The GEMS Board of Directors has 13 members, including a president, president-elect, secretary, treasurer, and 9 councilors. The Board meets monthly to plan and prepare for the two annual GEMS meetings.
Arun Pandiri, BVSC&AH, Ph.D., is the leader of the Molecular Pathology Group, Cellular and Molecular Pathology Branch, National Toxicology Program. He earned his Veterinary degree from ANGR Agricultural University, Hyderabad, India; M.S. from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville; Ph.D. from Michigan State University and the USDA ARS Avian Disease and Oncology Laboratory, East Lansing; and Pathology residency training at North Carolina State University, Raleigh. He is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists and the American Board of Toxicology. Dr. Pandiri received the first Distinguished Early Career Award from the Society of Toxicologic Pathology (STP) in 2014. His areas of interest include chemical-induced carcinogenesis and the toxicologic pathology of digestive and respiratory systems. The current focus of Dr. Pandiri’s group is on identifying mutation signatures in tumors induced by genotoxic and non-genotoxic carcinogens from the NTP rodent cancer bioassays. Dr. Pandiri has presented at various workshops organized by the EPA, FDA and at the local universities NCSU and UNC. In addition, he has also organized several scientific sessions and continuing education programs at the annual meetings of the STP and the American College of Toxicology. He considers it an honor to serve and contribute to the growth of GEMS especially in the areas of continuing education and career development.
George Woodall, Ph.D., is a Toxicologist at the Center for Public Health and Environmental Assessment (CPHEA) of the US EPA where he works under the Health and Environmental Risk Assessment (HERA) Program performing chemical risk assessments and improving risk assessment methods. He provides technical support to the Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards which includes cancer and non-cancer assessments of risk from exposure to hazardous air pollutants. He has also been very active in developing visualizations for comparisons of health effect reference values used in risk assessments (reference value arrays), and other graphical methods to compare and analyze the key studies used to derive reference values (exposure-response arrays). A few key highlights from his career include: Coordinator and Moderator for the January 2014 State-of-the-Science Workshop on Chemically-Induced Mouse Lung Tumors: Applications to Human Health Assessments; Chair of the OECD expert panel developing the OECD Guidance Document 153 (Derivation of an Acute Reference Concentration); Member of the Editorial Board for Toxicological Sciences, and President (2018-2019) of the Risk Assessment Specialty Section of the Society of Toxicology (SOT).
Jennifer Nichols, Ph.D., is a Toxicologist at EPA with broad expertise in health effects related to air pollution. In ORD’s National Center for Environmental Assessment, I have served in a number of capacities primarily focused on human health risk assessments for air pollution exposures as part of reviews of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). In particular, my work has focused on evaluating and integrating evidence examining respiratory and cardiovascular effects, susceptible populations, and implementation of new methods and approaches to improve transparency and translation of scientific conclusions to support evidence-based decision making. I have previously served in the Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards where I led a multi-disciplinary team in the review of the primary NAAQS for Oxides of Nitrogen. Prior to joining EPA in 2012, I completed doctoral research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where I worked under Dr. Steve Kleeberger to characterize genetic and genomic mechanisms of neonatal acute lung injury. In these roles, I have effectively engaged in multi-disciplinary collaborations and worked with diverse groups of technical and nontechnical stakeholders internal and external to EPA on topics related to scientific research, policy, and communication. In addition, I have taken an active service role in the scientific community, including serving as a councilor on the GEMS Board from 2013-2016.
Jessica Hartman, Ph.D., is a postdoctoral scholar in the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University, working in the lab of Dr. Joel Meyer. Her research is working to uncover the role of metabolism in driving interindividual differences in toxicity associated with environmental exposures. More specifically, she is studying how genetics, diet, and exercise, as well as differences in xenobiotic metabolism, impact toxicity in the model organism C. elegans. This research builds on her prior doctoral research at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, where Dr. Hartman worked with Dr. Grover Miller to study metabolism of common environmental pollutants by the human cytochrome P450 enzyme CYP2E1. Dr. Hartman has already demonstrated a strong commitment to the advocacy and support of trainees, evidenced by her role as mentor to students and as Chair of the New Investigator Committee in the International Society for the Study of Xenobiotics (ISSX). In this role, she spearheaded the organization of trainee career development events at three national ISSX conferences and led efforts to improve New Investigator member benefits in the society. Dr. Hartman plans to pursue a career in academic research, where she hopes to continue to train students and develop her research program. Dr. Hartman is eager to explore the relationship of her work to environmental mutagenesis through working with GEMS.
