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March 19, 2010

ULM’s Endowed Chair of Toxicology named Distinguished Scholar at International Meeting

Dr. Harihara Mehendale, the Kitty DeGree Endowed Chair of Toxicology at the University of Louisiana at Monroe’s College of Pharmacy, is the recipient of the 2010 Distinguished Toxicology Scholar Award.

He received the honor during an awards ceremony at the Society of Toxicology Annual Meeting, held in Salt Lake City, March 7-11, the largest toxicology meeting and exhibition in the world, attracting more than 6,500 scientists from industry, academia, and government from various countries around the globe.

Although Mehendale expected the award because of prior notification, he said he was caught off guard by the standing ovation he received at the ceremony, which did not stop until he waved it down from the awards stage.

“In the 40-plus years of my attendance, I had never seen such a roaring reception by the SOT membership,” he said. “Having been humbled by the honor of receiving the award, I was also very humbled by the membership's kind gesture.”

Mehendale said he was pleased to bring the warm greeting back to ULM and the College of Pharmacy, and he thanked Interim Pharmacy Dean W. Greg Leader and other administration officials for their support through the years.

“This award recognizes Dr. Mehendale’s significant contributions to the field of toxicology over a long and distinguished career,” said Leader. “It was great to see such career accomplishments recognized so vigorously by his peers.”

After several years at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences as a visiting fellow, then staff fellow, Dr. Mehendale began a career spanning several decades. He has consistently provided opportunities for education and training for numerous graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in that time. The 2010 Distinguished Scholar in Toxicology Award included a $3,000 gift, which Mehendale donated to an endowment fund he established a few years ago to be used for student recognition awards and student travel awards given during the annual conferences.

The fund is maintained by the Society of Toxicology, which matches dollar for dollar any amount donated by its members, effectively doubling the award to $6,000 and adding to Mehendale’s earlier donations.

Dr. Mehendale’s research focuses on mechanisms of toxicity and pulmonary and hepatic toxicology. His pioneering research in tissue repair has contributed to the understanding of how tissue overcomes toxicant-induced injury.

He has supervised 29 mostly Ph.D. students during his tenure, four of whom are ULM graduates now in faculty positions at respected research universities. They include Drs. Udayan M. Apte and Pallavi Limaye, both at University of Kansas Medical Center at Kansas City; Dr. Vishal S. Vaidya at Harvard University School of Medicine; and Dr. Kartik Shankar at University of Arkansas Medical Center in Little Rock, Ark.

“They and many others working in pharmaceutical, chemical industries, and government laboratories were regional and national award winners who helped pave the way in earning a spot among the internationally acclaimed toxicology programs,” said Mehendale.

As stated in the SOT annual meeting program, “(Mehendale’s) commitment to quality, continuous adoption of new technologies, and enthusiasm for refining understanding of mechanisms of toxicity define him as an outstanding mentor.”

The program continued, “Dr. Harihara Mehendale’s record of achievement in independent investigator-initiated research, and success as a mentor, make him a highly deserving recipient of the SOT 2010 Distinguished Toxicology Scholar Award.”

Mehendale is also the director of the Graduate Studies and Training Program in Toxicology at ULM. He is a member of 18 scientific societies and has over 300 original research and review articles to his name. He is also a Fellow of the American Association for Advancement of Science.

He received his Bachelor of Science (B.Sc. Hons) degree with Distinction in 1963 from Karnataka University in Dharwar, Karnataka State, India, and completed his masters and pharmaceutical studies at North Carolina State University.

Listed among his other professional merits are:

In November 2007, he was honored by the American College of Toxicology with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

He is listed in American Men and Women of Science; Who’s Who in Frontiers in Science and Technology; Who’s Who of Emerging Leaders in America; Who’s Who in Society, American Publishing; and the Dictionary of International Biography.

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