James Gibson, PhD

James  Gibson, PhD

An Iowa native, James Gibson was considering graduate school in biochemistry, but a year-long work experience with Abbott Pharmaceuticals changed his course, leading him to complete a PhD in pharmacology/toxicology at the University of Iowa in 1969. He has gone on to pursue a distinguished career in many arenas—the public and private sectors, government, and academia—while making significant contributions to the field of toxicology.

Following his studies in Iowa, Dr. Gibson joined the Department of Pharmacology faculty at Michigan State University. Building on an early interest in the toxic effects of chemicals in the neonatal animal, he focused his research on pesticides, specifically the mechanism of paraquat intoxication involving lipid peroxidation.

In 1976 he became Vice President and Director of Research for the Chemical Industry Institute for Toxicology. Among other accomplishments for this non-profit research institute, he developed postdoctoral and predoctoral training programs in all aspects of toxicology. In 1989 he began a 13-year association with Dow Chemical companies. For DowElanco, a joint venture of the Dow and Eli Lilly companies, he successfully integrated the laboratory and regulatory functions of toxicology, environmental chemistry, and critical quality assurance and was also involved in field development of products. As a Global Vice President for Dow Agrosciences, Dr. Gibson oversaw 375 scientists and technicians working in 30 countries on the development and manufacture of chemicals and biotechnology for agriculture.

While he has maintained faculty affiliations with various research universities over the years, his retirement from Dow Agrosciences in 2002 has meant Dr. Gibson’s return to full-time academic life. As a Research Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology in The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, he is developing and evaluating innovative in vitro methods to assess exposure and safety of biotechnology and nanotechnology products, dietary supplements, and algal toxins.

Previous education:

Drake University, Des Moines, IA
The University of Iowa
Year of degree: 
Awards and honors: 

Throughout his career, Dr. Gibson has contributed his expertise to promote his chosen field. Among the governmental agencies and industry organizations he has provided valuable counsel are the National Academy of Science, the US Environmental Protection Agency, the National Science Foundation, the European Science Foundation, CropLife International, and the Biotechnology Industry Organization.

One professional organization in particular has benefited from his dedicated contributions—the Society of Toxicology (SOT), which he joined in 1973. After receiving the SOT Achievement Award in 1977, presented to members less than 36 years of age who have made significant contributions to the field, Dr. Gibson served the Society throughout the 1980s, first as a Council member, then Vice-President, then President (1988).

The Academy of Toxicological Sciences named Dr. Gibson a Fellow in 1981, and he served on that organization’s Board of Directors in the 1990s. He has contributed his editorial expertise to numerous toxicology journals, including “Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology,” “Toxicology and Industrial Health,” and “Nonlinearity in Biology, Toxicology and Medicine” for which he is a founding editorial board member.

Counsel for current toxicology students: 
Opportunities abound—but will only go to those individuals who work hard and are productive during their graduate years.

Current position: 
Research Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology
Current employer/institution: 
The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University
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