The Northland Regional Chapter (NLSOT) held its 2012 fall meeting on Monday, October 22 at the Minnesota Department of Health in St. Paul, Minnesota. The title of the meeting was Things Alchemists, Assassins and Mad Hatters Didn’t Know about Metal Toxicology. The meeting was very well attended with 80 participants, including nine students.
Jessica Nelson, environmental epidemiologist with the Minnesota Department of Health, started off the morning session by describing the Department’s human biomonitoring programs for arsenic in young children in Minneapolis neighborhoods and mercury in newborns in the Lake Superior basin. The second morning speaker was Scott Garrett from the Pathology Department at the University of North Dakota. Dr. Garrett described his laboratory’s investigations into gene expression profiles of multiple independent cadmium- and arsenite-transformed human urothelial cells and their hunt for specific gene markers of injury. In the afternoon, Curtis D. Klaassen from the University of Kansas Medical Center gave an interesting overview of his laboratory’s research on the transcription factor Nrf2 as a protective pathway against the toxic effects of a number of chemicals, including cadmium. Next, Aaron Mehus, a PhD candidate at the University of North Dakota, presented his thesis research to develop a MALDI-TOF/TOF mass spectrometry method for quantifying specific metallothionein isoforms in human kidney cells and described some potential uses for the method in diagnosing and treating human disease. The final speaker was Russell Erickson from the United States Environmental Protection Agency in Duluth who described his laboratory’s work to understand the role of exposure route, fish species, and chemical form in the toxicity of arsenic to fish.
In addition to these presentations, we were pleased to have a number of research posters displayed at the meeting. Brent Voels, PhD candidate at the University of North Dakota, received the award for best student poster for his poster titled, “The Unique N- and C-Terminal Domains of Metallothionein-3 Influence the Growth and Differentiation of MCF-7 Breast Cancer Cells.” Andrea Slusser, Aaron Mehus, and Jamie Van Gieson, all from the University of North Dakota, also were awarded prizes for their posters. NLSOT wishes to thank Charles River Laboratories for providing funding for the student poster awards.
The business meeting included presentations by the NLSOT Graduate Student Representative, Holly Hewitt, on the "YouTox Challenge" and by Teri Fick on current activities of the K–12 Outreach Committee. A very popular event at the meeting was the “Lunch with an Expert” which provided students an opportunity to eat and speak with more seasoned toxicologists about career options and other topics. Also popular was the post-meeting social hour with build-your-own ice cream sundaes!
NLSOT wishes to thank the Society of Toxicology for providing financial support for speaker and student travel to the meeting. NLSOT serves toxicologists in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Montana. For more information about NLSOT, please visit our website on the SOT website or contact the NLSOT President Steven C. Gordon.