Cast Your Vote: Select the New EMGS Officers for 2020-2021

The EMGS Nominating Committee has selected the candidates for this year’s election. This year we will be choosing a Vice President-Elect and five Councilors. Each candidate has agreed to volunteer their time and energy to serve both the Society and its members. 

Cast Your Vote

VOTING DATES: October 1 - December 1, 2020.

Vice President-Elect Candidates

Dr. Francesco Marchetti
Health Canada

Dr. Francesco Marchetti is a Senior Research Scientist in the Environmental Health Science and Research Bureau at Health Canada (HC), and an adjunct professor in the Department of Biology at Carleton University, in Ottawa, Ontario. He has more than 30 years of experience in genetic toxicology and has been an active and enthusiastic member of the EMGS for over 25 years.

Francesco obtained a Doctoral Degree in Biology, summa sum laude, from La Sapienza University in Rome, Italy (1990), where he investigated the chemical induction of aneuploidy in female germ cells. He then conducted post-doctoral research at the Louisiana State University Medical Center in Shreveport, Louisiana (1991-1994) and at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), in Livermore, California (1994-1997). He then held research staff positions at LLNL (1997-2006) and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (2006-2011) in Berkeley, California, before moving the Health Canada in 2011. A major emphasis of his work has been the identification and characterization of environmental mutagens that affect the genetic integrity of germ cells, the transmission of genetic damage to the offspring and its consequences for the health of the offspring. His current research focuses on using new genomics tools to advance the field of in vivo mutagenesis.

Francesco is an internationally recognized leader in germ cell mutagenesis and has led many international activities associated with advancing regulatory applications of genetic toxicity testing for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the International Workshop on Genotoxicity Testing, and the Health and Environmental Sciences Institute (HESI). He is currently the co-chair of the Germ Cell and Error Corrected Sequencing workgroups of the HESI Genetic Toxicology Technical Committee and is the Canadian representative on the OECD Expert Group on genetic toxicity testing.

Francesco has not missed an EMGS meeting since 1995 and attributes many of the career moves and research successes to attendance at the meeting and the network of EMGS collaborators that he established during this time. Francesco is a strong and committed supporter of the EMGS having covered numerous roles in the society including elected councillor (2009-2012), member of the Executive Board (2015-2016), Chair of the Heritable Mutation and Disease (2009-2013) and In vivo Mutation (2016-present) Special Interest Groups and Editor-In-Chief of Environmental and Molecular Mutagenesis (EMM, 2012-2016). He currently serves on the editorial board of EMM and on the Publication Policy Committee. Also, he is one of the organizers of the next International Conference on Environmental Mutagens that will take place in Ottawa in September 2021.

Dr. Susan S. Wallace
University of Vermont (Emeritus)

Dr. Susan S. Wallace received her doctoral degree in Biophysics from the Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences and performed postdoctoral research in Immunochemistry in the Department of Microbiology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Her first academic position was at the Herbert H. Lehman College of the City University of New York. There she was awarded an RO1 from the National Cancer Institute that was renewed over the entire course of her career and received MERIT status twice. It was at CUNY that her lab identified and characterized Nth/endoIII as an enzyme that recognized oxidized pyrimidines in DNA which launched her career in DNA Base Excision Repair. In addition to repair biology and enzymology, Dr. Wallace worked on determining which oxidative lesions were potentially lethal and which were potentially mutagenic. She was subsequently recruited to New York Medical College in the Department of Microbiology and later to the University of Vermont to set up and Chair a new Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. Over the course of her career, Susan Wallace studied new repair enzymes in many species including humans and continued to focus on the biological consequences of individual lesions. She partnered with collaborators to obtain crystal structures of DNA repair enzymes and of DNA polymerases interacting with DNA lesions, to examine the base excision repair processing of lesions in chromatin, as well as visualizing in real time, repair enzymes searching for and locating lesions in DNA. Her research was always well funded. Dr. Wallace trained 16 graduate students and over 30 postdoctoral fellows and together they published over 200 papers.

