Meet co-hosts Anne Chappelle and David Faulkner as they explore the origins of Adverse Reactions, how people are at the heart of all science, and why the science of toxicology is more relevant than ever.
After graduating from the University of Delaware with a BS in biology in 1991, Anne Chappelle accidentally found her calling when she worked a gap year in an industrial toxicology laboratory. As it turned out, toxicology was the perfect marriage of protecting both human health and the environment. She then went on to receive her PhD in pharmacology and toxicology from the (now) University of the Sciences in Philadelphia in 1997, focusing on upper respiratory tract toxicity.
For the last 20+ years, as a toxicologist and risk assessment expert for the chemical industry, Anne has been thrilled to not work in a laboratory anymore. Along the way, she has added a few more titles: spouse; DABT; Principal of Chappelle Toxicology Consulting, LLC; occasional blogger at My Toxic Life; and most life changing (and expensive): Mom. She is thrilled to be partnered with David to add podcast co-host to the list because it gives her the opportunity to “channel my inner Terry Gross.”
David Faulkner’s interest in science started at age five with a few Bill Nye the Science Guy VHS tapes and hasn’t diminished since. A lifelong artist and science fan, David has worked in nearly every mass communication medium to share his love of science with the world. Now, as an early career toxicologist, David is living out his dream of co-hosting a science podcast! With a budget! And a producer! And super cool guests! And an awesome co-host! David thinks Bill would be proud.
David attended the University of Michigan, where he completed a BS in microbiology, a BA in English language (emphasis in creative writing), and an MPH in environmental health sciences, and the University of California Berkeley, where he completed a PhD in molecular toxicology under the supervision of Dr. Chris Vulpe. He has held postdoctoral appointments at the Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and just started a new position as a toxicological risk assessor. He also is a full-time parent to two adorable purple velvet plants: Planthony Bourdain and Marie Planthoinette.
The viewpoints and information presented in Adverse Reactions represent those of the participating individuals. Although the Society of Toxicology holds the copyright to the production, it does not vet or review the information presented, nor does presenting and distributing the Adverse Reactions podcast represent any proposal or endorsement of any position by the Society.
David Faulkner: Welcome to Adverse Reactions, an interview podcast from the Society of Toxicology. I'm David Faulkner,
Anne Chappelle: and I'm Anne Chapelle. Tell me a little bit about yourself, David, for our lovely listeners.
David Faulkner: I'm a toxicologist and a risk assessor. I have a master's of public health and years of teaching experience. And I got this job because I am a recovering podcast junkie.
Anne Chappelle: I've been a toxicologist in the chemical industry for about 20 years, and I got this job because I'm shy.
David Faulkner: I don't believe it.
Anne Chappelle: Yeah, well, that's OK.
David Faulkner: So, we were brought together by the Society of Toxicology to develop this podcast. And we've been talking for, it's been almost a year now, as we've been getting to know each other, as we've been doing interviews with people and working on editing.
Anne Chappelle: We're developed this podcast to really try to reach a different audience, not just the members of the Society of Toxicology, but also other curious, interested scientists, because we've seen the impact that the people that we're going to bring to you, their research has across many different disciplines. And we want to use this opportunity and this platform to really understand where they're coming from and to see what drives them, so it can inform us in how we are going to move forward.
David Faulkner: Yeah. And it's been really interesting to explore the ways that science, capital S Science, actually happens. Because it's not just a thing that occurs out somewhere in the ether. It's something that involves a lot of people. It involves all of us and it plays a huge role in our lives, whether we notice it or not. And I think one of the things that I came away from this with is the idea that science is something that we can and do all participate in.
Let's talk a little bit about the first season of the show.
Anne Chappelle: So, let me start off by saying that this podcast was born in the midst of a pandemic. And so I think all of our perception of what is science, and what is good science, and what is science capable of has evolved and become the focus of attention for people from every walk of life, every part of the globe.
We had a lot of discussions about what do we want to accomplish? And I think you and I both agreed that we weren't as interested in understanding some of the deep technical pieces of information that our guests have to share. Sometimes it's more of the drivers behind that research or seeing how their research really propelled them forward in their field and got them excited about different parts of science that maybe you and I didn't experience.
