ECETOC and the Next Generation of Scientists

At the 2008 Annual General Meeting, we announced that the 2009 ECETOC work programme would place a special emphasis on young scientists. With this in mind, this year's Annual Technical Meeting held 9-10 June in Brussels, was programmed as a 1.5-day “Young Scientists Event.'

In order to make this event both stimulating and participative, it included a poster competition. All participants were asked to vote for the best poster out of the 19 submitted by young scientists with up to 10 years of experience post-doctorate.

During the second day, while the votes were being counted by an independent voting committee, a variety of presentations were made by young scientists new to the ECETOC world. In the afternoon, break-out groups allowed for more in-depth discussion of questions relating to the perception of the health and environmental science by those just starting their careers in this area.

At the end of the day, results of the competition were announced. The best poster by a young scientist was won by Jillian Ross from CXR Biosciences in Dundee for her excellent poster on the use of transgenic mice to elucidate mode of toxicological action. The title of the poster was "“Human constitutive androstane receptor (CAR) supports the hypertrophic but not the hyperplastic response to the murine non-genotoxic carcinogen phenobarbital in vivo". As 2009 represents the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin (who was only 22 years old when the Beagle voyage began), John Doe, Chairman of the ECETOC Scientific Committee, presented the winner with a copy of Darwin's book “The Origin of Species.'

The event was a great showcase for theparticipants, many of them still studying for their doctorates. The quality of the posters and the presentations was uniformly high and the timekeeping immaculate. The feedback from the breakout groups is already providing valuable input to the draft programme of the 2010 Annual Technical Meeting, which will look at the future needs of ECETOC as its scientific strategy is refined. Hopefully, some of these young scientists will be able to participate in ECETOC's work to bring their fresh ideas and perspectives.

Other Young Scientist Awards presented in 2009

In addition to the award given at the ATM, ECETOC presented its three regular awards to young scientists:

  • The environmental science award was presented to Lucia Vergauwen of the University of Antwerp for her platform paper "An integrated study to the effects of temperature acclimation in zebrafish" which she had given at the annual meeting of SETAC Europe in May.
  • The award on research on occupational health and exposure was presented to Craig Moore of Newcastle University for his platform presentation "The influence of everyday clothing on percutaneous absorption and distribution of model penetrants in vitr"' at the OEESC (Occupational and Environmental Exposure of Skin to Chemicals) 2009 conference in June.
  • The third of these young scientist awards was presented at the EUROTOX 2009 meeting in September. It went to Katherina Sewald of the Fraunhofer Institute for Toxicology and Experimental Medicine for her poster presentation "Respiratory toxicology and immunotoxicology in human precision lung slices".