Marie C. Fortin, Rebecca Fry, Enrique Fuentes-Mattei, Russell S. Thomas, and Heather M. Wallace Are Elected as 2022–2024 SOT Awards Committee Members

By Suzanne Fitzpatrick posted 03-10-2022 13:57


SOT is pleased to announce the four newly elected members of the Awards Committee, which is charged with reviewing all suggestions and recommendations as to the awards it has been designated by Council to confer and selecting the recipient or recipients for each award.

Marie C. Fortin

Marie C. Fortin, PhD, DABT, ERT, is Associate Director of Toxicology at Jazz Pharmaceuticals. In this role, she designs nonclinical safety drug development programs to meet regulatory expectations and support adequate safety evaluation while optimizing consideration of the 3Rs. She develops protocols and oversees safety pharmacology, investigative, and regulatory toxicology (non-GLP and GLP) studies. In addition, she contributes critical input on other aspects of drug development, such as pharmacology and pharmacokinetics, evaluation of the risk-benefit ratio, and determination of first-in-human dose.

Dr. Fortin has been an SOT member since 2006 and has held many positions within the Society. She currently serves on the Collaborative Conferences Committee and previously chaired the Specialty Section Collaboration and Communication Group. In addition, she is a Past President of the Regulatory and Safety Evaluation Specialty Section and a past Councilor of the Women in Toxicology Special Interest Group, among many other Component Group memberships.

Of her goals for SOT, Dr. Fortin says: “The SOT Awards are one of the fundamental ways by which the Society recognizes the scientific acumen, service, and leadership of its members. I will commit to the highest level of integrity and fairness in identifying the most deserving candidates for the Awards under the purview of the Committee, while considering every facet of our diverse membership mosaic. On a larger scale, I hope to see the Society continue to create opportunities for, support, and champion its members across the diversity spectrum, and focus on trainees and on the best science, as this will shape the future of the science of toxicology, and therefore of our Society.”

Rebecca Fry

Rebecca Fry, PhD, is the Carol Remmer Angle Distinguished Professor in Children’s Environmental Health and Associate Chair at the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering. Dr. Fry’s laboratory focuses on the elucidation of mechanisms underlying the deleterious health impacts of toxic chemical exposure that occurs during the prenatal period. The lab uses genomic and epigenomic tools to investigate the developmental origins of disease. Dr. Fry’s group has identified epigenetic mechanisms that relate toxic substances to pregnancy complications, children’s health, and cancer outcomes.

Dr. Fry has been an SOT member since 2010 and is a Past President of the Metals Specialty Section and a longtime member of the North Carolina Regional Chapter. She currently serves as an Associate Editor of Toxicological Sciences. In 2021, the Society bestowed her with the Translational Impact Award for her outstanding vision for and leadership of several multidisciplinary team efforts to use translational research and community engagement to promote public health in the area of developmental toxicants.

Of her goals for SOT, Dr. Fry says: “I am dedicated to supporting research that is solution-oriented to address our biggest challenges in environmental health.”

Enrique Fuentes-Mattei

Enrique Fuentes-Mattei, PhD, is a clinical research and operational lead professional with over 11 years of experience in translational and clinical oncology research, management, and the development of successful pharmaceutical industry–funded clinical trials (early development to study operation oversight). He has a background in molecular and cellular biology, biochemistry, environmental and molecular toxicology/immunotoxicology, sepsis, cancer biology, and tumor metabolism. He recently joined Lonza Cell and Gene Therapy for the management of the GMP process development projects portfolio in the Cell and Gene Therapy division.

Since joining SOT in 2004, Dr. Fuentes-Mattei has been involved in several Society initiatives. He currently serves on the Committee on Diversity Initiatives and is the Co-Chair of the Special Interest Group Collaboration Group. In addition to these roles, Dr. Fuentes-Mattei is a Past President of the Hispanic Organization of Toxicologists Special Interest Group, which awarded him with the Hispanic Organization of Toxicologists Board Officer Outstanding Award in 2017.

Of his goals for SOT, Dr. Fuentes-Mattei says: “All my leadership experiences have served as a strong background for future challenges to better serve the SOT community. I am a team player with the ability to build the best strategy to join diverse backgrounds and expertise to accomplish a common goal. I have the experience and the commitment to serve as member of the SOT Awards Committee, and to share my passion, energy, and enthusiasm for the benefit of the SOT community of toxicologists inside and outside the US.”

Russell S. Thomas

Russell S. Thomas, PhD, is the Director of the Center for Computational Toxicology and Exposure within the Office of Research and Development at the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA). He also is an Adjunct Associate Professor in the School of Pharmacy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Thomas has more than 28 years of experience in toxicology and a broad multi-disciplinary and multi-sector background, with extensive experience in computational modeling, high-throughput screening, genomics, and in vitro and in vivo toxicological methods. He has a passion for using 21st-century science to advance toxicology and risk assessment and more rapidly evaluate potential human health and environmental risks of chemicals.

Dr. Thomas has been an SOT member since 2001 and is involved in several SOT Component Groups. He is a Past President and Councilor of the Molecular and Systems Biology Specialty Section. Dr. Thomas has received many awards from the Society, the most recent being the 2019 Risk Assessment Specialty Section Best Published Paper Advancing the Science of Risk Assessment Award and the 2019 Computational Toxicology Specialty Section Paper of the Year Award.

Of his goals for SOT, Dr. Thomas says: “The broad recognition of scientific, education, and service achievements in the toxicology community is an important part of the Society’s mission and service to its members. The awards acknowledge the significant contributions of individuals who have advanced the field of toxicology while also supporting the career advancement of early and mid-career scientists. I will work to choose outstanding future awardees that reflect the broad diversity in disciplines, applied vs. basic science, sectors, and people that make toxicology such a great field.”

Heather M. Wallace

Heather M. Wallace, PhD, FRCPath, FRSB, FRSC, FBTS, FBPhS, ERT, is a Professor of academic toxicology at the University of Aberdeen, where she runs a research laboratory and coordinates courses on toxicology and pharmacology for postgraduate and undergraduate students. Dr. Wallace is immediate Past President of EUROTOX and has been instrumental in developing and promoting stronger links between US and European toxicologists. She is a member of the UK Register of Toxicologists and is also a European Registered Toxicologist. She is a strong supporter of communicating science and has organized five international scientific conferences, including chairing one Gordon Research Conference in the US.

Dr. Wallace joined SOT in 2011 and has been a strong supporter of the Society and its Annual Meeting, having served as an active member of the Scientific Program Committee until 2020. She championed the exchange of Merit Award Lectures between SOT and EUROTOX and was part of the team who developed the case studies on successes in toxicology.

Of her goals for SOT, Dr. Wallace says, “As a world-renowned Society, SOT plays a major role in promoting toxicology worldwide, and the SOT Awards Program is one of the most important means of doing this. By recognizing the achievements of individuals and teams across all career stages, I believe that the SOT Awards provide a positive way of promoting engagement in and visibility of toxicology. My goal as part of this Committee is to use my international network to expand the global presence of SOT, encourage universal engagement with the science of toxicology, and promote this through the awards scheme. My aim is to ensure that we provide education, training, and encouragement of the next generation of toxicologists.”