Tuesday, November 24, 2009

News and photos from Alumna Fabienne Reisen


Fabienne Reisen (Ph.D. 2003) is currently working at CSIRO in Melbourne Australia where she is applying her knowledge of atmospheric chemistry and air pollution to study the effects of wildfires. Above are two pictures of Fabienne collecting samples for a project on greenhouse gas emissions from savanna burning. As she described it in a recent email, "it has been an amazing experience. We camped out for about a week in Arnhem Land east of Kakadu NP, collecting smoke samples from prescribed burns. There were about 150 people involved in the project, about 50 scientists and 100 indigenous rangers. During the days we were busy collecting our samples, and in the evening I had a bit of time to go exploring and go swimming in the river. There are some amazing rock art galleries in the area. I've been back up there again the last few weeks, and I've just got back to Melbourne last night."

Fabienne has been offered a permanent position at CSIRO and has applied to become a permanent resident of Australia. Our congratulations to Fabienne! We think she will be our first Aussie alumna. She was already our first from Luxembourg.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Alumna Wendy Hwang-Verslues presents seminar at UCR

On October 14, Dr. Wendy Hwang-Verslues, an ETOX alumna (Ph.D. 2007) who is now working at the Genomics Research Center, Academia Sinica, in Taipei, Taiwan, returned to UCR to present a seminar in the Environmental Toxicology seminar series. Her seminar was entitled, "Existence of multiple lineages of breast cancer stem cells identified by profiling breast cancer cell lines and primary breast tumors". It was great to see her and hear about the new research in which she is involved. The picture above was taken during her visit.

Toxicologist position at the FDA

I was sent the following information by Dr. Dan Levy about a position currently being advertised by the FDA. If interested, please contact Dan at the contact information below.

The FDA Division of Dietary Supplement Programs (DDSP) is looking for a toxicologist/pharmacologist/interdisciplinary scientist to review pre-market safety notifications for new dietary ingredients (NDIs). NDIs include vitamins, minerals, amino acids, botanicals, dietary substances, or constituents, metabolites, etc of any of these. Safety reviews require evaluation of evidence of safety which frequently includes sub-chronic rodent toxicology studies and history of use in food and also sometimes clinical studies and published literature with various degrees of relevance. This information is reviewed within 75 days by a multi-disciplinary team which can include chemists, botanists, microbiologist and medical officers. The ideal candidate will demonstrate proficiency in an area of toxicology or pharmacology relevant to dietary supplements, ability to review animal toxicology data, ability to write clearly and concisely, and to work in a fast-paced interdisciplinary team environment. DDSP also initiates collaborative studies with extramural laboratory scientists to resolve scientific questions relevant to the safety of dietary supplements. Applications are accepted online only at USAjobs.gov (HHS-FDA-06-2010-0014 for “status” Federal employees, HHS-FDA-06-2010-0013 for all other U.S. Citizens). Hiring at the GS-14 level is possible with a demonstration of experience commensurate with a “nationally recognized expert” in a sub-discipline related to the position. Applicants are cautioned that the U.S. Office of Personnel Management definition of “toxicologist” may be more restrictive other definitions and that applying as a pharmacologist or biologist may be more appropriate to your qualifications. For information about the positions or the DDSP you are encouraged to contact Dan D. Levy at dan.levy@FDA.hhs.gov.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

2009 ETOX Fall Social

On Friday October 2, Yinsheng Wang and his wife hosted potluck dinner and fall social at their home. There was a good turnout of students and faculty. Everyone seemed to have a good time. Below are some photos of the evening.
Gayatri Sankaran and Kristi Capsel, the ETOX graduate student representatives to the UCR Graduate Student Association this year.
Zhenshan Chen and his wife.
Group shot while eating.
Faculty members Paul Ziemann, Yinsheng Wang, Jay Gan, Dave Eastmond and our newest faculty member Nicole zur Nieden.
Zhenshen Chen, Su Bum Lee and new student Do Hyung Kim.
New graduate students, Laurel Dodgen and Ashley Swanson
Dr. Noriko Nishino, a recent alumna, Katy Zimmerman and Richard Belcher
New graduate students Xueyun Zheng and Qian Cai.

Prof. Jay Gan

Our hosts for the evening, Prof. Yinsheng Wang and his wife.

