Toxicology Excellence for Risk Assessment (TERA)

2300 Montana Avenue, Suite 409, Cincinnati OH 45211
Phone: 513-542-7475
Fax: 513-542-7487


2005 VCCEP Peer Consultation Core Panel

Core panel members are experts with sufficiently broad areas of expertise to qualify them for service on most or all of the VCCEP panels.  Core panel members add continuity to the peer consultation program and will be asked to commit to serve on panels for one year.

A brief biography is provided below for each of the 2005 panel members.

John Balbus
M.D., M.P.H. 
Environmental Defense

Elaine A. Hubal
Ph.D. Chemical Engineering
U.S. EPA, National Exposure Research Laboratory  

John Christopher
Ph.D. Biological Science, D.A.B.T.
California EPA, Department of Toxic Substances Control

Sam Kacew
Ph.D. Pharmacology
University of Ottawa  
John M. DeSesso
Ph.D. Anatomy and Teratology, D.A.B.F.E., D.A.B.F.M.

Systems Center for Science and Technology
Chad Sandusky
Ph.D. Pharmacology
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine 

Michael L. Dourson
Ph.D. Toxicology
Toxicology Excellence for Risk Assessment 
(Panel Chair)

Kimberly M. Thompson
Sc.D. Environmental Health
Harvard University  

Pertti (Bert) Hakkinen
Ph.D. Comparative Pharmacology and Toxicology
European Commission Joint Research Centre

Dr. John Balbus

Dr. John Balbus is currently the Director of the Environmental Health Program for Environmental Defense, where he is working on projects related to antibiotic resistance, health impacts of urban sprawl and transportation policy, and chemical testing and right-to-know.  Before his current position, he served as the founding Director of the Center for Risk Science and Public Health, as well as an Associate Professor at the George Washington University Medical Center .  Dr. Balbus' research activities at the Center for Risk Science and Public Health included addressing susceptibility in risk assessment and risk management, children's susceptibility to waterborne contaminants, and health impacts of climate change.  Dr. Balbus was a founding co-director of the Mid-Atlantic Center for Children's Health and the Environment, one of 11 Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units funded by the U.S. EPA and ATSDR.  

Dr. Balbus received his M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania , an M.P.H. from the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, and an A.B. in Biochemistry from Harvard University .  He completed residencies in internal medicine at Pennsylvania Hospital and in occupational and environmental medicine at Johns Hopkins Medical Center .  He currently holds adjunct faculty appointments at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services.  

Dr. Balbus is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine, and the American Board of Preventive Medicine, specialty in Occupational Medicine.  In addition to Dr. Balbus' extensive professional and academic career, he has published numerous articles relating to a variety of topics in risk assessment, public health, and environmental health.

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Dr. John Christopher

Dr. Christopher is currently Staff Toxicologist in the Human & Ecological Risk Division, Department of Toxic Substances Control, California Environmental Protection Agency.  His responsibilities include the review and approval of human health and ecological risk assessments at military facilities, hazardous waste sites, and other permitted facilities in the state of California .  Dr. Christopher provides technical support in matters related to toxicology and risk assessment to the state's Site Mitigation and Hazardous Waste Management Programs and also to the Office of Military Facilities.  In this capacity he has participated in environmental cleanups at dozens of private sector sites and Federal facilities of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and NASA.  He is an expert on ambient concentrations of metals in California soils and was principal author of a statewide guidance document on distinguishing ambient concentrations of metals from releases of metals to soil.  Dr. Christopher is experienced in constructing multi-pathway risk assessments to identify numerical criteria for classifying hazardous levels of organic chemicals in waste, and he has used Monte Carlo methods in several different exposure settings to identify levels protective of human health. 

