Board of Directors

GTA Board of Directors and Committee Chairs

Board of Directors

Chair (2021)

Maria Engel

Maria Engel is a Senior Scientist in the Genetic Toxicology Department at Pfizer and has over 20 years of practical experience in the application of genetic toxicology testing in support of pharmaceutical development. Her expertise is primarily around in vitro and in vivo mammalian assays but most recently expanded to include mutagenicity assessment. Currently, she leads a flow cytometry based screening laboratory, provides subject matter guidance regarding genotoxicity findings to chemists and drug safety teams, and contributes to genetic toxicology impurity risk assessments for marketed products. Previously, she was an in vivo study director and performed several in vitro genetic toxicology assays. Maria is especially enthusiastic about the future direction of assays intended to identify genotoxic mode of action. She enjoys collaborating and interacting with internal and external teams. Prior to joining Pfizer in 1998, Maria characterized the interaction of drug response and biological pathways using high throughput gene expression at a small biotechnology company. Maria is a long time member and volunteer of the Genetic Toxicology Association and served as the Newsletter Editor (2008-2010), Secretary (2011-2015), Student Outreach Chair (2010-2019), previous member of the Board of Directors (2012-2014) and currently serving a second term on the Board as Chair Elect. Maria holds a BS in Diagnostic Genetic Sciences (cytogenetics) from the University of Connecticut and a MS in Pharmaceutical Regulatory Affairs from Temple University. 

Chair elect (2021)

Dr. Sheroy Minocherhomji

Sheroy MinocherhomjiDr. Sheroy Minocherhomji is currently a Senior
Scientist/Toxicologist and Head of the Genetic Toxicology Unit at Amgen in Thousand Oaks, CA. He is the non-clinical regulatory toxicology lead for several oncology therapeutics at various stages of development. He also heads Amgen’s Genetic Toxicology Unit and is leading efforts to advance cancer risk assessment. Sheroy received his M.Sc. degree in Human Molecular Genetics from Imperial College London, UK and PhD as a Marie Curie Fellow from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark in Health & Medical Sciences. He has authored more than 15 peer-reviewed publications including 10 as first/co-first author in high-impact journals including Nature, Nature Cell Biology, PNAS and Molecular Cell including his discovery of the Mitotic DNA Synthesis (MiDAS) pathway that causes the chromosome fragility phenotype. He has been the recipient of numerous awards and grants and most recently the Early Stage Investigator and Emerging Scientist Awards by the GTA and the EMGS. He a member of the GTA’s board of directors and is also a co-chair of the Error-corrected Sequencing working group of HESI’s Genetic Toxicology Technical Committee. 

Scientific Program Committee Co-Chairs

Kevin P. Cross

Kevin P CrossKevin P. Cross is the vice-president of Product Engineering and Production at Leadscope, Inc. an Instem Company where he is Principal Investigator of U.S. FDA/Leadscope collaborations. His current responsibilities include the collaborative research and development of QSAR models and database with U.S. FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research for prediction of toxicity in support of drug safety, the U.S. FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition in support of the Office of Food Safety, and supporting the U.S.FDA Center for Devices and Radiological Health and Center for Veterinary Medicine. He is also responsible for the development of the Leadscope Enterprise product and leads he software development and database production groups at Leadscope. He received his Ph.D. in chemistry from Michigan State University in 1985 and has been developing chemoinformatics tools and products for over 30 years. He is a member of GTA, SOT, ACT, and EMGS where he regularly presents his research results. He is involved in several collaborative efforts to create protocols and procedures for performing in silico assessments for regulatory purposes as well as to assess their performance. He has authored over 30 papers and over 40 presentations. Recently he participated in the International Workshop on Genetic Toxicity (2017) where he helped determine Ames tester strain equivalency and identify in silico toxicity prediction issues related to genetic toxicity testing. 

Abby Myhre

Abby MyhreAbby Myhre, MS, is a study director in the Investigative Sciences group (genetic toxicology) at Corteva in Newark, DE. In addition to study directing she has over 13 years of practical experience in genetic toxicology. Her focus is on the Bacterial Reverse Mutation Test and on the in vitro and in vivo Micronucleus Assays, with emphases on flow cytometric analysis. She received her undergraduate degree in Animal Science with a minor in Biology from the University of Delaware, Newark, DE, and her Masters of Science in Biology at West Chester University, West Chester, PA, focusing on genetic toxicology. She is the co-author of several peer-reviewed publications and poster presentations.

