BDRP Mentor Profiles - Trainees Encouraged to Contact!

Feedback from our student and postdoc trainees indicates they desire greater opportunities for networking and interactions with Society members beyond the annual meeting, but they may not feel comfortable approaching members “cold.” To facilitate these interactions, the Society for Birth Defects Research and Prevention has compiled a list of members self-identified as interested in serving as mentors for our trainees. These relationships could be as little as an occasional phone call seeking advice or information on a particular topic, to as much as developing an ongoing mentoring relationship. Trainees and early career investigators are encouraged to contact these members!

For each mentor's contact information, click on the mentor name and you will be taken to his/her listing in the Society Membership Directory. 

Additional members who wish to be added to this list of BDRP Mentors may email a short bio to BDRP@birthdefectsresearch.org.

If you are listed below and wish to update your profile, please send changes or additions to BDRP@birthdefectsresearch.org

BDRP Mentors 

Bruce K. Beyer, PhD, DABT

Primary Field of Interest: Developmental Toxicology

Type of Organization: Industry/Product Development (pharmaceutical, chemical, consumer products, etc.) 

Bruce Beyer is currently Distinguished Scientist, Preclinical Safety (PCS) for Sanofi U.S. Inc., a large biopharmaceutical company developing small molecule and biotherapeutic compounds. Dr. Beyer serves as the PCS representative on several project teams involved with research, development, or marketed stages of small and large molecules. Therefore, he is responsible for planning and executing the nonclinical safety programs for these compounds, as well as preparing the nonclinical safety contributions to regulatory submission packages. In addition, he serves as a member of the global Sanofi Developmental and Reproductive Toxicology (DART) Advisory Group, which acts as a resource for nonclinical DART-related issues. Dr. Beyer has 35 years of experience, mostly in the pharmaceutical industry. Dr. Beyer received a PhD in Pharmacology from the Medical College of Georgia (thesis research: developmental toxicity in hamsters) and conducted postdoctoral research in the Pharmacology Department at the University of Washington using rat whole embryo culture. Bruce’s research interests include developmental pharmacology/toxicology (teratology), reproductive toxicology, developmental neurobehavioral toxicology, xenobiotic metabolism (biotransformation), xenobiotic (drug) interactions in dysmorphogenesis, anti-dysmorphogenesis (pharmacologic blockade), and general toxicology (especially that involving endocrine or renal toxicity). Dr. Beyer has been a member of the Society for Birth Defects Research and Prevention since he was a student almost 40 years ago and has served on several committees (Constitution & Bylaws, Awards, Council) and is the current Vice President-Elect. In addition to BDRP, he is a member of DNTS, SOT, ACT, and MARTA, and has served on several committees for DNTS (Public Affairs, Constitution & Bylaws, Finance, Publications) and MARTA. Bruce has served as President of MARTA and the former Midwest Teratology Association (MTA), as well as Chair of the Health and Environmental Sciences Institute (HESI) DART technical committee.

Prägati Sawhney Coder, PhD, DABT

Primary Field of Interest: Reproductive & Developmental Toxicology and Endocrinology

Type of Organization: Contract Research Organization

Pragati S. Coder, PhD, DABT is the Director of Developmental and Reproductive Toxicology (DART) at Charles River laboratories. In her role, she is responsible for direction of scientific functions within the discipline of Developmental and Reproductive Toxicology, Neurotoxicity and Juvenile Toxicology at the Ashland OH (Former WIL Research) and Mattawan MI (former MPI Research) sites. She serves in a leadership role in the conceptual design, conduct, interpretation, and reporting of studies supporting product development programs for pharmaceutical, agrochemical, and veterinary medical products. She serves as a Study Director on regulated studies and supervises Study Directors, and technical personnel within the groups. Prior to her current position, Pragati served as a study director at WIL Research, where she trained and served as a Study Director for over 350 regulated studies with industrial chemicals, agrochemicals, small molecule drug moieties, and biologics. In her current role, she routinely provides consultation to clients on scientific issues, data interpretation, and program development. A native of India, Dr. Coder received her PhD in Molecular Biology from the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay, in Mumbai, India in 2000. She did her postdoctoral work at the University of Texas at Austin in Male Reproductive Toxicology which was aimed at understanding the mechanisms of testicular toxicity following exposure to environmental toxicants and cytotoxic chemotherapeutic drugs. Dr. Coder has authored or co-authored several peer-reviewed publications and book chapters in her field. She is an active member of the Society of Toxicology, American College of Toxicology and European Teratology Society and has been a member of the Society for Birth Defects Research and Prevention since 2006. She has served in various capacities on a number of committees (Website, Membership, Communications Coordination Committee) and as Treasurer on Council.