Susan joined American Woman in Science a year after it was founded; in 1991, she was the first woman to be elected President of the Radiation Research Society and she mentored many young women in our field. She has served on numerous study sections and review panels, many advisory boards as well as editorial boards for a number of journals. Susan also organized or co-organized over a dozen scientific meetings and workshops. In these various capacities, Susan always works to promote women in our field.

Susan Wallace is also the recipient of many awards and honors. Among those are the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Institute Cancer Center Aaron Bendich Award for Distinguished Achievement in Biomedical Research, the Failla Award, which is the highest honor from the Radiation Research Society, and the John B. Little Award for Outstanding Contributions to Molecular Radiobiology from the Harvard School of Public Health. Susan was also elected Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and was honored many times by the University of Vermont including being designated as University Distinguished Professor. She served the Environmental Mutagenesis and Genomics Society both as a member of the Council and the Nominating Committee and in 2012, received its highest award for Her Fundamental Studies on Repair of DNA Damage by Environmental Agents, and for Her Exemplary Leadership in Science.

Councilor Candidates

Renato Cardoso

Dr. Renato Cardoso is the Director of Study Management at MilliporeSigma. He is the lead scientific resource for Genetic Toxicology within MilliporeSigma, under BioReliance Services, the largest Genetic Toxicology operation in the world. Dr. Cardoso is a DABT with over 25 years of experience in the field of genetic toxicology. He acquired his MSc in Cytogenetics and Mutagenesis from the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, studying human populations exposed to ionizing radiation. After that, he obtained his PhD in Genetics, where he identified gene expression signatures correlated to NHEJ DNA repair in 3D thymus culture. During his post-doctoral research at Dr. Razq Hakem`s Laboratory at the Ontario Cancer Institute, he generated knock-out mice to study DNA repair and genomic stability maintenance. He transitioned to industry to lead the genetic toxicology and assay development at Nucro-Technics. During this time, he applied artificial intelligence to identify biomarkers and created a hepatotoxicity and a drug potency assay accepted by FDA. Dr. Cardoso joined Charles River Laboratories as Scientific Director and then lead the Genetic Toxicology Center of Excellence. At CRL he focused on the integration of new technologies to develop assays with human metabolic competent organ-on-chip and organoids.

Dr. Cardoso is an active member of the Society of Toxicology, EMGS and GTA. He was included in the external Scientific Experts Database of Health Canada for the expert advice and recommendation on nonclinical and toxicology data. Dr. Cardoso is involved on scientific workgroups as CDISC core team preparing the SEND templates, HESI GTTC and EMGS (Sigs Genomics and Data Science and Applied GT). He has also worked as a volunteer scientific reviewer for the CIHR, NSERC and several journals (eg.: Mutation Research, EMM, Plos, etc). His commitment to research is demonstrated by numerous scientific articles published in influential journals (eg.: Journal of Experimental Medicine, Plos Genetics, Cancer Research, JBC, etc). Dr. Cardoso can contribute to the EMGS Council by bringing a viewpoint that combines the genetic toxicology application in several industries (Pharmaceuticals, Medical Devices, Industrial Chemicals, Cosmetics, Food, etc) and the interest in the implementation of new technologies (Duplex sequencing, TGX-DDI, metabolic competent 3D cultures, etc).

Julie Cox
Health Canada

Julie Cox is a biologist with 10 years of experience in the field of genetic toxicology. She obtained her BSc in Biopharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Ottawa and went on to obtain her PhD in Biology with a specialization in Chemical and Environmental Toxicology at the University of Ottawa under the supervision of Dr. Paul White. Her PhD research centred on the role of xenobiotic metabolism in applied genetic toxicity testing and mutagenic modes of action. Her research included investigating the utility of human-derived liver S9 in genetic toxicity assessment, establishing a novel in vitro gene mutation assay based on MutaMouse primary hepatocytes, and investigating the mutagenicity of selected azo compounds. During this time, she made significant contributions as part of the human S9 sub-group of the HESI In Vitro Genetic Toxicity (IVGT) testing committee (now known as the Genetic Toxicology Technical Committee [GTTC]). Following her PhD, Julie contributed to the progress and implementation of the GeneTox21 initiative as a research biologist in the Environmental Health Science and Research Bureau at Health Canada.

