Professional Training Courses

To learn something new or brush up your skills, select from a variety of half- and full-day professional training courses. Early registration is highly recommended to ensure course viability.

Professional training courses are coordinated by the Education and Short Courses Committee based on feedback from previous participants, input from the SETAC membership community, and discussion with the local program committee for the annual meeting. The focus is on selecting cutting-edge and general scientific topics of interest. In addition, non-scientific courses that support skills scientists might need to succeed, for example communication or presentation skills, are offered. The courses are taught by experts in the field.


Register for a professional training course

Sign up for a professional training course when registering online. If you already registered for the meeting, visit the SETAC Store to add a course to your existing registration.



Full-day Half-day
Member $355 $185
Student Member $115 $65
Nonmember $385 $225
Nonmember Student $125 $75
Developing Country/
Recent Grad Member
$115 $65
Full-day Half-day
Member $319.50 $166.50
Student Member $103.50 $58.50
Nonmember $346.50 $202.50
Nonmember Student $112.50 $67.50
Developing Country/
Recent Grad Member
$103.50 $58.50


All prices in US$ Full-day Half-day
Member $284 $148
Student Member $92 $52
Nonmember $308 $180
Nonmember Student $100 $60
Developing Country/
Recent Grad Member
$92 $52

Full-day Courses

Sunday, 6 November
8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

Room: St. John’s 26/27
Instructors: Tom Parkerton, ExxonMobil Biomedical Science; Mace Barron, USEPA; Adriana Bejarano, Research Planning, Inc.

Assessing the hazards and risks posed by oil and petroleum products is challenging due to the complex nature and variable physiochemical properties of constituents comprising these substances. This course is aimed at individuals interested in improving their understanding of the principles that dictate the fate and effects of oils and related chemicals used in spill response in aquatic environments. The course will cover the chemistry and types of oils and how composition and properties change upon release to the environment. Practical experience gained and lessons learned from experts engaged in designing, conducting, and interpreting lab fate and toxicity tests and field monitoring studies will be provided. Current and emerging methods and models that can be applied to these complex substances will be discussed. Pragmatic guidance will also be offered to inform contingency planning and spill response decisions.

Room: St. John’s 25
Instructors: David Fischer, Bayer CropScience; Thomas Steeger, USEPA Office of Pesticide Programs; Reed Johnson, Ohio State University; Jay Overmyer, Syngenta

Insect pollinators play a vital role in ecosystem health and are essential to ensuring food security.  With apparent declines of both managed and wild pollinator populations in recent years, regulatory scientists have been challenged to develop and implement better ways to identify and assess risks in order to protect pollinator populations now and in the future. “Pesticide Risk Assessment for Pollinators” was the theme of a SETAC Pellston Workshop held in Pensacola, Florida, in 2012, and the resulting regulatory guidance document with the same name was issued in 2014  jointly by the US Environmental Protection Agency,  Canada Pest Management Regulatory Agency and California Department of Pesticide Regulation.  These groups reviewed the relevant science and developed a new risk assessment process for both managed and wild bees.  This course will cover the components of this tiered risk assessment process, including problem formulations for various chemical use scenarios, effects studies, exposure measurements and modeling, and risk evaluation procedures proposed for each step.  A copy of the SETAC Pellston Workshop report will be included in the course materials.

Room: St. John’s 28
Instructors: John Green, DuPont; Timothy Springer, Wildlife International

This course covers statistical considerations of experimental design and statistical analysis used to evaluate toxicity of chemicals in the environment. Both hypothesis testing to determine a No Observed Effect Concentration (NOEC) and regression modeling to determine an ECx are developed in detail.  Discussion will include advantages and disadvantages of both approaches and their use in risk assessment. The lead instructor works closely with the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), is an active member of the OECD Validation Management Group for Ecotoxicity, and was instrumental in developing several new OECD test guidelines and new methodology, which will be discussed. The instructors have worked on several other multi-displanary teams developing regulatory statistical guidance. Continuous, quantal and severity score (histopath) data, and both normal and Poisson models will be explored. The instructors have decades of practical experience designing and analyzing ecotoxicity experiments, performing risk assessments and dealing with related regulatory issues, and they drew on that experience in developing this class. Underlying principles will be discussed, but the focus will be on practical issues. All topics will include illustration by real laboratory ecotoxicity data examples, demonstrating the relevant points and techniques. Logical flowcharts and some discussion of software for NOEC determination and for regression model fitting will be presented.