José F. Cordero, MD, MPH

Primary Field of Interest: Epidemiology

Type of Organization: Academia

José F. Cordero is the Patel Distinguished Professor of Public Health and Chair, of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics in the College of Public Health at the University of Georgia. He joined UGA on August 2015. He served for 27 years in the US Public Health Service at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). During his years at CDC, he was appointed Assistant Surgeon General of the Public Health Service and held positions focused on improving the health of mothers, children and adults in programs such as, immunizations, birth defects and disabilities. In 1994, he was appointed Deputy Director of the National Immunization Program and in 2001 he was selected as the founding Director of the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, the position that he held until his retirement. He served as Dean of the School of Public Health in the University of Puerto Rico from 2006-2015. A former President of the Society for Birth Defects Research and Prevention, he is Co-Principal investigator of the Puerto Rico Testsite for Exploring Contamination Threats (PROTECT). This research program, funded by the National Institutes of Health, Superfund Research Program, examines environmental risk factors for preterm births. He also serves as National Trustee of the March of Dimes, a foundation with a mission of helping mothers have healthy pregnancies and to fund research on the problems that threaten the health of babies.

James Cray, PhD

Primary Field of Interest: Mechanisms of Abnormal Development

Type of Organization: Academia

James Cray is currently an Associate Professor of Oral Health Sciences and Director of the Laboratory Center for Oral Health Research at the Medical University of South Carolina. Dr. Cray is primarily involved in basic science research aimed at a better understanding of teratogenesis, specifically craniofacial anomalies. Dr.  Cray’s work has focused on fetal exposures during pregnancy that cause or exacerbate underlying developmental defects including hormone replacement drugs, antidepressants and nicotine replacement therapies using preclinical models and clinical data.

Christine P. Curran, PhD 

Primary Field of Interest: Developmental Toxicology

Type of Organization: Academia 

Christine (Chris) Curran is an Associate Professor of Biological Sciences at Northern Kentucky University, which has no graduate programs in the sciences. This means her time is divided between teaching and research in addition to service and science outreach. Dr. Curran has mentored more than 40 undergraduate research students over the last 8 years and two postdoctoral fellows. The Northen Kentucky University research lab focuses on genetic susceptibility to developmental neurotoxicants, particularly those persistent organic pollutants that bind to the aryl hydrocarbon receptor. Dr. Curran has been funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Science, the USEPA and the National institute for Occupational Safety and Health. My graduate degrees (M.S. and PhD) were separated by more than a decade to help me focus on my three children. She taught as an adjunct at the University of Cincinnati for many years before deciding to make the leap to a PhD and a full-time faculty position. Dr. Curran has a strong interest in K-12 outreach and the public understanding of science. 

