Swenberg chosen for Society of Toxicology’s Merit Award

March 02, 2007

Photograph of Dr. James A. Swenberg

Photograph of Dr. James A. Swenberg

Dr. James A. Swenberg , Kenan Distinguished Professor of environmental sciences in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Public Health’s department of environmental sciences and engineering, will receive the Society of Toxicology’s (SOT) Merit Award during SOT’s annual meeting on March 25-29 in Charlotte, N.C. The Merit Award is presented in recognition of a distinguished career in toxicology.

Dr. Swenberg has published more than 300 scientific papers and has served on the editorial boards of 10 journals. His research, which addresses toxic substances and the means by which cancers develop, recently has focused upon DNA damage that arises from oxidative stress. He is director of the Center for Environmental Health and Susceptibility and the Curriculum of Toxicology and also holds professorships in Nutrition and Pathology and Laboratory Medicine in the School of Medicine.

The SOT, founded in 1961, is a professional and scholarly organization of scientists from academic institutions, government and industry who practice toxicology, or the study of adverse effects of chemical, physical or biological agents on living organisms and the ecosystem. The Society promotes the acquisition and utilization of knowledge in toxicology, aids in the protection of public health and has a strong commitment to education and to the recruitment of students and new members into the profession.

In addition to his research, Swenberg was praised by the SOT for the “mentoring of students and young scientists as an advisor to numerous government agencies.” He has served on advisory panels and boards for the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Dr Michael Aitken, chair of the department of environmental sciences and engineering, said that Swenberg was deserving of the Society’s honor and that the department was proud of the achievement. Swenberg’s research, Dr. Aitken said, “has transformed the science of risk assessment for environmental agents of disease by emphasizing the non-linearity of dose-response relationships, particularly for the low doses that often characterize exposure in environmental settings.” Aitken called Swenberg “a pioneer in studying the role of DNA damage and repair in carcinogenesis” and praised “his lab’s development of novel, high-sensitivity methods to detect and quantify DNA damage.”

Swenberg earned a DVM degree from the University of Minnesota and a PhD in Veterinary Pathology from Ohio State University. He has been on the faculty at UNC since 1989 and tenured since 1990.

Visit the SOT website, http://www.toxicology.org/AI/AF/winners.asp#merit, for more information about the Society and Swenberg’s award.

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School of Public Health contact: Ramona DuBose, (919) 966-7467, ramona_dubose@unc.edu.