Toxicology Alumnus Returns to Rutgers To Share His Journey

Dr. Alan Stokes is the Senior Director of Toxicology at Glaxo Smith Kline. Earlier in his training, Dr. Stokes completed his postdoctoral training in the JGPT. In October 2024, he returned to the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute where he shared his journey with current toxicology students and postdocs. During this Lunch and Learn, Dr. Stokes covered a broad array of topics. These included new technologies in the development of pharmaceuticals, board certification as a toxicologist, different types of companies for toxicologist to work in, and more. This exciting and dynamic session will certainly lead to more networking between Dr. Stokes and the Rutgers toxicology trainees.

JGPT Alum Cody Smith Joins UCONN Faculty

Dr. L. Cody Smith has been named an assistant professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences in the College of Pharmacy at UConn.

“I am excited to join the faculty in the School of Pharmacy to increase the translational potential of my research by forging new collaborations with investigators developing novel therapeutics that may mitigate lung injury and inflammation caused by inhalation of environmental air pollutants and other respiratory hazards,” says Smith.

Read the full article here.

JGPT Success Story: Ukpong Eyo

Pursuing a career in neuroscience was never really a choice for me. It’s almost as if neuroscience found me rather than I found her.

I was originally born in Nigeria. My mother was a teacher and, growing up, I wanted to be a teacher, too, because I’ve always enjoyed explaining concepts. However, my mother dissuaded me from this path because, as she saw it, teaching did not pay well. My second career choice was to become a doctor, so I came to the U.S. for college with the intention of going to medical school. I quickly learned that medical school was very expensive and as an international student, I realized there was no way I could afford it. That’s when an undergraduate professor suggested I consider graduate school… [Read the full story story at NIH-NINDS]


JGPT Alum featured in “Healthy Together” Magazine

Gwyndolin Vail discusses their transgender journey in Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital’s Fall 2021 issue of Healthy TogetherSee the full story on page 4.

Dr. Vail, who earned their PhD in 2020, is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at Rutgers University in the Department of Pharmacology, Physiology, and Neuroscience. They are interested in the interplay of genetic sex and sex hormones in governing energy homeostasis, with a current focus on sex differences in energy usage during exercise. To study this, they are examining the role of specific neurons in the ventral lateral area of the hypothalamus that sense and respond to low levels of glucose, as may occur during endurance exercise.

Prof. Ukpong Eyo Receives Prestigious Research Grant

Dr. Ukpong Eyo was honored as the recipient of a grant provided by The Young Investigator Draft through Uplifting Athletes, a non-profit with the mission to inspire the rare disease community with hope through the power of sport. The award was presented by Trace McSorely, quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens and previous Penn State quarterback. Dr. Eyo is an Assistant Professor at the University of Virginia in the department of Neuroscience. his grant will provide funding for Dr. Eyo and his team the ability to study, in-depth the SLC6A1 gene mutation.

It was a great honor for SLC6A1 Connect to have the opportunity to “draft” Dr. Ukpong Eyo. We are so appreciative of his knowledge, expertise and interest in learning as much as possible about the SLC6A1 mutation. This will ultimately provide our kids the opportunity to live long, healthy and fulfilled lives.

From the SLC6A1 families, WE LOVE YOU EYO! Thank you for helping us work toward our goal to NOT exist in five years because a cure is in place. We’re looking forward to having moved on to the next rare disease to annihilate!

[Original story on LinkedIn]


JGPT Alum, Kristin Bircsak, Featured in SOT Postdoc Spotlight

Dr. Bircsak was the recipient of the Hogan Memorial Scholarship/Travel Award in 2014 as a doctoral student in the Joint Graduate Program in Toxicology at @rutgersu. The title of her submitted abstract was “Genetic and Dietary Factors Reduce Placental BCRP Transporter Function: Potential Risk for Fetal Exposure to Harmful Chemicals”.

During her postdoctoral studies at @uofpenn, Dr. Bircsak utilized a mouse model to characterize the involvement of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) in the TCDD-mediated female predominant sex ratio of chronically exposed males. This study was published in Reproductive Toxicology in 2020 (PMID: 32335222). She is now the Principal Scientist at MIMETAS, where she and her team of scientists focus on recapitulating the liver and prostate tumor microenvironment to aid in the accurate prediction of safe and effective candidate compounds.

Over the years, Dr. Bircsak has been actively involved in the Society of Toxicology and Middle Atlantic Reproduction and Teratology Association. She is also a member of the SOT Mid-Atlantic Regional Chapter.

[Original story here]


Dahea You – Drug Metabolism and Disposition Highlighted Trainee Author

Dr. Dahea You is the Drug Metabolism and Disposition Highlighted Trainee Author for the June 2020 issue

Dahea You

Dr. You is a postdoctoral fellow in the National Toxicology Program at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). Dr. You obtained her Doctor of Pharmacy in 2014 and Doctor of Philosophy in Toxicology in 2019, both at Rutgers University. She was a predoctoral trainee in the Joint Graduate Program in Toxicology at Rutgers University at the time of the manuscript preparation. Her predoctoral mentors are Drs. Lauren Aleksunes at Rutgers University and Jason Richardson at Florida International University. The Drug Metabolism and Disposition article that earned her selection as a Highlighted Trainee Author is titled “Epigenetic Regulation of Multidrug Resistance Protein 1 and Breast Cancer Resistance Protein Transporters by Histone Deacetylase Inhibition” and is available at

Read the full story here.


Sheryse Taylor – iCURE Scholar and JGPT Alum

Interview with Sheryse Taylor Featured in National Minority Health Month Spotlight…

What inspired your interest in cancer research?

Although I entered college believing I was going to pursue a career in forensics, I was always interested in the immune system and cancer—as separate entities. I can trace my interest in immunity back to my childhood, when I saw an illustration about wound healing after a scraped knee. As a disease, I found cancer fascinating not only because of the multiple failures of checks and balances needed in tumorigenesis, but also the subsequent disorder it creates, becoming its own self-preserving entity. Once I learned that chronic inflammation played a key role in cancer development and progression, I knew I’d found what I wanted to study. I’m sure every person has a story of how they’ve been affected by cancer, and I’m no different. These experiences have also served as strong motivators for me to make a difference in the field.

Read the full interview with Sheryse here.