Stephen B. Harris, PhD, ATS, FRSB

Primary Field of Interest: Developmental Toxicology

Type of Organization: Consulting

Stephen B. Harris, PhD, Fellow ATS, FRSB is President of Stephen B. Harris Group in San Diego, CA, since September 1982. He has over 40 years of professional experience in developmental and reproductive toxicology and has been an independent consultant for over 30 years. Since 1985, he has held several teaching appointments at San Diego State University, Stanford University, and National University in the areas of developmental and reproductive toxicology. He continues to mentor graduate students, and supervises thesis research, as an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Public Health at San Diego State University. Dr. Harris’s area of expertise includes: (1) scientific interpretation of data from developmental and reproductive safety evaluation testing programs for the pharmaceutical and chemical industries globally, (2) management and training of Contract Research Organization (CRO) personnel especially in developmental and reproductive toxicity testing including fetal morphological assessments in multiple species, (3) CRO testing facility design, operations, and study monitoring, (4) CRO client pre-qualification site assessments, (5) due diligence for private equity firms and investment banks for potential acquisition of CROs and for drugs with the intent to be repurposed for new therapeutic indications, and (6) product liability issues. He has successfully authored many opinion papers and critiqued numerous technical reports for the pharmaceutical and chemical industries to assure compliance with worldwide regulatory requirements for product approval. Dr. Harris has been invited to deliver several national and international scientific presentations and workshops. He interfaces with both national and international regulatory agencies. Dr. Harris is an Editor for Food and Chemical Toxicology and on the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Toxicology. Dr. Harris was President of the American College of Toxicology (2006-2007) and a Councilor of the Society for Birth Defects Research and Prevention (2012-2015) and is a Fellow of the Academy of Toxicological Sciences and Royal Society of Biology.

Judith W. Henck, PhD, DABT

Primary Field of Interest: Developmental Toxicology

Type of Organization: Consulting

Judith W. Henck is a Diplomate of the American Board of Toxicology with extensive experience in safety evaluation of pharmaceuticals and industrial chemicals. She has designed, conducted and interpreted a large number of toxicology studies during her career, as well as provided integration of nonclinical data for global regulatory submissions. Dr. Henck has served as the toxicology expert on interdisciplinary teams charged with the development of endocrine, cardiovascular, neuroscience, and musculoskeletal therapeutic agents. She has been an invited lecturer on a variety of topics, including male and female reproductive toxicology, developmental and juvenile toxicology, and neurotoxicology, and has held adjunct faculty positions at the University of Michigan and the School of Osteopathic Medicine, Marion University. She is the author of over 70 publications, book chapters, and abstracts. She is currently a Consulting Toxicologist, providing expertise in nonclinical safety assessment across all stages of drug development. Specialties include: nonclinical safety assessment, general toxicology, reproductive/developmental toxicology, pediatric/juvenile toxicology, global regulatory submission.

Terry C. Hrubec, DVM, PhD

Primary Field of Interest: Developmental Toxicology

Type of Organization: Academia

Terry Hrubec earned her DVM and PhD from Virginia Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine through the combined DVM/PhD program. She holds a dual appointment at VMCVM and at Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Dr. Hrubec has taught Human Anatomy and Embryology for 13 years and is involved in multidisciplinary research collaborations in the areas of Toxicology, Immunology, Biochemistry, Engineering, Chemistry, Computer Science and Bioinformatics. She has mentored and provided research opportunities for 8 graduate students, 7 undergraduate students and 12 medical students and 6 veterinary students. Students in her laboratory have received regional and national awards in research and research presentation. Dr. Hrubec is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Association of Anatomists, Society of Toxicology, and the Society for Birth Defects Research and Prevention.

Philip J. Katzman, MD

Primary Field of Interest: Placentology

Type of Organization: Academia

Philip J. Katzman is a specialist in pediatric and perinatal pathology. He is Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, NY. Dr. Katzman has clinical, research, and teaching responsibilities and has focused on chronic inflammatory lesions of the placenta as a research interest. In addition, he performs pediatric autopsies, including cases of perinatal deaths with malformations. Dr. Katzman received his Doctor of Medicine degree from The University of Vermont and completed a residency in pathology at University of Rochester Medical Center. He trained in a pediatric pathology fellowship at Boston Children’s Hospital. He has been a member of the Society for Birth Defects and Prevention since 2012 and has been a member of the Society for Pediatric Pathology and a reviewer for their journal Pediatric and Developmental Pathology since 2000.

