Baylor students receive prestigious toxicology awards

Houston senior Dan Dinh presents her work. Photo courtesy of Dr. Bryan Brooks.

Oxford, Miss. senior Yoomin Jo and Houston senior Dan Dinh received awards from the Society of Toxicology, the nation’s leading scholarly society in the field of toxicology.

On Mar. 11, Jo, a University Scholar concentrating in environmental health science received the Pfizer Society of Toxicology undergraduate research travel award at its 57th annual meeting in San Antonio. Jo was one of only 14 recipients of the award recognized.

Jo said that the award and her research has greatly affected her time at Baylor and looks forward to the future.

“I have been working on this project for two years, and even though it’s been quite challenging it has been very worthwhile,” Jo said. “I have learned a lot by working closely with professors and graduate students who are always willing to help and who have become great mentors throughout these two years.”

The past four years for Jo, she said, have been full of opportunities and has helped her further her research in many ways with help from professors and support from friends.

“For the most part, Baylor professors are very approachable when it comes to working with undergraduate students,” Jo said. “All of my friends are currently working on a wide array of thesis projects in very diverse topics such as: agricultural practices in Vietnam, holistic health in Brazil and democratic peace processes in Latin America.”

On Mar. 13, Dinh, who studies environmental health sciences, received an award from the risk assessment specialty section. Dinh was the only undergraduate to receive this award, and was also selected as one of the top 10 submissions in human health risk assessment for her abstract at the Society of Toxicology international conference.

Distingusihed professor of environmental science Dr. Bryan Brooks said on the Baylor Proud blog that he is ecstatic with both Jo and Dinh for their research and representation of Baylor.

“I couldn’t be more excited for Dan and Yoomin. Their dedication to research in environmental health science, facilitated by Baylor’s support of experiential learning and STEM education, research and service, is exemplary. To be awarded by the Society of Toxicology for their research represents gold-standard recognition of Yoomin and Dan’s accomplishments as outstanding undergraduate researchers at Baylor.”

As an advocate for toxicology, Jo said she hopes her research helps other comprehend the effects of toxicology and her research.

“Through this study, we want to achieve a better comprehension of alternative toxicological models in order to better understand the toxicity of the thousands of unknown compounds in our environment,” Jo said.

Dinh, who is Baylor Habitat for Humanity Fundraising Chair, said Baylor has aided her in her research and that working with fellow professors has encouraged her to pursuit competitive research.

“Professors within our department are very eager and willing to expose students to research,” Dinh said. “I started out working as a lab assistant in the Brooks lab and that’s how I started this independent research project.”

Jo said she is looking to further her research at graduate school and is grateful for the opportunities Baylor has given to her.

“Thanks to this experience and their guidance I have been able to discern that I would like to build a career as a researcher,” Jo said.