EPA Researchers Win Best Toxicological Paper Awards

EPA scientists Yong Ho Kim, Christina Powers, and Russell S. Thomas

EPA scientists Yong Ho Kim, Christina Powers, and Russell S. Thomas were recognized by the Society for Toxicology.

By Dina Abdulhadi

EPA researchers will be honored March 22, 2015 at the Society of Toxicology’s 54th annual meeting and ToxExpo in San Diego, CA for their work to advance understanding of the effects of chemicals on human and environmental health. Having worked in a toxicology lab at EPA for the past year, I can appreciate the significant amount of hours and effort that go into producing publishable scientific work.

The first authors on the papers receiving the honors are Russell S. Thomas, Director of EPA’s National Center for Computational Toxicology, Yong Ho Kim and Christina Powers.

Thomas and his co-authors won the Best Paper in Toxicological Sciences Award. Their work used risk assessment models to understand how chemicals affect the way our genetic information translates into molecules and results in cancer and non-cancer effects. This type of so-called “omics” data (such as transcriptomics data) can be used to help make decisions on regulating chemicals. The paper, “Temporal Concordance between Apical and Transcriptional Points of Departure for Chemical Risk Assessment” was published in Toxicological Sciences, the official journal of the Society of Toxicology.

Kim and Powers each received a Best Postdoctoral Publication Award, provided to early-career scientists for their contributions in toxicology.

Kim’s paper addressed how the size of particulate matter, an air pollutant from peat fires, may affect the type of health impact. Larger particles were linked to respiratory effects, while smaller particles were linked to cardiovascular effects. The paper, “Cardiopulmonary Toxicity of Peat Wildfire Particulate Matter and the Predictive Utility of Precision Cut Lung Slices,” was published in Particle and Fibre Toxicology.

The study also found a way to decrease the animals needed for an experiment. That’s a big plus for both the effort to reduce the use of animals in research and cost. Cultured lung tissue slices (ex vivo) of an animal produced similar lung toxicity data when compared to a whole animal (in vivo).

Powers received an award for a paper that connects research planning to risk assessments of certain chemicals in the environment. The research focused on multi-walled carbon nanotubes, which are used in a variety of consumer products as flame retardants. The paper, “Sparking Connections: Toward Better Linkages between Research and Human Health Policy — An Example with Multiwalled Carbon Nanotubes” is published in Toxicological Sciences.

The Society of Toxicology (SOT) will formally award the researchers at an awards ceremony. SOT is an organization of over 7,600 scientists whose goal is to create a safer and healthier world by advancing the science of toxicology.

If you are attending this year’s Society of Toxicology annual meeting, I encourage you to find out more about EPA’s advances in toxicology research. EPA’s research will be featured during SOT sessions, symposia, workshops, platform presentations, poster sessions and at EPA’s booth in the exhibit hall. To find out when EPA’s research will be featured at SOT, you can visit EPA’s SOT web page at: http://epa.gov/research/sot/. For more information on the awards and the Society of Toxicology, check out the press release.

About the Author: Dina Abdulhadi is a student contractor currently working with the science communication team in EPA’s Office of Research and Development.

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