Stempel College dean honored for his work in toxicology


Tomás Guilarte

Tomás R. Guilarte, dean of the Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work and professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences (EHS) is the recipient of this year’s Distinguished Toxicologist Award from the Hispanic Organization of Toxicologists (HOT).

A neurotoxicologist, Guilarte’s research explores the impact of environmental pollutants on neurological and mental disease. His work uses behavioral, cellular and molecular approaches, ranging from studies using primary culture of brain cells to the application of brain imaging technologies.

He research revealing the effects that low-level lead exposure has on the central nervous system during brain development led to the creation of strategies for mitigating learning deficits.

In separate research, Guilarte’s team played an important role in the validation and application of a biomarker for brain injury and inflammation that is used clinically in major medical centers around the world. His lab has also made seminal findings in the neurotoxicology of manganese and associated neurological disease.

Guilarte will accept the award and give a speech about his lifelong journey from Cuba to his position as a leading neurotoxicologist at HOT’s annual reception in March 2018.

The HOT organization is a special interest group within the Society of Toxicology (SOT) for researchers of Hispanic origin with experience in scientific areas related to toxic effects of chemicals on human health. Its chief goal is to provide a platform that guarantees awareness and dissemination of toxicological information from the Hispanic community of scholars. Based in the United States, SOT is the largest professional organization of toxicologists in the world with more than 7,800 members.

Each year, the HOT Award Committee awards a toxicologist of Hispanic origin for his or her outstanding professional achievements, excellence in research and level of service to the SOT.

“Dr. Guilarte has been and is committed to developing excellence in academic environments that are inclusive, collaborative and collegial, and where an emphasis is placed on supporting underrepresented minority faculty and students,” said fellow EHS professor and researcher Kim Tieu, who submitted Guilarte’s nomination to the committee. “He took the position of dean because he recognizes the need for successful scientists and academicians to be role models for Hispanics and African American students and faculty.”