Julie is currently a regulatory evaluator in the Therapeutic Products Directorate at Health Canada. Julie attended her first EMGS meeting in 2013. She has been regularly attending meetings as a member and participating in the society ever since. She served as a student chair of the Applied Genetic Toxicology Special Interest Group from 2014 to 2016, and is currently a member of the Membership and Professional Development Committee.

Kelly Harris
National Center for Toxicological Research, US FDA

Dr. Kelly Harris is a staff fellow in the division of molecular and genetic toxicology at the National Center for Toxicological Research, the national laboratory of the Food and Drug Administration. The major portion of her research involves determining the sensitivity of high-throughput next-generation sequencing, while developing a method capable of detecting a panel of the most prevalent human cancer driver mutations. This goal is based on the idea that such a panel will include useful biomarkers for cancer risk assessment (e.g., rodent to human extrapolation) and for advancing precision medicine (e.g., monitoring mutation-driven acquired resistance to cancer therapy).

A native of Memphis, Tennessee, Dr. Harris graduated from the University of Tennessee at Martin in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in biology. Following undergrad, she obtained her master’s degree from Middle Tennessee State University with a focus in biological science. In 2010, Dr. Harris entered the Ph.D. program at Meharry Medical College located in Nasville, TN. The major portion of her research laboratory involved examining the effect of dietary factors and toxicants in acceleration of colon carcinogenesis and prevention of the same by chemopreventive agents. Her studies were focused on the effect of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) on colon cancer growth and development in in vitro and in vivo models of human colon cancer. It was Dr. Harris’ desire to continue her career in the area of cancer biology and this played a key role in her pursuit of a postdoc at the National Center for Toxicological Research in 2016, where she acquired post-graduate training as an ORISE postdoctoral fellow for three years.

Over her educational and professional career Dr. Harris has had the opportunity to present her research findings on a national and international stage. Dr. Harris has both poster and oral presentations at annual meetings such as the Society of Toxicology (SOT), the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR), as well as Environmental Mutagenesis Genomics Society (EMGS). To her credit, she has eight peer reviewed publications generated through her studies along with 1 book chapter.

Cheryl Hobbs
Integrated Laboratory Systems

Dr. Cheryl Hobbs is the Director of Toxicology at Integrated Laboratory Systems (ILS), a provider of multidisciplinary services for clients needing toxicology support for investigative research and regulatory compliance.

After obtaining a B.A. in Biological Sciences and Computer Science from the University of Delaware, Dr. Hobbs began her career doing cancer research at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia in a genetics laboratory studying position effect variegation. She later worked as a molecular biologist in support of drug discovery programs at Sterling Winthrop, Inc. (Collegeville, PA) focused on development of antisense and other technologies for directed regulation of gene expression. While working at Sterling, she concurrently attained her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Bioscience and Biotechnology from Drexel University (Philadelphia); her thesis research focused on the regulation of gene expression by triple helix-forming oligonucleotides. After obtaining her doctorate, Dr. Hobbs did postdoctoral training at the Lankenau Institute for Medical Research (LIMR) in suburban Philadelphia, where she studied the effects of polyamines on epigenetic histone modifications in epidermal cells and skin tumors; she then became a Scientist at LIMR with concurrent appointment as Assistant Investigator in Hematology/Oncology at the affiliated Lankenau Hospital, studying altered regulation of histone modifying protein complexes in prostate cancer.

Relocation brought Dr. Hobbs to ILS (Research Triangle Park NC), where she has spent the past 14 years designing, performing, directing, and/or providing scientific oversight for the conduct of ILS’ genetic and general toxicology testing for both government agencies and commercial clients in accordance with regulatory guidelines. She has also been involved in various efforts aimed at developing/validating new chemical screening assays and integrating new technologies into genetic toxicity testing. Dr. Hobbs led ILS’ participation in the international validation study for the in vivo mammalian comet assay leading to an OECD test guideline; serves on the OECD expert working group for the Pig-a mutation assay; led a collaborative effort to use RNA-Seq and toxicogenomics to build gene signatures of developmental epigenotoxicant exposure in embryonic stem cells; and is leading ILS’ participation in multi-organization efforts to evaluate use of the CometChip platform to measure DNA damage in animal tissues and to validate interlaboratory reproducibility of duplex sequencing technology for assessment of chemical-induced mutation.