Morning Half-day Courses

Sunday, 6 November
8:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.

Room: St. John’s 29
Lead Instructor: Andy Kane, University of Florida

The best science in a vacuum is meaningless.  The need to communicate science is paramount in academia, environmental and public health, human and veterinary medicine, and to support interactions with state and federal agencies and the public.  Excellence in communication has direct application at scientific meetings, developing manuscripts for professional journals, submitting successful grant applications, drafting resumes, interviewing and sharing techniques with peers and the public (and defending a thesis or dissertation).  As an integral part of professional education and training, this workshop focuses on science communication techniques to help you reach a range of professional audiences. During this workshop, we will address communication proficiency based on organizational skills, confidence building, application of appropriate techniques and technologies, and consideration of how to build your presentation style. Discussions will include application of graphically driven PowerPoint presentations and use of figures and tables that reveal data and show relationships.  Registrants are encouraged to email the instructor  a PowerPoint with a “challenging” data presentation slide that can serve as fodder for discussion, as time permits, during the workshop. We will also examine techniques to support optimal delivery of scientific content, explicit and tacit, to make your presentations meaningful and memorable.

Room: St. John’s 32/33
Instructors: Rob Reash, American Electric Power; Nick Ralston, University of North Dakota

The scientific literature increasingly documents the various environmental and physiological interactions between mercury and selenium. While many publications during the past 50 years have cited the inverse (often described as antagonistic) associations between these two trace elements in plants and animals, recent insights and evidence reveal the pivotal significance of their molecular interactions. The biochemical basis for selenium-dependent reductions in mercury bioaccumulation in freshwater fish and mercury-dependent effects on selenium physiology in the brains of highly exposed organisms are increasingly understood but remain mostly unknown. The purpose of this short course is to provide an overview of how mercury and selenium interact across the milieu of biological organization: in vivo, in situ, whole organism and ecosystem. Topics to be discussed include general chemistry and element properties, geological sources, elemental affinities, selenoenzymes and metabolism, the mechanism of mercury toxicity, bioaccumulation dynamics, toxicity to aquatic life and human health risk assessment/fish consumption guidelines. Consideration will also be given to environmental and physiological effects of excess mercury and selenium’s counterbalancing effects. We will also discuss contemporary policy and regulatory issues that will need to be adjusted once full knowledge of the mercury–selenium interactions become integrated.

Afternoon Half-day Courses

Sunday, 6 November
1:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m.

Room: St. John’s 32/33
Lead Instructor: Laurel Brown, University of Florida

Did you ever notice that the most successful scientific professionals are also excellent communicators and collaborators? And that productive teams usually include enthusiastic groups of individuals at all career levels, such as students, early career professionals and science leaders? Since the moment we are born, we use verbal and non-verbal communication. However, strong communication and leadership skills do not come easily to everyone. The good news is that with a little practice, everyone, regardless of their career level, can improve their communication and collaboration skills! This course will focus on understanding how emotional intelligence can build confidence, enhance professional presence, and motivate others – important skills for scientists in any career (e.g., project management, research collaboration, running a lab or mentoring students). This course will consist of focused activities to improve communication, cooperation and teamwork. We will also discuss the skills necessary to interact in challenging situations, team building and group problem solving. Lastly, we will discuss the benefits of creating an Individual Development Plan (IDP), which can be used to create a roadmap for your professional path forward. This course is sponsored in part by Baylor University and University of Winnipeg.

