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The NIEHS/EPA Superfund Basic Research Program (SBRP) Hosts the 2004 Karen Wetterhahn Memorial Awardee Seminar

By Robin Mackar
November 2005

Anne Spuches
Anne Spuches (Photo by Steve McCaw, Image Associates)

On October 25, Dr. Anne Spuches, the recipient of the seventh annual 2004 Karen Wetterhahn Memorial award shared her latest research on the glucocorticoid receptor with the staff at NIEHS. Her talk, Thermodynamics of Zinc, Cobalt and Arsenic Binding to the DNA Binding Domain of Glucocorticoid Receptor: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, focused on how new knowledge and techniques are helping to build models to understand how metals, such as arsenic can impact cellular processes. This research may eventually help in the design of new, more effective, chelating agents for the treatment of arsenic poisoning.

The Superfund Basic Research Program presented the award to Dr. Spuches last November at the SBRP Annual Meeting at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington. Dr. Spuches is a Post-Doctoral Fellow at Dartmouth College, working with Professor Dean E. Wilcox. She is participating in interdisciplinary studies addressing the environmental and human health effects of arsenic. She also mentors and tutors first and second year chemistry majors.

The annual award was established by SBRP as a way of honoring the life and scientific accomplishments of Dr. Karen Wetterhahn, who was an accomplished scientist who died as a result of a laboratory accident on June 8, 1997 at age 48. Dr. Wetterhahn served as the Program Director of the Dartmouth College Superfund Basic Research Program in Hanover, New Hampshire from 1995 to 1997. She was also a Principal Investigator who studied the effects of toxic heavy metals on cellular processes.

"Dr. Wetterhahn was not only an excellent scientist, but a good friend, who embodied all that is good about science," said Bill Suk, Director, Superfund Basic Research Program. "We are pleased to offer this award in her memory and provide opportunities for post-doctoral researchers like Anne to carry on this important area of research."

For more information about the award, and other DERT SBRP activities, visit the website at

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