The goal of the Global Senior Scholar Exchange Program (GSSEP) is to increase toxicology capacity in developing countries by providing professional opportunities for scientists through relationships supported by the Society of Toxicology (SOT). The Global Senior Scholars and their Hosts will share mutual research and teaching interests and develop cooperative projects to build toxicology at the Scholar’s institution and in the region. It is with great pleasure that the Education Committee announces the 2019 SOT Global Senior Scholars: Olufunsho Awodele, MPH, PhD, DSc (Herbal Medicine), FPCPharm, University of Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria, and Nitin Verma, M Pharm, PhD, Baddi University of Emerging Sciences and Technology, Baddi, India. These two toxicologists will receive SOT support to attend the SOT Annual Meeting and then spend about four weeks with an SOT member Host.
Host applications will be accepted until September 15, 2018. SOT encourages members with similar research and training emphases to apply to be the GSSEP Host for one of these Scholars. Applicants from established toxicology programs (including academic, government, and industry organizations) worldwide are eligible. After the Scholar is in residence with the Host, SOT will provide up to $5,000 travel support for the Host to visit the Scholar’s institution and engage there with the Scholar, other faculty, and students.
Dr. Awodele is associate professor of toxicology and the head of the toxicology unit in the Pharmacology, Therapeutics, and Toxicology Department at the University of Lagos in Nigeria. His particular areas of interest are neurotoxicology, occupational health and safety, and forensic toxicology. The latter topic is especially timely for collaboration as the department is implementing a forensic toxicology curriculum in collaboration with the teaching hospital. There is geometric increase in the prevalence of neurodegenerative disorders in our environment. His research group is exploring environmental stress, including occupational exposures, and genetic factors, specifically in relation to oxidative stress and antioxidant expression that may have a significant role in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disorders.
With a large department, including 50 master’s degree and 28 doctoral students, strong faculty working in interdisciplinary networks, and plans to begin an undergraduate toxicology degree, investigating international education trends and discussing ways to enhance these programs has the potential to make a major impact as well as strengthen toxicology in the region. The involvement of Dr. Awodele in alliances such as the Western African SOT and the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control in Nigeria will further extend the outcomes of this exchange.
SOT member Host candidates may learn more about Dr. Awodele from his application.
Dr. Verma is professor and dean of Research & Development at the Baddi University of Emerging Sciences & Technology in Baddi, India. His research group is evaluating the toxicity, health risk, and assessment of environmental hazards due to untreated or partially treated effluents released by the numerous pharma industries in the region. Other research studies are related to the effects of low dose ingestion of metals on children and the elderly, as well as effects of herbal remedies used by pregnant women with scarce information about safety during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Some of these remedies may increase the risk of miscarriage and others are associated with embryotoxic or fetotoxic effects.
Their program includes 45 master’s degree and 5 doctoral students, with 30 in toxicology-related programs. To assist with the training of safety assessors for pharmaceutical industries and the Indian Government, the department would like to further develop a program in risk assessment and courses in environmental toxicology and regulatory toxicology.
Dr. Verma has collaborated with various professional societies, research organizations, pharmaceutical industries, and universities, including organizing a conference, “Regulatory Pharmacology and Toxicology,” in collaboration with the Indian Pharmacological Society. The knowledge from this exchange will enrich offerings on his campus as well as the various networks through which he has impact.
SOT member Host candidates may learn more about Dr. Verma from his application.
The Education Committee anticipates receiving excellent Host applications for scholarly exchanges that will continue the successes of this program. Information about previous recipients can be found in the Historical Archive of SOT Awardees.