For Career-Long Contributions to Risk Assessment of Chemical Hazards, Elaine M. Faustman Is the 2023 SOT Arnold J. Lehman Award Recipient

By Joshua Gray posted 01-26-2023 16:44


The SOT Arnold J. Lehman Award recognizes an SOT member who has made a major contribution to risk assessment and/or the regulation of chemical agents, including pharmaceuticals. The contribution may have resulted from the application of sound scientific principles to regulation and/or from research activities that have significantly influenced the regulatory process.

Elaine M. Faustman, PhD, has been awarded the 2023 SOT Arnold J. Lehman Award for her contributions to regulatory toxicology and toxicological risk assessment that have had a global impact during her nearly 50 years in the field.

After obtaining her PhD from Michigan State University, Dr. Faustman’s academic career began in 1983 as one of the first faculty hires in the University of Washington’s then-new toxicology doctoral program in the Department of Environmental Health. One of her enduring contributions to the curriculum was the first graduate-level course on risk assessment of chemical hazards in the US, which she developed and co-taught. She has continued to teach this highly popular course every year since then, and the course draws students from many departments across the university campus, including public affairs, engineering, and genomics. It has impacted well over 1,000 graduate students from an array of disciplines at the university.

Beyond the classroom, Dr. Faustman is actively engaged in training new scientists in risk assessment. She has directly mentored 25 doctoral students, 44 master’s students, 10 postdoctoral scholars, and 18 visiting scientists from 14 different countries. Nearly all these individuals are employed in risk assessment positions in government, industry, and academia in the US and throughout the world.

But her contribution to regulatory toxicology and risk assessment extends well beyond her teaching and training. In the mid-1980s, Dr. Faustman made major contributions to chemical risk assessment through various contracts from the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), such as the incorporation of benchmark-dose modeling that eventually shaped the US EPA risk assessment procedures and policies for decades to come. Her introduction of the benchmark-dose approach to quantitative risk assessment has had a major impact globally on regulatory toxicology.

In addition to her scientific influence on US EPA risk assessment procedures, Dr. Faustman has contributed her expertise globally through participation in many invited committees and workshops from European organizations such as the World Health Organization, International Agency for Research on Cancer, and HESI and regulatory agencies in Australia and China. She also was one of the first participants in the International Union of Toxicology (IUTOX) Risk Assessment Summer School and later went on to be a faculty member for many years. Dr. Faustman’s remarkable breadth of knowledge in molecular toxicology and practical risk assessment procedures and processes makes her the go-to expert for many national and international expert committees appointed to address issues of public health importance, relying on state-of-the-art risk assessment approaches. In addition to serving for six years on the US EPA Science Advisory Board, Dr. Faustman also served on the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences National Toxicology Program Board of Scientific Counselors, as well as on several important National Academy of Sciences committees and international organizations.

Further, Dr. Faustman’s 250 publications are a testament to her wealth of knowledge in a number of scientific fields. She is the sole author (initially with Gil Omenn as a co-author) of the risk assessment chapter in the fifth through ninth editions of Casarett and Doull’s Toxicology textbook. She also has contributed to nearly 30 other book chapters. She is currently a reviewer of manuscripts submitted to several scientific journals, among them the American Journal of Epidemiology; Applied Occupational and Environmental Hygiene Journal; Aquatic Toxicology; and Carcinogenesis and Mutagenesis. Dr. Faustman is a well-cited scientist and is held in high respect by her peers in the scientific community.

Within SOT, Dr. Faustman is widely recognized for her many contributions to risk assessment, including serving as 2011–2012 President of the Risk Assessment Specialty Section and on the early SOT Risk Assessment Task Force from 2000 to 2002. Dr. Faustman’s impact on risk assessment is further illustrated by her numerous international awards for her contributions in this area, including the 2020 Narsingh Agnish Fellowship Award from the Society for Birth Defects Research and Prevention, 2014 Society for Risk Analysis Distinguished Achievement Award, and the 2019 IUTOX Merit Award.

To view all the 2023 Award recipients, visit the SOT website or read the SOT Awards Program PDF.