Dr. Christopher has served as an invited peer reviewer for numerous governmental, private industrial, and consultant organizations.  During the last few years, these include the U.S. EPA for methyl-tert-butyl ether (MTBE); Health Canada for acrolein, acrylamide, acrylonitrile, carbon disulfide, ethylene glycol, ethylene oxide, N,N-dimethylformamide, N-nitrosodimethylamine, and nonyl phenol and its ethoxylates; the American Chemistry Council for methods of assessing cumulative risk for chemical mixtures; and the National Institute of Justice for the health effects of non-lethal weapons, including pepper spray and the TASER.  He has served on peer review panels for Toxicology Excellence for Risk Assessment (TERA), most recently including indoor air effects following the World Trade Center disaster and risk assessments for acrylonitrile and ammonium perchlorate.  Dr. Christopher is a peer reviewer for the journals Toxicological Sciences, Risk Analysis, Human and Ecological Risk Assessment, and CRC Critical Reviews in Toxicology. 

Prior to joining the California EPA, Dr. Christopher was Chief Toxicologist at ICF Kaiser Engineers in California where he conducted risk assessments of chemical contamination for clients in the public and private sectors.  He also worked for IT Corporation in Tennessee performing risk assessments of mixed chemical and nuclear wastes.  Earlier in his career, he worked for other governmental and private organizations where he gained experience managing animal toxicity studies of medical devices, cancer drugs, and irradiated food products.

Dr. Christopher holds a B.S. in Biology from Georgetown University , a M.A. in Pharmacology from Stanford, and a Ph.D. in Biological Science from Oregon State .  He has been a Diplomate of the American Board of Toxicology since 1984 and a Past President of the Risk Assessment Specialty Section of the Society of Toxicology.

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Dr. John M. DeSesso

Dr. John DeSesso is Senior Fellow and Director of the Biomedical Research Institute at Mitretek Systems.  He holds adjunct faculty appointments at Georgetown University School of Medicine, Chicago Medical School , the Graduate School of Public Health at San Diego State University , and George Mason University .  He is Fellow, Academy of Toxicological Sciences ; Fellow, American College of Forensic Examiners; Diplomate, American Board of Forensic Examiners (Specialties: Toxicology, Anatomy, and Risk Assessment); Diplomate, American Board of Forensic Medicine; and is Certified in Homeland Security – Level III.  Dr. DeSesso has published over 200 papers and reports and has presented at over 150 conferences and symposia on topics including teratology, toxicology, ecological risk assessment, and human health effects of environmental agents.  He directs commercially and governmentally funded public interest research efforts on the potential adverse effects of environmental agents.  Projects include assessing the potential for inorganic arsenic contamination to cause human birth defects, investigating the possible reproductive toxicity of a commonly used ingredient of consumer products, and assessing the possible teratogenicity of a novel ingredient used in veterinary medicine.  He was the chair of the EPA/International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) Work Group on Bioavailability and of the Peer-review Panel for the EPA Office of Research and Development’s Strategy of Children’s Health Research Program.  He was a member of the Center for Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction Expert Panel on Ethylene Glycol and Propylene Glycol.

Dr. DeSesso was employed for 15 years by The MITRE Corporation, where he wrote Health Hazard Assessments for the EPA Office of Toxic Substances in support of its Pre-Manufacturing Notification Program.  For EPA's Office of Pesticide Programs, Dr. DeSesso analyzed toxicity data submitted for registration of pesticides.  For the EPA Office of Health and Environmental Assessment, he wrote assessment documents concerning the carcinogenicity, toxicity, and reproductive effects of existing chemical substances.  For the FDA, Dr. DeSesso led a team that assessed the relevance to human health of direct bladder exposure studies conducted in rodents.  He was named to the EPA/ILSI National Work Group on Rodent Bladder Cancer, where he helped to establish rational and scientific approaches for applying rodent bladder cancer study results to human health risk assessment.  He also served on a team that studied the health effects of refined menhaden oil during FDA’s consideration of its generally recognized as safe (GRAS) status.  In support of the U.S. Air Force, Dr. DeSesso provides key expertise in human health risk assessment, including negotiation of risk assessment protocols on a site-specific basis.  He authored the Air Force approach to ecological risk.  Dr. DeSesso co-authored a hazard evaluation of trichloroethylene that addressed its potential human carcinogenicity and co-edited a monograph that assembled the views of various stakeholders.