David Faulkner: It's also really interesting to see how there's a feedback loop between the motivations that drove a lot of our interviewees into their fields of research and the people that they've been able to help through their research and the changes that they've been able to make in the world through doing their research. And so it becomes a virtuous cycle of wanting to understand something, to make the world better, making the world better, and then having that propel you forward even more to continue to do that work. And that's really what I think drove me into this field of work, is wanting to do something good and interesting, to help society, to help the world.
Anne Chappelle: Interviewing these people has made me get really excited about science again, and almost kind of jealous to a certain extent of some of the fields and the things that they're able to do. The resources that they have that maybe weren't available to me early in my career that they can do now. Oh, yeah, we can just put that on a chip, and we can, we can edit that gene out with CRISPR, and I can do that over my lunch break. Exploring how they got to where they did, and what are they doing that's really neat and impactful?
I'd really like to share that enthusiasm that some of these people have for their research, for their career, with our audience, because that's not always what you see when you hear someone giving a presentation or when you read their publication or manuscript. You don't get to see that excitement and get that curiosity and understand how they got to where they are now.
David Faulkner: Yeah, that's a really, really important part of a lot of our conversations is talking about the steps that people took to get to this point in their careers. And we talked to people at different places in their careers, too. And we talked with a lot of our guests about what are things that young toxicologists or people earlier in the state of their career might want to do to get ahead, and ways to think about what kinds of things they want to pursue and ways to drive their career forward towards things that are more meaningful and exciting to them. And so that was really great.
Anne Chappelle: I'm interested, too, when you look through these interviews, this common thread of this passion that they had for something. People like Meg Whittaker, who was really interested in risk assessment but found this niche looking for safer alternatives and how to use that platform of risk assessment to really propel forward these different paradigms, where you can have viable options to make the world a better place.
David Faulkner: Yeah. And I was also really excited to talk with someone like Dana Dolinoy, whose work in epigenetics has been really exciting. This is a totally new field of science that's developed only in the last decade or two. And the things that she's been able to push forward, these public health projects and ways of testing and doing community health monitoring, they're so interesting and so futuristic. It's science fiction that is happening now.
Anne Chappelle: And so, this podcast, we've gathered a number of researchers in the field that can help give you some perspective on the field of toxicology and find out what their biggest adverse reaction was, because we found that when things go along normally, that's not really necessarily good science, is it, David?
David Faulkner: No. It's often the surprises that lead to the most exciting discoveries.
We, we had this idea of what we thought the season would be, and of course, things always turn out a little bit differently than you think they're going to, but this was really kind of cool because the way that almost all of the interviews went, that was in this direction of understanding the motivations and the human side of being a toxicologist, the human side of being a scientist. And I thought that was, that was really interesting.
Anne Chappelle: So, the Society of Toxicology is supporting this podcast because it's another way to reach out not only to our members, but to others that are interested in the science of toxicology and how it really impacts other disciplines. You know, this isn't just for toxicologists per se. Like we're really trying, you know, but no, in the grand scheme of things our goal is to produce something that not only we find interesting, which is of course the prime directive, but it's also to help educate people on toxicology and how it can really impact society.
Anne Chappelle: Next time on Adverse Reactions.
David Faulkner: The United States of Toxicity.
Anne Chappelle: With Linda Birnbaum, retired director of the NIEHS.
Linda Birnbaum:Well, I'm interested in how the environment impacts our health. You know, our health is more than just our genes. It's an interaction between our environment and our genes, and our environment is very complicated.
Anne Chappelle: Thank you all for joining us for this episode of Adverse Reactions, presented by the Society of Toxicology.
David Faulkner: And thank you to Dave Leve at Ma3stro Studios,
Anne Chappelle: that's Ma3stro with a three, not an E,
David Faulkner: who created and produced all the music for Adverse Reactions, including the theme song, "Decompose."
Anne Chappelle: The viewpoints and information presented in Adverse Reactions represent those of the participating individuals. Although the Society of Toxicology holds the copyright to this production, it has,
David Faulkner: definitely,
Anne Chappelle: not vetted or reviewed the information presented herein,
David Faulkner: nor does presenting and distributing this podcast represent any proposal or endorsement of any position by the Society.
Anne Chappelle: You can find out more information about the show at AdverseReactionsPodcast.com,
David Faulkner: and more information about the Society of Toxicology on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
Anne Chappelle: I'm Anne Chappelle.
David Faulkner: And I'm David Faulkner. Hopefully, at least half of you make it back for the next episode.
Anne Chappelle: This podcast was approved by Anne's mom.