Thomas B. Knudsen, PhD

Primary Field of Interest: Systems Biology

Type of Organization: Government

Thomas Knudsen is a Developmental Systems Biologist at the US Environmental Protection Agency’s National Center for Computational Toxicology (NCCT) in Research Triangle Park, NC. He received his PhD in Anatomy from Thomas Jefferson University in 1981, working on the cellular basis of abnormal limb development. His postdoctoral training was in Cell Biology at the Children’s Hospital Research Foundation in Cincinnati, and NIH Fellow in Developmental Biology at Emory University in Atlanta. Dr. Knudsen held several academic appointments - most recently as Professor of Molecular, Cellular and Craniofacial Biology at the University of Louisville, where he led a research program in Systems Biology and Bioinformatics at the Birth Defects Center and Center for Environmental Genomics and Integrative Biology. He served as a member of the Human Embryology and Developmental Study Section at NIH, is a Past-President of the Society for Birth Defects Research and Prevention, and Editor-in-Chief of Reproductive Toxicology (since 2004). Dr. Knudsen joined EPA’s NCCT in 2007, where he is project lead of Virtual Tissue Models in the Chemical Safety for Sustainability Research Program, and of Virtual Embryo in EPA’s Children’s Environmental Health Research Roadmap. His research on prenatal developmental toxicity has resulted in over 130 scientific publications and is presently focused on computer modeling of embryogenesis for predictive toxicology.

Elise M. Lewis, PhD

Primary Field of Interest: Developmental Toxicology

Type of Organization: Contract Research Organization

Elise Lewis received her undergraduate degree in biological sciences and did her graduate work in Developmental Toxicology at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Currently, she is a Study Director and Director, Reproductive and Neurobehavioral Toxicology at Charles River in Horsham, Pennsylvania. In her role as Director, she is responsible for recruiting and supervising study directors and principle research scientists, and she has an integral role in implementing and overseeing the science and systems to ensure that Charles River maintains its leadership position in the field of Reproductive, Developmental, and Juvenile Toxicology. As a Study Director, Dr. Lewis’ overall responsibility is the technical conduct of nonclinical laboratory studies, as well as for the interpretation, analysis, documentation and reporting of scientific results; ensure that studies are conducted according to protocol adhering to applicable regulatory guidelines and as specified by Standard Operation Procedures. Her additional responsibilities are presenting seminars and courses in animal research, toxicology and reproductive toxicology for students from grade school through graduate school level including her alma mater and non-Study Director Staff at the Charles River facility. She has authored and co authored multiple publications in various areas of reproductive,developmental, and juvenile toxicology, and has presented at several industry symposia. Prior to joining Charles River, Dr. Lewis was a Study Director for reproductive and developmental toxicology studies at Huntingdon Life Sciences.

Dick Lindhout, MD, PhD

Primary Field of Interest: Clinical Teratology

Type of Organization: Academia

Dick Lindhout is a board certified clinical geneticist and currently professor of medical genetics at Utrecht University/University Medical Center Utrecht, the Netherlands and medical genetics staff member at SEIN – Epilepsy Institutes in the Netherlands. He received his training in paediatrics at VU Medical Center, Amsterdam, where he defended his thesis on “Teratogenesis of Antiepileptic Drugs, New Aspects of Prevention”. After establishing a genetic counseling service at VU Medical Center, he moved to Erasmus University Rotterdam, where he worked together with Prof. Hans Galjaard and became appointed as professor of clinical genetics and teratology (1985-2000). During this time, he extended his research by investigating the role of antiepileptic drug metabolism and genetics in the reproductive outcome of maternally exposed pregnancies. Together with Bettina Samrén, he developed the EURAP protocol for monitoring pregnancy outcome after maternal antiepileptic drug use, which is now implemented worldwide (www.eurap.org). Furthermore, he established, together with Dicky Halley, a research group on epilepsy genetics which, in collaboration with British (Cardiff) and USA (Boston) groups, identified two genes for tuberous sclerosis, tuberin and hamartin. From 2000-2010, he was head of the Department of Medical Genetics at University Medical Center Utrecht. His current main line of research is in Epilepsy Genetics, and Reproductive Toxicology of Anti-epileptic Drugs. His research is done in close collaboration with the epilepsy centers SEIN and Kempenhaeghe as well as neurology departments in the Netherlands and abroad. The Department of Medical Genetics at UMC Utrecht serves as an (inter)national expert center in molecular genetic diagnostics in epilepsy. (http://www.umcutrecht.nl/subsite/genome-diagnostics/DNA-diagnostics/Gene-Tests.htm). Since November 2015, he is chairman of the Subcommittee on Reproductive Toxic Agents of the Health Council of the Netherlands.

