Teresa Norberg-King, SETAC North America Vice President

Last fall, we added six new members to the SETAC North America (SNA) Board of Directors. I would like to introduce them to you! Four new board members are from academia and hail from Mexico, Wisconsin, California and Oregon. They will each serve a three-year term on the SNA Board. Our new North America Student Advisory Council (NASAC) student chair and vice chair hail from Texas and Saskatchewan, respectively, each serving a two-year term on the SNA Board of Directors. A unique strength of SETAC is its commitment to balance the interests of academia, business and government. SETAC North America by-laws mandate equal representation from these three sectors for officers, the board of directors and committee members. The SNA Board of Directors consists of 16 voting members, including the Immediate Past President, with an approximate equal representation from government, academia, business and one student member, the NASAC chair. The SNA Board of Directors also includes two ex-officio, non-voting members, the SNA executive director and NASAC vice-chair.

 North America Board Members (2018–2021)

Patricia Ramirez-RomeroPatricia Ramirez-Romero is a Professor of Aquatic Pollution and Ecotoxicology at Metropolitan Autonomous University (UAM) in Mexico City. Ramirez-Romero received a B.S. in Hydrobiology (1988), a M.S. in Experimental Biology (1992) from UAM and a Ph.D. from Miami University of Ohio (1997). Her research has focused on the effects of metals and PAHs on aquatic invertebrates. Her research interests include the effects of metals and persistent organic pollutants (POPs) on aquatic organisms and their potential human and environmental risks. She was the Energy and Environment Postgraduate Program Coordinator from October 2014 to June 2018 and has been editor of the journal Hidrobiológica since 2009. Ramirez-Romero has been a member of SETAC since 1993, where she was impressed by the importance that this society gives to students. When she went back to Mexico, with the help of other colleagues she founded the SETAC Mexico Regional Chapter and was elected as their first president. Since then, she has helped organize their biennial meetings (eight in total), the first SETAC North America Focused Topic Meeting in 2011 in Mexico and the SETAC North America 37th Annual Meeting in 2016 in Orlando. She has attended SETAC North America annual meetings almost every year since her membership began and brings several colleagues and students with her whenever possible. She has worked to improve the communication between the SNA Board of Directors and the SETAC Mexico Regional Chapter. For all these activities, she received the Eugene Kenaga SETAC Membership Award in 2012. Ramirez-Romero has worked with the Mexican Environmental Authorities on a variety of projects that include ecotoxicological issues related to bioassays, mercury and POPs, and she has participated in the editing of three books and three special journal issues where Mexican researchers presented their scientific advances. When not working, Ramirez-Romero enjoys swimming, reading, bicycling and traveling, especially with her rescued dogs. Please feel free to reach out to Ramirez-Romero at pattdf@gmail.com.

Michelle HornbergerMichelle Hornberger is a research scientist at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and has served SETAC at both the local and national levels since 1992. Hornberger considers SETAC her “home” society and is committed to seeking innovative ways to ensure the long-term success of our society. As a previous chair of the SETAC North America Career Development Committee, Hornberger recognizes the importance of providing mentoring and networking opportunities for SETAC students and early career professionals as well as leadership opportunities for women within the organization. She is particularly interested in identifying ways SETAC can further efforts to promote scientific and cultural diversity. Hornberger believes that the sustainability of SETAC is dependent, in part, on the volunteer efforts of its members and is committed to improving membership engagement through volunteerism and outreach. Hornberger’s post-graduate studies cover a span of nearly 20 years. After completing her bachelor’s at University of California (UC) Santa Barbara, Hornberger worked as a geological technician at the USGS, crushing rocks and mapping mineral zones in the Arizona desert. Three years later, Hornberger returned to school for a master’s degree in marine ecology, then began her USGS research career studying the environmental impact of metal contaminants in estuarine and freshwater systems. It was 10 years before she would return to graduate school, where she received her Ph.D. in Ecology from UC Davis. This non-traditional approach has given Hornberger a perspective into both the rewards (and challenges) that early and mid-career professionals face. She also recognizes that SETAC can play an important role in helping our members transition from one phase of their career to another. Hornberger is a third generation Californian, raised in the Napa Valley (and yes, her high school was really named “Vintage High”). In addition to her research and service to the society, she is a competitive triathlete and spends her weekends trail running in the hills above San Francisco Bay. If you need to reach her in the office and not on the trail, email her at mhornber@usgs.gov.

Tisha King-HeidenTisha King-Heiden has been an active member of SETAC since graduate school in 2003, spending the majority of her efforts working with the SETAC North America Student Advocacy Committee. King-Heiden is a Professor at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse, a primarily undergraduate/comprehensive university. She has a strong reputation for incorporating undergraduate students into her research program, promoting student success through transformative learning experiences. As a member of the board of directors, she is committed to seeing increased involvement of undergraduate students within SETAC North America, particularly those from marginalized groups. She also hopes she can encourage young professionals to explore a potential career in academia at a primarily teaching university. She maintains her commitment to SETAC because of its multi-sectoral and diverse approach to solving ecological problems. Being an active member of SETAC has been instrumental to her success by providing the opportunities to develop long-term collaborations after joining special interest groups, attain professional development experiences through serving on various committees and attending training courses, and learning to take a more diverse approach to evaluate her research. King-Heiden highly encourages all SETAC members to take advantage of these opportunities. Outside of work, King-Heiden loves to go “glamping,” hiking, snowshoeing and kayaking. She also competes in Dragonboat racing! King-Heiden loves to hear from students. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to her at tking-heiden@uwlax.edu.

