Fry appointed to National Research Council committee on arsenic

October 18, 2012
Dr. Rebecca Fry

Dr. Rebecca Fry

Rebecca Fry, PhD, assistant professor of environmental sciences and engineering at UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, has been invited to serve on the National Research Council’s new committee on inorganic arsenic.

The committee will provide expert guidance to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop a human health risk assessment of inorganic arsenic and review EPA’s assessment before it is finalized.
“I am honored to have been selected to serve,” Fry said. “Currently, tens of millions around the globe are being exposed to high levels of inorganic arsenic. It is of great importance to me to be able to help the EPA develop and review its toxicological (cancer and non-cancer) assessment of arsenic for its Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS).”
A major goal of Fry’s research is to identify mechanisms of prevention of arsenic-induced disease. Her expertise and research in the area were key to her appointment.
“Dr. Fry has been invited to serve on the committee because of her expertise in environmental toxicogenomics, toxico-epigenomics, and systems biology approaches to understand the mechanisms of arsenic-induced carcinogenesis,” said Susan Martel, senior program officer on NRC’s Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology.
Michael Aitken, PhD, professor and chair of environmental sciences and engineering, echoes the sentiment.”Rebecca’s appointment to the NRC Committee recognizes the important contributions she has already made to understanding human exposure to arsenic, particularly prenatal exposures,” he said. “Her work has identified genetic biomarkers of arsenic exposure as well as potential mechanisms by which arsenic can cause cancer.”

The committee’s first charge will be to plan and conduct a public workshop to evaluate critical scientific issues in assessing cancer and non-cancer effects from oral exposure to inorganic arsenic. The workshop will enable the committee to gather a variety of perspectives from stakeholders and others on the issues.

Fry is expected to serve on the committee for three years. She received her Master of Science and doctoral degrees in biology from Tulane University and has been on the UNC faculty since 2008.

EPA’s IRIS is a human health assessment program that evaluates information on health effects that may result from exposure to environmental contaminants. Through the IRIS Program, EPA provides the highest quality science-based human health assessments to support the Agency’s regulatory activities. The IRIS database is Web accessible and contains information on more than 550 chemical substances.



UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health contact: Linda Kastleman, communications editor, (919) 966-8317 or