Society Spotlight: The Environmental Mutagenesis and Genomics Society
Created by on 10/10/2013

By Allison Lea

The Environmental Mutagenesis and Genomics Society (EMGS) held its 44th annual meeting on September 21-25, in Monterey, California with the goal of building upon the concept of interdisciplinary research. The “All Hands” sessions aimed to integrate the information, techniques, tools, and perspectives from multiple disciplines to advance understanding or find solutions that are beyond the scope of a single area of research. Session topics included hydraulic fracking, the exposome, and exploiting new technologies to identify and regulate induced heritable effects. In addition, the EMGS meeting had five keynote speakers, two poster sessions, a Saturday workshop, and the meetings of the Society’s ten Special Interest Groups.

The EMGS (formally known as the Environmental Mutagen Society) was founded in 1969 to provide a forum to support scientists in the field of environmental mutagenesis and to promote critical research on the causes and consequences of damage to the genome and epigenome. Although the Society’s initial focus was on germ-cell mutagenesis, its interests have expanded to encompass all areas of mutagenesis, including mutational mechanisms, development of test methods, molecular epidemiology, biomarkers, and risk assessment.

Members of EMGS are scientists who have contributed substantially to the recognition of the critical role of mutation in the etiology of cancer and are based predominately in North America. The Society has also established a variety of outreach programs through other EMGS organizations around the world. EMGS supports the Alexander Hollaender Courses, held annually in countries where environmental mutagenesis and health issues are major concerns and are designed to give local scientists information in current topical areas like population monitoring for health hazards.

EMGS utilizes multiple efforts to connect and support its emerging investigators. The EMGS Mentoring Program was established to provide its young members with career guidance and support from senior members. The society sponsors travel awards to help students and new investigators attend and participate in the EMGS Annual Meeting. This year, 24 travel sponsorships were awarded. EMGS also awards best poster or presentation to a select handful of students and new investigators who participate in the annual meeting and provides funding to support the participation of underrepresented faculty/mentors and students presenting during the meetings through the FASEB MARC Program.  In August of this year, the EMGS journal, Environmental and Molecular Mutagenesis, released a special issue,Application of Omics Techniques to Epidemiological Studies,” which is available to view online without a subscription.

EMGS joined the Federation of American Societies for Experiential Biology (FASEB) in 2001 as its 18th member society. Jeffrey L. Schwartz, PhD, serves as the EMGS representative on the FASEB Board of Directors and is an Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology at the University of Washington in Seattle.

The EMGS 2014 annual meeting will be held in Orlando, Florida on September 13–17. To learn more about the Society and its annual meetings, visit the EMGS website.