Prior to joining MITRE in 1981, Dr. DeSesso was Assistant Professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.  He is active in 14 scientific societies and was elected President of the Teratology Society (1994-95) and of the Mid Atlantic Reproduction and Teratology Association (MARTA; 2001-02). He served as an Executive Board member of the Federation of American Societies of Experimental Biology (FASEB; 1999- 2004). Dr. DeSesso is a frequent contributor to continuing education courses that deal with toxicology and risk assessment.  He has provided public commentary regarding scientific issues before Federal agencies, State legislatures and congressional committees.

Dr. DeSesso holds a Ph.D. in Anatomy and Teratology from the Medical College of Virginia and an A.B. in Chemistry from Hamilton College .  

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Dr. Michael Dourson

Dr. Michael Dourson directs Toxicology Excellence for Risk Assessment (TERA), a nonprofit corporation dedicated to the best use of toxicity data for estimating risk assessment values. TERA's projects include the development of complex risk assessments, such as soluble nickel salts; research into improvements of risk methods, such as differential sensitivity of children and adults to chemical toxicity, organizing peer review and consultation meetings for risk assessment topics and documents; and education and outreach on risk assessment values through lectures and data bases, including the International Toxicity Estimates for Risk (ITER). 

Before founding TERA in 1996, Dr. Dourson held leadership roles in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for fifteen years; as chair of EPA's Reference Dose (RfD) Work Group, charter member of the EPA's Risk Assessment Forum and chief of the group that helped create the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) in 1986.

Dr. Dourson received his Ph.D. in Toxicology from the University of Cincinnati and a B.A. in biology from Wittenberg University .  Dr. Dourson’s research interests include investigating methods to extrapolate toxicity data garnered on experimental animals or healthy adults to the appropriate sensitive human population. 

Dr. Dourson has served on and/or chaired numerous expert panels, such as EPA’s external peer reviews for IRIS assessments, TERA’s International Toxicity Estimates for Risk (ITER) independent peer reviews and consultations, FDA’s Science Board Subcommittee on Toxicology, and NSF’s Health Advisory Board.  Dr. Dourson has also organized over 16 symposia for 9 different organizations on a variety of topics.  He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Toxicology serving on its Board as President, Vice President, and Treasurer.  He is currently Secretary for the Society for Risk Analysis.  He has also served as president of the Dose-Response Specialty Group of the Society for Risk Analysis, of the Society of Toxicology's Specialty Section on Risk Assessment and of the Ohio Chapter of the Society for Risk Analysis.  He is currently on the editorial board of three journals. Dr Dourson has published more than 90 papers on risk assessment methods, has co-authored over 100 government risk assessment documents, and has made over 100 invited presentations.

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Dr. Pertti (Bert) Hakkinen

Dr. Hakkinen is on the staff of the European Commission at the EC’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) in Ispra , Italy .  He is in the JRC’s Physical and Chemical Exposure Unit of the Institute for Health and Consumer Protection where he helps develop and manage work packages for EIS-ChemRisks, the European Information System on risks from chemicals released from consumer products and articles (textiles, toys, etc.).   

Dr. Hakkinen is a member of the Scientific Advisory Panel of the ( U.S. ) Mickey Leland National Urban Air Toxics Research Center and has served as the vice chair of this panel since March 2003.  Prior to joining the European Commission’s staff, Dr. Hakkinen was on the staff of Toxicology Excellence for Risk Assessment (TERA).  Before joining TERA, he worked at the Procter & Gamble Company to provide global human exposure and risk assessment support for numerous types of consumer products and chemicals.  While at Procter & Gamble, he chaired the Exposure Assessment Task Group of the Chemical Manufacturers Association ( Washington , D.C. ; now the American Chemistry Council) for several years, and was a chair of the American Chemistry Council’s Human Exposure Assessment Technical Implementation Panel.

