Emily Monosson

I am a writer and environmental toxicologist currently fascinated by the interaction of potentially toxic chemicals and evolutionary processes. Whether over the long term (for example, the role of oxygen and some metals) or more rapidly in contemporary time (antibiotics, pesticides and, as is becoming evident, incidental chemical contaminants like some organochlorines and road salts.) My career has been shaped in large part by my desire as a parent of two children to work part time. Sometimes I have felt like a scientific vagabond, as I’ve tried to balance my passion for science, with my desire to be home for the kids. The result as been a rich and interesting (if not itinerant) career which has included: writing; contract work as an independent toxicologist; consulting for government, nonprofit and private industry; teaching at Mount Holyoke College as a visiting faculty. I am an adjunct faculty in the department of Environmental Conservation at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and have been grateful to the university for access to their database and library facilities. In 2008, I edited Motherhood the Elephant in the Laboratory: women scientists speak out, a collection of essays by 34 women who share their experiences working part-time, full-time, in academia and outside of academia. I feel strongly that scientists working outside of academia in all sorts of roles have a great deal to contribute to the greater scientific community, which was part of my goal with Motherhood. My most recent book is Evolution in a Toxic World: how life responds to chemical hazards, an exploration of how the field of toxicology might benefit by incorporating evolutionary approaches. As an outgrowth of that book I hope to work with other scientists interested in the role of toxicity in evolution (and, vice versa).  Currently I am working on a book project focusing on our influence on evolution in contemporary time, or rapid evolution. I am active in the local community as well, having served as a member of the district school board, school community council and as a working board-member and occasional science writer for the non-profit community newspaper, the Montague Reporter.

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Contact Emily at: emonosson@gmail.com