|Antonio Baines, Ph.D.|
Antonio Baines, Ph.D., faculty member in North Carolina Central University’s Department of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, will be among 15 experts recognized nationally for outstanding work during the March 2016 annual meeting of the Society of Toxicology.
Baines was chosen to receive the Undergraduate Educator Award for his tireless commitment to the academic development and mentoring of future toxicologists.
“The 2016 SOT awardees are among the best and brightest of our scientists,” said Peter L. Goering, the Society’s president, as he announced the awards. “We also are pleased to honor exceptional individuals who are educating the next generation of scientists and who are making toxicology more accessible to all.”
Baines said he was a student at Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Va., in 1992 when he realized that toxicology – the study of the adverse effects of chemicals on the body and in the environment – was a way to “combine my interests in science and math for an exciting career.” That same year he won a scholarship to attend his first annual Society of Toxicology meeting in New Orleans, where he heard scientific presentations and met influential leaders in the field.
“That’s where my eyes opened up to all the possibilities of what could be done with a science background,” said Baines, who earned a B.S. in biology from Norfolk State.
Completing the circle, the 2016 annual meeting where he will be honored as a toxicology educator will also take place in Louisiana’s Crescent City, and Baines will deliver the opening lecture to undergraduates receiving the same scholarship that sponsored his first conference trip 24 years ago.
“It’s a very important and humbling honor to be recognized for commitment to undergraduate education, mentoring students in STEM fields and finding ways to introduce more students to toxicology,” Baines said of the award. He said he also looks forward to the March 12 conference as a chance to reunite with some of the professors and mentors he met as an undergraduate.
Baines joined the faculty at NCCU in 2006 after completing his doctorate in pharmacology and toxicology from the University of Arizona and his postdoctoral fellowship in pharmacology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In addition to being an associate professor, he holds a joint appointment in the Cancer Research Program in the Julius L. Chambers Biomedical/Biotechnology Research Institute at NCCU and serves as an adjunct faculty member in pharmacology and a member in the Curriculum in Toxicology at UNC Chapel Hill.
“I’ve mentored and trained many students in my cancer research lab that have gone on to various graduate and professional programs, and know of one who is actually working on a Ph.D. in toxicology at UNC Chapel Hill,” he said. “I tell students that with a degree in toxicology you’ll never have trouble finding a job. There will always be a need to evaluate the safety of drugs and chemicals as it relates to health.”
Toxicologists work in several fields, particularly environmental and pharmaceutical sciences. They undertake research for the Federal Drug Administration, consult with the Centers for Disease Control and other agencies, conduct university research and work with industry and state and local governments.