Elizabeth M. Martin, Ph.D., is a fellow in the Postdoctoral Research Associate (PRAT) Program sponsored by the National Institute of General Medicine (NIGMS). She conducts her research at the National Institutes of Environmental Health Science (NIEHS) in the lab of Dr. Paul Wade. Her primary interest is in using systems biology techniques to understand how hormonal signaling drives epigenetic change in response to chemical and non-chemical exposures. Currently, she is investigating epigenetic changes in the breast associated with birth control usage and how these changes may lead to an increase breast cancer risk. Additionally, she is also working to elucidate an epigenetic mechanism underlying the observed protective effect of pregnancy on breast cancer risk. She received her Ph.D. in Environmental Science and Engineering from the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill under Dr. Rebecca Fry, where she worked to understand metabolic alterations in response to arsenic exposure, as well as sexually dimorphic prenatal exposure responses. During her doctoral studies, she was the recipient of the Karen Wetterhahn Memorial Award from the NIEHS Superfund Research Program, as recognition for her excellence in environmental health research. Following this she was a postdoctoral researcher in the UNC Curriculum in Toxicology under the direction Dr. Shaun McCullough during which time she was invited to present her research at the Fall 2017 NC GEMS. Dr. Martin hopes to serve as a councilor for NC GEMS as her participation in NC GEMS continues to be integral in the development of her research focus on understanding the interaction between the epigenome and environmental exposures.
Suzanne Martos, Ph.D., is a third-year postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Dr. Douglas Bell at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences where she is using single cell RNA sequencing and mass cytometry to identify and characterize smoking-associated cell population changes and cell-type specific transcriptome changes in primary human blood cells. She received her doctorate in Toxicology, Physiology, and Molecular Mechanisms from the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University in 2017. She is author/co-author of five peer-reviewed publications. She has served in leadership positions within the Society of Toxicology in the following capacities: Postdoctoral Representative, Computational Toxicology; Chair, Graduate Student Leadership Committee; Programming Subcommittee Chair, Graduate Student Leadership Committee; Graduate Student representative, Committee on Diversity Initiatives; Graduate Student representative, National Capital Area Chapter. Since coming to NIEHS, she has attended the past two GEMS Fall meetings and was selected to give a trainee platform presentation for the 2018 GEMS Fall meeting. Dr. Martos is looking forward to becoming more involved with GEMS.
Amy Wang, Ph.D., is a toxicologist in the Office of Report on Carcinogens, Division of National Toxicology Program (NTP) at NIEHS. She leads systematic reviews to evaluate various substances’ potential carcinogenicity and mechanisms, including using results from new approach methodologies and computational approach to fill in knowledge gaps. She is also a member of program management team on Environmental Cancer Prevention Initiative at NTP. Before joining the NTP in 2017, Dr. Wang worked in the private sector, and brought predictive toxicology to the standard workflow of toxicity testing, and decreased the animal use by applying mixture toxicity estimation. During her postdoctoral training, Dr. Wang conducted comprehensive environmental assessment for nano-scaled titanium dioxide at the National Center for Environmental Assessment, and then coordinated nanomaterial bioactivity screening (as a part of ToxCast) and physico-chemical property characterization National Center for Computational Toxicology. As a postdoc, Dr. Wang conceptualized the development of a higher throughput inhalation toxicity testing device, and won the competitive Pathfinder Innovation Projects 2 grant from US EPA. Dr. Wang received her Master’s and Ph.D. degrees from Virginia Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), and Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine from National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan. She served on the boards of various specialty sections at the local chapter of and national Society of Toxicology, and on the board of local chapter of Society of Risk Analysis. She chaired scientific as well as educational sections at the Society of Toxicology annual meetings and other conferences, and organized or co-organized workshops and panel discussions in the RTP area. After attending recent GEMS NC meetings and meeting with members, she become very fond of the science, enthusiasm, and sense of community in GEMS NC. Dr. Wang is looking forwarding to be active in this vibrant Society.
Shaun D. McCullough, Ph.D., is a Principal Investigator in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency where his laboratory uses organotypic airway models to explore the molecular mechanisms responsible for the adverse health effects of inhaled toxicants. Dr. McCullough holds a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics from the University of Virginia and currently serves on the editorial boards of Environmental Epigenetics and the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, and as a subject matter expert in epigenetics for the EPA’s review of OECD guidelines. He has also been an invited speaker and session chair at a variety of meetings and the Chair of Contemporary Concepts in Toxicology meetings on both toxicoepigenetics and organotypic epithelial models. Dr. McCullough has also served as the President of SOT’s Molecular and Systems Biology Specialty Section, Chair of SOT’s Career Resources and Development Committee, and as a member of the Board of Directors for the American Society for Cellular and Computational Toxicology.
