18 Apr 2024

SETAC Fort Worth: From the Meeting Co-Chairs

Marlo Jeffries and Sarah Hughes on behalf of the SETAC Fort Worth Program Committee

The natural beauty of Texas truly continues to fascinate many of us on the program committee, who are either native Texans or have adopted this amazing state as our home. We hope you learn that Texas is not just cowboys and tumbleweeds but truly a state “Worth” exploring.

After four years of waiting thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, we can’t wait to finally welcome SETACers to the Lone Star state! As you may know by now, the SETAC North America 45th Annual Meeting will be held a few weeks earlier than usual from 20–24 October, in Fort Worth, Texas.

Fort Worth West 7th Street Bridge, colorful lights

We, your meeting co-chairs, along with our outstanding program committee, are working diligently to make this the best SETAC North America meeting yet. We’ve thoroughly reviewed the feedback from previous meetings and are making efforts to ensure that the upcoming meeting addresses the needs of all SETACers. In particular, the program committee is developing a rigorous and informative scientific program, complemented by inspirational and engaging plenary speakers, as well as enhanced opportunities for networking and training. Importantly, we aspire to ensure the essential element of what makes for a great and memorable SETAC meeting: Fun! An overview of the meeting is below, and we sure hope that y’all make plans to join us in Fort Worth this October!


We will feature more of our robust scientific program over the coming months, but there are a few highlights of our broad and exciting program worth noting now. We plan on having sessions on diverse topics to provide opportunities for all of the great research that isn’t solely focused on the “it” chemical of the day. We know the world is changing, from the products and energy we use to the way we do ecotoxicity testing and measure chemicals, and these changes are all incorporated into our program. We recognize that modernizing chemicals management is an increasing priority for government regulators, and we will feature sessions on all aspects of chemicals management: new approach methods, persistence, bioaccumulation and toxicity (PBT) assessment, and risk assessment for complex substances or unknown and variable composition biological (UVCB) substances. We see the increasing intersection agriculture has in our world for food security, climate solutions and energy, so we have sessions included to support this nexus. We are planning three different sessions covering the meeting theme, “Biodiversity – It's ‘Worth’ Saving.” There are also numerous special sessions focused on topics of regional interest, including the Gulf of Mexico or the Trinity River, as well as a session on emerging environmental issues facing our closest neighbors in Latin America. Take a moment to check out our incredible line up of sessions.

You can still submit an abstract!

Submit an abstract for a $50 rush fee by 17:00 PT on 22 May.

Submit an Abstract


The program committee is liaising with other SETAC North America committees, specifically the Careers Committee, Student Advisory Committee and Inclusive Diversity Committee, to ensure networking events do not compete with each other and that there is maximum inclusive and relevant networking and training programing offered for all SETACers during the meeting, regardless of career stage and sector. We’ve adjusted the daily meeting schedule slightly to ensure that the important morning coffee networking is available first thing in the morning and after the morning plenary. We are also coordinating several social events in nearby venues to allow you to attend as many networking opportunities as possible.


In our experience, learning about new scientific endeavors and networking with colleagues serves as a major source of inspiration. This inspiration sparks innovative and novel ideas that can shape (and maybe even redirect!) future research projects, collaborations and careers. We hope that this year’s meeting theme, “Biodiversity: It's “Worth” Saving,” serves as a source of inspiration for our community. We perceive the global commitments from the recent United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Convention of the Parties 15 (COP15) on Biodiversity as a relevant call to action for the ecotoxicology community. As SETACers, protecting biodiversity seems inherent to what we all do. However, with the rapid biodiversity loss and links to chemical pollution, we need to reflect on whether our science can address societal needs related to biodiversity.

We are inspired by the wide range of habitats and species our home of Texas hosts (more bird species than any other state!), and we hope our plenary speaker, wildlife documentary film maker Ben Masters, will provide inspiration on how to engage people to protect biodiversity through film. Likewise, recent updates from the Stockholm Resiliency Centre report that chemical entities have been shown to exceed planetary boundaries; so what does that mean for evolution of life on the planet? On Wednesday, we will hear from plenary speaker and author Emily Monosson, who will explore how chemicals elicit evolutionary responses in species as she discusses in her books “Unnatural Selection” and “Evolution in a Toxic World.” Finally, we would be remiss to ignore the massive impact that artificial intelligence (AI) has had on our everyday discourse over the last year. Though AI-based technologies expand the tools and techniques available to address pressing questions in ecotoxicology, tough questions on their use and applications in science need to be addressed to optimize their roles. For this reason, we are very excited to welcome computational toxicologist Nicole Kleinstreuer from the US National Toxicology Program to talk about the use of AI technology in toxicology to help inspire us all to explore how we can safely adopt and leverage this new technology.


Fun can bring people together, break barriers and help create networking moments that are natural and engaging. We’ve got a few surprises for the opening ceremony and social events that are sure to have you laughing and engaging with your colleagues like no other science meeting before! Speaking of fun, if you are one of those SETACers who likes to include a bit of personal travel alongside the meeting, Fort Worth is the perfect place.

© nps.gov, Waco Mammoth National Monument

First and foremost, October is one of the best months weather-wise for Texas. Yes, as the rest of the country starts to see crisp fall days, Texas is cooling off from sweltering heat to comfortable, perfectly warm temps. With perfect weather comes the ideal time to investigate outdoor opportunities. There are two Texas-sized events taking place just before the start of the SETAC meeting in the Dallas/Fort Worth area – Arts Goggle, a celebration of art and live music, and the Texas State Fair, the longest-running state fair in the US. If art, music and fried fair food delicacies aren’t your thing, there are tons of opportunities to take in the beauty of Texas, which is one of the largest and most diverse states in the US. Consider checking out the natural wonder of Big Bend National Park, the densely biodiverse Big Thicket National Preserve to the east, the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary off the Texas coast, or the South Padre Island National Seashore just to name a few. The natural beauty of Texas truly continues to fascinate many of us on the program committee, who are either native Texans or have adopted this amazing state as our home. We hope you learn that Texas is not just cowboys and tumbleweeds but truly a state “Worth” exploring.

So what are you waiting for, y’all? Submit those abstracts by 15 May, and join us in Fort Worth this October!

Author’s contact: [email protected]