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Faculty & Staff Honors

Faculty & Staff Honors

Society of Toxicology Honors UMass Amherst Postdoctoral Researcher

The Society of Toxicology (SOT) recently honored Dr. Kari Sant, a postdoctoral research associate in the department of environmental health sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, with the Edward W. Carney Trainee Award. The society is “a professional and scholarly organization of scientists from academic institutions, government, and industry representing the great variety of scientists who practice toxicology in the U.S. and abroad.”

[Photo: Dr. Kari Sant]

The Carney award was established by SOT and the Teratology Society to “encourage education and training in reproductive and developmental toxicology.” It honors Edward W. Carney, who was a past president of the Teratology Society, a professional association for researchers that study birth defects.

“The Carney award is selected based on the scientific quality of the abstract submitted to SOT, as well as the overall impact in the field, and the career goals of the applicant,” says Assistant Professor Alicia Timme-Laragy, who supervises Dr. Sant in her lab at UMass Amherst. “This award recognizes the high quality and high impact of the work that Kari is doing in my lab, and distinguishes her in the field of developmental toxicology,” adds Dr. Timme-Laragy.

“I was elated when I learned in January that I was receiving the award, because it is truly a top honor for trainees conducting research in Reproductive & Developmental Toxicology,” says Dr. Sant.

“I used this award to support my attendance at several national scientific meetings, including the SOT meeting,” explains Dr. Sant. “These are both excellent career development activities that allow me to present my work, exchange ideas and dialog with other scientists in my field, and learn about novel techniques which I can utilize in my own career,” she adds.

Dr. Sant presented research at the SOT meeting that investigated how the antioxidant Nrf2 pathway affects contamination of embryos from perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS). Her presented study suggests that Nrf2 disrupts the way that zebrafish embryos respond to PFOS.

“PFOS is a common water contaminant, recently popularized in the media due to its high concentrations in Northeastern U.S. surface waters. It was previously found in products such as Teflon and Scotchgard, though it has been phased out of use since the early 2000s,” says Dr. Sant.

“PFOS has a five-year half-life in the human body, so it is still a major concern. We have previously published that embryonic PFOS exposures alter the development of the pancreas, and are exploring whether these changes contribute to increased susceptibility to diabetes,” she adds.

Dr. Sant was also co-author of a paper generated from research during her doctoral studies at University of Michigan that was selected by the Society of Toxicology as “Paper of the Year.”