ESE students win top three spots at toxicology poster competition

February 25, 2013
Nour Abdo, Julia Rager and Jessica Wignall, students at Gillings School of Global Public Health, captured the top three awards in a poster competition held at the spring meeting of the North Carolina regional chapter of the Society of Toxicology on Feb.21 at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offices in Research Triangle Park, N.C.
Left to right are Julia Rager, Nour Abdo and Jessica Wignall, winners of the top three poster awards at the Society of Toxicology meeting on Feb. 21.

Left to right are Julia Rager, Nour Abdo and Jessica Wignall, winners of the top three poster awards at the Society of Toxicology meeting on Feb. 21.

Abdo, doctoral student working in the laboratory of Ivan Rusyn, MD, environmental sciences and engineering (ESE) professor at the Gillings School, won first prize for her poster “The 1,000 Genomes Toxicity Screening Project: Utilizing the Power of Human Genome Variation for Population-scale In Vitro Testing,” an effort conducted in collaboration with Gillings School biostatisticians and with researchers at the National Institutes of Health and N.C. State University.

Rager, postdoctoral student, until recently in the laboratory of Rebecca Fry, PhD, ESE assistant professor, received second place for her poster “Formaldehyde-induced Changes in MicroRNA Signaling.” Rager collaborated with Kenan Distinguished Professor James Swenberg, PhD, director of the curriculum in toxicology, and members of his laboratory.Wignall, a Master of Science in Public Health candidate in Rusyn’s laboratory, shared third place in the competition for her poster, “Conditional Toxicity Value (CTV) Predictor for Generating Toxicity Values for Data-sparse Chemicals.” She collaborated with researchers from UNC’s School of Pharmacy, the U.S. EPA, California EPA and the University of California at San Francisco.

About 25 students from UNC and other academic institutions in the Carolinas participated in the event.

“We’re pleased that our students did so well in this competition,” Rusyn said. “The event also was an excellent opportunity for our students to hone their presentation skills before presenting their research in toxicology and environmental health at the 52nd annual meeting of the Society of Toxicology in San Antonio, Texas, March 10-14.”

The Society of Toxicology, founded in 1961, is a professional and scholarly organization of scientists from academic institutions, government and industry whose aim is to create a safer and healthier world by advancing the science of toxicology. Toxicology is the study of the adverse effects of chemical, physical or biological agents on living organisms and the ecosystem, including the prevention and reduction of those adverse effects. The theme for this year’s chapter meeting, attended by more than 100 people, was “Exposure: A Forgotten Part of Toxicology?



Gillings School of Global Public Health contact: David Pesci, director of communications, (919) 962-2600 or