Dr. Hakkinen earned a B.A. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of California , Santa Barbara , and received his Ph.D. in Comparative Pharmacology and Toxicology from the University of California , San Francisco .  He served as a postdoctoral investigator in respiratory toxicology, and exposure and risk assessment at the Biology Division of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.  Dr. Hakkinen has been an invited expert or reviewer for U.S. EPA-, Health Canada- , and other associations to develop or revise human exposure assessment guidance, resource documents, and software.  He has lectured on exposure and risk assessment, risk perception, and risk communication at the University of Cincinnati and elsewhere. 

Dr. Hakkinen is a member of the Society of Toxicology (SOT), and a charter member of the Society for Risk Analysis (SRA) and the International Society of Exposure Analysis (ISEA).  He proposed the idea for the “Residential Exposure Assessment. A Sourcebook, ” developed and published in 2001 via the expertise and involvement of members of SRA’s Exposure Assessment Specialty Group, ISEA members, and many others.  Dr. Hakkinen received SRA's Outstanding Service Award in 1996, and was elected to be a councilor of SRA in 2004.

He was on the editorial board of Toxicology and was a co-editor and co-author of the latest edition of Information Resources in Toxicology.  Further, he is a co-editor and co-author of the upcoming new edition of the Encyclopedia of Toxicology.  Dr. Hakkinen has authored and co-authored numerous other publications, including ones on consumer product exposure and risk assessments, consumer risk perceptions, toxicological interactions, respiratory tract toxicology, and computer software and databases.

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Dr. Elaine Hubal 

Dr. Elaine Cohen Hubal is currently on detail with U.S. EPA’s National Human and Environmental Effects Laboratory (NHEERL).  She previously served as the Acting Associate Director for Human Exposure Modeling in the Human Exposure and Atmospheric Sciences Division of the U.S. EPA’s National Exposure Research Laboratory (NERL).  In this position, she worked to develop and direct NERL’s human exposure modeling research program.  This research program is designed to develop modeling tools and conduct modeling analyses to characterize and estimate human exposure to environmental pollutants and to reduce uncertainty in risk assessments for the general population and for highly exposed subpopulations.  A significant focus of the lab’s human exposure research program is on understanding and characterizing children’s residential exposures to environmental contaminants.  She previously worked as a chemical engineer for the Research Triangle Institute, and Camp Dresser and McKee.  She also served as a Predoctoral Fellow at the Chemical Industry Institute of Toxicology.   

Dr. Hubal received her Ph.D. and M.S. in Chemical Engineering from North Carolina State University and a S.B. in Chemical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.   

Dr. Hubal has served on a variety workgroups, panels, and committees.  She currently serves as a member of EPA’s Risk Assessment Forum, the Study Design Working Group for the National Children’s Study, ILSI Health and Environmental Sciences Institute Biomonitoring Steering Team, and the Occupational and Environmental Exposures of Skin to Chemicals (OEESC) 2005 Program Committee.  Dr. Hubal’s current research interests focus on characterizing exposure-to-dose relationships and enhancing quantitative risk assessment through application of computational tools and a systems approach.  Her general research interest is on reducing uncertainty in risk assessment with a specific focus on children’s exposure.  She has designed and conducted studies to evaluate dermal exposure assessment approaches and collect exposure factor data in support of the Food Quality Protection Act.  She has developed and worked with a variety of computational models to describe the simultaneous mass transport and reaction of inhaled gases in the airway lining.  Dr. Hubal has also worked on the development of a modeling platform to predict contaminant fate and transport of environmental pollutants to perform exposure assessments in support of the Hazardous Waste Identification Rule, and conducted research in the area of industrial pollution prevention by developing a framework to evaluate the environmental impact of pollution prevention activities that directly relates the energy requirements to process air, water, and solid waste emissions. 

