Safe Honored With Society of Toxicology 2019 Merit Award

Dr. Stephen H. Safe, a distinguished professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM), recently was selected as 2019 Merit Award winner by the Society of Toxicology (SOT)—the highest honor given by the organization comprised of more than 8,000 toxicologists from around the globe.

The award, presented on March 10 during the SOT 58thAnnual Meeting and ToxExpo in Baltimore, recognizes a member for his or her distinguished contributions to toxicology throughout their career in areas such as research, teaching, regulatory activities, consulting, and service to the society.

Safe was selected among his peers for his breakthrough research developments and his devotion to advancing toxicology through mentorship and instruction.

As an active member of many professional societies in the fields of chemistry, biochemistry and microbiology, Safe has received numerous awards in the past for his research, teaching, and service.

He has been an honored lecturer at universities across the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, and in 2016, he was awarded an Honorary D.Sc. degree by the Queen’s University in Canada.

It was no surprise to Dr. Ivan Rusyn, a fellow professor at the CVM, when Safe received the SOT Merit Award; there are few SOT members who can compete or compare with Safe when it comes to the merits of his contribution to the field of toxicology, according to Rusyn.

“Steve is an incredibly thoughtful and sharp scientist, a personable colleague, and a revered former mentor; he also is a close colleague to many notable and decorated members of SOT,” Rusyn said. “With nearly 800 peer reviewed publications, more than 72,000 citations, and an h-index of over 120, he is a scientist of highest caliber.”

Along with his honorable research accolades, Rusyn said that Safe was deserving of this award because of the leadership and humility he exudes as a teacher and colleague.

“Despite his ‘deity-like’ status at Texas A&M, not only is his door always open for trainees and faculty to wonder in, but he also diligently attends seminars, hosts visitors, and interacts with trainees in his lab and beyond,” Rusyn said. “Steve has made it clear that his duty and determination is to pass the baton to the next generation of leaders, and I can only hope to grow into a leader like him.”

Others from the CVM recognized with 2019 SOT awards include:

  • Graduate student Lauren Lewis, who earned the Syngenta Fellowship Award in Human Health Applications of New Technologies for her project “The Utility of a Human In Vitro Population-Based Model for Studies of Epigenetic and Genotoxic Mechanisms” and
  • A team of scholars that includes Ivan Rusyn, Weihsueh Chiu, Abhishek Venkatratnam, Shinji Furuya,Oksana Kosyk, Avram Gold,Wanda Bodnar, Kranti Konganti, David Threadgill, Kevin Gillespie,David Aylor, and Fred Wright, who received the “Toxicological Sciences Paper of the Year Award” for their project “Collaborative Cross Mouse Population Enables Refinements to Characterization of the Variability in Toxicokinetics of Trichloroethylene and Provides Genetic Evidence for the Role of PPAR Pathway in Its Oxidative Metabolism” (available at



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