Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


36th Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2010

Event Details

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Special Event #39
SQAB Tutorial: Environment, Behavior and Pollution: Quantifying Risk
Saturday, May 29, 2010
2:00 PM–2:50 PM
007CD (CC)
Area: BPH/CSE; Domain: Experimental Analysis
Presenting Authors: : ROBERT C. MACPHAIL (U.S. EPA Neurotoxicology)
Abstract: This tutorial will describe past and current studies on behavior in the field of environmental toxicology, an area of inquiry that has a remarkably longer history than generally recognized. Toxicology bears much in common with pharmacology in that both fields investigate the effects of chemicals on living organisms, organs or tissues. Whereas pharmacology most often focuses on therapeutic or abused agents, environmental toxicology deals with a broader array of chemicals including atmospheric pollutants, water contaminants, pesticides, metals and a range of naturally occurring toxins. Numerous poisoning episodes have highlighted the diverse behavioral impacts of exposure to toxic chemicals. Given the limitations of epidemiological research, laboratory studies are needed for linking exposure (i.e., dose) and effect unequivocally. A much more challenging issue is using these data to then estimate the risk of an adverse (toxic) effect. This requires a focus on the variability in response to chemical exposure. Examples will be provided of both traditional approaches for estimating risk, and some newer approaches that specifically incorporate variability in response. The implications for understanding the effects of environmental pollutants on the health of humans (and other animals) will be explored.
ROBERT C. MACPHAIL (U.S. EPA Neurotoxicology)
Bob MacPhail received his Ph.D. in 1973 from the University of Maryland where he investigated the effects of drugs on schedule-controlled operant behavior with Professor L.R. Gollub. He then received post-doctoral training in behavioral neuropharmacology at the University of Chicago with Professor L.S. Seiden. Dr. MacPhail was next recruited to develop a research program in neurotoxicology for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. He served for 20 years as head of behavioral toxicology in the EPA’s neurotoxicology research division, and then as division science advisor for 4 years before returning full-time to the laboratory. He was elected President of the Behavioral Toxicology Society, and President of the Neurotoxicology Specialty Section in the Society of Toxicology. He holds adjunct faculty appointments in Psychology and Neurobiology at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, and in Physiology and Pharmacology at Wake Forest University. His has served as an advisor to the National Academy of Sciences, World Health Organization, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense. He has over 100 published research papers, conference presentations and book chapters. His current interests include animal models of aging-related susceptibility, population-level risk assessment, and chemical screening in larval zebrafish.



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