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National Toxicology Program

National Toxicology Program

UPDATE NewsletterUPDATE NewsletterMarch 2020

Science symposium to honor Birnbaum

By Kelly Lenox
Reprinted from Environmental Factor

Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D. Among Birnbaum’s firsts are serving as the first female and first toxicologist to lead NIEHS and NTP, which she served from 2009-2019. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

On April 6, NIEHS will host a symposium honoring the scientific contributions of former NIEHS and National Toxicology Program (NTP) Director Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., who retired Oct. 3, 2019.

The 2020 Birnbaum Research Symposium will pay tribute to Birnbaum’s own research and to the impact of her career. Speakers in four sessions will explore her work of shaping science, protecting exposed communities, affecting global health, and mentoring leaders.

The event will also include the unveiling of her oil portrait, which will hang, along with those of other former directors, outside the newly renovated Rodbell Auditorium.

International scope

Speakers come from California to Denmark. Organizing committee chair Suzanne Fenton, Ph.D., from the NIEHS Division of the National Toxicology Program, said the four topics will receive equal attention because they share importance in environmental health.

“I’m really honored to be organizing this event because it’s an opportunity to give back what Linda’s given to me — respect, opportunity, mentorship, and friendship. In fact, everyone that I invited to participate said that they feel the same way,” said Fenton. “The broad range of topics and the well-respected speakers will ensure that the symposium is a fitting tribute to Linda and the tremendous impact of her career.”

Birnbaum continues to study human exposure to and health effects of industrial chemicals and heavy metals as head of the NIEHS Toxicokinetics and Toxicology Laboratory.

Attend in person or online

The symposium will be videocast for online viewing. Registration is required for those who want to attend in person. There is no charge.

Agenda, speakers’ backgrounds, and registration are available through the symposium website(

Birnbaum Accepts North Carolina Award

Watch Birnbaum’s remarks upon accepting the North Carolina Award, which is the state’s highest civilian honor, in 2016. (3:18)

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The Update Newsletter is produced by NTP Office of Liaison, Policy, and Review. The text is not copyrighted and can be reprinted without permission. If you use parts of the Update Newsletter in your publication, we ask that you provide us with a copy for our records. We welcome your comments and suggestions.

Director of Office of Liaison, Policy, and Review and Editor-in-Chief: Mary Wolfe | Managing Editor: Anna Lee Mosley