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Urology Societies Honor Grantee

By Lillian Gu
July 2007

NIEHS Grantee Shuk-Mei Ho, Ph.D., accepts the 2007 Women in Urology Award at the Society of Basic Urologic Research's annual meeting in May. (Photo courtesy of Shuk-mei Ho)

NIEHS grantee Shuk-Mei Ho, Ph.D., has won the 2007 Women in Urology Award for Excellence in Urologic Research. The award was jointly presented by the Society of Women in Urology (SWIU) and the Society of Basic Urologic Research at the SWIU's annual meeting in Anaheim, Calif. on May 20. This award recognizes leading female scientists for outstanding contributions to the field of urology.

"Having your work recognized by your scientific peers is the highest honor an investigator can receive," said Ho. "I am proud to accept this award on behalf of all the fabulous women leaders in the field of urology and in science."

Ho was unanimously chosen for this award in recognition of her research in hormonal carcinogenesis. An expert in the field, she has studied the role of hormones and endocrine disruptors in breast, ovarian, endometrial and prostate cancer. In a study( Exit NIEHS published in the June 2006 issue of the journal Cancer Research, Ho reported the first evidence of a direct link between developmental exposure to estrogens and prostate cancer in adulthood.

In this study, Ho and her colleagues at the University of Illinois at Chicago found that prenatal exposure to low, environmentally relevant doses of estradiol, the estrogen naturally found in humans, and bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical found in many types of plastic, can make the prostate more susceptible to precancerous lesions in adulthood.

Chair of the Department of Environmental Health at the University of Cincinnati Medical School, Ho has published over 120 scientific articles in peer-reviewed publications. She served as president of the Society of Basic Urology Research (2005-2006) and has served on the NTP Scientific Council for three years. She holds more than $5 million in research grants from the NIEHS, where she has been a grantee for the past three years, National Cancer Institute, Department of Defense, and National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders.

Under an NIEHS grant Iwasaspan, Ho is studying how prenatal estrogen exposure can cause permanent changes in gene expression that in turn increase the rate of uterine tumorigenesis in mice.

Ho also holds an Extramural Center GrantIwasaspan from the NIEHS as the director of the University of Cincinnati Center for Environmental Genetics (CEG)( Exit NIEHS, which has generated over 400 publications. The CEG promotes integrative research between basic and applied scientists and the translation of that knowledge into clinical practice. It supports both pilot projects and existing research that focus on the interaction between genetics and the environment.

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