Dr. Hobbs has been a member of several scientific societies, including EMGS (since 2007), the Genetic and Environmental Mutagenesis Society (served as a Councilor on its Board of Directors), and the American Association for Cancer Research. She currently serves on the editorial board of Mutation Research – Genetic and Environmental Mutagenesis, as a reviewer for multiple other journals, and on expert committees developing CDISC (Clinical Data Interchange Standards Consortium) standards and controlled terminology for regulatory submission of genetic toxicity data. She has received research awards from federal, state, and private funding agencies, has been an invited speaker at national and international scientific meetings, and has published in the fields of genetic toxicology, gene regulation, and epigenetic mechanisms of disease and toxicity.

Page McKinzie
National Center for Toxicological Research, US FDA

Dr. Page McKinzie earned her Ph.D. from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in Molecular and Cellular Biology, followed by a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at the Gene Therapy Program at UAB (now Division of Human Gene Therapy). She completed a second fellowship through the ORISE post-doctoral program in the Division of Genetics and Molecular Toxicology at the NCTR.

Dr. McKinzie is currently a Research Microbiologist at NCTR and has continued her work in cancer-related mutations and their role as biomarkers that fill the information gap between mutagenesis and carcinogenesis. This work has progressed to include using massively parallel sequencing to evaluate low abundance mutant alleles, developing bioinformatic programs, and developing workflows to produce efficient data analysis and visualization.

Dr. McKinzie has served on the Public Relations Committee for several years, and for the last 2 years served on the Newsletter Subcommittee. She has also taken on the role of communicating to authors their selection for the EMM Editor’s Choice Award and distributing the announcement and lay abstract to their colleagues and institutions.

Aishwarya Prakash
University of South Alabama

Dr. Aishwarya Prakash joined the University of South Alabama Mitchell Cancer Institute in 2016 and is now an associate professor within the Department of Biochemistry at the University of South Alabama. She moved to Alabama after completing her post-doctoral research training at the University of Vermont under the expert guidance of Dr. Sylvie Doublié. She earned her PhD at the University of Nebraska Medical Center under the guidance of Dr. Gloria Borgstahl.

Currently, Dr. Prakash’s work focuses on base excision DNA repair mechanisms in the mitochondria as well as DNA repair defects in Lynch syndrome patients. Her lab focuses on environmental toxicants and their impact on DNA Repair and she was the recipient of a National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) K99/R00 Pathway to Independence award in 2014 and more recently was the recipient of the NIEHS Outstanding New Environmental Scientist (ONES) R01 grant in 2019. Dr. Prakash also has active collaborations with other current EMGS members including Drs. Sobol and Sweasy and several of her colleagues at the University of South Alabama.

Dr. Prakash has been an active member of the EMGS since 2017 and since then has served on several committees including chair of the Young Scientist Award committee, and co-chair of the Women in the EMGS, among others. She was the recipient of the EMGS Young Scientist Award in 2018 and is the young investigator co-chair for the 2020 annual meeting working alongside Dr. Joann Sweasy.

Leslie Recio
Integrated Laboratory Systems

Les Recio has more than 30 years of experience in investigative toxicology research in the areas of mutagenesis, toxicogenomics and regulatory based genotoxicity assessment using in vitro cell culture methods, in vivo studies, and genomic approaches.

In 2006, he presented research at the National Research Council Workshops that focused on genetic susceptibility and toxicogenomic responses to genotoxic stress in human and mouse bone marrow stem cells.

Dr. Recio is the Chief Scientific Officer at ILS, LLC where he provides scientific leadership, vision, and direction for ILS in regulatory toxicology, genetic and computational toxicology. He served on board of Councilors for the North Carolina Chapter of the Society of Toxicology (2006-2008), and in 2006 was the President of the Genetic and Environmental Mutagenesis Society. In 2010, was appointed to the SOT Council on Diversity Initiatives and in 2012 elected President for the SOT’s Hispanic Organization for Toxicologist. In 2012 to present he serves on the OECD Genetic Toxicology Expert Group that developed a new OECD Guidance on TK gene mutation (OECD 490) and more recently developing a Pig-a OECD Guidance. He served on Editorial Board Toxicological Sciences 2008-2016 and as Associate Editor for Toxicological Sciences from 2016-2019. He serves on the Editorial Board for Mutation Research – Reviews in Mutation Research.

