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UM professor elected to National Environmental Toxicology Board

By Gabrielle Gero

University of Mississippi

Kristine Willett, professor of pharmacology and environmental toxicology at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy, has been elected to the board of directors for the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.

SETAC is a not-for-profit global professional organization that promotes research related to environmental contaminants, education in environmental sciences and the use of science in environmental policy. Its board of directors represents the tripartite membership of the society, which includes academic, industry and government representatives.

“Collectively our task is to direct the affairs and policies of the society related to its committees, regional chapters and publications,” Willett said. “While we all work together to promote the mission of SETAC, in part my role is to be sure the academic perspectives are represented in decision making.”

Willett, who assumed the new role in November, serves as a liaison between the board and SETAC’s North American Student Advisory Council. Students make up 19 percent of SETAC North America, and Willett is passionate about her opportunity to make an impression on these members.

“Even in my short time in this position, I have been so impressed with the enthusiasm and motivation of the student leaders in NASAC,” she said. “I first became involved with SETAC as a graduate student, so I think it is absolutely critical to cultivate student participation and involvement with the society as a whole for the continued success of the organization.”

Stephen Cutler, chair of the Department of BioMolecular Sciences, said the appointment was meaningful for Willett, as well as for biomolecular sciences.

“Dr. Willett’s appointment brings great recognition to her and the School of Pharmacy,” Cutler said. “It’s especially impressive because it comes from her peers in acknowledgment of her scientific accomplishments.”