2013 AGRO Division Fellow – Teresa Wehner

Dr. Teresa A. Wehner earned her BS in Chemistry from the University of California,  Riverside in 1974. She worked briefly at Shell Oil Company in Houston, Texas and at the US Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, DC. She returned to graduate school at the University of California, Davis where she earned her PhD in 1982 under Dr. James Seiber studying pesticide residues in the air. During her studies, Teresa developed and implemented a multi-residue method using high pressure liquid chromatography fractionation and capillary gas chromatography for quantitation, the first of many residue
methods that she would develop during her career.

Teresa was hired in 1982 by Merck Research Laboratories in Rahway, New Jersey. At Merck, she developed methods for determining the residues of various agricultural chemicals and veterinary drugs, including compounds from the anthelmintic or insecticide family of avermectins. She was fortunate to be teamed with many hard-working and imaginative scientists on projects that led to new products and commercial success. Through her teams, she was able to introduce some innovations to methods that would eventually be validated by regulatory agencies for surveillance or enforcement of residue limits in edible commodities. Following a normal industrial career progression, she received increasing responsibilities for managing people and projects and spent less time working in the laboratory.

In 1997, Merck formed a joint venture with Rhone-Poulenc (which eventually became Aventis, Sanofi-Aventis and then Sanofi) to create Merial, an animal health company, to which Teresa was assigned. Merial became solely owned by Sanofi in 2009. At Merial, Teresa has worked on veterinary pharmaceuticals in the Pharmacokinetics & Drug Metabolism department, part of Research & Development. She has been instrumental in teams obtaining or retaining approvals and marketing authorizations for more than 25 separate products, with registrations that span the globe, from Japan, Latin America, and Europe as well as the United States. These products maintain or improve the health of various species, ranging from cattle and sheep to horses, pigs, dogs and cats, as well as exotics such as deer, camel and bison.

Teresa has been a member of the American Chemical Society since 1975 and of the AGRO Division (and earlier iterations) since 1980 and served as a member of the Executive Committee for AGRO from 1999 to 2008. Teresa was instrumental in broadening the definition of the AGRO Division as chemistry for and from agriculture, emphasizing that agriculture includes more than crops. She has been privileged to collaborate one way or another with several previous AGRO Division Fellows, including Jeff Jenkins, John Johnston, and James Seiber. She coorganized symposia for the AGRO division programs at ACS meetings with other industry partners and state and federal scientists and policy makers. These symposia encompassed novel or emerging methods for determining residues or the environmental fate for agrochemicals. Teresa has elected to retire from Merial in August 2013 but will remain active in the AGRO Division.