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SETAC World Council Member Nominees

John Giesy

John Giesy


John P. Giesy attended Alma College in Alma, Michigan where, in 1970, he obtained a B.S. Degree, Summa cum laude with honors in Biology. He obtained Masters and Doctor of Philosophy Degrees in Limnology from Michigan State University in 1971 and 1974, respectively. He was a professor in the Institute of Ecology and Zoology Department at the University of Georgia for 8 years and then on the faculty of Michigan State University for 26 years where he achieved the rank of Distinguished Professor of Zoology and is currently an Emeritus Distinguished Professor of Zoology. Currently, he is Professor and Canada Research Chair at the University of Saskatchewan where he is a faculty member in the Dept. of Veterinary Biomedical Sciences and on the Faculty of the Toxicology Centre. He is also Chair Prof. at Large of Biology & Chemistry, at City University of Hong Kong and Concurrent Prof. of Environmental Science at Nanjing University, China, Honorary Prof. of Biological Sciences at the University of Hong Kong, Guest Professor at Xiamen University, China and Distinguished Visiting Prof. at King Saud University, Saudi Arabia. Prof. Giesy has published 847 peer reviewed works: 79 book chapters, 681 peer-reviewed open literature journal articles, 5 feature articles, 3 theses, 7 books written, 10 books edited, 1 textbook chapter, 4 published reviews, 25 published reports, and 25 special reports.  He is a highly cited author and is among the top 0.001% of active authors in the world (ISI) and the 2nd most cited author in the world in the combined fields of Ecology and Environmental Sciences with an h index of 68 on over 19,500 citations. He has made over 1400 presentations worldwide. He has received a number of distinctions and awards including: Vollenweider Medal for Aquatic Sciences from the National Water Research Institute of Canada for his work on contaminants in the North American Great Lakes. He is an Einstein Professor of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (2009) and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in the Academy of Sciences (2010).  Prof. Giesy is included in 40 biographical listings, including Who’s Who in Canada, Who's Who in America, and Who’s Who in the World. He has is a Charter Member of SETAC and has attended every annual meeting of SETAC-North America.

Within SETAC over the years he has had many roles and assignments. He served on the Board of Directors from 1986 to 1992 and was on the Executive Committee in 1988 1992. He was Vice President in 1989 and President in 1990-1991. While president he oversaw the transition to captive management. He was president of the Great Lakes Regional Chapter in 1993 and 1995. He has had many committee assignments over his 30 years in SETAC. These include: Chair of Executive Director Evaluation Committee, 1992; Associate Editor for Special Publications (Biology),1988 1990; Technical Committee, 1984 1987; Regional Chapters Committee, 1984 1985; Awards Committee, 1985 1987; Program Committee, 1982; Meetings Committee, 1990 1993; Chair Nominations Committee, 1992; Historian, 1992-1996; Proctor and Gamble Student Fellowship Award Committee, 1985 1987; Editorial Board, Environmental Toxicology, 1988 1989; Chair Long range Planning Committee Chairperson, 1990; Chairperson, Ad hoc Committee for Institution Subscriptions: 1985 1986; Chairperson, Ad hoc Committee for European Regional Chapters, 1986 1987; Past Presidents Council, 1992-Present, Chairperson 1992-1993; Liaison to American Chemical Society, 1993-1995; Committee on Environmental Quality, 1993-1998; Chair of Ad hoc subcommittee of Technical Committee to Develop Better SETAC Government Liaison, 1986 1987. He has served as a session chair for meetings in Europe, North America, Asia-Pacific and the Russian and Great Lakes regional chapters. In 1987 and 1990 he lived in Germany he was the Liaison from SETAC to start SETAC-Europe, 1987-1990. He negotiated with individuals and organizations to get sponsorship and incorporation of SETAC-Europe. He also served on the Scientific committee for World Congress Lisbon, Portugal, 1993; Organizing committee for the first Annual meeting, in Potsdam, Germany,1992; Scientific Program Committee, 5th Annual meeting, in Copenhagen, 1994. While living in Hong Kong he was instrumental in starting SETAC-Pacific Rim and has served on the Annual Meeting Organizing Committee, Beijing, 2006 and Annual Meeting Organizing Committee, Guanzhou, 2010. He has authored 363 abstracts at SETAC-NA, 103 at SETAC-Europe, 2 at SETAC-Russia, 2 at the SETAC-German Language Section, 14 at SETAC-Pacific and 8 at SETAC Prairie Northern. He has taught several short courses, including the first short course ever taught at SETAC. He has served on the Board of Directors of the SETAC Foundation for Environmental Education, 1992-1996 and as chair of the board 1992-1993, Vice President of Board of Directors, 1994-1995, President of Board of Directors, 1994-1995 and again as Vice President of Board of Directors, 1996-1999. He has published 84 papers in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry including two papers that were selected as the best student paper and 4 papers were in the top 100 cited papers in ET&C over the last 30 years.   He has attended 6 Pellston Workshops and delivered plenary keynote addresses at annual meetings of SETAC-NA, SETAC-Europe and SETAC-Pacific Rim. He is the recipient of the Founders Award, which is the highest award given globally by SETAC for continued excellence in research and the SETAC Education Award a global award for excellence in environmental education.