Dr. Hubal has published in the areas of children’s exposure and human health risk modeling.  

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Dr. Sam Kacew

Dr. Sam Kacew is a Professor in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, as well as a scientist of the Institute of Population Health at the University of Ottawa .  His responsibilities include teaching medical students and graduate students the techniques required to write and publish peer-review papers.  His current research involves the effects of chemical contaminants in breast milk on infants, the role of confounding factors in toxicity testing, as well as the basis for differences in responsiveness to chemicals between infants and adults.  

Dr. Kacew received his Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of Ottawa .  He served as a Postdoctoral Fellow for the Medical Research Council of Canada at the University of Montreal .  Dr. Kacew was certified in 1994 as a Fellow of Academy of Toxicological Sciences.  He has received numerous awards, including several achievement, recognition, public communications, and travel awards from the Society of Toxicology (SOT), the United States-China Foundation, and the National Science Council of the Republic of China.   

Dr. Kacew has served on numerous expert panels and committees, including as a member of the National Advisory Committee on Environmental Contaminants and the Implications for Child Health, and as a member of the National Academy of Sciences ( U.S. ) Committee on Toxicology and Chair of the National Academy of Sciences Subcommittee on Iodotrifluoromethane.  He has also served as a chairman for a variety of symposiums, panels, and committees including the SOT Annual Meeting’s General Toxicology Session, the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Annual Meeting, an Assessment Panel for the Canadian Council on Animal Care, a SOT Symposium on Use of Moderate Dietary Restriction in Safety Assessment, and a SOT Symposium on the Role of Diet and Obesity in Endocrine Disruption. 

He has presented hundreds of invited lectures for a variety of federal and state government agencies, colleges and universities, private companies, and international organizations.  He was an invited participant to the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics Meeting, the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Annual Meeting, the International Life Sciences Institute, the Chalk River Nuclear Labs, Turkey Society of Biochemistry, Society of Toxicology of Taiwan and the Korea Society of Toxicology.   

Dr. Kacew is on a number of grant committees and has served as an external referee for grants and fellowships for a wide variety of organizations and government agencies. He is currently the Editor-in-Chief the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, an Associate Editor for Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, an assistant editor for TOMES (Micromedex, Inc.), Guest Editor for Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology special issue on Toxicological Reviews in Fetal Childhood Development as well as a member of the editorial board of a number of other journals.  Dr. Kacew has over 140 publications in peer-reviewed journals and books in the area of toxicology, risk assessment, and children’s health.  He has also served as an editor for a number of books on toxicology and children.

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Dr. Chad Sandusky

Dr. Chad Sandusky is currently Director of Research and senior toxicology advisor to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), a non-profit organization that promotes good nutrition, conducts clinical trials and promotes nonanimal experimental methods in medical and scientific research.  For PCRM, Dr. Sandusky coordinates the review and preparation of comments on the EPA's High Production Volume Challenge Program (HPV) and Voluntary Children's Chemical Evaluation Program (VCCEP) chemical assessments.  As such, he stresses the weight-of-evidence approach in these assessments and the development of exposure scenarios as key to the success of these programs. He is actively engaged in identifying methods which use alternatives to animal testing to meet the needs of the safety assessments, including tests undergoing validation at the European Center for Alternative Methods (ECVAM) and the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods (ICCVAM).  

