HESI Insights - March 2024

HESI Article Recognized as Most Cited in Toxicological Sciences Over the Past Two Years


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We are thrilled to share that a HESI article titled “A Transformative Vision for an Omics-Based Regulatory Chemical Testing Paradigm” (https://doi.org/10.1093/toxsci/kfac097) has been recognized as one of the most cited articles in Toxicological Sciences over the past two years!

We are incredibly proud of the Emerging Systems Toxicology for the Assessment of Risk (eSTAR) Committee  for their hard work and dedication in contributing to this impactful research. This achievement wouldn’t have been possible without the collaboration and support of our colleagues and partners in the field.

As we continue our journey towards safer and more sustainable chemical testing practices, we are excited about the opportunities this recognition brings to further our mission and make a positive impact in toxicological sciences.

If you’re interested in learning more about ongoing work in the eSTAR committee or discussing potential collaborations, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Contact Connie Mitchell, Christine Crute  and/or Syril Pettit.

Syril Pettit Appointed Vice President of the Virginia Public Health Association

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Syril Pettit, Executive Director of the Health and Environmental Sciences Institute (HESI), has been elected Vice President of the Virginia Public Health Association (VPHA) Board of Directors. This is a testament to her dedication to public health and her leadership within the field.

Syril’s commitment to advancing public health initiatives and promoting collaboration aligns perfectly with the mission of VPHA. Her extensive experience in scientific research and her passion for improving community health outcomes make her an excellent addition to the association’s leadership team.

Please join us in congratulating Syril on this well-deserved achievement! We look forward to witnessing the positive impact she will undoubtedly make in her role as Vice President on the Virginia Public Health Association Board.


Advancing Botanical Safety Assessment: A New Approach Using HESI Botanical Safety Consortium Tools

Food and Chemical Toxicology

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HESI is thrilled to share the latest publication from the Botanical Safety Consortium, a groundbreaking collaboration dedicated to advancing botanical safety research to advance consumer well-being. The recently released article, titled “Advancing Botanical Safety Assessment: A New Approach Using HESI Botanical Safety Consortium Tools,” is now available via ScienceDirect: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fct.2024.114537.

This publication represents a significant milestone in our collective mission to foster a deeper understanding of botanical safety. The manuscript describes the BSC’s process for sourcing, preparing, and chemically characterizing botanical extracts. This work lays a foundation for using well-characterized materials in biological assays to screen for toxicity.

Key highlights of the publication include:

  • A description of a cross-sector effort to obtain, prepare, and characterize botanicals for future use as case studies
  • Case examples of concentrated green tea extract and Asian ginseng for chemical characterization

We commend the dedicated researchers, industry partners, and regulatory stakeholders involved in this pioneering work. By creating a library of well-characterized botanical extracts, we can evaluate biological’s assays suitability for botanicals as complex mixtures.

Read the full article at the link below:

Advancing botanical safety: A strategy for selecting, sourcing, and characterizing botanicals for developing toxicological tools. Waidyanatha et al., February 2024. Food and Chemical Toxicology. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fct.2024.114537


Assessing the Tumorigenic Potential of Chemicals Through Genomic Biomarkers to Reduce the Reliance on the Rodent Cancer Bioassay

Recording Available!

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HESI eSTAR Carcinogenomics Project members Connie Mitchell (HESI), Keith Tanis (Merck) and Udayan Apte (University of Kansas Medical Center) presented a webinar to the Carcinogenesis Specialty Section of SOT on February 23rd, 2024. Over 280 people joined to hear about the work this group is doing! View the full recording here.

Use of epidemiologic information to set recreational water criteria for microorganisms

Recording Available!

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HESI’s Environmental Epidemiology Committee recently hosted a webinar as part of a series to illustrate the critical role epidemiology can play in the field of quantitative risk assessment. Dr. Charles Hass of Drexel University presented on the use of epidemiologic information to set recreational water criteria for microorganisms. View the full recording on the event page here.

