Dr. Bill Atchison

Professor, Michigan State University

Bill Atchison is Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology at Michigan State University.  He was Dick Peterson’s first Ph.D. student, receiving the Ph.D. degree in Phamacology in 1980. His BS in Molecular Biology (19720, and MS in Pharmacology (1978) were also awarded at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. After postdoctoral training at Northwestern University, in the lab of Dr. Toshio Narahashi, Dr. Atchison began his independent academic research career in Pharmacology & Toxicology at Michigan State University where he is now a Full Professor. His research aims to understand the basis of cellular neurotoxicity especially at synapses. This toxicity can result from disease process or chemical mediated damages The current focus is on gene X environmental contributions to motor neuron death in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In addition, to a highly productive research career, in his more than 35 years at MSU, he has trained and mentored > 175 undergraduates, and 21 Ph.D. students in pharmacology and toxicology, genetics, biochemistry and neuroscience. A longstanding advocate of diversity in the sciences, Atchison created a program to promote student diversity in the biomedical sciences and increase the number of Hispanic PhDs trained in the neurosciences at MSU. He received the prestigious 2014 Society of Toxicology Undergraduate Educator Award for his steadfast commitment to teaching of undergraduate students in toxicology and toxicology-related areas. In 2012 MSU recognized his efforts with the Distinguished Faculty Award, and in 2019 he was awarded the Distinguished Neurotoxicologist Award  by the Neurotoxicology Specialty Section of the Society of Toxicology.


Dr. Tracie Baker

Assistant Professor, Wayne State University

Tracie Baker earned her B.S. in biology and chemistry (Cleveland State University), an M.S. in marine biology (University of Alaska), and a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine and Ph.D. in molecular and environmental toxicology (University of Wisconsin). She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and Department of Pharmacology in the School of Medicine at Wayne State University. Her lab focuses on multidisciplinary, translational research that bridges human, animal, and environmental health. She provides critical insights into environmentally‐induced disease by using the zebrafish model to uncover the etiology of adverse health endpoints related to contaminant exposure. 


Dr. Don Bjerke

Principal scientist, the procter & gamble company

Don Bjerke graduated from the University of Wisconsin Madison with a BS in Medical Technology (’85) and a Ph.D. in Pharmacology &Toxicology (’93) under the mentorship of Dr. Richard E. Peterson.  He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Toxicology and is currently a Principal Scientist at the Procter & Gamble Company.  He has spent more than 25 years providing global safety support for drug products, medical devices, dietary supplements and cosmetics as well as being an active member of the Research & Development team.  In addition, Don is an adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati, James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences.  Inspired by Dr. Peterson, Don has dedicated much of his career to recruiting and developing the next generation of toxicologists.   


Dr. Pat Guiney

President, Ecotox consulting

Dr. Guiney has 40 years of broad-based experience in human health and ecological risk assessments. He currently teaches graduate level courses in environmental toxicology, endocrine toxicology and risk assessment at UW-Madison. He is also the Past President of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC)’s World Council, and the current Secretary of the Health and Environmental Sciences Institute (HESI) Board of Trustees Executive Committee. He worked as an environmental toxicologist for the Gulf Oil Corporation and U.S. Steel Corporation and retired from S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc. as Director of their Environmental Safety Department after 28 years of service. He has conducted research into the transport, bioaccumulation and fate of toxic substances at various levels of biological organization (molecular/biochemical to field studies). His current research interest includes the application of molecular based models for screening and prioritizing potential endocrine disrupters, quantitative structure-activity relationships for investigating mechanisms of toxicity, ecological exposure assessment modeling for risk assessment, and alternative methods for predicting the bioaccumulation of persistent chemicals. He holds an adjunct faculty appointment at the University of Wisconsin- Madison, and has published over 50 peer-reviewed scientific papers in these areas of research. He is also the principle investigator at his own company ECOTOX-Guiney Consulting, LLC where he provides various types of environmental consulting to clients in the areas of ecotoxicology testing, risk assessment, strategies for product stewardship, regulatory compliance, and science-based policy advocacy. He can be contacted at pdguiney@gmail.com.


Dr. Michael Hornung

Chief, Translational toxicology Branch

US EPA/ORD/NHEERL/Mid Continent Ecology Division

After obtaining his BS from the UW-Stevens Point in 1988 and a brief tenure teaching high school biology and chemistry, Michael Hornung entered UW-Madison’s Environmental Toxicology Center and earned a PhD in 1998 under the mentorship of Dick Peterson.  Following graduate school, he moved to Duluth, MN where at the US EPA, ORD, NHEERL, Mid-Continent Ecology Division he held postdoc positions first under the National Research Council Associate Program and then the US EPA ORD Post-Doctoral Research Program working on a wide range of projects. These included investigating estrogenic chemicals in cell reporter gene assays and fathead minnow bioassays, adapting two-photon laser scanning microscopy to investigate metabolism of PAHs in fish early life stages, and investigating thyroid hormone disrupting effects of chemicals in ex vivo and in vivo assays using Xenopus laevis. His research remains tied to thyroid hormone disrupting research with interest in translating in vitro responses to in vivo adverse outcomes.  He is currently chief of the Translational Toxicology Branch at US EPA in Duluth which is focused on developing methods and models to support and improve ecological risk assessment.  


