HESI’s skilled scientific staff and decades of organizational experience make it possible to efficiently convene collaborative teams and synergize resources. Each of HESI’s scientific committees is supported by one or more staff members who hold advanced degrees in science or public health. Every staff member fulfills a vital role in creating science-based solutions for a safer, more sustainable world.
Syril Pettit is the Executive Director of the Health and Environmental Sciences Institute (HESI) and has been with the organization since 2000. Dr. Pettit holds a Doctorate in Public Health Leadership (DrPH) from the University of North Carolina’s Gillings School of Global Public Health, a Masters Degree in Environmental Management (M.E.M.) from Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from Amherst College. As the organization’s senior scientific and organizational leader, Dr. Pettit guides strategic and technical direction for the organization’s collaborative programs and its Board of Trustees. She has authored or co-authored dozens of scientific articles and lectured at international scientific meetings around the world on topics including public health, oncology, cardiac safety, genomics, collaborative approaches to science, and other drug and chemical safety issues. She is an avid runner and swimmer.
Associate Director, Environmental Sciencemembry@hesiglobal.org
Michelle received her PhD in toxicology in 2004 and BS in Biology and Environmental Science and Policy in 1998 from Duke University. She is currently the Associate Director of Environmental Science at the Health and Environmental Sciences Institute (HESI), where she provides leadership, technical direction, and guidance to varied, multi-stakeholder, collaborative committees on topics related to risk assessment and environmental protection worldwide.
Prior to joining HESI, in 2006 she was an ecological risk assessor at the US EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs. She has expertise in both human health and ecotoxicology, with an emphasis on integrated approaches and alternative methods. Her current project portfolio includes the HESI Bioaccumulation and Animal Alternatives in Environmental Risk Assessment Technical Committees, two of HESI’s projects aimed at improving ecological risk assessment. Her work also includes the Risk Assessment in the 21st Century (RISK21) Project, which developed a scientific, transparent, and efficient approach for human health risk assessment, including a web-based tool that has led to outreach and training activities on risk assessment approaches worldwide. In addition, she works with HESI staff and partners on project development related to chemical risk assessment issues.
Dr. Embry is an elected member of the SETAC North America Board of Directors (2014-present), chair of the SETAC Global Partners Advisory Committee, and a member of the SETAC Bioaccumulation and Animal Alternatives Advisory Group Steering Teams. She is a full member of the Society of Toxicology and a member of the Risk Assessment and Mixtures Specialty Sections. She was a member of the ECETOC Task Force on Information to be Considered in a Weight-of-Evidence-Based PBT/vPvB Assessment of Chemicals (Annex XIII of REACH) in 2013 – 2014. She is a steering team member of the SETAC Adverse Outcome Pathway (AOP) Pellston Workshop (Spring 2017). Dr. Embry is also one of the founding partners on the ‘eco data hub’ initiative, started in Fall 2016.
Senior Scientific Program Managercchen@hesiglobal.org
Connie received her B.S. in Psychobiology from UCLA in 2001, and her Master in Public Health in 2003 and Ph.D. in environmental health sciences, with a focus on molecular epidemiology and biostatistics, in 2007 from the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health. As a Scientific Program Manager at HESI, Connie manages the committees on Developmental and Reproductive Toxicology (DART) and Imaging for Translational Safety Assessment. Prior to joining HESI, Connie worked as a Health Scientist at ChemRisk, LLC in California providing expertise to clients from the public and private sectors on toxicology and epidemiology; exposure, risk assessment, and industrial hygiene; and consumer product risk assessments.
Senior Scientific Program Managerlmouries@hesiglobal.org
Lucilia holds an MS in Aquatic Sciences (University of Porto, Portugal), a PhD in Biochemistry and Applied Biology (Paris, France), and was a Postdoctoral Visiting Fellow at NIH with the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. She has extensive medical writing experience, and she has worked in a variety of scientific fields (marine, bone and cartilage regeneration, stem cells, devices, etc.) and managed her own business. She is also fluent in English, Portuguese, and French. Lucilia will manage the Protein Allergenicity Committee and the new HESI EIC project on Cell Therapy Safety, and she will help produce a new resource development plan for the organization.
