The Associate Professor of Environmental Health Sciences Alicia Timme-Laragy received the 2021 Outstanding Young Investigator Award of the Special Interest Group Women in Toxicology of the Society of Toxicology (SOT) in virtual form at the annual meeting of the SOT from March 12th to 26th. The award is presented annually to individuals who have made significant contributions in the field of toxicology early in their careers.
“I am very honored to receive this award,” says Timme-Laragy. “I work with a great team of researchers and students here at UMass and this award reflects their hard work. I look forward to expanding my research program and advancing the areas of developmental toxicology and redox biology. “
Timme-Laragy is a developmental toxicologist with expertise in how early exposure to pollutants affects health. She has been with the UMass Amherst School Faculty of Public Health and Health Sciences since 2013. Her research aims to elucidate the cellular and molecular mechanisms of toxicant-induced substances oxidative stress in embryonic development and to identify the later consequences of embryonic exposure to oxidative stress using the zebrafish as a model system.
Oxidative stress occurs when the products of oxidative processes exceed the cell’s ability to handle them. The resulting imbalance causes disruption of redox signaling, damage to macromolecules, which leads to cell damage and ultimately to a variety of disease states.
In addition to receiving her honor, Timme-Laragy also participated as an invited speaker in a joint symposium on oxidative stress held by SOT and the Japanese Society of Toxicology. The symposium highlighted advances in research on the role of oxidative stress in adverse outcomes and examined various mechanisms and outcomes of oxidative stress.
Timme-Laragy’s lecture entitled “The Wrong Place at the Wrong Time – Redox Stress in the Developing Embryo” looked at the antioxidant glutathione defense system in the zebrafish embryo, how it changes with developmental stages and how it reacts to chemical exposure.
“I presented new approaches that we developed to visualize the glutathione system in vivo and to identify sensitive target tissues of chemical exposures that cause oxidative stress,” says Timme-Laragy. “We have found critical windows in which the growth of the pancreatic islet in zebrafish is influenced by these exposures and can predispose to later metabolic diseases. We hope this research provides a basis for identifying later health effects from exposure to toxins in early life and identifying possible interventions. “
Founded in 1961, the Society of Toxicology is a professional and scientific organization of scientists from academic institutions, government, and industry that represents the wide variety of scientists practicing toxicology in the United States and abroad. The Women in Toxicology advocacy group promotes the recruitment and retention of women in a profession in the toxicological sciences. offers leadership opportunities for and recognizes the achievements of toxicologists; and promotes scientific and educational programs on current scientific information and science policy issues that advance the science of toxicology.