Ms. Seneca Fitch works as an information specialist and evidence analyst in support of systematic evaluations of substances associated with consumer products, food ingredients and additives, pharmaceuticals, and industrial chemicals. She has specialized expertise in facilitating the start-to-finish process of systematic reviews and evidence mapping according to several frameworks and utilizing software such as DistillerSR, HAWC, and SWIFTReview. Such work includes problem formulation and protocol development, definition of eligibility criteria (i.e., inclusion/exclusion), data extraction parameters, critical appraisal of study quality, and creation of evidence tables and data visualizations. Additionally, Ms. Fitch has strong working knowledge of developing database-specific syntax and executing search strategies for investigational and systematic literature queries in citation databases such as PubMed, Embase, and ToxPlanet. This work consists of formulating search strings according to structured and controlled vocabulary, such as PubMed’s MeSH and Embase’s Emtree, using Boolean search phrases, and using reference management software to organize and deliver query results. Ms. Fitch also has extensive experience designing and implementing literature prioritization methods to address the growing landscape of scientific literature. This includes application of machine learning techniques such as topic modeling—an approach that uses text mining to identify patterns and information clusters within a set of references.
Ms. Fitch has applied the principals of systematic review, together with the evaluation of endocrine-disrupting potential, for multiple compounds by applying guidance such as ECHA/EFSA’s 2018 Guidance for the identification of endocrine disruptors. These efforts include developing a strategy to gather and assess all relevant information, assemble lines of evidence, and integrate evidence for estrogen, androgen, thyroid, or steroidogenesis-related endocrine activity in developing overall conclusions. Data extraction for endocrine evaluation is implemented using specific processes and modality-specific templates that require a working knowledge of endpoints associated with each endocrine modality, as well as assignment to biological levels of organization and categories/levels of strength based on study design. Ms. Fitch routinely assesses endocrine-related data, as well as other data types, for quality via risk-of-bias and other validity tools, including NTP-OHAT, USEPA-TSCA, SciRAP, and ToxRTool.
In an extension of systematic evaluation, Ms. Fitch developed and maintains several internal and external platforms that consult a wide range of sources to combine data and assist in managing the scientific landscape—a capability that allows for efficient and timely summarizing of large amounts of information in qualitative and quantitative capacities. These databases include guidance levels developed for food additives by several regulatory agencies (e.g., Acceptable Daily Intakes [ADIs]), regulatory status of such additives, and results of toxicity and carcinogenicity studies for more than 1,800 chemical exposure studies. In addition to her skills in systematic review and literature identification, Ms. Fitch also has experience in the conduct of hazard assessments for a range of products, such as herbal and natural products, essential oils, food additives, and microorganisms. This includes identification of toxicological data, as well as integration of regulatory considerations from both US and international agencies to ensure a comprehensive overview of the product.