In addition to his scientific contributions to the understanding of the mechanisms of carcinogenesis, James E. Klaunig, PhD, ATS, IATP, has received the 2020 SOT Education Award for his excellence, breadth, and depth as a toxicology educator.
Dr. Klaunig received his bachelor of science in biology from Ursinus College and his PhD in pathology from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in 1980 under the mentorship of Benjamin F. Trump. After postdoctoral studies at the Medical College of Ohio, he joined the faculty, first as an Assistant Professor and later as an Associate Professor in the Departments of Pathology and Pharmacology. During this time, Dr. Klaunig instituted the PhD and master’s program in toxicology, establishing the curriculum, recruiting students, and securing support.
In 1991, after a sabbatical at CIIT, Dr. Klaunig was recruited to Indiana University School of Medicine as Professor and Director of Toxicology. He revitalized the graduate program in toxicology first established by Robert B. Forney in the 1960s, in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology. In addition to teaching medical and graduate students in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology in the School of Medicine, Dr. Klaunig served as Associate Director of the IU Cancer Center. Concomitantly with his academic appointment, he served the state of Indiana as Director of the Department of Toxicology and State Toxicologist from 1991 to 2003, being responsible for the state’s forensic toxicology program. In this role, he lectured and advised on toxicology-related issues to state officials, law enforcement, and the bar. These efforts earned him the Sagamore of the Wabash—the highest civilian honor in Indiana—from the Governor of Indiana for his service to the state.
In 2010, he was recruited to the Indiana University Bloomington campus to serve as the founding chair of the Department of Environmental Health in the newly formed School of Public Health. In this role, he also planned, initiated, and developed the PhD program in Environmental Health within the school, the first in the IU system.
During his decorated career, Dr. Klaunig has to date mentored 25 doctoral students, 23 master’s students, and 27 postdoctoral fellows, and has served as a research advisor to more than 20 undergraduate students. Most of these students have remained in the toxicology or carcinogenesis disciplines. Dr. Klaunig received the IU Trustee’s Teaching Award in 2005 in recognition of his distinction in education.
Dr. Klaunig joined SOT in 1985. In addition to membership in the Carcinogenesis; Mechanisms; Regulatory and Safety Evaluation; and Comparative Toxicology, Pathology, and Veterinary Specialty Sections, he is currently a member of the Endowment Fund Board. He has served as Treasurer of the Society as well as a member of the Nominating Committee and as President of the Carcinogenesis Specialty Section. Dr. Klaunig also is a past member and Chair of the Education Committee. Further, he is a past recipient of the Kenneth P. DuBois Award from the Midwest Regional Chapter and the Ambassador Award from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Chapter. In addition to his service to SOT, Dr. Klaunig also is an elected Fellow in the Academy of Toxicology Sciences, the International Academy of Toxicologic Pathology, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.