Monday, August 24, 2009

And in Florence, Italy

The 10th International Conference on Environmental Mutagens immediately followed the IWGT meeting and took place in Florence, Italy. In additional to those in Basel, ETOX alumnae Jennifer Sasaki was also in attendance. Above is a picture of several of us at dinner. Jennifer is at the end of the table, Maik Schuler is to her left in the photo and I am next to Maik. Our colleagues and friends Roland and Maria are on the right.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

ETOX Grads well represented in Basel, Switzerland

The 5th International Working Group on Genotoxicity Testing took place in Basel, Switzerland Aug. 17-19. There were several ETOX grads (and a post doc) in attendance including Krista Dobo, Drew Olaharski, and Maik Schuler. Drew has been working in Basel for the past 5 months and will be returning to New Jersey next week. I wasn't able to see Bjarte Furnes but apparently he is currently working in Basel as well. It was enjoyable to see our former students. Above is a picture of Drew and Marilyn Aardema (a colleague at P&G) at a reception.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Noriko Nishino selected for Outstanding TA Award



Noriko Nishino, a current ETOX student working with Drs. Arey and Atkinson, was recently awarded the Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award from the Department of Environmental Sciences. Above is a picture of Noriko (holding certificate) and Lynnie Cua. Our congratulations to Noriko for this nice recognition.

Friday, July 3, 2009

2009 Annual Student Symposium Photos

This year's annual student symposium took place on Tuesday June 23 at the Botanic Gardens. The weather was very pleasant and for the first time in many years, we did not need to use the air conditioning. There were 21 excellent student presentations as well as a hosted lunch and evening reception. Noriko Nishino won the T. Roy Fukuto award, Kelly Thrippleton Hunter and Jean-Paul Baquiran were honorable mentions, and Gayatri Sankaran received the award for best 1st year student presentation. The students gave the outstanding mentor award to Janet Arey and their choice for best presentation also went to Noriko Nishino. The seminar committee did a great job in planning and organizing the event. Our thanks go to Dawn Huffman and the members of the Student Symposium Committee (Dr. Paul Ziemann, Seminar Chair, Dr. Janet Arey, Richard Belcher, Zhenshan Chen, Lynnie Cua, Lei Ren, Kristy Richardson and Gayatri Sankaran) for organizing the Symposium and Reception. Special thanks to Zhenshan Chen who took most of the photos which are posted below.

Yinsheng Wang, the Program Director (on left) and the student award winners (from the right, Noriko Nishino, Gayatri Sankaran, J.P. Baquiran, Kelly Thrippleton Hunter).

Janet Arey with her outstanding mentor plaque and Zhenshan Chen

Kristy Richardson and Katy Zimmerman announcing the students' choice award.

Kristy Richardson presenting a gift card to Noriko Nishino.

First year students (Kristi Capsel, Si Bui, Gayatri Sankaran, Minh Vuong



Yehong "Heather" Wang with her child


Students in Bob Krieger's lab

Kelly Thrippleton Hunter and Lynnie Cua


JP Baquiran and Lei Ren


Zhenshan Chen and Gayatri Sankaran

An evening group shot.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Commencement Photos

The Environmental Toxicology Program was very well represented at UCR's Commencement ceremonies that took place on June 7. Eight students (Melinda Bigelow Dyk, Noriko Nishino, Kelly Thrippleton Hunter, Yanhong Li, Wesley Hunter, Homero Camacho, Yehong "Heather" Wang, and Mae Nillos) who have finished their dissertation this past year (or plan to finish shortly) were hooded by their faculty advisors. Below are a number of photos of most of the graduating students in their robes.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Belated congratulations to Wesley Hunter and Mae Nillos

I am a little slow posting this but didn't find out about it until this past week. Wesley Hunter's poster entitled, "Sampling pyrethroid bioavailability with disposable PDMS fibers." was selected as the Best Student Poster Presentation at the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 5th World Congress in Sydney, Australia, last fall. Mae Nillos's poster was given an honorable mention. Our congratulations to both Wesley and Mae for this nice recognition. Above is a picture of Wesley and his wife Katie who was able to travel to Australia with him.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

News and a photo from alumna Mary Ann Rempel-Hester

Things are going pretty well here. I got married two weeks after finishing my degree, and moved back up to the Pacific Northwest where I grew up. We recently bought a cute old house overlooking Puget Sound in Bremerton, Washington, across the water from Seattle. There's a bald eagle that hangs out near our house. It's pretty neat to look out the front window and see him flying by. In December 2007 I started working for Nautilus Environmental, a consulting company that specializes in aquatic toxicology. I'm currently in charge of the Washington state operations; we have a laboratory in Tacoma, Washington. My husband works for a competing firm, which makes for interesting dinner time conversation :). Brian and I are also trying our hands, in our spare time, at breeding polychaetes, Neanthes arenaceodentata, which are commonly used in evaluating marine sediment toxicity.Yes, we are science nerds. The picture is of Brian and I at the Grand Tetons on a family trip last summer.

Have fun at the symposium, and congrats to everyone that's graduating this year!!

