Sunday, December 23, 2007

Happy Holidays 2007

Happy Holidays to you and yours! Each year the Mission Inn sponsors a Festival of Lights which, I might add, seems to be getting progressively better. According to news reports, the festival involved 3 million lights this year. Here are some of this year's photos.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Wendy Hwang-Verslues Receives Distinguished Postdoctoral Award

Our congratulations to Wendy Hwang-Verslues (Ph.D., 2007) who was recently awarded a distinguished postdoctoral fellowship from the Taiwanese Academia Sinica. Of the 85 postdoctoral fellowships announced during the 2008 1st session, Wendy was one of only five selected for a distinguished fellowship. Wendy is currently working on breast cancer research at the Genomics Research Center in the Academia Sinica in Taipei. We congratulate her on this nice recognition and wish her success in her new position.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Curras-Collazo and Coburn PBDE Research Spotlighted on KNBC News Los Angeles

Last night (Nov. 28), KNBC Los Angeles featured a story on PBDE flame retardants in which Dr. Maggie Curras-Collazo (an ETOX faculty member) and Cary Coburn (an ETOX graduate students) were prominently featured. A video of the news segment can be accessed here and the transcript can be found here. Our congratulations to Maggie and Cary for this nice recognition of their research.

Update: A related article from the UCR newsroom can be found here.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

ETOX Survivors of the Mission Inn Run

Congratulations to Noriko Nishino, Lynnie Cua, Katy Zimmermann and Kelly Thrippleton who successfully completed the 5K 30th annual Mission Inn run on Sunday, Nov. 11. A photo above shows the group after the run.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Various employment opportunities

I have recently been notified about a series of job opportunities which are listed below. I heard about some of these verbally and some by email messages.

Position for a recent Ph.D. at Pfizer in Groton, CT in the Genetic Toxicology group.

Several positions at US EPA in Washington, DC in a variety of areas of toxicology and risk assessment

Position at US EPA in Denver, Colorado in environmental science or aquatic toxicology

Positions at Cal EPA, presumably in Sacramento, CA in the Department of Pesticide Regulation. The exam date for this current round is Nov. 19.

If you are interested in one or more of these positions, please contact me ( and I will provide you with more details.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Photos from the ETOX Fall Social and New Student Reception

On Sept. 28, an unseasonably cool Friday evening, the ETOX annual Fall Social and New Student reception was held at David and Elizabeth Eastmond's house. Thirty-four students, faculty and friends attended and enjoyed both good food and great company. Some photos are below.

Before the party.
Lei Ren and his wife with Chang Liu. Lei and Chang are new ETOX students.
Leslie Hasegawa, Su Bum Lee, a new ETOX student, and Catherine Gibbons. Cindy LaRive, a Chemistry faculty member is in the background.

Kelly Thrippleton, her friend Ken, Katie Zimmermann, a new ETOX student, and Noriko Nishino.

Wesley Hunter with his new wife Katie.

Bob Krieger with a group of students.

An art shot.

Karla Pliego, Sarjeet Gill, and Leslie Hasegawa.

Dave Eastmond with Haizheng Hong and her husband, Dalin Shi (a former UCR Env. Sci. student who is now studying at Princeton).

Catherine Gibbons and Karine Le Roch, a new Cell Biology faculty member.

Dr. Mary Ann Rempel with her new husband, Brian, and friend Ola (a former UCR Env. Sci. student)

Cindy LaRive and Janet Arey.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Lin Wang's papers selected as best by UC Toxics Research & Teaching Program

Congratulations to Lin Wang, (Ph.D. Dec. 2006 with Arey/Atkinson). Three of his papers which were published in Environmental Science & Technology were selected to receive a best publication award from the UC Toxic Substances Research & Teaching Program. Shown is the APRC gang after a lunch to wish Lin well in his PostDoc position at Texas A & M University starting in September, 2007. Photo ids: back row from left to right - ETOX alumna Katie Gallagher, Sara Aschmann, Lin, Katy Zimmerman (new ETOX student Sept. 2007), Genevieve Obermeyer (ETOX), Bill Harger, Bill Long: front row from left to right- Janet Arey, Yong Bin Lim (CHEM), Aiko Matsunaga (CHEM), Sukon Aimanant (ETOX), Noriko Nishino (ETOX), Christen Strollo (CHEM). (Missing is the photographer, Roger Atkinson - and somehow Paul Ziemann also escaped the photo).

Faculty position in Cell/Cancer Biology at GSU

Alumnus Eric Gilbert (Ph.D. 1997) asked me to post a link to his Biology Department website where they are advertising for a new tenure-track position in Cell/Cancer Biology at Georgia State University. More information can be found by clicking here.

Also congratulations to Eric for his promotion to associate professor with tenure earlier this year. This is a major achievement and we are very happy for Eric (and Cindy).