Society of Toxicology 2024 Annual Meeting

10 – 14 March 2024, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

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A number of HESI Committees were present at the Society Of Toxicology 2024 Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City last week. Check out the recap in our “From the Leadership” column below! We hope you had a chance to connect!

An overview of all the HESI activities at SOT2024 can be found here: https://connect.hesiglobal.org/gNb8am


Computational approaches to investigate and identify mechanisms of structural cardiotoxicity

Dr. Victoria Au Yueng, AstraZeneca, Cardiac Safety Early Career Seminar Series Awardee

22 March 2024 @ 11am ET, Webinar

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Please save the date for our second webinar in the Cardiac Safety Early Career Seminar Series on March 22nd at 11:00 am ET where Dr. Victoria Au Yueng of AstraZeneca will present Computational approaches to investigate and identify mechanisms of structural cardiotoxicity.

Bio: Dr. Victoria Au Yeung has a BSc in Biology, an MRes in Biomedical Research from Imperial College London, and a MRes/PhD in Metabolic and Cardiovascular Disease in the University of Cambridge. Dr. Au Yeung is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at AstraZeneca, where she is applying bioinformatic and machine learning approaches to multi-omics data to study mechanisms of structural cardiotoxicity.

For webinar link contact: HESI Cardiac Safety cardiacsafety@hesiglobal.org

Redefining Cardiotoxicity Assessment of Environmental Chemicals using Adverse Outcome Pathways

Dr. Alexandra Schaffert, Cardiac Safety Early Career Seminar Series Awardee

5 April 2024 @ 11am ET, Webinar

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Please join us for our final webinar in the Cardiac Safety Early Career Seminar Series on April 5th at 11:00 am ET where Dr. Alexandra Schaffert will present: Redefining Cardiotoxicity Assessment of Environmental Chemicals using Adverse Outcome Pathways.

Bio: Dr. Alexandra Schaffert is a postdoctoral researcher at the Medical University Innsbruck in Austria. She has a background in systems toxicology and her career has been focused on advancing human-relevant in vitro experimentation and reducing reliance on animal testing. Her current work under the EU H2020 Project “ALTERNATIVE” intersects regulatory science and cutting-edge toxicological research. Her efforts include investigating cardiotoxic mechanisms of environmental contaminants and developing an Adverse Outcome Pathway network for cardiotoxicity, aiming to establish an integrated approach to testing and assessment for cardiotoxicity.

For webinar link contact: HESI Cardiac Safety cardiacsafety@hesiglobal.org

HESI Genetic Toxicology Technical Committee Annual Meeting

14 – 16 April 2024, Washington, DC, USA

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The HESI Genetic Toxicology Technical Committee will be holding it’s 2024 Annual Meeting at the HESI Office from 14 – 16 April. The event will kick-off the morning of the 14th with a working group meeting of the Mechanism-based Genotoxicity Risk Assessment Nitrosamines Research Program. The Annual Meeting will officially commence after lunch on the 14th.

For registration and agenda information, please contact Connie Chen or Raechel Puglisi.

International Conference on the Science of Botanicals (ICSB)

15 – 18 April 2024, Oxford, Mississippi, USA


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The Botanical Safety Consortium will be in attendance and presenting at the 22nd International Conference on the Science of Botanicals.

Speakers include Connie Mitchell (HESI), and committee members Cynthia Rider (NIEHS), Amy Roe (P&G), Bill Gurley (University of Mississippi), and Holly Johnson (AHPA).

HESI Developmental and Reproductive Toxicology Spring Business Meeting

24 – 25 April 2024, Virtual

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The HESI Developmental and Reproductive Toxicology Committee will be meeting for two half-days virtually for their Spring meeting. Please contact Connie Chen or Shermaine Mitchell-Ryan for any questions or if you would like to attend.

