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As we get settled into the swing of things and the leaves begin to change this Fall Semester, we would like to welcome our new faculty members to the curriculum. These new faculty members are: Robert Roth, Erin Baker, Johanna Smeekens, Hisham El-Masri, Sheikh Shehzad, and Liz Corteselli.

Dr. Robert “Bob” Roth comes to us as Professor Emeritus from the Michigan State University, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Institute for Integrative Toxicology. Bob has an extensive background in Toxicology and has committed his research to studying Inflammation as a Determinant of Sensitivity to Toxic Agents.

Dr. Erin Baker joins us just a department or two over from the Chemistry Department at UNC. Erin received her B.S. in chemistry and a minor in mathematics from Montana State University in Bozeman. At MSU, Erin performed undergraduate research in Eric Grimsrud’s lab using ion mobility spectrometry (IMS). She pursued IMS even further during her Ph.D. research in Michael Bowers’ Group at the University of California – Santa Barbara where she evaluated DNA duplexes and quadruplexes by coupling IMS with mass spectrometry (IMS-MS) measurements. Erin then traveled to Tricities, WA where she was a post-doctoral researcher and then a scientist in Richard Smith’s group at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Erin is working on measuring chemical exposure that is extremely challenging due to the range and number of anthropogenic molecules encountered in our daily lives as well as their complex transformations throughout the body, in the Baker Lab.

Dr. Smeekens joined the Department of Pediatrics as faculty on July 26, 2021. Dr. Smeekens received a BS in Chemistry from Michigan State University in 2012 and received her Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2017. Since 2017 she has been a Post Doctoral researcher with the Food Allergy Initiative at UNC. Her research interests include the airway as a route of sensitization to foods through environmental exposure and tracking the genetics of susceptibility to food allergy through novel mouse models.

Dr. Shehzad Sheikh joins CiTEM from the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Center of Gastrointestinal Biology and Disease at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. Shehzad received his undergraduate degree from the International College of Kuwait, before earning his M.D. from the King Edward Medical University and completing his residency at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The Sheikh Lab is working on the care of people with IBD while actively pursuing research that contributes to our understanding of Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC), with the ultimate goal of finding a cure. To accomplish these goals we have developed projects that bridge our work in animal models of IBD to human IBD with advanced technologies in epithelial cell biology, immunology, microbiology, molecular biology and high throughput genomics.

Dr. Hisham El-Masri joins the curriculum from the Environmental Protection Agency in the Research Triangle Park in North Carolina, working on Computational Toxicology, Quantitative Adverse Outcome Pathway Models, Physiologically-Based Pharmacokinetic/Pharmacodynamic Modeling, and Mixtures Toxicology.

Lastly, Dr. Liz Corteselli comes to us as a fellow Tarheel, from the School of Medicine Division of Allergy/Immunology and the Center for Environmental Medicine. Elizabeth Corteselli joined the Division of Allergy/Immunology and the Center for Environmental Medicine, Asthma and Lung Biology (CEMALB) as an Assistant Professor on March 15, 2023. Dr. Corteselli received her PhD from the UNC Gilling’s School of Global Public Health under the mentorship of Dr. Jim Samet from the U.S. EPA. She conducted her postdoc with received her PhD from the UNC Gilling’s School of Global Public Health under the mentorship of Dr. Jim Samet from the U.S. EPA. She conducted her postdoc with Dr. Yvonne Janssen-Heininger at the University of Vermont where she received a Parker B. Francis Fellowship. Her research interests focus on adverse respiratory effects caused by oxidative stress using innovative experimental models and state-of-the-art techniques.

We are thrilled to welcome all of these new faculty members to the program and are so excited to see them contribute to the program, grow, and collaberate with our trainees, staff, and other faculty members. Welcome!