April 07, 2008

Means earns professional designations

by Tim Crosby


CARBONDALE, Ill. — Two leading professional organizations in the area of toxicology have awarded their highest rankings to the dean of the College of Science at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

The American Board of Toxicology recently named Jay C. Means as a Diplomate of its organization. Also, the Academy of Toxicological Sciences elected Means as a Fellow. The honors certify Means as a national and international leader in the field of toxicology, which encompasses the investigation of adverse effects of chemicals and other substances on living organisms.

Means also recently received an appointment to the SIU School of Medicine as a professor in the Department of Pharmacology. Using videoconferencing equipment at the Life Science III building, Means will teach 500-level toxicology courses to Springfield-based graduate students, as well as collaborate on research and grants.

In recent years, toxicology has come to the forefront through television shows featuring crime scene investigators and other sleuths who solve mysteries using science. Means said toxicology can involve such forensics as featured on those shows, but also involves studying how contaminants cause disease and how they impact the environment.

Qualifying as a Diplomate with American Board of Toxicology was a challenging process. First, the board scrutinized Means' qualifications and research vitae, to ensure he possessed the required academic and professional background.

Means then traveled to North Carolina for a series of rigorous board exams administered by the group. The exams, divided into three parts, covered toxicity agents, organ systems and effects and general principles of applied toxicology.

Created in 1979, The American Board of Toxicology is a non-profit corporation aimed at encouraging the study of toxicology, establishing professional standards and recognizing those who demonstrate competence in the field.

The Academy of Toxicological Sciences elected Means as a fellow based on his credentials, including expertise and experience in environmental chemistry of trace organics, trace metals and organo-metallics in aquatic systems, analytical biochemistry, organic geochemistry, genetic toxicology, mechanisms of chemical carcinogenesis and small fish tumor models, among others. He also has more than 35 years of experience at the collegiate level as a teacher, researcher, professor and administrator.

The Academy of Toxicological Sciences certifies practicing toxicologists based on education, professional experience demonstrated achievement, proven ability and scientific expertise. It certifies toxicologists who are recognized by their peers for their expertise and sound scientific judgment. The certification ensures the competence and experience of professionals whose work affects public welfare. There are only about 250 ATS Fellows, worldwide.

Means became dean of the SIUC College of Science in July 2007. He previously was associate director of the Environmental Research Center and chair of the chemistry department at Western Michigan University, where he also held an endowed professorship of environmental chemistry and was a professor of environmental chemistry and biological sciences.

Means earned a bachelor's degree in education, master's in food chemistry and doctorate in food chemistry from the University of Illinois. He also earned a master's degree in curriculum development from Concordia Teacher's College.