Oak Ridge National Laboratory


News Release

Media Contact: Marty Goolsby ()
Communications and External Relations


ORNL biologist appointed chairman of two committees, editor of scientific journal

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., July 27, 1995 — John S. Wassom, group leader of the Human Genome and Toxicology Group at the Department of Energy's (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), has been appointed to chair two committees of the Environmental Mutagen Society: the Communications and Archives Committee and the Technical Committee. He has also been reappointed as one of the managing editors of the journal Mutation Research.

The Communications and Archives Committee is charged with ensuring that society members use all available information resources to stay current with developments in the field of genetic toxicology. To accomplish this, Wassom writes articles for the society's newsletter and has a World Wide Web site developed to promote the use and exchange of information among members. This committee is also charged with maintaining the society's document archives to preserve important information for future reference.

The Technical Committee is charged with keeping up with new scientific developments to identify areas that may impact future research on the study of the nature, causes, and consequences of genetic mutation. For example, the committee is implementing activities to help society members take full advantage of new technologies developed by the Human Genome Project. These technologies can increase the ability to identify genome-damaging chemical, physical, and biological agents and to understand the mechanisms by which genetic damage is induced.

Wassom began work at ORNL in the Biology Division in 1966 and was assigned in the mid-1980s to the Health and Safety Research Division, now the Health Sciences Research Division. He and his coworkers received an Environmental Mutagen Society Recognition Award in 1980 for outstanding contributions to the field of genetic toxicology.

Prior to working at ORNL, Wassom served in the Chemical Corps of the U.S. Army for three years. He earned a bachelor's degree in biology in 1963 from Tennessee Technological University.

Wassom lives with his wife, Judith, in Rockwood, and is a Commissioner of the Rockwood Housing Authority. He and his wife have one daughter, Zoe, who is 21.

ORNL, one of DOE's multiprogram national research and development facilities, is managed by Lockheed Martin Energy Systems, which also manages the Oak Ridge K-25 Site and the Oak Ridge Y-12 Plant.