Sonja A. Rasmussen, MD, MS

Primary Field of Interest: Epidemiology, Genetics

Type of Organization: Academia

Sonja A. Rasmussen, MD, MS, is Professor of Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Epidemiology at the University of Florida (UF) College of Medicine and College of Public Health and Health Professions. She leads UF’s Precision Health Program; sees patients as a clinical geneticist; and serves as a genetics consultant to the South Carolina Birth Defects Program. Dr. Rasmussen joined UF in 2018 after 20 years at the CDC, where she served in leadership roles during responses to several public health emergencies, including 2009 H1N1 influenza, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus, Ebola, and Zika virus. Dr. Rasmussen was lead author of the paper confirming Zika virus as a cause of birth defects, published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2016. She has written extensively on issues related to vaccines during pregnancy and on the effects of COVID-19 on pregnant persons and children. Dr. Rasmussen is an author on >250 peer-reviewed papers and the lead editor of The CDC Field Epidemiology Manual, published by Oxford University Press in 2019.

Anthony Scialli, MD

Primary Field of Interest: Reproductive Toxicology

Type of Organization: Consulting

Tony Scialli is a specialist in reproductive and developmental toxicology and in obstetrics and gynecology. In addition to his consulting services, he is Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences and Adjunct Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and of Pharmacology and Physiology at Georgetown University School of Medicine. Dr. Scialli directs the Reproductive Toxicology Center, a non-profit foundation in Washington, D.C., which maintains Reprotox®, an online data base on the effects on reproduction of drugs, chemicals, biologicals, and physical agents.

Dr. Scialli received his Doctor of Medicine degree from Albany Medical College and completed a residency in obstetrics and gynecology at George Washington University Hospital. He took a fellowship in Reproductive Toxicology with Sergio Fabro, one of the original thalidomide researchers. Dr. Scialli was Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Residency Program Director at Georgetown University Medical Center for many years. He continues to be actively involved in medical education and teaches on a regular basis at academic medical centers in Washington, D.C. He founded and was editor-in-chief of the journal Reproductive Toxicology for 17 years and is a past president of the Teratology Society, now known as the Society for Birth Defects Research and Prevention.

Dana Shuey, PhD, DABT 

Primary Field of Interest: Developmental Toxicology

Type of Organization: Industry/Product Development (pharmaceutical, chemical, consumer products, etc.) 

Dana Shuey is currently Executive Director, Toxicology for Incyte Corporation, a medium-sized pharmaceutical company specializing in oncology products. Her group is responsible for the planning and execution of all nonclinical toxicology programs, including preparation of regulatory submission packages, for all of our development projects. Prior to joining Incyte two years ago, Dr. Shuey was in a similar position for Endo Pharmaceuticals for almost 12 years, and head of Developmental and Reproductive Toxicology for DuPont Pharmaceuticals before that. She received her PhD in Toxicology from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Her PhD thesis was on the role of serotonin as a developmental signal in craniofacial development, under Dr. Jean Lauder and in close collaboration with Dr. Tom Sadler. Dr. Shuey then conducted postdoctoral research at the EPA in Research Triangle Park, NC on development of a biologically-based dose-response model for 5-fluorouracil teratogenicity. Dr. Shuey has been a member of the Society for Birth Defects Research and Prevention for approximately 20 years and has served on a number of committees (Public Affairs, Nominations, Education, currently Student Affairs chair) and as President. 