Vincent Reynolds
Eli Lilly

Vincent L. Reynolds, PhD, DABT is a toxicologist with over 3 decades of experience in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. Vinny completed his undergraduate degree (Chemistry/Biology) at the University of Delaware and his PhD (Toxicology) at the University of Kentucky where his studies elucidated the molecular structure and DNA sequence specificity of several DNA-reactive antitumor antibiotics. He then pursued postdoctoral studies on the metabolic effects of oncogenes at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. He joined the Molecular & Genetic Toxicology group at DuPont and spent 12 years in the chemical industry with DuPont and Dow Corning where his activities included study director roles in genetic and general toxicology, risk assessment to support workplace exposure guidelines and environmental remediation, and developmental/reproductive toxicity studies of commodity chemicals and consumer product components.

Dr. Reynolds is now a Research Advisor with Eli Lilly & Company where he has been a Toxicology Project Leader for over 20 years. He has been responsible for the design, conduct, and oversight of the full range of nonclinical safety assessment studies required to support regulatory filings and clinical trials for numerous small molecules, biologics, monoclonal antibodies, epigenetic modulators, and siRNAs indicated for the treatment of cancer, metabolic disorders, and neurodegenerative diseases. He has remained true to his genetic toxicology roots, has served on the Board of Directors for the Genetic Toxicology Association, and currently co-chairs a DruSafe working group examining current pharma practices in epigenetic drug development. He has provided lectures on genetic toxicology for graduate-level courses at the University of Delaware, University of Illinois-Urbana, and University of Cincinnati. Dr. Reynolds has chaired, co-chaired, or contributed to numerous symposia and Continuing Education sessions at national and international meetings, and has authored/co-authored over 80 publications, abstracts, and book chapters on a broad range of toxicology topics.

As a candidate for the EMGS Council, Vinny brings an industry perspective with deep expertise in developing and applying innovative experimental strategies to resolve genetic toxicity concerns and support the development of new medicines to help patients with unmet medical needs.

Chad Thompson

Dr. Chad Thompson is a Senior Consultant at ToxStrategies, Inc. in Houston, Texas. He received his Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center UTHealth Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and later did his postdoctoral training at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine. He is a former American Association for the Advancement of Science Risk Policy Fellow, and former Health Scientist at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Center for Environmental Assessment in Washington, D.C.

Upon leaving the U.S. EPA, he joined ToxStrategies, Inc. where he provides consulting services to industry and government organizations. Since leaving academia, he has published over 65 peer-reviewed publications focusing on risk assessment, including mode of action (MOA) analysis, adverse outcome pathway (AOP) development, hazard identification, quantitative dose-response analysis, safety criteria derivation, and risk assessment methodology. He has studied several high-profile compounds such as formaldehyde, hexavalent chromium, and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

Dr. Thompson has designed, managed, analyzed, and communicated results of a large multidisciplinary, multi-institution research effort focused on informing the MOA of tumors induced in rodents following chronic oral exposure to high concentrations of hexavalent chromium in drinking water. The research is a case study on the complexities of risk assessment of chemicals with genotoxic properties that potentially induce tumors by non-mutagenic mechanisms. Of relevance to EMGS, the research includes critical studies on in vivo genotoxicity (e.g., TGR mutation assays, and intestinal micronucleus assays) and transcriptomic analyses. Results from these assays were further informed by molecular imaging of chromium distribution in proliferative, non-proliferative, pluripotent and non-pluripotent compartments of the intestinal mucosa. This research has been used by several regulatory bodies to inform the quantitative development of toxicity criteria for hexavalent chromium. Other work relevant to EMGS includes assistance in the qualification of the Big Blue® Rat TGR model for gingival and buccal oral cavity mutation frequency analysis and development of quantitative dose-response modeling techniques for genotoxicity data sets.  

Cast Your Vote

The ballot will close on December 1, 2020.