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Tox Track, 12/12/16

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

December 12, 2016, Vol. 39, Number 25

Seminars / Courses / Call for Writing / Job Postings



Wednesday, December 14
*The Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition presents Loan Cao, EITS graduate student, to give a research proposal seminar on, “Arsenic and Other Heavy Metals: Concentrations in Apple Juices, Distribution in Orchard Soils and Plant Tissues, and Effects on Human Cells,” on Wednesday, December 14, 2016, at 9:00 a.m. in 206 Trout Building.

Thursday, December 15
*The Comparative Medicine and Integrative Biology Program presents Alexandra Colón-Rodríguez, EITS graduate student, to give a dissertation defense seminar on, “Role of α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA) receptor on methylmercury-induced calcium dysregulation on motor neurons,” on Thursday, December 15, 2016, at 12:00 p.m. in B448-9 Life Science Building.

*Fulfills seminar requirements for the Environmental and Integrative Toxicological Sciences Graduate Programs. Seminars that fulfill this requirement are archived at:


CMB 800 Courses, Spring 2017
*Both courses listed below fulfill the EITS Topics in Toxicology requirement*

Section 1: "Metals in Biology" is intended for graduate students with backgrounds in biochemistry, molecular/cellular biology, microbiology, and/or chemistry. (It will be cross-listed with BMB 961 and MMG 803). CMB students should enroll through CMB 800). In this course we will discuss the roles of metals in biological systems, including metalloenzymes, metallocenter biosynthesis, metal transport, metal toxicity, and metaloregulation. Discussions will focus on the catalytic mechanisms as well as the way in which the different protein environments “tune” their active site. Student presentations will be an important emphasis in this class. THIS CLASS WILL MEET IN ROOM 502 BIOCHEMISTRY, Tues-Thurs, 9:10-10. Note: Undergraduate students must obtain permission to enroll from Dr. Eric Hegg (

Section 2: CRISPR Revolution. Stemming from basic research on bacterial innate immunity and yogurt production, CRISPR technologies have taken the scientific world by storm. These tools offer both significant opportunities to advance goals in basic research and applied fields of medicine and agriculture. Technical methods are continuing to evolve as a wide community of users has adapted this approach to many different systems. In addition to opening new fields of study, as well as unleashing speculative waves in the stock market and in the halls of the Nobel Commission, the application of CRISPR technologies may result in significant impacts on human health, food production, and the environment. This GEN800 course will consider the natural history of CRISPR, its application to diverse basic research settings, potential application in industry and societal impacts of a designer genome future. Weekly meetings will feature instructor-led overview sessions and student-led presentations of current literature. David Arnosti, Robin Buell, Rebecca Grumet; Wednesdays 3:30-4:50 p.m.


Call for Writing

CRIS Bits – Share your evidence-based food story with the public

So, you are a scientist, but maybe not a science writer – yet? We can help you with that! Not sure what to write about? We can help with that, too.

There’s often a story embedded in in the research process – whether it’s your personal story as a scientist, a key question that impacts society, an emerging theory, an innovative method, or a specific finding that moves the research agenda forward.

Interested in sharing your story? Email Dr. Keri Szejda, CRIS Bits Senior Editor, Check us out at 


Job Postings

Biologist/Toxicologist, EPA

Earth Day is every day at EPA! At EPA, you can protect human health and the environment of all Americans, and you’ll discover that EPA is one great place to work! We offer great benefits and work flexibilities, and our diverse workforce connects to more than just a career--we share a common passion to promote a cleaner, healthier environment. Discover how exciting safeguarding our natural resources and protecting human health can be. Find yourself at EPA.

This position is located in the Office of Research and Development (ORD), National Center for Environmental Assessment (NCEA), Integrated Risk Information Systems Division (IRISD). 

The location for this position may be at one of the following: Arlington, VA; or Durham, NC.

The duty location will be determined after a selection has been made for this position. The salary will be commensurate with the duty location.

For more information on the position and to apply by December 14, please visit:

Postdoctoral Position, National Health and Environmental Effects Research Lab

A postdoctoral position is now available in the laboratory of Dr. Timothy Shafer, Integrated Systems Toxicology Division. He is looking for someone who has experience with bioinformatics, biostatistics, transciptomics, neuroinformatics or a related discipline to work with neural networks on microelectrode arrays to determine effects of chemicals on functional, transciptomic and metabolomic changes following exposure during development. For more information on the position and to apply by December 30, please visit:

Postdoctoral Position, Office of Research and Development, US EPA

A postdoctoral research opportunity is currently available at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Research and Development (ORD). The appointment will be served with the National Center for Computational Technology (NCCT) in Research Triangle Park, NC.

NCCT is responsible for developing new computational tools and providing quantitative analysis for improving environmental risk assessments and regulatory decisions pertaining to chemical safety and sustainability. NCCT has newly formed an experimental arm with the focus of developing new high-throughput and/or high-content assays as well as exploring increasingly complex cell culture systems that more accurately reflect human physiology. This project aims to develop a library of cell cultures to be readily available for large-scale screening of chemicals and biomolecules for the purpose of performing high-throughput whole genome transcriptomics as well as develop additional complex cell culture systems and analysis techniques for future applications.

The participant will collaborate with a multidisciplinary research team including scientists at EPA and other partners. The participant will be involved in the following activities:

  • developing a library of stable, high quality and reproducible cell cultures
  • developing protocols for chemical and biomolecule screening of these cell cultures with libraries containing hundreds to thousands of test articles
  • developing experimental protocols which support concentration-response assessments of transcriptomic and other cell-based assay endpoints
  • developing complementary in vitro analysis techniques and strategies to aid in chemical screening and targeted follow-up studies
  • developing or adapting complex culture systems for future screening applications.

The participant’s research will be in accordance with a research project plan; guidance will be provided by the research mentor(s). S/he will have latitude in exercising independent initiative and judgment in the research commensurate with the level of training. The ToxCast research program has generated bioactivity data on thousands of chemicals across roughly one thousand assay endpoints. It is recognized that although these assays cover a large swath of biology they are not exhaustive and do not always provide a diverse cellular context. The goals of this project are to develop a diverse collection of in vitro test systems for high-throughput transcriptomic and/or cell phenotypic screening and expand the predictive knowledge-base of in vitro transcriptomic data in support the chemical prioritization and safety assessment process.

The participant will be collaborating with a multidisciplinary research team including scientists at EPA and other partners. A research plan will be developed and the project will be conducted under the guidance of a mentor. The participant will have latitude in exercising independent initiative and judgment in the research commensurate with the level of training.

Through this project, the participant will gain experience in the general areas of cell culture experimentation, high-throughput screening of large chemical libraries, high-content imaging, laboratory robotics, global transcriptomics (specifically RNA-Seq) and other complementary molecular biology techniques. Research findings will be communicated through peer-reviewed publications, national meetings of professional societies, and work-in-progress seminars. The training the participant will receive, coupled with a productive publishing record, should make it possible for them to move into any of these areas or continue down a transdisciplinary career path at their discretion. The research participant will be involved in highly visible predictive toxicology efforts as part of the computational toxicology research projects and will be engaged with researchers world-wide.

This program, administered by ORAU through its contract with the U.S. Department of Energy to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, was established through an interagency agreement between DOE and EPA.

For more information on the position and to apply, please visit:

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,