SETAC Europe 2024

5 – 9 May 2024, Seville, Spain

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The Next Generation Ecological Risk Committee will be presenting at SETAC Europe.

Session: Alternatives to Animal Testing for Ecotoxicity Assessments: Exploring Approaches and Avenues for the Future.
Connie Mitchell (HESI) is co-chairing along with HESI Board of Trustees member Adam Lilicrap (NIVA) and Eco-Risk Committee members, Teresea Norberg-King (retired from US EPA) and Kristin Schirmer (EAWAG).

International Congress of the European Society of Toxicology In Vitro (ESTIV)

3 – 6 June 2024, Prague, Czech Republic

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International Congress On Natural Products Research (ICNPR)

13 – 17 July 2024, Krakow, Poland

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International Congress On Natural Products Research (ICNPR), Krakow, Poland 13-17 July 2024

The Botanical Safety Consortium is holding a training course as part of the meeting on Saturday 13 July entitled “Cultivating Safety: Toxicology 101 of Botanicals and Natural Products.

This course will offer a deep dive into the world of botanicals, bridging the gap between their traditional uses and modern applications in supplements, medicines, and cosmetics. Participants will explore routes of botanical exposure, interactions with drugs, dose-response nuances, acute and chronic toxicity, and a range of potential health endpoints. With hands-on exercises, discussion of cutting-edge toxicity assessment tools, and interactive case studies—including challenges like product adulteration and new botanical discoveries—the course will provide a comprehensive look into the complexities of botanical safety, making it essential for researchers, practitioners, and thrill seekers.

Register at www.icnpr2024.org

Speakers and training course developers include BSC members Amy Roe (P&G), Holly Johnson (AHPA), Stefan Gafner (American Botanical Council), Olaf Kelber (Bayer), Richard van Breemen (Oregan State University), Cynthia Rider (NIEHS), Connie Mitchell (HESI), Michelle Embry (HESI), and Julie Krzykwa (HESI).

Meeting flyer available here.



HESI is Hiring a Scientific Program Manager!

Apply today!

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Looking for an exciting career in human or environmental toxicology, drug safety, biomedical innovation, regulatory science, epidemiology, exposure-science, and risk assessment — outside of the lab?

Want a great place to grow your career via collaboration with thought-leaders from government, industry, academia, clinic, and NGOs?

Seeking an opportunity to apply your skills in leadership and program management while applying science to real world challenges?

The Health and Environmental Sciences Institute (HESI), a global nonprofit scientific organization, seeks a Scientific Program Manager to help lead collaborative scientific programs in the biomedical and environmental health fields. Successful candidates will have a passion for fostering creative and rigorous scientific collaborations that pool expertise, resources, and technical input from a diverse base of stakeholders. HESI Scientific Managers are responsible for developing, managing, and providing scientific input to large international scientific teams that generate science to protect public health and the environment. HESI offers the opportunity to work with internationally recognized scientists from government, academia, NGOs, clinic, and industry. This responsible position requires leadership skills and the ability to work as part of a team to help realize HESI’s mission of achieving science for a safer, more sustainable world.

This position works in Washington, DC, and reports to the HESI Executive Director.


Provides scientific, strategic, management, and administrative support to collaborative scientific committees involving academic, government, nonprofit, and private sector scientists;

Works with committee members to design and execute novel scientific research programs, publications, workshops, and trainings;

Prepares and monitors committee budgets, assists with communications (technical and non-technical), supports membership development, facilitates workshops and meetings, and contributes to overall HESI strategy and outreach.


• A Master’s or Ph.D. in a scientific field such as toxicology, pharmacology, genetics, immunology, epidemiology, genetics, molecular biology, cell biology, pathology, chemistry, environmental health, or related life sciences and a minimum of 3 years of experience in project management, drug or chemical safety evaluation, scientific consulting, and/or regulatory affairs.
• Strong facilitation skills and the ability to work with groups meeting virtually or in person.
• Advanced written and verbal communication skills, outstanding management and organizational ability.
• At least 5 years of experience in project or program coordination.
• Leadership experience and presentation skills.
• Technical/scientific writing.


