I hope your holidays were restful and joyous. Now that they are behind us, we turn our attention to the 2018 Annual Meeting and ToxExpo—preparing posters, finalizing slides, selecting sessions to attend, making arrangements to connect with friends seen too infrequently, searching for comfortable shoes (okay, maybe that last one is just me!). The science will be strong and the atmosphere vibrant. In addition to the plenary sessions I mentioned in my last message, I would like to draw your attention to several new additions to the program this year. We have been strengthening ties with our colleagues from EUROTOX, and one collaboration has resulted in an exchange of lectures given by recipients of our respective premier awards. Vera Rogiers from Vrije Universiteit Brussel will deliver the Bo Holmstedt Memorial Lecture on “Human Skin Stem Cell-Derived Hepatic Cells and Their Potential Applications in Toxicology” on Wednesday, March 14, at 11:00 am. In return, the winner of our Merit Award will deliver a lecture at the EUROTOX meeting in the fall. A second new featured session relates to the 20th anniversary year for Toxicological Sciences. “20 Years of ToxSci: Reflecting on the Past and Envisioning the Future, Including a Tribute to Dr. John Doull” is taking place on Tuesday, March 13, at 11:00 am and will feature past and current editors of ToxSci and a discussion of John Doull’s contributions to scientific publishing. This year also will debut a new type of featured session, a Hot Topic Session: “Exposure and Toxicological Concerns Surrounding Perfluorinated Alkyl Substances (PFAS)” will be held on Tuesday, March 13, at 12:00 noon (see the announcement of this pilot session for more information).
The opportunities for great science go beyond what happens Sunday through Thursday. This year, we are offering two CCT (Contemporary Concepts in Toxicology) meetings on Saturday before the Annual Meeting. “Building a Better Epithelium” will be of interest to members and other attendees who want to learn more about organotypic models and technology. “Toxicological Concerns in Older Adults, a Neglected Majority” will focus on toxicity and risk factors associated with aging. Both should be excellent meetings and are open for registration.
This is a good time to remind ourselves of the core values of our Society. As stated on our website, our society is dedicated to serving the needs of the scientific discipline and our members to enhance human, animal, and environmental health; to life-long learning and intellectual scientific stimulation; to diversity of representation in all activities of the Society; and to integrity. SOT is committed to diversity and inclusiveness in all of its activities. We assert that diversity and inclusiveness include many factors, such as gender, race/ethnicity, employment sector, nationality, geographic location, physical ability, and scientific expertise and perspective. At the heart of our core values is respect for each other. Practicing these values opens the door to maximal creativity and innovation.
What has Council been doing since the last issue of the Communiqué? One of our recent efforts has been to explore ways that we can enhance the experience each of us has at our Annual Meeting. I have mentioned two of the changes that have arisen from our discussions: the Hot Topics Session and the inclusion of a session devoted to ToxSci. We have discussed alternative schedules to open up the program for additional educational opportunities and more time for small group discussions to foster collaboration. In addition, we have been examining technology and group activities that will promote engagement. Change is in the wind. We will pilot some of the ideas, such as the alternative schedule, beginning with the 2019 meeting (see the announcement of a new 90-minute session format for 2019 for more information), so keep your eyes open for them. Others will be phased in later. As always, we’d love to hear your comments about the experience. You can approach a member of Council in the hallway at the meeting, fill out the Annual Meeting survey, or email one of us directly.
I began this year with a note about the extraordinary members we have who volunteer their service for the SOT, and it seems appropriate to circle back around to the subject. My time spent as president this year has only reinforced my impression that the SOT is fortunate to have so many members who bring energy, creativity, and time to work for our discipline and our Society. The annual meeting showcases some of this talent and effort. While in San Antonio, if you encounter folks who developed a Continuing Education course, a Symposium, Workshop, or other session, take the time to thank them. Those are not trivial activities. Similarly, if you run into members of the Scientific Program Committee, the Continuing Education Committee, or the Committee on Diversity Initiatives that conducts the weekend program for undergraduates, express your appreciation for the resulting conference.
This is my final President’s Message, and I have been honored to serve in this capacity. I have been privileged to work with a most dedicated group of people on Council. I thank you for your trust and for giving me this opportunity. I look forward to seeing you all in San Antonio.
Patricia E. Ganey
SOT President 2017–2018