D., won the 2023 SOT Toxicologist Mentoring Award for her commitment to mentoring and advancing the careers of nearly 100 toxicologists. She is a member of the EHS Core Center at Oregon State University. In the past two decades, Tanguay has mentored 35 graduate students, 18 postdoctoral scholars, and more than 40 undergraduates. In addition, she has served on 37 graduate committees. All her trainees have gone on to pursue established careers within government, industry, and academia.