Expertise in any/all of the following areas preferred:

• Regulatory Science
• Exposure Science
• Drug Safety Assessment
• Chemical Safety Assessment
• Computational Toxicology


At HESI, it is our mission to collaboratively identify and help to resolve global health and environmental challenges through the engagement of scientists from academia, government, industry, clinical practice, research institutes and NGOs. We achieve that in a variety of ways:

Create a collaborative environment where scientists from academia, government, industry, and NGOs come together to find solutions that improve health and environmental safety.

Encourage the development of meaningful studies that ask the right questions, structure the right framework, and develop solutions that inform decision-making by both private- and public-sector scientists.

Create a knowledge base that can be easily transferred from the laboratory or journal page to real life.

Individuals interested in applying for this position should send their RESUME with COVER LETTER to Career@hesiglobal.org.

Principals only, please. Unsolicited resumes from third-party agencies will not be considered. Qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or veteran status.

Learn more about us at www.hesiglobal.org.

HESI DART 2024 Professional Development Awards Opens April 1

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HESI Developmental and Reproductive Toxicology Technical Committee (DART) is pleased to be able to continue its professional development award in 2024. Two awardees (MS, PhD, Post Doc) will receive $2000 USD towards attending professional meetings or trainings that occurs within the 12-month post application period. The application period will be open from April 1 – May 31. Please see the HESI DART website for the 2023 awardees and more information on how to apply.

HESI THRIVE is Accepting Letters of Intent for its Seed Grant Program

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HESI THRIVE is a seed grant program that is innovating translational research and improving quality of life after cancer. By providing researchers with both seed funding and access to critical networks, THRIVE enhances the visibility of the patient need, the value of the research, and the reasons that larger funding entities might elect to incorporate these research streams into future funding priorities.

THRIVE provides seed grants for clinical and translational research and technology-based solutions that enhance our ability to predict when and how adverse effects may occur in patients who have received cancer treatment. The THRIVE grant program is designed to provide seed funding to investigators for the testing of initial hypotheses and collecting of preliminary data to help secure long-term funding by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and/or other major institutions. For details on eligibility, funding, the application process, and key deadlines, please click here.

THRIVE will accept letters of intent from 13 November 2023 until 8 April 2024.

For more information, contact research@hesithrive.org.

From the Leadership

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Did you attend the SOT meeting last week in Salt Lake City? If so, odds are you ran into HESI! We were well-represented at the meeting with ten staff members in attendance and loads of presentations, posters, short-courses, informational, leadership, and social events happening. How much, you may ask? HESI was involved in two continuing education courses, 7 scientific platform sessions, and 8 posters. These spanned numerous topical areas across our portfolio: Botanical Safety Consortium, Cardiac Safety, Developmental And Reproductive Toxicology (DART), Emerging Systems Toxicology for the Assessment of Risk (eSTAR), Next Generation Ecological Risk Assessment (yes EcoRisk, at SOT!), Immuno-Safety, and Genetic Toxicity. If you are counting, that is 7 different HESI programmatic areas. Of course, we all know that one of the biggest benefits of SOT is the informal networking meetings that happen outside of the sessions, and HESI staff, committee members, and partners became quite familiar with the best coffee shops near the convention center (let us know if you want recommendations!). We had a very well-attended evening happy hour and look forward to continuing this new tradition in future years. It was wonderful to see many of you in person, and I look forward to seeing HESI represented in upcoming meetings and events throughout 2024!

Kind regards,

Michelle Embry, PhD, HESI Deputy Director

Contact Us

Health and Environmental Sciences Institute (HESI)

Phone: +1-202-659-8404
Fax: +1-202-659-3859

740 15th Street NW, Suite 600
Washington, DC 20005

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