Dr. Sandusky was the past Manager of Toxicology and Risk Assessment at TAS and ENVIRON and has extensive experience at both the EPA and as a consultant in pesticide toxicology as well as exposure and risk assessments.  For example, he evaluated the toxicology of pesticides and extrapolated these effects in risk assessments; directed the dietary exposure and risk assessments for agrochemicals and other potentially toxic residues in foods using the TAS Dietary exposure software; served as toxicology team leader and senior author of numerous EPA documents, including Registrations Standards and Position Documents; and since the passage of the FQPA in August 1996, coordinated the review and assessment of numerous agrochemicals to address the full range of new requirements, including: assessing aggregate exposure from multiple pathways (e.g., drinking water and residential use),  cumulative exposure to chemicals with a common mode of action, accounting for potential sensitivity to infants and children, and assessing the potential for endocrine disruption.   

Dr. Sandusky has extensive international experience including the coordination and submission of dossiers for the EU Reauthorization process under EU 91/414 and presentation of the results to member states.  Dr. Sandusky also represented the Institute of Food Technology at the Codex Committee for Pesticide Residues (CCPR) in The Hague for several years.  In addition, he also coordinated preparation and reviews of dossiers for chemicals approved as GRAS as well as directed the preparation and submission of Food Contact Notifications (FCNs) to the FDA.  Currently, Dr. Sandusky represents the International Coalition of Animal Protection Organizations (ICAPO) at the OECD meetings in Paris on the Existing Chemicals Programme.  

Dr. Sandusky received his Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the Emory University .  He served as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Georgetown University Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, Washington , D.C.   He is currently a member of the Society of Toxicology, and was previously affiliated with such organizations as the International Society of Exposure Analysis and the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.

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Dr. Kimberly M. Thompson

Dr. Kimberly M. Thompson is Associate Professor of Risk Analysis and Decision Science in the Departments of Health Policy and Management and Society, Human Development, and Health at the Harvard School of Public Health. She is the Director of the Kid Risk Project that seeks to improve the lives of children by using analytical methods to characterize children's risks and strategies to reduce those risks.  Dr. Thompson directs a professional education course on Probabilistic Risk Analysis: Assessment, Management, and Communication, and she seeks to effectively integrate technological, social, political, legal, and economic issues into risk analyses that inform public policy and improve decision making.  Her research interests focus on the issues related to developing and applying quantitative methods for risk assessment and risk management, and consideration of the public policy implications associated with including uncertainty and variability in risk characterization.

Over the last decade, for both private and public clients Dr. Thompson has consulted on computer applications, projects concerning environmental quality, fate and transport of toxic chemicals in the environment, analysis of remedial alternatives at landfills and abandoned sites, efforts to characterize uncertainty and variability in risks, and development of white papers for the EPA on topics related to children’s risks.  Dr. Thompson’s recent consulting includes work with the MIT Lincoln Laboratory and National Defense University on projects related to biodefense.  Dr. Thompson’s most recent book Risk In Perspective: Insight and Humor in the Age of Risk Management focuses on empowering consumers to take charge of their health, a theme that she started in her first book, Overkill, which focused on helping consumers manage microbiological risks.  

Dr. Thompson received a Sc.D. in Environmental Health from Harvard University ’s School of Public Health .  She received a M.S. and B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  Dr. Thompson has served on several National Academy of Sciences committees and subcommittees and a number of other expert review panels.  She has been an invited presenter at a variety of workshops, conferences, and annual meetings, such as the Boston Mayor’s Symposium on Youth Development, the Congressional Research Services Children’s Environmental Risks: Federal Activities in Perspective Symposium on Risk Assessment and Risk Communication, and a NIH/NIEHS Workshop on the Role of Human Exposure Assessment in the Prevention of Environmental Disease.  She also served as the chair of the Exposure Assessment Specialty Group and is currently a Councilor of the Society for Risk Analysis.  She won the SRA Chauncey Starr Award in 2004 and she is the SRA/Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturer.

Dr. Thompson has written over 50 peer-reviewed journal publications in the areas of human health modeling, probabilistic risk assessment, children’s health and risk communication.  She has also reviewed manuscripts for over a dozen journals, including the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Risk Analysis, Health Policy, and the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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