Ashley J. Allemang MS

Ashley has over 10 years of industry experience in applied genetic toxicology in the context of in vitro-based safety support. Her research has primarily focused on mode of action determination and distinguishing direct and indirect genotoxicity through various in vitro methods such as the micronucleus assay, the ToxTracker assay and other genomics-based methods such as the TGx-DDI biomarker. More recently her research has employed the HepaRG micronucleus assay to develop in vitro-based genotoxicity potency rankings of pyrrolizidine alkaloids, as well as genotoxicity evaluation of mixtures. In addition to her research activities, her expertise has also expanded to include SAR based risk assessment. Ashley has been actively involved in the HESI GTTC committee since 2017 and has participated in the development of genetox-related AOPs and is currently co-leading the Indirect Genotoxicity subgroup of the In Vitro Work Group evaluating NAMs for genetic toxicity testing. 

 

Penny Leavitt MS DABT

Penny Leavitt has been dedicated to Genetic Toxicology efforts since joining Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) in 2011. Current responsibilities are heavily weighted in mutagenic impurities risk assessment with a cross-functional role in Chemical Process Development and CMC Regulatory. Efforts support IND and NDA dossier submissions as well as responding to Health Authority requests as they arise. External efforts include data sharing projects with commercial in silico providers for genotoxic endpoints and contributing expert knowledge in external working groups. In addition, Penny is responsible for ensuring effective external partnerships with CROs and monitoring of Genetox studies. Prior to tenure at BMS, Penny’s career experience spanned multiple areas of drug discovery utilizing a breadth of techniques in both industry and academia, with a particular aptitude for microbiology, biochemistry, and chemistry SAR. Most recently, Penny has expanded horizons in general and regulatory Toxicology, with culmination of earning status as a Diplomate of American Board of Toxicology, achieving position of Nonclinical Safety Project Representative, and responsibilities in review/authoring internal exposure monographs deriving chemical exposure limits to support chemical development and related quality events. Penny has been a member of GTA since 2011. For the past few years she has volunteered to support efforts for the GTA annual meeting, in particular co-chairing the GTA student outreach, aligning with her demonstrated advocacy for mentoring young scientists throughout her 20+ career. Prior to tenure at BMS, Penny’s career experience spanned multiple areas of drug discovery utilizing a breadth of techniques in both industry and academia, with a particular aptitude for microbiology, biochemistry, and chemistry SAR. Most recently, Penny has expanded horizons in general and regulatory Toxicology, with culmination of earning status as a Diplomate of American Board of Toxicology,  achieving position of Nonclinical Safety Project Representative, and responsibilities in review/authoring internal exposure monographs deriving chemical exposure limits to support chemical development and related quality events.  Penny has been a member of GTA since 2011. For the past few years she has volunteered to support efforts for the GTA annual meeting, in particular co-chairing the GTA student outreach, aligning with her demonstrated advocacy for mentoring young scientists throughout her 20+ career. 

Melisa Masuda-Herrera MS

Melissa Masuda-HerreraMelisa Masuda-Herrera is a Senior Associate Scientist in the Environmental and Occupational Toxicology group within Nonclinical Safety & Pathobiology at Gilead. Her responsibilities include authoring health-based risk assessments to support product quality and occupational toxicology programs, monitoring and reviewing worker safety studies and environmental risk assessments, and providing toxicology support to the Environmental Health and Safety group for global hazard communication programs. Before joining Gilead, Melisa worked as a Scientific Researcher at Genentech in the Product Quality and Occupational Toxicology group. While at Genentech, her primary focus was on authoring and reviewing documents to support Genentech product quality and occupational toxicology programs and conducting and interpreting in silico assessments of impurities for potential genotoxic activity using quantitative structure–activity relationship programs. Prior to graduate school, she worked as a Laboratory Assistant/Field Technician at the California Department of Public Health where she assumed the lead role in validating new methods, and assisting in standard methods, of chemical analysis of marine toxins for biotoxin monitoring. Melisa received her Bachelor of Science degree at UC Berkeley in Molecular Toxicology and her Master of Science degree at UC Santa Cruz in Environmental toxicology. She is currently a member of the Society of Toxicology, American College of Toxicology, Society of Chemical Hazard Communication, and Occupational Toxicology Roundtable.

Volunteers

Treasurer

Leon Stankowski, Jr

Assistant Treasurer

Sara Hurtado

Financial Auditor

Chris Farabaugh

Secretary

Tetyana Kobets​

Account Administrator, ESA Chair

Daniel Roberts

Web Liaison

John Nicolette

Outreach Chair

Penny Leavitt

GTA Photographer

Robert Preston

Newsletter

Paula van Rossum / Jennifer Sasaki

Program Booklet

Shannon Bruce / Liz Rubitski

GTA Historian

TBD

GTA Photographer

Robert Preston

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