Suzanne BranderSuzanne Brander grew up on the East Coast in a middle-class community just east of Philadelphia and a stone’s throw from New Jersey, where she spent every summer at the beach. She received her B.S. from Elizabethtown College, a small liberal arts college in central Pennsylvania, and soon after moved to Washington, D.C., to work for The Nature Conservancy, where she realized her career would be centered around the study and protection of the environment. Brander earned a M.S. in Environmental Science and Policy from Johns Hopkins University in 2005, then a Ph.D. in Toxicology and Pharmacology from the University of California Davis in 2011. After a few years as an Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, she moved west again to Oregon State University, where she is now faculty in the Department of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. Brander’s research is funded by NOAA and the USEPA, and it encompasses the fields of toxicology, endocrinology and ecology, integrating molecular approaches – such as evaluations of gene expression and DNA methylation – with measurements at the organism- and population-level in fish and invertebrates. Her research and teaching span the links between ecological and human health. Although Brander has worked in academia for the past six years, she also has the perspective of an industry scientist, having worked as a project scientist at Weston Solutions, Inc. between her master’s and doctorate degrees. She has been involved with SETAC since 2005, when she presented her first poster at the NorCal Regional Chapter meeting. Well over a decade later, she credits her involvement in SETAC with helping her meet her eventual Ph.D. advisor and building a strong network of collaborators and mentors. She is now thrilled to be able to give back by serving on the board and co-leading a new Interest Group on microplastics. In addition to her interest in all things environmental science, Brander enjoys spending time with her husband and two young daughters at their home in Corvallis, where she has decided that her days of coast-to-coast moves are behind her. She has been a runner since high school and has plans to complete another half marathon someday, and in her spare time – when there is a bit of that – you may find her spinning up something on her pottery wheel in the garage. Brander looks forward to hearing from you at  susanne.brander@oregonstate.edu.

North America Student Advisory Council (NASAC) Board Members

Leah Thornton HamptonLeah Thornton Hampton has made a scientific “home” for herself at SETAC. In fact, the Ohio Valley Regional Chapter meeting was where she officially decided to pursue a career in science after giving her first platform presentation on her research that she completed as an undergraduate at Miami University in Ohio. After graduating, she moved to Fort Worth, Texas, to pursue her master’s degree at Texas Christian University under Marlo Jeffries studying the effects of flame retardants on early life stage and adult fathead minnows. She is now a Ph.D. student at the University of North Texas studying the impact of early life stage thyroid suppression on immune function and the immune response under Jeffries and Barney Venables. Her involvement in NASAC began while serving as the student representative for the South Central Regional Chapter when she was immersed in fundraising for the annual Student Mixer in 2016. Outside of NASAC, Thornton has also co-chaired the immunotoxicity session for the past two meetings. As the new Chair of NASAC, Thornton hopes to make NASAC an inviting place for all students looking to expand their professional networks and give back to SETAC through volunteerism. If she’s not in the lab tinkering with a new method, you can expect she’s spending time with her husband, Dalton, and their two cats, Archer and Morty. If they can get away long enough, she and her husband enjoy traveling, particularly when it involves a chance to go SCUBA diving! Please feel free to reach out to Leah at LeahThornton@my.unt.edu.

Derek GreenDerek Green is the Vice Chair of NASAC and a Ph.D. student at the University of Saskatchewan, where he uses multi-omic, modeling and biochemical approaches to identify sensitive predictors of selenomethionine toxicity to enhance the protection of at-risk fish populations. He formerly completed a master’s degree focused on mercury contamination, energetics and the stress response in freshwater fish affected by hydroelectric dam development. Throughout his degrees, Green has been heavily involved in public outreach endeavors as well as regional, national and international toxicology societies. He co-led “Tox on Tap,” a Saskatonian pub-night lecture series, for three years, coordinating dozens of talks for thousands of attendees and produced accompanying episodes of Tox on Tap TV. He has represented his SETAC regional chapter, first as the student representative to the Prairie-Northern Regional Chapter (PNC) board, then as the PNC rep to NASAC. During this time, he also volunteered for the Canadian Ecotoxicity Workshop and was voted in for a two-year position as chair of their student program in 2017. He simultaneously advanced his involvement in NASAC, first in various volunteer and liaison positions and was voted vice chair in 2018. He is currently assuming the vice chair role alongside his liaison positions and anticipates completing his Ph.D. requirements in his fourth year of study in 2021. Through these efforts, he hopes to advance and legitimize the use of animal alternatives in toxicological research, enhance public awareness of toxicological issues, and to help SETAC grow and affirm its role as a leading global scientific institution. When he is not working, Green enjoys cooking, the outdoors, playing guitar and watching movies with his wife. You can reach Green at d.green@usask.ca.

You’ll notice that all of these new board members value their relationship with SETAC, presenting, joining committees, leading workshops and being volunteers. Please reach out to us and let us know how you can become involved. From all of us on the board, I can honestly say that we would love to have you help us by volunteering, and we have opportunities for all members and our Interest Groups have opportunities for non-members and members alike.  If you have suggestions, ideas or want to volunteer, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at norbe010@d.umn.edu or any of the people in this article. Watch the SETAC Globe for additional articles over the next few months, where you’ll get introductions to other the board members and SETAC staff.

Author’s contact information: norbe010@d.umn.edu

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