Elena Hernandez Ramon, Cheryl E. Rockwell, and Kristine L. Willett Elected as 2021–2023 Membership Committee Members

By Suzanne Fitzpatrick posted 03-11-2021 15:08


SOT is pleased to announce the newly elected members of the Membership Committee, which is charged with review the qualifications of the candidates for membership.

Elena Hernandez Ramon,

Elena Hernandez Ramon, MD, PhD, developed an interest in women’s health early in her medical career; her professional experience includes research on papillomavirus and cervical cancer and the structure and function of the HPV16 E2 protein. She performed her postdoctoral fellowship at the National Cancer Institute, where she worked on DNA damage, specifically on the formation of tamoxifen-DNA adducts in endometrial cells as a possible mechanism for endometrial cancer after tamoxifen exposure. During that time, she also worked on polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon-DNA adducts in whales and their role on gastrointestinal cancers formation. Her interest in science and education crystallized at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and after her postdoctoral fellowship, she started working as a Scientific Program Manager and is now the Director of the Pre-medical Program at the Office of Intramural Training & Education at NIH.

Dr. Hernandez joined SOT in 2011, when she also became a part of the Hispanic Organization of Toxicologists Special Interest Group, of which she is a Past President. She also has served on the Career Resource and Development Committee as well as the Education Committee.

Of her goals for SOT, Dr. Hernandez says: “The support and resources that SOT provides to its members at all levels is outstanding and unique. . . . Increasing the number and the diversity of our membership and showing all that SOT has to offer will be my primary goal.”

Cheryl E. Rockwell, PhD

Cheryl E. Rockwell, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Pharmacology & Toxicology and the Acting Director of the Applied Immunology Center for Education and Research at Michigan State University. Her research focuses on mechanisms of immune cell polarization, particularly in the context of allergy and infection and how xenobiotics alter these immune processes. The research of her laboratory has contributed substantially to the understanding of the impact of antioxidants on allergy and immunity.

Dr. Rockwell has been an SOT member since 2004. She currently chairs the Continuing Education Committee, is the President-Elect of the Michigan Regional Chapter, and is the Vice President-Elect of the Mechanisms Specialty Section. Dr. Rockwell also is a member of the Women in Toxicology Special Interest Group, among other Component Group memberships.

Of her goals for SOT, Dr. Rockwell says: “I have benefited greatly from my experiences at the annual national and regional meetings and from my interactions with colleagues through elected and appointed positions within SOT. I think SOT is truly unique in this respect—there are so many ways to become involved. I want to share these wonderful opportunities with our new members. I am also happy to assist with recruitment of new student members and others interested in SOT membership.”

Kristine L. Willett, PhD

Kristine L. Willett, PhD, is the Chair of BioMolecular Sciences in the School of Pharmacy at the University of Mississippi. A professor of Pharmacology and Environmental Toxicology, she has taught at University of Mississippi since 2000, including both graduate and undergraduate courses in toxicology and environmental toxicology and in the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College. Dr. Willett and her trainees study the developmental, reproductive, and multigenerational impacts of cannabinoids and benzo[a]pyrene exposure using fish models. She also investigates the impacts of climate change and the Deep Water Horizon oil spill on oysters in the Gulf of Mexico, and she is part of a multidisciplinary team helping to engage Mississippi communities to decrease lead exposure via drinking water.

Dr. Willett joined the SOT membership in 2001 and has actively supported the Society’s undergraduate toxicology education initiatives. She is an Associate Editor for Toxicological Sciences and recently completed a term on the Faculty United for Toxicology Undergraduate Recruitment and Education (FUTURE) Committee. She is a Past President of the Molecular and Systems Biology Specialty and the South Central Regional Chapter, among other Committee involvement.

Of her goals for SOT, Dr. Willett says: “Any organization’s sustainability depends on its ability to recruit and retain engaged members. . . . I will work with Society leadership to ensure SOT maintains a commitment to meaningfully engaging members from diverse backgrounds. My definition of diversity is not limited to gender, race, ethnicity, or nationality, but also includes career tracks (e.g., industry, regulatory/government, academia) and career stage (students, postdoctoral fellows, early and mid-career, and emeritus).”