NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

Society of Toxicology Lauds NINDS’s Jett

Dr. David Jett
Dr. David Jett

Dr. David Jett, director of the NIH Countermeasures Against Chemical Threats (CounterACT) Program and program director in NINDS’s Division of Translational Research, recently received the 2020 Society of Toxicology (SOT) Translational Impact Award.

He was recognized for his efforts to develop safer and more effective treatments for highly toxic agent exposure. He received the award Mar. 15 at SOT’s annual meeting in Anaheim.

Jett earned his Ph.D. in neuropharmacology and toxicology from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in 1992. He then conducted postdoctoral research at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, where he later joined the faculty and led a laboratory focused on organophosphorus pesticides. 

Jett joined NINDS in 2002 as a program director in the Office of Minority Health and Research, working on efforts to increase diversity in the neuroscience workforce. 

Based on his expertise and the events of 9/11, he soon received a request to create a program to support development of new drugs for treating victims of chemical exposures after terrorist attacks and other mass-casualty emergencies. Jett then moved to the Office of Translational Research where he designed and developed CounterACT, seeking out NIH experts from other institutes and centers to help build the program. 

Since CounterACT’s first year of funding in 2006, Jett and his team of NIH scientists have recruited more than 100 of the nation’s top laboratories into the program, including investigators with such diverse areas of expertise as epilepsy, lung disease, dermal toxicology, ophthalmology and metabolic diseases. Their research has resulted in more than 1,400 publications in peer-reviewed journals. 

The program has facilitated discovery of several promising drug candidates. One drug supported by CounterACT, Seizalam, was recently approved for treating seizures after a mass-casualty event in which nerve agents are used. 

In addition to his NIH work, Jett also serves as adjunct professor in the department of chronic disease epidemiology at Yale School of Public Health and contributes his expertise to the scientific community on various advisory panels, as an editorial board member of the journal Neurotoxicology, guest editor for Neurobiology of Disease and as a reviewer for many other journals. 

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