Congratulations to Elaine Z. Francis, PhD, who will be honored with the Agnish Fellowship at the Teratology Society's 57th Annual Meeting! Dr. Francis was chosen by the Awards and Education Committees of the Teratology Society for the contributions she has made to education in the field of teratology. While Dr. Francis did not take the traditional academic path of pursuing a career in academia, she has served as an educator in other capacities, advocating for and informing decision makers about the critical need for safe environments for pregnant women and children.
Dr. Francis is currently the President of Sandcastle Toxicology Associates, a consulting company she started upon her retirement from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency where she worked for over 31 years. She received her doctorate in Anatomy from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, from which she received the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2001 and where she is currently an adjunct professor directing a graduate-level course on gene-environmental interactions and birth defects and other developmental disorders.
Dr. Francis been active in the Teratology Society for over 40 years and is a Past President of the Society. The diversity found within the backgrounds of the Society members continues to amaze her. Francis notes that being a member of the Teratology Society “has been one of the most enriching experiences” of her long career. She is looking forward to this year’s Annual Meeting not only because it provides an excellent forum to bring the multi-disciplinary researchers, regulators, and risk assessors together but also because now is such an exciting time to be entering the field of teratology. “There are so many new tools and technologies that can now be applied to the field which will lead to groundbreaking discoveries that will open up the door to so many opportunities,” Francis adds.
The Agnish Fellowship was established to recognize Dr. Narsingh Agnish's contributions to the Teratology Society, and particularly with regards to the implementation of education courses. Dr. Francis is humbled to receive this award not only because it is always gratifying to be recognized by your peers, but also because she first met Dr. Agnish when their paths crossed at Thomas Jefferson University 40 years ago. Dr. Francis considered him a role model in the way he broke out of the traditional academic mold by accepting a research position at a pharmaceutical company. It is there that he forged a very successful career and “continued his significant contributions to the field of teratology,” Dr. Francis recalls.
Read more about all of the Teratology Society's 57th Annual Meeting, including awards and special lectures.