Skip to main content

Tox Track, 6/6/16

Weekly Newsletter of the MSU Institute for Integrative Toxicology
Director: Dr. Norbert Kaminski / Editor: Lauren St.John

June 6, 2016, Vol. 39, Number 11

Funding / Learning Opportunities / Job Postings



The SOT is addressing the diversity in preparation required for entry of graduate students into the modern workforce by offering Supplemental Training for Education Program (STEP). This pilot program will enable outstanding doctoral students to pursue training in identified areas of professional/scientific development that are necessary for them to achieve their career goals but outside the immediate scope of their graduate training and research program.

A strong application will propose participation in a workshop or event that clearly addresses unmet needs to elevate the applicant’s probability of achieving the planned career track. The Education Committee will give priority to students proposing activities/courses distinct from those offered by their home institution.

Approximately five awards of up to $1,000 each will be given this year to support travel and registration of highly meritorious applicants selected based on academic record, personal statement on relevance of the proposed professional activity to career goals, and advisor’s supporting recommendation.

To download the award description and application, please visit: Deadlines are May 1 and October 9. 


Learning Opportunities

PHM 980: The Communication of Science and Risk/Uncertainty in the Current Media Landscape
Fall semester, 2016, a one-credit seminar course will be offered entitled “The Communication of Science and Risk/Uncertainty in the Current Media Landscape” (PHM 980).  The course is open to students in biomedical Ph.D. programs.  It will fulfill the Topics in Toxicology requirement for the Environmental and Integrative Toxicological Sciences doctoral program. This course explores science and risk communication at practical and theoretical levels.  

Students will:

  1. understand key concepts and gain skills for communicating scientific issues through various media, with an emphasis on risk from chemicals and other exposures and uncertainties surrounding such risk.
  2. gain an appreciation for how risk communication can influence public perception of safety.
  3. think critically about the role of scientists in society and how this is impacted by public engagement and professional engagement with policy makers.
  4. think critically about the social and ethical implications of risk communication and engagement through different media outlets.

The course will be offered on Mondays from September 19th - November 7th from 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm in the Life Sciences Building, Room B448. Course will be part lecture and part discussion/workshop based. Lecturers include:  Jamie Bernard (Toxicology), Sarah Hendrickson (Improvisation for Scientists), Bruno Takahashi (Environmental Science Journalism), Mark Largent (Environment and Public Policy), Kevin Elliot (Ethical and Social Issues in Risk Communication). Discussions topics include: sunscreen, lead, Zika, GMOs, vaccines, endocrine disruptors.  Grading: 65% attendance, 25% discussions, 10% writing assignment.


Job Postings

Public Health Toxicologist, Portland, OR

Salary  $4,423.00 - $6,474.00 Monthly
Job Number OHA16-0497
Closing 6/24/2016 11:59 PM Pacific

This position develops the public health assessments for the evaluation of human health risks from exposure to environmental contaminants. The work also includes preparing and presenting risk communication messages to potentially affected individuals and communities, and sharing related information with scientific, governmental and public audiences. Provide public health input in interagency collaborations and workgroups. Provide technical assistance to the public, community groups, and other agencies.

The primary duties and responsibilities of the position include, but are not limited to:

  • Quantitatively evaluate human health risks from exposure to environmental contaminants.
  • Conduct analysis of exposure pathways, evaluate and summarize toxicological literature, and make recommendations to reduce exposures.
  • Evaluate toxicity threshold values established by other jurisdictions and make recommendations for use in Oregon.
  • Provide information to state and local partners and the public on the health effects of environmental exposures.
  • Provide toxicological consultation to agencies and the public.
  • Assist in the development of public outreach materials (health advisors, news releases, fact sheets, brochures, etc.) regarding potential health risks from exposure to environmental contaminants.
  • Give presentations to agencies, medical community and the public.
  • Respond to the public's toxicological health questions.
  • Serve as project leader for site-specific activities.
  • Coordinate with team members, internal partners and federal, state and local partner agencies on risk assessment and risk communication activities.

A Master's degree in Toxicology or a closely-related field (such as Chemistry, Biology, or Physiology) and two years of state or local environmental-health agency experience applying toxicology to human-related environmental contaminates.

For more information and to apply:

ORISE Toxicologist, Research Participant Program – IRTA, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition

Project Title:      Food Safety Risk Assessment and Evaluation

Research Mentor:   Deborah Smegal, Chief, Contaminant Assessment Branch, 5100 Paint Branch Parkway, Room 2A-026, College Park, Maryland 20740, 240-402-1818,

Location:  FDA/CFSAN, 5100 Paint Branch Parkway, College Park  20740

Description of Work:
Risk assessment is increasingly used to help solve food safety problems and to better understand the complex interactions of hazards, food, and human hosts.  It is one of the most objective and scientific ways to determine the effectiveness of prevention and control practices throughout the food production and distribution system, from farm to table, and is a necessary tool to analyze the complexities of food safety and to focus our food safety efforts.  The fellow will work primarily on complex toxicological issues including human health assessments.

Examples of tasks include: 

  1. Analysis of studies for the purpose of inclusion in chemical risk assessments, models and tools;
  2. Evaluate toxicity data relating to the degree of hazard associated with levels present in the food supply;
  3. Establish new criteria or extend existing methodology to modify established precedents and methods;
  4. Review toxicity data, often developed as a result of detailed literature searches, as well as information received from other sources;
  5. Preparation of related assessment and evaluation reports, including complex contaminant issues;
  6. Facilitate development and use of expert elicitation methodology to obtain information for toxicological assessments and dose-response models, if needed;
  7. Collaborate with multi-disciplinary teams to assess the health risk of contaminants and natural toxicants in food;
  8. Identify and prioritize data gaps which when filled will reduce uncertainty associated with the scientific evaluations and risk predictions.

Scope of Work:
Independently, and not as an agent of the Government, the contractor shall furnish one individual at the post-graduate level with technical expertise necessary for the performance of this work.  The project requires knowledge of the principles and practices of toxicology as it relates to food safety issues.  In order to be able to report results to FDA, the individual must possess excellent communication skills for preparing written documents and in giving oral presentations.  In addition, the individual must have successful practical experience working on and with multi-disciplinary teams and in the collection, analysis and evaluation of toxicity data relating to contaminants and natural toxicants present or entering the food supply.

Duration:    12 months.

For more information about ORISE at FDA, see the following website:

This newsletter is produced and distributed weekly by the Institute for Integrative Toxicology. To be added to the email list or to make suggestions regarding information that might be included in this publication, contact: Lauren St.John, Editor, Institute for Integrative Toxicology,