Toxicology Excellence for Risk Assessment (TERA)

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


2006 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 2006 panel members.

John Christopher
Ph.D. Biological Science, DABT
California EPA, Department of Toxic Substances Control  

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

John M. DeSesso
Ph.D. Anatomy and Teratology, D.A.B.F.E., D.A.B.F.M.

Systems Center for Science and Technology

Sam Kacew
Ph.D. Pharmacology
University of Ottawa  
Michael L. Dourson
Ph.D. Toxicology, DABT
Toxicology Excellence for Risk Assessment 
(Panel Chair)  
Chad Sandusky
Ph.D. Pharmacology
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine 

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

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

Dr. John Christopher

Dr. John Christopher is a staff toxicologist with the Department of Toxic Substances Control, California Environmental Protection Agency.  In this position he reviews, critiques, and approves assessments of risk to human health and ecological risk assessments at military facilities and other hazardous waste sites and permitted facilities in California .  He constructs multi-pathway risk assessments to identify numerical criteria for classifying hazardous levels of metals and organic chemicals in waste.  He also uses Monte Carlo methods in various exposure settings to identify levels protective of human health.  He has received Certificates of Recognition for contributions resulting in the successful transfer of a hazardous waste landfill at a former naval shipyard in Vallejo , CA , for a prescribed burn to uncover unexploded ordnance at a former fort in, Monterey , CA , and also for cleanup of a fleet industrial supply center in Alameda , CA .  In addition, he has received a Sustained Superior Accomplishment Award from California Department of Toxic Substances Control for risk assessment of metals in hazardous waste.  

Prior to his current position with the State of California , Dr. Christopher conducted risk assessments for ICF Kaiser Engineers and IT Corporation.  He also worked for research laboratories where he conducted and managed animal studies.   

Dr. Christopher earned a B.S in Biology from Georgetown University, Washington DC , and a M.A. in Pharmacology from Stanford University , Palo Alto , CA .  He received his Ph.D. in Biological Science from Oregon State University , Corvallis OR .  

Dr. Christopher is a Diplomate of the American Board of Toxicology and a former member of this Board.  He has served as President and held several other offices in the Risk Assessment Specialty Section of the Society of Toxicology and also in SOT’s Northern California Chapter.  He is a peer reviewer for Toxicological Sciences, Risk Analysis, Human and Ecological Risk Assessment, and CRC Critical Reviews in Toxicology.

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Dr. John DeSesso

Dr. John DeSesso is a charter member of the technical staff of Mitretek Systems, an independent, not-for-profit company that was formed from several parts of The MITRE Corporation.  Dr. DeSesso is a Senior Fellow and the Director of the Biomedical Research Institute at Mitretek Systems.  Dr. DeSesso has extensive experience in reproductive and developmental toxicity, risk assessment, ecological risk assessment, and the use of bioavailability in risk assessments.  

Dr. DeSesso received his Ph.D. in Anatomy and Teratology from the Medical College of Virginia at Virginia Commonwealth University .  He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Forensic Examiners and the American Board of Forensic Medicine, specializing in anatomy and risk assessment, and a Fellow of the Academy of Toxicological Sciences .  Prior to joining Mitretek Systems, Dr. DeSesso was a Senior Principal Scientist at MITRE Corporation where he evaluated chronic studies (with special attention to reproductive toxicity and teratology) for EPA’s Office of Pesticides, conducted biostatistical analyses of data and risk assessment techniques, predicted toxic effects based upon structure-activity relationships for new chemicals, provided quality assurance of risk assessments performed by contractors for the U.S. Air Force, and performed independent research into the mechanisms that underlie chemically induced birth defects.  Dr. DeSesso’s research focus has been the elucidation of the mechanisms underlying teratogenesis and designing strategies to ameliorate the untoward effects.

Dr. DeSesso is currently a faculty member at Georgetown University School of Medicine, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, San Diego State University/Graduate School of Public Health, and the University of North Texas Health Sciences Center.  He is an active member of numerous scientific societies where he has held various office positions including but not limited to: Academy of Toxicological Sciences , American College of Toxicology, American Society for Reproductive Medicine, Society for Risk Analysis, Society of Toxicology, and Teratology Society.  

Dr. DeSesso has been an active member of the peer-review process reviewing manuscripts for major journals and grant proposals on a national and international level (e.g., U.S. EPA, United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation, NIH, NIEHS).  He has been invited frequently to serve as the Chairman of scientific sessions at national and international scientific meetings, especially those involving mechanisms or amelioration of developmental toxicity and ecological risk assessment.  He has served as an invited faculty member or invited participant on many panels, refresher courses, and working groups that have been sponsored by a variety of federal agencies (e.g., USEPA, FDA, NIEHS) and professional societies (e.g., Teratology Society, Toxicology Forum, American College of Veterinary Pathologists, Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, American College of Toxicology).  Also, Dr. DeSesso is published extensively in the above areas of expertise, with publications both public and private numbering well over 100.

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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.  Topics such as adversity of effect and characterization of risk are also of interest.  

Dr. Dourson has served on numerous expert panels, such as EPA’s peer review panels for IRIS assessments and its Risk Assessment Forum, TERA’s International Toxicity Estimates for Risk (ITER) independent peer reviews and consultations, FDA’s Science Board Subcommittee on Toxicology, the NSF’s Health Advisory Board, and SOT’s harmonization of cancer and non-cancer risk assessment.  Dr. Dourson has also organized over 16 symposia for 9 different organizations on a variety of topics, including: effective risk communication; chromium; information resources for toxicology and environmental health; risk assessment of essential trace elements; risk characterization; EPA’s IRIS; role of toxicology in tomorrow’s risk assessment practice; techniques for quantifying uncertainty in risk assessment; statistical and dose response models in risk assessment; workshop on benchmark dose methodology; basics of risk assessment; improvements in quantitative noncancer risk assessment; and neurotoxicity risk assessment.  

Dr. Dourson is a Diplomate of the American Board of Toxicology and served 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 100 papers on risk assessment methods, has co-authored over 100 government risk assessment documents, and has made over 90 invited presentations.

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Dr. Pertti (Bert) Hakkinen

Dr. Pertti (Bert) 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 (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 the 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.  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 A Cohen Hubal 

Dr. Elaine Cohen Hubal is currently 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 has 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 Cumulative Risk Assessment Technical Panel, the Study Design Working Group for the National Children’s Study, ILSI Health and Environmental Sciences Institute Biomonitoring Workshop 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 membership on the National Advisory Committee on Environmental Contaminants and the Implications for Child Health and the National Academy of Sciences ( U.S. ) Committee on Toxicology, and Chair of the National Academy of Sciences Subcommittee on Iodotrifluoromethane.  He also has 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, North American Editor of Toxicology and Environmental Chemistry, 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 ENVIRON and has extensive experience at both the EPA and ENVIRON 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.  More recently, Dr. Sandusky represented 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 most recent consulting includes work with the MIT Lincoln Laboratory as part of an integration team studying the development of a national health surveillance and biodefense system, and her recent book Overkill focuses on microbiological risks in what she calls this “Age of Risk Management.”

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.

Dr. Thompson has written over 30 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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