Esra Mutlu, Ph.D., is a chemist in the Division of the National Toxicology Program (NTP). Dr. Mutlu received her BSc (Honors) in Chemistry from Yildiz Technical University, Istanbul, Turkey in 2001 and her Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK in 2004. Esra worked at UNC Chapel Hill and U.S. EPA as a postdoctoral fellow and was actively involved in research on DNA adduct formation, mutagenicity and mutagenic emission factors of particulate matters of various emissions. She manages chemistry contracts conducting toxicokinetic studies and supporting toxicity and carcinogenicity studies of diverse chemicals including botanicals, PAHs, sunscreen ingredients, and phenolic benzotriazoles. Dr. Mutlu’s research interests include the reactive metabolites of xenobiotics and mode of action of chemicals and their metabolites in vivo. Dr. Mutlu received several rewards, including the SOT Carcinogenesis Specialty Session Best Postdoctoral Research Award (2013), GEMS Best Oral Presentation Award (2012), and The Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (2006-2008).
Michelle Angrish, Ph.D., is a Toxicologist in the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) National Center for Environmental Assessment (NCEA) Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) Program. Since joining the agency in 2014, she has advanced the application of Adverse Outcome Pathways (AOPs) to chemical prioritization and risk assessment via 10 peer-reviewed publications, been awarded an EPA Stage 1 Pathfinder Innovation Project, co-managed the first ever Metabolic Health Effects Chapter in the Particulate Matter Integrative Science Assessment, and kicking-off an international task force to explore the use of semantics and artificial intelligence to enhance systematic review methods. Michelle is a strategic innovator and prior to earning Ph.D.s in genetics and environmental toxicology from Michigan State University, used her B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology to gain R&D positions developing point of care diagnostic devices for medical and agricultural applications. Dr. Angrish has laboratory expertise exploring mechanisms of metabolic disease that extend to molecular mechanisms of lipid and glucose disorders. Michelle is a member of scientific organizations that include SOT, EMGS, and GEMS, a proud mother of two, and looks forward to serve and support GEMS!
Alison Harrill, Ph.D., is a Geneticist at the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences in the Division of the National Toxicology Program (NTP). Her research interests include investigating the role of genetic sequence variation and population dynamics as it relates to toxicity susceptibility, and development/qualification of novel biofluid-based miRNA biomarkers of organ toxicity. She currently serves as an Associate Editor for Toxicological Sciences, co-Chair of the Health and Environmental Sciences Institute’s (HESI) Application of Genomics to Mechanism-Based Risk Assessment Technical Committee, co-chair of the HESI miRNA Biomarkers Working Group, co-Chair of the Society of Toxicology (SOT) Contemporary Concepts in Toxicology Committee, and past Secretary/Treasurer of the Toxicology Division within the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. Dr. Harrill received her Ph.D. in Toxicology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2009). Dr. Harrill and her team have received several awards, including the Burroughs Wellcome Award for Innovation in Regulatory Science (2013-2016), the SOT Outstanding Published Paper in Advancing the Science of Risk Assessment Award (2009) and the SOT Best Paper Published in Toxicological Sciences (2016).
Natalie Saini, Ph.D., completed her Ph.D in 2014 from Georgia Institute of Technology, where she was working on understanding how intrinsic DNA damage and repair pathways contribute to genome instability in yeast. Dr. Saini is currently a postdoctoral scientist in Dr. Dmitry Gordenin’s lab at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. She is working towards establishing herself as an independent researcher in the near future. Dr. Saini’s overarching research goal is to determine the range of genome-wide mutation loads and to identify the mutation signatures in the cells of healthy individuals to decipher environmental and genetic causes of genome instability. She utilizes simple model organisms like yeast to understand how environmental agents affect DNA stability, and to apply this knowledge to answer key questions regarding the impact of environmental damage on mutagenesis in humans, resulting in important insights into how these factors affect human health. Dr. Saini recently was awarded the Young Scientist Award by EMGS and is looking forward to participating the North Carolina Genetics and Environmental Mutagenesis Society.
Tom Hughes, M.S., was the co-founder of GEMS in 1983. He served as the GEMS President three times and has been on the BOD as Councilor, Treasurer, Corporate Sponsor Coordinator and Vice President. He was awarded the GEMS Lifetime Achievement Award at the Annual Meeting in 2015. He has been a QA and Records Manager at the US EPA for the past 17 years and a laboratory scientist at the US EPA for five years prior to being a QA and Records Manager. Scientifically, he was involved in the World Trade Center (WTC) research, where a 20 member Team exposed mice to dusts from the WTC immediately after the 9/11/01 disaster and in the Penobscot River Study in Maine where the water, sediment and drinking water of the Penobscot River and the fish and plants were investigate for toxicity for the Penobscot Indian Nation. Previous to being at the US EPA, Tom was a Principal Investigator in two contract labs for twenty years, were he conducted GLP testing for industrial clients, and where he conducted toxicology testing for industry, NCI, EPA and NTP. Tom was the U.S. EPA QA Manager of the Year in 2002 and was a US EPA National Honor Award winner in 2014 for his work with the Penobscot Indians. He will retireD from the US EPA after 22 years on October 29, 2016 after which he continued to be an invaluable supporter of the mission of GEMS.