Smith wins 2014 Alexander Hollaender Award for environmental exposure research

January 21, 2014

Martyn Smith, professor of toxicology, was awarded the 2014 Alexander Hollaender Award by the Environmental Mutagenesis and Genomics Society (EMGS) for his contributions to the field of environmental toxicology. The award recognizes outstanding contributions in the application of the principles and techniques of environmental mutagenesis and genomics to the protection of human health.

“Given the mission of the EMGS and Dr. Smith’s contributions to understanding the human health risks associated with environmental exposures, it is appropriate that Dr. Smith’s contributions be recognized with the Alexander Hollaender Award,” Ofelia Olivero, president of EMGS, wrote in a statement.

Smith’s research has been focused on the mechanisms by which a variety of environmental agents—such as benzene, pesticides, and arsenic—exert genotoxic effects relevant to cancer. He has led the Superfund Research Program at UC Berkeley since its inception in 1987. Many of the major advances in understanding the adverse effects of benzene have been derived from his research. He has been a pioneer in the use of genomic, proteomic, and epigenomic approaches to more fully characterize changes occurring in workers exposed to environmental toxicants. He has advanced the field of molecular epidemiology by identifying critical pathways involved in carcinogenesis.

In addition to his research contributions to the field of molecular epidemiology, including more than 300 publications, Smith has contributed to the protection of human health through his efforts on advisory panels and expert working groups. He served as president of the Genetic and Environmental Toxicology Association, and serves on the editorial board of seven journals. He’s also involved with health-protective organizations around the world, including the Scientific Council of the International Association for Research on Cancer, the World Health Organization, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the UK Medical Research Council.

The EMGS is a scientific society whose mission is to foster scientific research and education on the causes and mechanistic bases of DNA damage and repair, mutagenesis, heritable effects, epigenetic alterations in genome function, and their relevance to disease. The society also promotes the application and communication of this knowledge to genetic toxicology testing, risk assessment, and regulatory policy-making to protect human health and the environment.

The award will be presented to Smith during the EMGS annual meeting in Orlando, Florida, on September 16.