Mary Ann Rempel-Hester

Friday, June 5, 2009

News and a photo from Genevieve Obermeyer

Genevieve Obermeyer (M.S. 2008) is the proud mother of a son (Leo Thomas Wen) who was born May 28. Above is a photo of Genevieve and her little boy. She says that so far she is loving motherhood. We are very happy for Genevieve and wish her the best in this new phase of her life.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

News and two photos from alumna Tracey Varvel


ETOX alumna Tracy Varvel (M.S., 2003) sent the following message and photos of her son.

I am still working for Ana-lab as the Assistant Manager of Quality Assurance. I began telecommuting in March due to my husband's promotion and our subsequent move to El Paso, TX. I must say, working out of your home takes some getting used to, but has some definite benefits.

On a personal note, our son is growing like a weed and talking up a storm. I have attached a a couple of recent photos of him. He will turn 2 this July.

I wish all of the presenters the best of luck.

News and a photo from alumnus Alvaro Alvarado

Janet Arey has been contacting ETOX alumni for messages to place in the program booklet of the annual student symposium. When the alumni send photos, I plan to post them on the blog. Below is a message and photo (above) received from Alvaro Alvarado (Ph.D., 1998).

I hope you are well. We are doing fine. During the past year we went backpacking in Yosemite. I've attached a picture from the trip. My seven year old daughter did great. She even carried her own backpack. After three nights in the backcountry, we get back to the car dead tired, and she says that she wants to do that again.

I continue to enjoy my work at the California Air Resources Board. I have a lot of projects, mostly having to do with environmental justice and health impacts associated with PM2.5. On one project, I am part of team, which includes modelers from NASA, that is assessing the health and climate change co-benefits of reducing black carbon worldwide. On another project, I am working on environmental justice issues as we implement California s climate change law (AB23). The law directs the ARB to consider the impacts of regulations on vulnerable communities already overburdened by environmental pollutants. I manage a contract that is developing an environmental justice screening method that will be used to implement AB32. The project s overall objective is to recommend a scientifically derived approach for integrating cumulative impact and risk from air pollution with measures of socioeconomic vulnerability. It s exciting work (to me anyway).

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sharon Walker awarded a Fulbright Fellowship

Sharon Walker, a ETOX faculty member and assistant professor in the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, was been awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to spend the next academic year at Ben Gurion University in Israel studying and monitoring pathogens in aquifers used for drinking water. A news release on her award can be found here. Our congratulations to Sharon for this nice recognition.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

UCR ETOX Alumni at SOT

The annual SOT meeting was held this past week in Baltimore and it was nice to see a number of out alumni. Drew Olaharski, currently at Roche Pharmaceuticals, gave a nice platform presentation on the use of a high throughput in vitro screening assay to predict bone marrow toxicity. Jimmy Keenan was a author/co-author on two exposure and risk assessment posters and Xiaoqin Ye was on several posters with her students. Below are a few photos of our alumni that I remembered to take. I also saw Bob Krieger from a distance but didn't get a chance to take his picture.
Heidi Bethel and Catherine Gibbons, currently at the EPA in the Washington DC area.

James Keenan, currently at ChemRisk in the San Francisco bay area.

Sharada Balakrishnan, currently consulting in Southern California.

Xiaoqin Ye, currently an assistant professor at the University of Georgia

Chris Frantz, currently at MedImmune in the San Francisco bay area.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Chris Banks and Mike Adams on History Channel

The research of ETOX student Chris Banks and ETOX faculty member Mike Adams on a parasitoid wasp venom was featured on the show "Evolve: Venom" which as recently shown on the History Channel. In the segment, Chris shows how the Emerald Jewel wasp injects its toxin into the nervous system of a cockroach turning it into a zombie that can serve as a food source for the wasp's developing young. A YouTube clip of the segment can be seen here. Chris and Mike's segment begins at about 4 minutes and 40 seconds into the segment (3 of 5) and continues into the next segment (4 of 5). Our congratulations to Chris and Mike for this nice recognition of their research.

Green Materials Class

Along with colleagues at UC Davis and UC Irvine, a number of ETOX faculty members and students are involved in a UC Toxic Substances Research and Teaching Program lead campus focus in Green Materials. This quarter Professor Julie Schoenung at UC Davis taught a class (ECM 281) entitled Green Engineering: Theory and Practice that was streamed by real-time video to UCI and UC Riverside. Attached are a few photos from the class as seen from UCR.
The main class at UC Davis as seen on the UCR plasma screen.

ETOX students Si Bui and Guoping Wang watching a powerpoint presentation streamed from UC Davis.ETOX students Si Bui and Guoping Wang.