The Newly Elected Members of the SOT Membership Committee Are Mamta V. Behl, Natalie M. Johnson, and Larissa Williams

By James Luyendyk posted 03-16-2023 15:00


SOT is pleased to announce the three newly elected members of the SOT Membership Committee, which is charged with reviewing membership applications at least four times per year and providing membership recommendations to SOT Council.


Mamta V. Behl, PhD, DABT, is a board-certified toxicologist and is currently Principal Scientist at Neurocrine Biosciences Inc., San Diego. At Neurocrine, she plays a key role in the discovery and development of planning and implementation of preclinical testing using in silico, in vitro, and in vivo approaches for new and current drug candidates. She provides strategic and operational direction, ensuring studies are conducted in line with regulatory guidelines, and manages the conduct and reporting of studies. Prior to her current position she was at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences’s National Toxicology Program where she led the Developmental Neurotoxicity Health Effects Innovation Program.

Dr. Behl currently serves as Vice President–Elect of the SOT Southern California Regional Chapter. She has been a member of SOT since 2008 and has served SOT in the following capacities: Councilor, Secretary/Treasurer, and Awards Committee member for the Neurotoxicology Specialty Section; Postdoctoral Representative, Councilor, President, and member of the Awards and Newsletter Committees for the Association of Scientists of Indian Origin Special Interest Group.

Additionally, Dr. Behl has served as Councilor on the Triangle Society for Neuroscience and currently is Secretary for the International Neurotoxicology Association.

Dr. Behl received her master’s in psychological sciences and doctorate in neurotoxicology from Purdue University. She has served on several advisory panels, boards, and committees, including the OECD Developmental Neurotoxicology Expert Group and as a grant reviewer for Johns Hopkins University Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT) and US EPA Star Awards. She is an author/co-author of more than 130 publications.

Goals for SOT

As part of the Membership Committee, I hope to collaborate with existing Special Interest Groups and Specialty Sections to better understand and reflect on some of the challenges that students and scientists across the globe face, both monetary and logistical, that may preclude them from being proactive SOT members. With support from our team, I hope to help increase global and national membership by providing additional participation opportunities through mentoring (online and in-person), establishing overseas annex meetings (spearheaded by established toxicologists in their respective countries), encouraging trainee/young scientist research presentations, and creating more travel and merit awards for underrepresented populations.


Natalie M. Johnson, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental & Occupational Health and Vice Chair of the Interdisciplinary Toxicology Program at Texas A&M University. Her research group focus is investigating effects of air pollution on maternal and infant immune and respiratory dysfunction. Currently, Dr. Johnson helps lead the Texas A&M T32 training grant in regulatory science and environmental health as the Deputy Director and serves as a Co-director of the Integrated Health Sciences Facility Core within the Texas A&M Center for Environmental Health Research (TiCER). She also is leading a project within the Texas A&M University Superfund Research Center.

Dr. Johnson obtained her PhD in toxicology with an emphasis on exposure biomarkers and translational toxicology from Texas A&M University. She then completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins University, focusing on molecular toxicology and mechanisms of chemoprevention. She was the recipient of an Outstanding New Environmental Scientist award from NIEHS and has published more than 40 journal articles and book chapters.

An SOT member since 2007, currently, Dr. Johnson is serving on the SOT Education and Career Development Committee and as President of the Lone Star Regional Chapter and Councilor for the Inhalation and Respiratory Specialty Section.

Goals for SOT

I am excited about the opportunity to serve on the SOT Membership Committee. I have three goals, which all align with the overall mission of SOT.

My first goal is to enhance commitment to education and engagement across career stage by promoting SOT membership. I have initiated this goal through my current service on the SOT Education and Career Development Committee where we aim to advance career development at early, mid- and late stages across diverse sectors and countries. As a Professor dedicated to the training of undergraduates, graduate students, and postdocs, I fully support preparation of career-ready toxicologists, viewing SOT as a vital resource. As a mid-career faculty, I also view peer-to-peer mentoring and engagement through SOT as a significant benefit for scientific stimulation.

My second goal is a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in all SOT activities. I initiated this goal early on through my close involvement with the Committee for Diversity Initiatives Undergraduate Education Program, where I have served as a peer and host mentor at many SOT meetings since 2008. This is a tremendous introduction to research in toxicology, providing opportunities for diverse representation for potential new SOT student members. Also, at Texas A&M, I serve as the Director of Diversity Recruitment for our training program, where I endorse principles to ensure equity in training opportunities and commitment to inclusion throughout training. I will realize this goal on the Membership Committee through unbiased review and championing equity across membership.

My last goal is dedication to comprehensive research methods in toxicology. I have a broad background in toxicology and public health and a long-term goal of research translation. I value basic and applied research conducted with rigor and integrity. I will advance this goal on the Membership Committee by appreciating the breath of toxicological research, which will serve to advance our Society.


Larissa Williams, PhD, is an Associate Professor and Chair of Biology at Bates College in Maine.

Since joining SOT as a graduate student in 2010, Dr. Williams has been involved in many activities within SOT. She first served as a Councilor on the Postdoctoral Assembly. After obtaining her tenure-track position at Bates, she was appointed to the Undergraduate Education Subcommittee and eventually became the Chair of the Subcommittee. When the Subcommittee evolved into the Faculty United for Toxicology Undergraduate Recruitment and Education (FUTURE) Committee, she was appointed again and chaired in her last year. She also has been involved as a Councilor for the Molecular and Systems Biology Specialty Section, as well as the Northeast Society of Toxicology (NESOT) and served on the Nominating Committee. Most recently, she was the Vice President of NESOT and is now the President of the Regional Chapter. In addition to her appointed and elected work for SOT, Larissa has also volunteered as a mentor during the Committee on Diversity Initiatives (CDI) Undergraduate Diversity Program, as a table host for the In Vitro Lecture and Luncheon, and as a mentor and mentoring facilitator at career exploration events.

Dr. Williams is the recipient of the 2021 SOT Undergraduate Educator Award for her commitment to and creativity in fostering the toxicology education of undergraduate students.

Goals for SOT

My goals for SOT are to expand membership of the Society to all sectors and to encourage our membership to fully participate in the Society so that we may all build toward creating a healthier world through safety and knowledge.