Room: St. John’s 29
Instructors: Teresa Norberg-King, USEPA; Jennifer Bouldin, Arkansas State University; Barry Gillespie, Environmental Resources Management; Scott Belanger, The Proctor & Gamble Company

Graduate students and post-docs in environmental toxicology and chemistry typically pursue a diverse spectrum of career opportunities for teaching, consulting, conducting research in academic, industrial or contract toxicology laboratories, or in regulatory agencies and affiliated institutes. With this course, students are provided insight and guidance on the process of career job hunting from scientists in environmental science and toxicology positions. When you have invested so much time and effort into your career, you need to network to increase your chances of getting a job!  Job hunting is a process which requires your full commitment, and it is essential to organize a job search campaign.  To find the right job, the job search includes a variety of strategies.  We’ve designed a practical professional training course designed to aid students and post-doctoral candidates with the process of preparing for career job hunting that is lead by experienced SETAC academic, government, industry and consultant members. As the application, interview and selection processes for all jobs is not the same, developing a resume to apply for a professional position is challenging and of utmost importance in career planning. We will present a variety of ways to “sell yourself on paper” and discuss a variety of interview tips. We will discuss the various types of positions in different organizations, i.e., academic, business sector (consulting and industry) and government. Each instructor will present the viewpoint of a potential employee and the personnel responsible for hiring recommendations. Participants will learn about the hiring processes from application to the final selection, and we will cover both one-on-one interviews, phone interviews and panel interviews. The workshop will include overviews of how to prepare resumes, where to find jobs, the hiring process, making applications with supporting materials, typical interview formats, and the selection and decision procedures for each type of organization. We will present example resumes and provide opportunities to consult with the instructors on your resume for each sector.  This team of instructors from in academia, consulting, industry and the government presents the viewpoint of a potential employee and the personnel responsible for hiring recommendations. Participants will learn about the hiring processes for academic, business and government positions from application to final selection; something you cannot find by reading self-help books! Designed for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows or anyone looking for resume and career ideas. We suggest that attendees bring resumes or email them ahead of time to Teresa Norberg-King.

Room: St. John’s 30
Instructors: Christopher Holmes, Waterborne Environmental; Katherine Kapo, Waterborne Environmental; Paul DeLeo, American Cleaning Institute

Formulated home and personal care products are ubiquitous in society and increasingly of interest to regulators and researchers due to their wide dispersion.  The environmental safety of chemicals in formulated consumer products has been important for product manufacturers and ingredient suppliers for decades.  Chemical risk assessment is based on hazard assessment of a chemical and the potential extent of exposure for organisms of interest through releases to environmental media (air, soil, water). The objective of this course is to detail the methods used by product manufacturers and regulators to assess environmental exposures associated with the use and disposal of formulated consumer products such as home and personal care products in order to understand related risks.  The focus will be on the fundamentals of risk assessment with an emphasis on tiered aquatic environmental exposure assessment.  Applications will include lower tier (Tier I) deterministic modeling of environmental exposures to formulated consumer products and higher tier (Tier II) probabilistic modeling of environmental exposures in aquatic environments across broad geographies.

Room: St. John’s 31
Instructors: Richard Erickson, USGS; Scott Weir, Queens University

Extracting knowledge from data can be difficult. Data visualization and Exploratory Data Analysis (EDA) are approaches for extracting this knowledge. This course will provide an introduction to these topics through the use of the ggplot2 package in R. One of the best aspects of R is that it can function as both data analysis and data visualization. While the “plot” function provides many ways to create publication quality figures, ggplot2 has a much more extensive and customizable system for creating high-quality figures. After completing the course, participates will have a basic understanding of the ggplot2 package. Specific topics to be covered will include: 1) A introduction to manipulating data in R; 2) The syntax of the “grammar of graphics” that underlie the ggplot2 package; 3) Applying the ggplot2 package to visualize data; and 4) Creating publication quality figures with the ggplot2 package. No prior experience with R will be assumed, however, prior knowledge will be helpful.

* Courses that are crossed out have been canceled.