David A. Jett, PhD, has received the 2020 SOT Translational Impact Award for his translational research efforts to develop safer and more effective treatments for highly toxic agent exposure.
After earning his PhD in pharmacology and experimental therapeutics from the University of Maryland in 1992, Dr. Jett conducted his postdoctoral fellowship at the Johns Hopkins University, where he later joined the faculty and led a laboratory focused on organophosphorus pesticides. He then joined the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as a Program Director at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), where he worked on programs to increase diversity in the neuroscience workforce and began the development of the NIH Countermeasures Against Chemical Threats (CounterACT) Program in response to a request from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
Currently, Dr. Jett is the Director of the NIH CounterACT program and the Scientific Team Leader within the Division of Translational Research at NINDS, among other intergovernmental responsibilities related to chemical security and public health. Since the program’s establishment in 2006, Dr. Jett and his team of NIH scientists have recruited more than 100 of the nation’s top laboratories into the program, including senior investigators with diverse areas of expertise, including epilepsy, lung disease, toxicology, dermal toxicology, and ophthalmology. The basic and translational research generated by these scientists has resulted in over 1,400 publications in civilian peer-reviewed journals that have provided an unprecedented enrichment in the scientific knowledge base for chemical poisonings. Further, several products initially developed by CounterACT researchers are in the last stages of development, and many more are poised for advanced development in the near term. The recent approval of Seizalam, now on the market for treating nerve agent exposure, was largely due to a CounterACT-supported clinical trial that Dr. Jett helped organize with several federal agencies. The CounterACT program’s success is owed in large part to Dr. Jett’s “basic to translational” design of the program in its infancy. His efforts in establishing the program earned him and his team the prestigious NIH Director’s Award in 2007.
In addition to his appointment as Professor Adjunct of Epidemiology and Public Health at Yale University, Dr. Jett contributes his expertise to the scientific community through serving on the Neurotoxicology Editorial Board and as a reviewer for many high-impact journals. He has served on state and federal advisory panels and is an active member of the International Neurotoxicology Association, New York Academy of Sciences, and American Society for Experimental Neurotherapeutics, as well as SOT, which he joined in 1993. Dr. Jett is a member of the SOT National Capital Area Regional Chapter, Neurotoxicology Specialty Section, and Clinical and Translational Toxicology Specialty Section.