Spotlight Article: Debby Roubicek on the Alexander Hollaender Outreach Committee
EMGS’s Alexander Hollaender courses are held each year in countries where environmental mutagenesis and health issues are major concerns. These courses are designed to give local scientists information in current topical areas specific to that country or region in efforts to contribute to a world where science drives sound decisions to protect people's health from environmental hazards. The course is named after one of EMGS’ founding scientists, Alexander Hollaender. He was one of the world’s leading researchers in radiation biology and genetic mutations. Hollaender is also known for his leadership in promoting scientific exchanges between American scientists and scientists from developing countries.
The last Hollaender Course was in December 2019 at the Academy of Scientific Research and Technology in Cairo. Debby Roubicek, current Chair of the Hollaender Outreach Committee (AHOC) describes the excitement of the latest Hollaender course in Cairo.
“[The students] were eager to learn, discuss and talk to me and Paul White. It was a great experience to me as well. We got out of our regular ‘bubbles’ and interacted with different people and different cultures. They learn and we learn. This is always quite an experience.”
Debby Roubicek, PhD, manager of the Toxicology Genotoxicity Sector at the Sao Paulo State Environmental Agency, has been a member of the EMGS since she was a graduate student, and a member of the Brazilian Mutagen Society (MutaGen-Brasil) since its conception in 1989. When she was invited to join the AHOC she thought, “being from a developing country myself, I could contribute with a different view.”
To honor Alexander Hollaender’s legacy, Hollaender courses strive to promote and exchange the best science to these developing countries. Roubicek says:
“Hollaender courses are unique because they give scientists and students from many different places where science is usually not valued, that are not able to go to meetings, to travel abroad, etc., the opportunity to see and talk to expert scientists, along with learning and asking all kind of questions. They are used to seeing these people as “names on a paper,” and they realize that we are ‘normal people’ with whom they can interact. And more importantly, they realize that those experts are coming to see them, and they are coming to their countries just because of them. So, they feel valued and incredibly grateful.”
Hollaender Courses represent the dedication and collective goal that EMGS’s members work towards for global scientific impact on human and environmental health. Due to the unexpected delays of the Sars-CoV2 pandemic, the Hollaender Outreach Committee has decided to dedicate their funds to sponsor international students and trainees for the ICEM 2022 meeting. To make a contribution to the Hollaender Fund, click here: EMGS : Hollaender Courses (emgs-us.org)