USF COPH conference to examine challenges of keeping water clean

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The Southeastern Regional Chapter of the Society of Toxicology (SESOT) will host their annual conference at the USF College of Public Health, Oct. 24-25.

Dr. Marie Bourgeois, alumna of the COPH, research assistant professor and current SESOT president, says this year’s theme is, “Water: From the Earth to the Sky.”

“It’s going to be all about water safety at every level; regulatory issues and scientific issues involved in providing safe drinking water to people around the region,” she said. “Climate change is going to make water dirtier and might concentrate some of the pollutants in it so that means that keeping water clean is going to become more expensive and energy intensive.”

Florida algae bloom. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Topics to be discussed include the long-lasting harm of red tide on health, challenges of working with harmful algal blooms and technologies needed to assess impact of it, and the impact of sea level rise on water safety.

The event will bring together toxicologists from around the region, students and faculty to provide a forum for sharing the latest in toxicology research.

“There will also be mentoring activities for students to participate in,” Bourgeois said.

Dr. Erin Pulster of the USF College of Marine Science will be hosting a short hands-on course so students will be able to examine techniques involved in managing what Bourgeois described as “a world-class marine science facility.”   

Toxicology is the study of adverse effects of foreign chemical substances on a living system. 

Bourgeois urges anyone with an interest in toxicology to attend, as well as anyone interested in learning more about water safety.

“I want attendees to gain a better understanding of the importance that water plays, the challenges we face in the future keeping water plentiful and healthy, not only for ourselves, but for the animals and plants that have to live in it,” she said.

The event will also include a poster session and all interested postdocs, graduate, and undergraduate students are encouraged to submit their abstracts. The deadline to apply is Sept. 25.

To submit an abstract, or to register for the event, visit the conference website.

Story by Anna Mayor, USF College of Public Health