American Scientist Pizza Lunch

American Scientist Pizza Lunch

American Scientist magazine's "Pizza Lunch" speaker series invites Ph.D.-level scientists from area universities and research institutes to give talks about compelling research to science journalists and science communicators in the Research Triangle region.

The series, one of the 20-plus Exchange Groups supported statewide by NCBiotech, is designed to expand scientific understanding among people professionally engaged in explaining science, especially biology, to others. Since it was established in the late 1990s, it has also served as a networking opportunity for people engaged in science communication at many institutions in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and Research Triangle Park.

Testing Botanicals at the National Toxicology Program: Black Cohosh as a Case Study


Botanical products, a category of dietary supplements, are widely used in the United States. However, unlike medications, botanicals are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration because of the Dietary Supplement Health Education Act of 1994. The National Toxicology Program (NTP) has been developing toxicological profiles of botanicals for the past two decades in order to provide information about their safety. This talk will describe efforts at the NTP to fully assess the toxicological effects of black cohosh extract, a botanical that is marketed to women to alleviate symptoms of gynecological ailments, particularly those related to menopause, and which initial NTP studies had found to be genotoxic.


Stephanie Smith-Roe, Ph.D., is a genetic toxicologist in the Biomolecular Screening Branch at the National Toxicology Program. At the NTP, she contributes to the Toxicology Testing in the 21st Century (Tox21) high throughput screening initiative and oversees classic genetic toxicity testing. Dr. Smith-Roe acquired training in genetic toxicology and in molecular and cellular biology in the pursuit of understanding the causes and consequences of genomic instability, with an emphasis on the effects of environmental exposures. Before joining the NTP, she was a postdoctoral fellow at UNC-Chapel Hill in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, where she examined the contribution of replication fork protection proteins to the maintenance of genomic stability using molecular and genetic approaches. She obtained her PhD from the Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology at Oregon State University, where she studied gene-environment interactions by exposing DNA mismatch repair-deficient mice, a model for a familial colorectal cancer syndrome, to a cooked meat mutagen. Dr. Smith-Roe is very active in national and local scientific societies that are dedicated to research and issues surrounding genomic health. Currently, she is President of the Genetics and Environmental Mutagenesis Society, headquartered in the RTP.

Can't make it? Pizza lunch talks are now being broadcast live on Periscope! Check the @Amscimag twitter feed on the day for the link. If you watch on a phone/tablet, you can ask questions live and we will relay them to the speaker.

Free pizza and beverages are provided before and during the talk, though it's on a first come, first serve basis. RSVPs are required (for the slice count) by registering for a free ticket through Eventbrite.

Thanks to a grant from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center and funding from the RTP chapter of Sigma Xi, American Scientist's noontime Pizza Lunch speaker series is free and open to science journalists and science communicators of all stripes, as well as any interested member of the public. Feel free to extend this invitation to anyone who might want to attend.

Did you miss some past pizza lunch talks? Check out the videos and podcasts of previous speakers.

For more information, contact Fenella Saunders.

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