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Friday, June 15, 2007
National Toxicology Program Gets New Associate Director
John Bucher, Ph.D., will serve as the new associate director of the National Toxicology Program (NTP), and will begin managing the day-to-day operations of the program on June 18. The NTP is an interagency program with the mission to coordinate, conduct and communicate toxicological research across the U.S. government.
For 29 years, the NTP has evaluated chemicals and other agents that may be damaging to human health. Through its extensive testing program, the NTP has examined the safety of more than 2,500 substances. In addition, the NTP prepares and issues the biennial Report on Carcinogens, which so far has identified 246 cancer-causing agents including substances like lead and diesel exhaust, and viruses like Hepatitis B and C.
The NTP is located in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, at the National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), one of the National Institutes of Health. David Schwartz, M.D., serves as the director of the NIEHS and the NTP.
“Dr. Bucher has outstanding scientific credentials, an insightful vision for toxicological research, and an in-depth knowledge of the NTP. I believe he is uniquely capable of moving the NTP forward using the best and most innovative technologies to increase the effectiveness and rate of testing chemicals,” said Schwartz. “Our goal for the NTP is to closely coordinate its work with the NIEHS in-house research on environmental health so that we can make the most of our resources and have an even greater impact on safeguarding public health.”
Bucher was selected from 33 applicants. A 14-member search committee conducted a national recruitment and selected four finalists. After a series of interviews at NIEHS, Bucher was offered the job.
Bucher joined the NTP team as a toxicologist 24 years ago and since then has played a key role in shaping the program’s research and policies. Bucher oversaw the development and evaluation of several non-traditional testing methods including current efforts with high throughput automated screening. He promoted NTP’s comprehensive studies of dioxin and dioxin-like chemicals, chemicals that mimic estrogens, and more recently, manufactured nanomaterials. He organized one of the first conferences to explore the field of nanotoxicology and has advised congressional staff about this critically important emerging area of science. Bucher provided oversight and guidance for the development of the NTP Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction. He also played a major role in developing the NTP Vision and Roadmap for the 21st Century, a plan for toxicology research to advance as a predictive science, building on the knowledge gained from traditional single-agent studies in living organisms, in vivo studies.
Bucher is an internationally recognized expert in the design and interpretation of cancer bioassays, and has authored a number of important publications examining critical issues in dose selection for toxicology and cancer studies. He holds a doctorate in pharmacology from the University of Iowa, a Master of Science in biochemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a Bachelor of Arts in biology from Knox College.
“I look forward to working with our exceptionally talented staff and NTP partners to produce the quality data and scientific understanding necessary for the protection of public health and critical to the further evolution of the science of toxicology,” said Bucher. “I am honored to follow in the footsteps of the truly outstanding individuals who have led this program in the past.”
Past associate directors of NTP include Christopher Portier, Ph.D., George Lucier, Ph.D., and Bernard Schwetz, D.V.M., Ph.D. NTP partners include:
- Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- Consumer Product Safety Commission
- Environmental Protection Agency
- Food and Drug Administration
- National Cancer Institute/National Institutes of Health (NIH)
- National Center for Environmental Health/CDC
- National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences/NIH
- National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health/CDC
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration
For more information about the NTP, visit http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/.
A note of thanks. The NIEHS wishes to recognize and thank Allen Dearry, Ph.D., for his dedicated, professional and capable service as interim associate director of NTP from January 2006 through June 2007.
The National Toxicology Program (NTP) is an interagency program established in 1978 by the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, which today known as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The program was created as a cooperative effort to coordinate toxicology testing programs within the federal government, strengthen the science base in toxicology, develop and validate improved testing methods, and provide information about potentially toxic chemicals to health, regulatory, and research agencies, scientific and medical communities, and the public.
The primary mission of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), one of 27 Institutes and Centers at the National Institutes of Health, is to reduce the burden of human illness and disability by understanding how the environment influences the development and progression of human disease. For additional information, visit the NIEHS Web site at http://www.niehs.nih.gov/home.htm.
About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.
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