South Central Regional Chapter Annual Meeting Focuses on Inspiring the Next General of Toxicologist

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The 2013 Annual Meeting of the South Central Regional Chapter of the Society of Toxicology (SCC–SOT) was held On October 10–11, 2013 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The focus of this year’s SCC-SOT meeting was “Toxicological Research—Inspiring the Next Generation of Toxicologists.”  There were four featured activities associated with this year’s meeting: (1) The Keynote address, given by distinguished toxicologist Stephen Safe of Texas A&M Health Science Center, (2) A “K–12 Toxicologist Luncheon,” (3) An undergraduate/graduate poster session, and (4) A networking reception. Pictured at the left from left to right are SCC-SOT President Wesley G. N. Gray and Stephen Safe.

The Department of Environmental Toxicology at Southern University was the host of this year’s Annual Fall Meeting. There were a total of 121 participants comprised of 41 undergraduate, students, 18 graduate students, 10 postdoctoral fellows, 30 member-senior scientists, 15 K–12 students and 5 K–12 teachers. The meeting began with an opening network reception at the Hilton Garden Inn, sponsored in part by Charles River Labs, and hosted by the graduate students from the Environmental Toxicology department at Southern.  

The highlight of the reception was the toxicology “Trivial Pursuit” conducted by the graduate students. The keynote lecture, entitled “The Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor: A Drug Target?” was presented by Steven Safe, Distinguished Professor of Veterinary Physiology and Pharmacology, Texas A&M University. During the scientific session that followed, we heard talks from five graduate students and four postdoctoral fellows. The subject matter ranged from epigenetic alterations following short-term exposure to toxicants to metabolomic profiling as a tool in toxicology. The attendees and presenters at the meeting came from seven different institutions within the South Central Region.

SCCSOT2.jpgThe “K–12 Toxicologist Luncheon” was a unique addition to our meeting and is an expansion of our student-mentor activity. Kenneth E. McMartin, of Louisiana State University Health Science Center–Shreveport (LSUHSC), was the speaker for the K–12 Luncheon. K–12 students at the luncheon represented students from Westdale Middle School (five students), Scotlandville Magnet High School (six students), Southern University Laboratory School (five students), and Baton Rouge Magnet High school (two students). During the meeting, select students from each school gave a brief introduction and their interest and involvement in science. These K–12  students had the opportunity to interact with several senior members of the SCC-SOT. At the left is a photo montage of the SCC-SOT First Annual K–12 Toxicologist Luncheon for Middle and High School Students.

The most anticipated event at the meeting, for our students, was the afternoon poster session, which included 27 different posters covering a broad range of topics. The poster session was a true representative of our meeting theme, “Toxicological Research—Inspiring the Next generation of Toxicologists,” in that it represented authors from K–12 to junior faculty. Two of the posters were presented by high school students, seven were presented by students from a junior college, seven of the posters were presented by undergraduates, twelve were  presented by graduate students, who had been mentored by toxicologists from the region, and six were presented by postdoctoral fellows or junior faculty.

Another highlight of our annual meeting was the awards ceremony that provided a true reflection of the chapter’s ongoing commitment to the mentoring and inspiring of the next generation of toxicologists. In addition to the chapter’s awards and accolades, three new awards, The “Regulatory Science Award”, the “R. H. Miller Graduate Award for Outstanding Abstract or Oral Presentation in Environmental Toxicology/Environmental Science,” and the “T. M. Tate Undergraduate Award for Outstanding Abstract or Oral Presentation in Environmental Toxicology/Environmental Science” were established at the meeting.

SCCSOT4.jpgThe  most outstanding platform and poster presentations were recognized with monetary awards and a plaque. The first place winner of the SCC-SOT Award for Outstanding Platform Presentation by a Graduate Student was Michelle Carroll-Turpin, Department of Pharmacology, LSUHSC-Shreveport, Louisiana,“DAPM Alters Serotonergic Signaling in a Novel Model for Female-Specific Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension.” The first place winner of the SCC-SOT Award for Outstanding Poster Presentation by an Undergraduate Student went to Annie P. Clark,  Department of Chemistry, Southern University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, “Structural Dynamics of The S4-S5 Linker in the Activation of Voltage-Gated Sodium Channels” and the SCC-SOT Award for Outstanding Poster Presentation by a Graduate Student went to Arif Yurdagul Jr., Cell Biology and Anatomy, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, Shreveport, Louisiana “Matrix Composition Modulates Oxidized LDL-Induced Inflammation.” Pictured at the left: Top row from left to right: Wesley Gray, SCC–SOT President, Annie P. Clark, Si Chen, Isabelle Miousse, and Terika Tilliam; Second Row from left to right: Michelle Carroll–Turpin, Arif Yurdagul, Jr., Sachin Khista, and Vivek Dadhania,

The first place winner of  the SCC-SOT Award for Outstanding Platform Presentation by a Non-Student/Non-Faculty was Isabelle R. Miousse, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock,Arkansas “Epigenetic Alterations Following Short-Term Exposure to Non-Genotoxic Rodent Hepatocarcinogen” and the first place winner of the SCC-SOT Award for Outstanding Poster Presentation by a Non-Student/Non-Faculty was Si Chen, National Center for Toxicological Research, US Food and Drug Administration, Jefferson, Arkansas “Sertraline, An Antidepressant, Induces Apoptosis in Hepatic Cells Through the Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Pathway.”

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