Penn State's Andrew Patterson receives Society of Toxicology Achievement Award

February 09, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Society of Toxicology has named Tombros Early Career Professor Andrew Patterson of Penn State as the recipient of its 2021 Achievement Award, recognizing his significant contributions to the field of toxicology within 15 years of obtaining the highest earned degree.

Patterson has appointments as professor of molecular toxicology in the College of Agricultural Sciences and as professor of biochemistry and molecular biology in the Eberly College of Science. He also is affiliated with the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences.

Calling him "a world leader in the field of metabolomics," the society honored him "for his leadership, vision, service and dedication to the field of toxicology." Metabolomics is the study of the small-molecule metabolites in biological systems, collectively known as the metabolome. The rapidly emerging field holds promise for understanding disease processes and improving human health.

The society noted that Patterson received his doctorate in genetics in 2006 through a graduate partnership program between George Washington University and the National Cancer Institute. He then undertook a postdoctoral fellowship in the Laboratory of Metabolism at the National Cancer Institute, during which he focused on the development and refinement of metabolomics approaches to determine how toxicants and other environmental exposures influence the metabolome.

"At a time when this field was just emerging, Dr. Patterson's work furthered metabolomics as an invaluable tool for understanding drug metabolism and promoted the development and identification of translational biomarkers for ionizing radiation exposure, toxicity, diabetes and cancer," the society stated.

Patterson's current research focuses on understanding the host-metabolite-microbiota axis — specifically how the manipulation of gut bacteria affects host metabolites and how these host/bacterial co-metabolites interact with host nuclear receptors and modulate toxicity and cancer.

"Dr. Patterson's research illustrates the connection between toxicology and medicine in ways that have clear implications for the development of therapeutics and for public health measures to address risk factors associated with nongenetic metabolic diseases and their associated chronic disease manifestations," the society said. "His laboratory … is a major resource for numerous laboratories within and outside the United States that are trying to incorporate this approach into their science."

The society also praised Patterson for mentoring nearly 50 young researchers, from undergraduate students to junior faculty members, stating, "Many postdoctoral fellows under his mentorship have progressed to academic and industry careers, and he has trained graduate students who have earned doctorates with an emphasis on metabolomics and toxicology."

Patterson is an associate editor of the journals Toxicological Sciences and Environmental Health Perspectives. He also is a member of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry and the American Chemical Society and is an editorial board member of several high-impact journals.

The society will recognize Patterson during its virtual annual meeting in March.

According to its website, the Society of Toxicology is a professional and scholarly organization of scientists from academic institutions, government and industry representing the great variety of scientists who practice toxicology in the U.S. and abroad. The society's mission is "to create a safer and healthier world by advancing the science and increasing the impact of toxicology."

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Last Updated February 09, 2021