Dr. Jessica Plavicki

Assistant Professor, Brown University

Jessica Plavicki, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Brown University. She received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Her graduate research focused on developmental neurogenetics; specifically, understanding the roles of the homeobox transcription factor distal-less in the development of the olfactory system. She extended her training as post-doc and a K99 scholar at University of Wisconsin at Madison studying cardiovascular development and toxicity.

Her current work combines her love for both the cardiovascular and nervous systems, and is focused on understanding the transcriptional regulation of neurovascular and great vessel development. She is currently supported by a R00 and the CPVB COBRE. Her lab consists of team of developmental biologists and environmental health scientists working together to study cardiac and neurovascular health using the zebrafish model.


Dr. Beth Roman

Associate professor, University of pittsburgh

Dr. Beth Roman received her BS in Biochemistry from The Pennsylvania State University and joined the Peterson lab for her PhD studies in Environmental Toxicology. After exploring the effects of in utero and lactational dioxin exposure on rat prostate development, she turned to zebrafish for postdoctoral studies in Molecular Genetics and Developmental Biology at the National Institutes of Health. Beth began her academic career as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Cell Biology at Georgetown University Medical Center, then returned to her hometown to join the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh. She is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Human Genetics in Pitt Public Health. Beth’s research interest is vascular development and disease, with a focus on defining the molecular and cellular mechanisms that give rise to vascular malformations in the human genetic disease, hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT). Her research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense, and the American Heart Association. She is an editor for the journal, Angiogenesis, a founding member of the UPMC/Pitt HHT Center of Excellence, a member of the North American Medical and Scientific Committee of CureHHT, and the 2019 recipient of the student-nominated James L. Craig Award for Excellence in Teaching from Pitt Public Health.


Dr. Robert Tanguay

Distingushed Professor, Oregon state university

Robert Tanguay is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology, the Director of the Oregon State University Superfund Research Program and the Director of the Sinnhuber Aquatic Research Laboratory, and the Director of a NIH training grant. He received his BA in Biology from California State University-San Bernardino, his PhD in Biochemistry from the University of California-Riverside and postdoctoral training in Developmental Toxicology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He serves on a number of academic, commercial and federal advisory boards and is on the editorial board for several scientific journals. Over the past several years he has pioneered the use of zebrafish as a toxicology model and recently developed automated high throughput instrumentation to accelerate phenotype discovery in zebrafish. A major focus in on identifying chemicals and mixtures that produce neurotoxicity. Phenotypic anchoring coupled with the inherent molecular and genetic advantages of zebrafish are used to define the mechanisms by which chemicals, drugs and nanoparticles interact with and adversely affect vertebrate development and function.


Dr. Jack Vanden Heuvel

Professor, Penn State University 

Jack Vanden Heuvel is currently a Professor in the Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, Program Coordinator of the Toxicology Program and Co-Director of the Center for Excellence in Nutrigenomics at Penn State University. He is also the Founder and Chief Scientific Officer for Indigo Biosciences. Jack received his BS Degree in Pharmacology and toxicology in 1986 and His PhD in Toxicology in 1991 at the University of Wisconsin Madison. The main focus of his research is in the area of nuclear receptors, chemoprevention, and gene expression. Of particular interest are the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) and their role in lipid metabolism, inflammation, obesity, diabetes and cancer and their ability to be regulated by w3-PUFAs. These studies are performed in a variety of cell culture, animal and human clinical studies utilizing biochemical and molecular biology tools.


Dr. Chad Vezina

Associate Professor, University of wisconsin-madison

Chad received a B.A. degree in Chemistry & Biology from St. Olaf College and a Ph.D. in Pharmacology & Toxicology from the University at Buffalo. I completed a post-doc in Dick’s lab from 2003-2009. I am now am Associate Professor of Comparative Biosciences at UW-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine. I am member of the University of Wisconsin-Madison George M. O’Brien Center for Benign Urology Research, director of the Molecular and Environmental Toxicology Graduate Program, and President of the Midwest Regional Chapter of the Society of Toxicology. My research goal is to identify the underlying basis of urinary voiding symptoms in aging men, including incomplete bladder emptying, weak stream, and excessive urinary frequency, especially at night


Dr. Mary Walker

Professor, university of new mexico

Mary K. Walker, Ph.D.  Mary obtained her Ph.D. in 1991 in Environmental Toxicology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison under the mentorship of Dr. Richard E. Peterson.  She subsequently conducted a two-year post doc with Dr. Peterson from 1992-1994.  After some additional training she took a faculty position at the University of New Mexico, College of Pharmacy in 1997 where she obtained tenure and advanced to the rank of full professor.  Her research career has focused on the physiological role of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) in cardiovascular development and homeostasis, and on the pathological role of the AhR in cardiovascular disease following exposure to environmental toxicants.  She has been continuously funded by NIH for the past 19 years, and has published more than a dozen book chapters and 60 peer-reviewed manuscripts.