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Position available at Pfizer

Krista Dobo (Ph.D, 1996) asked me to post the following description of a position that is available in the Genetic Toxicology group at Pfizer. If you would like to see the full description, please contact Mark Hurtt at Pfizer who is the head of the Genetic and Reproductive Toxicology section (

Sr. Principal Scientist/Associate Research Fellow - Genetic Toxicology (R6/R7) Drug Safety Research and Development, Groton, CT, USA

Description of Duties and Responsibilities:

Working within the Genetic Toxicology Center of Emphasis of Drug Safety Research and Development, the primary responsibility of this individual will be to provide strategic direction to investigative, screening or technology-based labs and assays and contribute to the overall vision and scientific strategy of the genetic toxicology discipline. The qualified individual will support the work of the Genetic Toxicology COE in one or more of the following 3 major areas: (1) Genetic Toxicology screening (2) GLP Genetic Toxicology testing for regulatory filings (3) Genetic Toxicology mechanistic and risk management studies.


• PhD or equivalent in toxicology, pharmacology, cell or molecular biology or related field with >5 years relevant Genetic Toxicology experience
• M.S. with > 10 years relevant experience
• Experience leading and managing a multi-functional team of at least 3 staff for 5 years in a relevant lab-based environment
(The position description and list of desired qualifications are considerably longer. For additional details, please contact Mark Hurtt at the address above).

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Photo of Kristy Richardson and Cary Coburn

Above is a photo of Kristy Richardson and Cary Coburn at the reception for Outstanding Departmental Teaching Assistants. Again, our congratulations to both Cary and Kristy.

Friday, July 6, 2007

In the News

Yinsheng Wang's research on posttranslational modifications to proteins isolated from breast cancer tissues was recently spotlighted in the Journal of Proteome Research. To see the full write up, click here.

ETOX MiniGSA Awards

The Environmental Toxicology Graduate Student Association (ETminiGSA) was formed last year for the purpose of providing enhanced interaction and communication among the interdisciplinary student body that makes up the Environmental Toxicology program. One of our first endeavors was to re-establish the Outstanding Faculty/Mentor Award. This is the second year for the reinstatement of this award, and the recipient of this years’ award has proven to be an outstanding faculty member and mentor through not only his kind words and advice, but through his actions as well. On behalf of the students of Environmental Toxicology, this award was presented to Dr. David Eastmond.

The ETminiGSA also established the ‘Student Choice Award’ for best student presentation. This award is voted on solely by the Environmental Toxicology students, and both honorable mention and first place are awarded. Honorable mention receives an Environmental Toxicology t-shirt specifically designed for the program, and first place receives a $50 Visa Gift card. This year, there was a tie for honorable mention, with both Jean-Paul Baquiran (‘Bioprospecting for Degradative Enzymes and Organisms in the La Brea Tar Pits’ working under the guidance of Dr. David E. Crowley) and Wesley Hunter (‘Using Disposable Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) Fibers to Sense the Bioavailability of Permethrin in Sediment’ working under the guidance of Dr. Jay Gan) receiving the award. First place was awarded to Chris Banks (‘Uncovering the Mechanism of Action Underlying Hypokinesia Induction from the Venom of the Parasitoid Wasp, Ampulex compressa’ working under the guidance of Dr. Michael E. Adams).

Again, we would like to extend congratulations to all award recipients!

Photos from the Annual Student Symposium 2007

This year's annual student symposium took place on Friday June 22. There were 27 fine student presentations as well as a hosted lunch and evening reception. Cary Coburn won the Fukuto award, Chris Banks was an honorable mention, and Zhenshan Chen received the award for best 1st year student presentation. Andrew Grosovsky received a special award for his service over the years to the ETOX Program. Music during the reception was provided by the Mill Creek Boys. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. People were partying until 9:30 or 10 pm. Our thanks go to Deidra Kornfeld and the members of the Student Symposium Committee (Dr. Andrew Grosovsky, Seminar Chair, Dr. Janet Arey, Dr. Wenwan Zhong, Chris Banks, JP Baquiran, Cary Coburn, Karla Pliego, and Kristy Richardson) for organizing the Symposium and Reception. Photos from the event are posted below.

Cary Coburn receiving the Fukuto Award.

Chris Banks receiving the Honorable Mention award.

Zhenshan Chen receiving the award for best first year student presentation.

Andrew Grosovsky receiving an award for outstanding service to the Program.

Additional photos from the reception.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Photo and career update from alumnus Phillip Chu

Phillip Chu graduated with a Masters degree in 1997. Below is message that he wrote describing his career path after leaving UCR and providing advice to current students. It was nice to see him at the Annual Student Symposium yesterday.