William Slikker, Jr., PhD

Primary Field of Interest: Developmental Neurotoxicology

Type of Organization: Government

Dr. William Slikker, Jr. is the director of FDA’s National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR). He received his Ph.D. in Pharmacology and Toxicology from the University of California at Davis. Dr. Slikker holds adjunct professorships in the Department of Pediatrics, as well as the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. He has held committee chairmanships or elected offices in several scientific societies including the Society for Birth Defects Research and Prevention (serving as president) and the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (chair, Developmental Pharmacology Section and member, Program Committee). He is also the past president of The Academy of Toxicological Sciences and the Society of Toxicology. Dr. Slikker is the co-founder and past president of the MidSouth Computational Biology and Bioinformatics Society. He is currently associate editor for NeuroToxicology and Experimental Biology and Medicine.  He is the recipient of the 2014 George H. Scott Memorial Award from The Toxicology Forum. He was also invited to present the Warkany Lecture at the 2015 annual meeting of the Society for Birth Defects Research and Prevention and the 32nd Annual Samuel Kuna/Robert Snyder Distinguished Lectureship in Toxicology. Dr. Slikker has authored or co-authored over 350 publications in the areas of transplancental pharmacokinetics, developmental neurotoxicology, neuroprotection, systems biology, and risk assessment. He has also served on several national/international advisory panels for the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI)/Health and Environmental Sciences Institute (HESI), Chemical Industry Institute of Toxicology (CIIT) Centers for Health Research, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), National Academy of Sciences (NAS), National Institutes of Health (NIH) and World Health Organization (WHO). 

Howard M. Solomon, PhD

Primary Field of Interest: Developmental Toxicology

Type of Organization: Industry/Product Development (pharmaceutical, chemical, consumer products, etc.)

Howard Solomon received his postdoctoral training at Thomas Jefferson University where he worked on projects related to the effects of X-ray and neutron radiation on fetal rat development. He has worked as a study director in developmental toxicology at E.I. DuPont Co., was the head of the Teratology Testing Unit at Rohm and Haas Co. and presently is the manager of regulatory reproduction studies at GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals. In general, Dr. Solomon has participated in publications characterizing ventricular septal defects and great vessel malformations in rats, describing a modified mid-coronal head sectioning method to examine fetal rabbit heads and brains, and harmonizing terminology used to describe developmental abnormalities. Recently, Dr. Solomon co-lead a workshop sponsored by HESI/DART entitled Developing Criteria for Validating Skeletal Evaluations by Micro-Computed Tomography (micro-CT). His hands-on laboratory experience includes fish embryos, preimplantation mouse embryos, post implantation rat embryos, and micromass cells as early screens to identify developmental toxicants and well as in vivo fetal examinations of rodents and rabbits. Dr. Solomon has been interested and worked in the fields of embryology and development toxicology for the past 42 years.

Steven Van Cruchten, DVM, PhD

Primary Field of Interest: Developmental Toxicology

Type of Organization: Academia

Steven J. M. Van Cruchten graduated in Veterinary Sciences at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (Ghent University, Belgium) in 1999 and started his PhD research entitled “Remodelling of the canine endometrium during the estrous cycle” at the same university. After his PhD defense (July 2004), he was recruited as a reproductive toxicologist by Johnson & Johnson in Beerse, Belgium. In this function, he elaborated his knowledge on teratogenicity, fertility and peri- and postnatal development issues with pharmaceutical compounds. He also became involved into the field of juvenile toxicology. During this time, Dr. Van Cruchten also joined the international societies in the field of reproductive toxicology, i.e. the European Teratology Society and the Society for Birth Defects Research and Prevention. In January 2008, he took the opportunity to join another pharmaceutical company, AstraZeneca in Sweden, as a Toxicology Project Leader, overviewing the complete preclinical development of several compounds. He also kept his expert role in reproductive and juvenile toxicology. Dr. Van Cruchten returned to Belgium in January 2011 to take up the position of associate professor in veterinary anatomy and embryology at the University of Antwerp. His research focuses on the ontogeny of biotransformation processes in animal models for juvenile and reproductive toxicology. To date, he supervises 6 PhD students and is member of several PhD committees.

Society members may find the full Membership Directory here.

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