Vision Statement

I have promoted SETAC for over 30 years because I thought it was the right idea at the right time. SETAC has been instrumental in bridging among scientists in the academic, government and business sectors. I believe that this has resulted in better communication and understanding that has resulted in better science and policy. I took on the task of starting SETAC-Europe in 1987. There was considerable opposition from members of the board of directors of SETAC at the time who wanted to keep SETAC as a North American organization and were not willing to share things like the journal. At the same time there was resistance from individuals and organizations in Europe who did not like the idea of mixing academics with scientists and engineers in government and business. As it turns out the idea was also right for Europe and has been very successful. I see SETAC as being a multidisciplinary home that meets a need not met by other professional societies. I also see SETAC as being unique in it’s ability to bring together technical issues and policy issues and to work at the interface between biology and chemistry and science and engineering. SETAC is a comfortable home for people working at all of those interfaces. I think SETAC has a huge role to play first in Asia where it is growing by leaps and bounds and having a huge positive influence not only the science of the 2nd largest economy on earth, but also on policies. I want to see the SETAC ideal spread in Latin America, and Africa and to flourish in Eastern Europe. When confronted with doubters, I have always said, that id the SETAC model works and adds value then it will flourish, but if it does not then it would and should pass from the scene. Well SETAC has not only persisted, but flourished. I am proud that I was able to convince people in Europe and North America to cooperate and to share. I think by having the wisdom and courage for the original SETAC in North America to reach out to the world and be willing to share and to adapt so that the SETAC model could work in other political systems and cultures that SETAC as a hole is a better organization and that SETAC had reaped manifold benefits. It is my experience that when I share ideas and resources freely, I always get more benefits in return than were given.

I want to see SETAC ideas spread across the globe, but not in an imperialistic way, but in an adaptive way where those ideas are spread in a way that respects local cultures and customs. Communication is difficult, especially across cultures and among languages. My opinion is that much of human strife and conflict comes from lack of effective communication and understanding. Many of the issues in which SETAC can play a role are global in nature and require global cooperation and understanding. SETAC can enter the fray and be the voice of reason and bring understanding of complex technical issues to the table where better understanding will lead to better public policy. SETAC by being a bastion of communication and understanding can bring people from different disciplines and institutions so that they can through mutual respect and understanding be a guiding light for a sustainable world with dignity and respect for all. SETAC already does these things, but my vision is that it can do more. I am old and with age has come experience and possibly even some wisdom. I am willing to share what knowledge and understanding and organizational skills I poses to help SETAC achieve the goals of global understanding and sustainability. We do not have the resources, be they natural or human capital to squander on misunderstanding. We need to do better and I believe SETAC as a neutral arbiter and teacher can help. I have dedicated the last phase f my career to improving the environment wherever I can, particularly in Asia.