Sorry for the delayed follow up from our conversation from a few months ago. Things have been very busy with work and family which keeps me out of trouble. As per our conversation, I am writing to give an update on everything that has been happening since my matriculation from UC Riverside. After working at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Dr. Philip Koeffler’s lab for a year, I decided to spread my wings a bit and go into the business side of the medical industry in sales. Any one who knows me shouldn’t be surprised since it is well known that as much as I love research and the sciences, I was never a very good researcher or scientist. This was a fortuitous turn in my life as I found my true calling in life as a sales person. I start with Merck Pharma and worked there for 3.5 years as a pharma rep calling on physicians’ offices and promoted to a specialists position focusing on the growing asthma marketplace. After Merck, I returned to the sciences with a position at Sigma-Aldrich in sales as a Life Science Specialist. This kept me entertained for another 3 years after which I went to work for Applied Biosystems selling capital equipment into research labs and genome centers. About 75% of all the sequencers in the Southern California basin that were installed in the last 5 years were from my efforts including several at UC Riverside. After 3 years (anyone see a trend here?) I decided to jump out of the big boats of large companies and pursued a position with a start up company based in Toronto called Visualsonics. The transition to working in a small company was everything I hoped for – dynamic work environment, exciting technology, and the passion of working with a group of brilliant people all focused on a single goal of making the company successful. I also learned about the darker side of working with small companies as well as this adventure lasted just about a year. They re-organized the sales force cutting about 30% of the personnel for cost containment considerations in a push to go public. I was one of the casualties. But everything works out in the end and I am now with Nimblegen, another small, vibrant company based out of Madison, WI. They were just purchased by Roche Applied Sciences as a result of our hard work growing the business in a very competitive microarray marketplace with very entrenched players.
During this adventure of professional development, I met my wife, May May. She is everything that I could have ever wished for in a woman – she puts up with me! Let me assure you, this is no small feat and requires the patience, virtue, and wisdom of a great woman. She even saw fit to allow me to pass along my bizarre genetic traits in 2 wonderful sons, ages 8 and 10. As a family, they are the anchor that keeps me sane/insane on a daily basis.
It has been an exciting path since my matriculation from the UCR ETOX program. I am thankful for the opportunity I had to train in the ETOX program at UCR and felt that the breadth and depth of the coursework prepared me well for my jobs. The multidisciplinary approach of the program exposed me to various aspects of science that I continue to touch upon on a daily basis. Please feel free to use this as a story that life does exist outside of the lab and that sometimes life takes you down paths you didn’t consider before. Be open to different opportunities to learn different ideas. The greatest discoveries have always utilized oblique angles to attack problems resulting in innovative discoveries and wildly successful products.

Best wishes,

Phillip Chu
Class of ’97, M.S.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Welcome to Sharon Walker, our newest Program faculty member

We would like to extend a warm welcome to Sharon Walker, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering who has recently become a member of the Environmental Toxicology Graduate Program faculty. Sharon has been at UCR for several years. She received her PhD in Environmental Engineering from Yale University in 2004. Sharon's research interests lie at the intersection of physical, chemical, and biological processes in natural and engineered aquatic systems. Recently she has started investigating the movement of nanoparticles in the environment. We are very pleased to have her in the Program

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Kristy Richardson Selected for Departmental TA Award

Congratulations to Kristy Richardson who was recently selected to receive the 2006-07 Outstanding Teaching Assistant award from the Department of Environmental Sciences.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Cary Coburn Selected for Departmental TA Award

Our congratulations to Cary Coburn who was recently selected to receive the 2006-07 Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award from the Department of Cell Biology & Neurosciences.

Talbot Leads Successful Stem Cell Facility Grant Proposal

Prue Talbot is the Principal Investigator on a successful $2.7 million grant to establish a stem cell facility at UCR. We congratulate Prue and her co-investigators. For more information, see the UCR news release by clicking here

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Photo of alumnus Alvaro Alvarado and his daughter

After working for the federal EPA in Philadelphia and Washington, Alvaro Alvarado (Ph.D. 1998) returned to California and now works for the California Air Resources Board in Sacramento. Attached is a photo of Alvaro and his daughter at Lake Tahoe earlier this year.

Photo of alumnus Eric Kwok and his two children

Erik Kwok (Ph.D. 1993) works for CalEPA in Sacramento doing risk assessments of pesticides. Congratulations are in order as he is a recent recipient of the D.A.B.T. Attached is a photo of Eric with his two children Amanda and Ryan.

Photo from alumna Krista Dobo

Krista Dobo received her Ph.D. in 1996 and continues to work in the Genetic Toxicology group at Pfizer in Groton, Connecticut. Attached is a picture of Krista and Kevin's three children Patrick (13), Shawn (7) and Caleigh (4). Patrick has changed a bit since he left Riverside.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Photo of Heidi Bethel's wedding

Attached is a photo of Heidi Bethel and Kris Chillar at their wedding that took place on July 29, 2006 in Carlsbad, California. We are happy for them as they begin their new life together.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Photograph of Jennifer Sasaki at her wedding

Jennifer Sasaki (Ph.D, 1996) works in Brussels, Belgium as a Director of Toxicology for the Johnson and Johnson affiliated company Tibotec. She recently got married in Hawaii to Paul Van Hummelen (who, I might add, is a great guy). Above is a photo of them at their wedding that took place earlier this year. I believe that they also had another ceremony in Brussels last Saturday and the Krista Dobo, Maik Schuler and Naomi Rodriguez may have attended. [Follow-up note: Apparently the ceremony in Belgium was a great success. Below is a picture of Paul and Jennifer leaving on a decorated motorcycle from the ceremony in Brussels.] We are very happy for Jennifer and Paul and wish them the best of success.