The SOT Committee on Diversity Initiatives (CDI) is pleased to announce that the 2023 SOT Perry J. Gehring Diversity Student Travel Award recipient is Jennae Whitted. Ms. Whitted is currently pursuing a BS in biology with a minor in bioinformatics and is in her senior year at Trinity Washington University in Washington, DC. This award, presented by the CDI, recognizes an undergraduate or graduate student who was selected for the SOT Undergraduate Diversity Program within the last four years and has an abstract accepted for the SOT Annual Meeting and ToxExpo.
Ms. Whitted shared her reaction to being selected: “I was elated to receive this award, and I am excited to attend the SOT Annual Meeting and ToxExpo this year. This award will help me pursue my research as a graduate student by allowing me to pursue other various forms of computational biomedical research.”
Ms. Whitted is receiving this award for her research abstract titled “Associations of Urinary Phthalate Metabolites with Ovarian Volume and Differences by Change in BMI since Age 18.” Her research was conducted at Michigan State University and examined how phthalates are associated with ovarian volume in midlife women and considered if these associations differed by weight status since age 18. She explained the importance of her research, “As phthalates are used to manufacture plastic products (like food contact materials) and personal care products/cosmetics (as fragrance stabilizers), exposure to phthalates is widespread. Importantly, women have higher exposer to phthalates compared to men. In my future work, I hope to take what I learned working with this epidemiologic study and begin to unravel the molecular mechanisms of various environmental chemicals that impact human health.”
Ms. Whitted attended the SOT Undergraduate Diversity Program in 2022. She also is participating in the Toxicology Mentoring and Skills Development Training (ToxMSDT) program in which SOT is a partner. After graduate school, Ms. Whitted plans to apply her knowledge inh government- and industrial-based career opportunities, with a focus on environmental influence on allergens.
The Perry J. Gehring Student Travel Award is supported through the SOT Endowment Fund. This award recognizes Dr. Perry J. Gehring who served as 1980–1981 SOT President and made important scientific contributions, especially in biological modeling and evidence-based assessment. Dr. Gehring had a strong interest in encouraging individuals from groups underrepresented in the sciences to enter biomedical sciences and toxicology.
The award will be presented during the CDI Reunion at the SOT Annual Meeting and ToxExpo. The reunion which brings together current Undergraduate Diversity Program participants, past participants, program volunteers, and supporters. The CDI Reunion is open to all SOT members.