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Albert E. Munson Professor, Immunotoxology Pioneer, Named to Head NIOSH Health Effects Research Laboratory

NIOSH Update:

Monday, August 19,1996

Albert E. Munson, Ph.D., a professor of pharmacology and toxicology at the Medical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, and one of the pioneering U.S. researchers in immunotoxicology, was named director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s new Health Effects Laboratory Division. The appointment was effective today.

As director of the division, Munson heads a 200-person staff with responsibility for conducting advanced laboratory research in occupational health, developing intervention programs for protecting workers from job-related diseases, and designing methods for communicating occupational health information effectively to workers, employers, and others.

The division will occupy a state-of-the-art NIOSH laboratory facility in Morgantown, W.Va., that will open later this year. The new division and facility will strengthen NIOSH’s ability to develop innovative methods and technologies for early detection and prevention of workplace disease risks. NIOSH, which is headquartered in Washington, D.C., is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“Dr. Munson is an internationally recognized leader in an exciting and important health effects research discipline,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Donna E. Shalala. “We are delighted to have a scientist of his stature as part of NIOSH’s senior management team.”

“Managing state-of-the-art research requires a proven mix of technical knowledge, administrative skill, and organizational vision,” said CDC Director David Satcher, M.D. “Dr. Munson’s professional record exemplifies these unique capabilities.”

Munson led major research projects on pharmacology, toxicology, microbiology, and immunotoxicology at the Medical College of Virginia and conducted pioneering studies of the effects of chemical exposures on the immune system. Results of these studies have contributed substantially to the scientific understanding of how exposures to chemicals and physical agents in the workplace and the environment may affect the body’s ability to ward off or recover from diseases, infections, and other health risks. New knowledge in this area, and in other advanced health effects research that Munson will oversee at NIOSH, helps scientists better assess complex job-related health risks and identify effective, economical protective measures.

“Ongoing advancements in science open wonderful opportunities for protecting workers from serious occupational diseases,” said NIOSH Director Linda Rosenstock, M.D., M.P.H. “Dr. Munson’s leadership will help us realize those opportunities in our new health effects laboratory.”

Munson joined the Medical College of Virginia as a research scientist in the college’s cancer center in 1956 and became professor of pharmacology and toxicology in 1983. He has received numerous scientific honors, including being named outstanding scientist of Virginia by the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1993, and receiving Virginia Commonwealth University’s Distinguished Award of Excellence in 1991 as an outstanding faculty member in teaching, research, and service.

Munson has lectured widely on immunotoxicology, pharmacology, and toxicology and has published more than 300 papers in peer-reviewed journals. He is a member of several scientific, honorary, and professional societies, including the Society of Toxicology, the International Society of Immunopharmacology, the American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, the American Association for Cancer Research, and the Society of Risk Assessment. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree in pharmacology from the Medical College of Virginia and a Master of Science degree in biochemical pharmacology from the State University of New York at Buffalo.