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NIEHS awards outstanding new environmental scientists

Five-year grants totaling $3.5 million will go to seven exceptionally talented and creative investigators in the early stages of their careers, the National Institute of Environmental Health Science (NIEHS), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), announced today. The awards are being made under NIEHSs Outstanding New Environmental Sciences (ONES) program.

The ONES program is an important part of our efforts to help establish the careers of creative, talented young scientists and to allow them to apply their talents to the field of environmental health sciences, said Dennis Lang, Ph.D., Interim Director, NIEHS Division of Extramural Research and Training.

The ONES program, in its second year of funding, identifies outstanding scientists who are in the early, formative stages of their careers and who intend to make a long term career commitment to research in the mission areas of the NIEHS. The program assists them in launching an innovative research program focusing on problems of environmental exposures and human biology, human pathophysiology and human disease.

The grantees selected through this very competitive and rigorous review process epitomize the breadth of the NIEHS research program, said J. Patrick Mastin, Ph.D., chief of the NIEHS Cellular, Organ and Systems Pathobiology Branch, which coordinates the ONES program. These scientists are focusing on conditions such as ADHD, early puberty, aging and lung diseases and determining how these conditions relate to specific environmental exposures. Their research will play a pivotal role in helping to develop new prevention and treatment strategies.

The following is a list of the 2007 ONES program awardees:

  • Brent Carter, M.D., University of Iowa, Iowa City, will study the mechanism that causes lung inflammation and fibrosis after exposure to asbestos.

  • Wenbin Deng, Ph,D., University of California, Davis, will use a combination of cellular and molecular techniques to study the mechanisms which causes lead to be neurotoxic in the developing brain.

  • Cheryl L. Fattman, Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health, will conduct studies to help develop new treatments for patients suffering from silicosis. Silicosis, a respiratory disease brought on by inhalation of silica particles, causes chronic inflammation and scarring in the lungs.

  • Laura J. Niedernhoffer, M.D., Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine, will seek to understand the molecular mechanisms by which DNA damage promotes aging. The researcher will examine some common industrial exposures to determine the impact these chemicals have on the aging process and whether they induce DNA damage.

  • Timothy R. Nurkiewicz, Ph.D., West Virginia University, Morgantown, will study the mechanisms by which air pollutants, such as particulate matter, cause cardiovascular dysfunction.

  • Heather B. Patisaul, Ph.D., North Carolina State University, Raleigh, will study the mechanisms by which common endocrine active compounds, such as bisphenol A and genistein, may impact the endocrine system and potentially advance puberty.

  • Jason R. Richardson, Ph.D., University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Piscataway, will explore the gene-environment interactions that contribute to attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The researcher will evaluate pesticide exposure as a potential risk factor for ADHD.


Contact: Robin Mackar
NIH/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

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