Society of Toxicology Honors Environmental Health Postdoctoral Researcher Kari Sant

Kari Sant
Kari Sant

The Society of Toxicology (SOT) recently honored Kari Sant, a postdoctoral research associate in the department of environmental health sciences, with the Edward W. Carney Trainee Award.

SOT is an organization of scientists from academic institutions, government, and industry representing the variety of scientists who practice toxicology in the U.S. and abroad.

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 who 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 Alicia Timme-Laragy, assistant professor of environmental health sciences, who supervises Sant in her lab. “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.”

“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 and developmental toxicology,” says Sant.

“The honor came with a $1,500 award, which I used to attend the 2017 Society of Toxicology Meeting and to also present my work at the 2017 Experimental Biology meeting,” she said. “These are 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.”

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 Sant.

“PFOS has a 5-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.