Senior Scientific Program Managerjpierson@hesiglobal.org
Jennifer received her Bachelor of Science in Biology in 2005 from Villanova University and her Master of Public Health in 2007 from Drexel University. Her experience includes working in research laboratories and at a local health department, where she focused on epidemiological investigations. In her previous role at the Association of Public Health Laboratories, Jennifer managed committees comprised of public health laboratory experts and published numerous reports, guidelines and white papers on environmental public health issues.
Scientific Program Managersdeglin@hesiglobal.org
Sandrine Deglin joined HESI on 2018 as a Scientific Program Manager. Before joining HESI, she worked with the Environmental Public Health Program at the State of Alaska Division of Public Health for four years, and she managed the program for almost two. Prior to that, Sandrine spent 7 years as a consultant in the Toxicology and Mechanistic Biology group of Exponent, Inc.
Sandrine holds a Ph.D. in Applied Chemistry and a M.S. in Environmental Sciences and Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines. While studying in France, she also received a M.S. in Chemistry and a post-graduate degree in Public Health. Sandrine is keenly interested in all aspects of environmental health including chemical fate and transport, toxicology, epidemiology, risk assessment, food safety and food security, and risk communication. She will initially be involved in the Risk21, UVCB and PBPK projects.
Scientific Program Managereflores@hesiglobal.org
Dr. E’Lissa Flores joined HESI in 2020 as a Scientific Program Manager. She currently co-manages several HESI projects such as overseeing the Genetox, ImmunoSafety, and Cardiac Committees. Prior to joining HESI, she worked at the Milken Institute’s Center for Strategic Philanthropy where she advised philanthropists and nonprofit foundations to help manage several neurology related disease projects, such as overseeing a $12 million grant program and developing a novel fellowship award. Dr. Flores received her Bachelors of Science in Biology from Stony Brook University and her doctoral degree in Translational Biomedical Science from University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. Her thesis work focused on immunotoxicology, investigating the mechanism(s) of how environmental chemicals alter the human immune system and how they contribute to the obesity epidemic. While at the University of Rochester Medical Center, Dr. Flores was a Science Outreach Coordinator funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), as well as served on the Executive Diversity and Inclusion Committee. She is also an advocate for women and underrepresented minorities in the STEM fields.
Scientific Program Managercmitchell@hesiglobal.org
Connie joined HESI in 2020 as a Scientific Program Manager. She received her BS in Biochemistry at West Virginia University and her MS in Environmental Toxicology at the University of California Riverside. During graduate school, Connie’s research focused on developmental toxicity induced by organophosphate flame retardants. Before joining HESI, she was an ORISE Fellow at the US EPA in the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT), using her toxicology background to assist with the prioritization of existing chemicals under the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA). At HESI, she currently works on the Botanical Safety Consortium and the Animal Alternatives in Environmental Risk Assessment Committee.
Scientific Program Managersmitchellemail@example.com
Shermaine is a native Washingtonian and product of the District of Columbia Public School System. She completed her BA in Biology with a minor in Theater Arts from St. Mary’s Public Honor’s College in St. Mary’s City of Maryland, a Master’s in Cancer Biology Prevention and Control from a dual-institution program at the University of the District of Columbia and Georgetown University, and her PhD from the Department of Developmental Therapeutics at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Cancer Biology / Pharmacology. Most recently, Shermaine served as an American Association for the Advancement of Science, Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the National Science Foundation’s ADVANCE program office, where she assisted in managing an $18M federal program geared toward increasing the participation and success of women in STEM academic careers.
Scientific Program Managercmperez@hesiglobal.org
Carolina received her Bachelor of Science in Microbiology from University of Puerto Rico and a Master of Science in Molecular and Cellular Biology from University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She brings a strong background in drug development, 3D cellular systems, microbiology and molecular and cellular biology. Most recently in her role as a Scientist at Merck Research Labs in Cambridge, MA. she launched novel research collaborations and founded a high impact “Mentoring through Science” program that engaged minority STEM students at a local community college. She is also a native Spanish speaker. Carolina is passionate about community service – she is a certified EMT-B and in her spare time serves as a first responder with the Fairfax County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association. She currently works with HESI’s eSTAR, Genetox and Protein Allergenicity programs.