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Yale Postdoc Honored for Best Publication

By Eddy Ball
April 2010

Bret Bessac, Ph.D.
Bret Bessac, Ph.D., is a part of a national research effort to discover clinical applications for counteracting the effects of noxious agents released in industrial accidents, terrorist attacks, and chemical warfare. (Photo courtesy of Ed Kang)

Sven-Eric Jordt, Ph.D.
In 2007, Jordt, shown during a visit to NIEHS in February 2009 (see story(, became the first NIEHS grantee honored with one of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (see story( (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

A Yale postdoctoral fellow supported by NIEHS was one of three young scientists honored for Best Postdoctoral Publications at the annual meeting of the Society of Toxicology (SOT) in Salt Lake City March 7-11. SOT recognized Bret Bessac, Ph.D., first author on the 2009 The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology's FASEB Journal paper( Exit NIEHS "Transient Receptor Potential Ankyrin 1 Antagonists Block the Noxious Effects of Toxic Industrial Isocyanates and Tear Gases."

Bessac is one of what is known around the Yale Department of Pharmacology as a Jordtian - a member of the lab headed by NIEHS Outstanding New Environmental Scientist (ONES) awardee Sven-Eric Jordt, Ph.D. (see story(, who is also the principal investigator on a grant through the NIH CounterACT Program. Bessac's award-winning paper received support from both of the grants.

Bessac was first author on two other papers supported by Jordt's ONES and CounterAct funding. In 2008, he and his coauthors published "TRPA1 Is a Major Oxidant Sensor in Murine Airway Sensory Neurons"( Exit NIEHS in the Journal of Clinical Investigation and "Breathtaking TRP Channels: TRPA1 and TRPV1 in Airway Chemosensation and Reflex Control"( Exit NIEHS in Physiology. He was also an author on the Jordt group's ground-breaking 2009 paper, "A Sensory Neuronal Ion Channel Essential for Airway Inflammation and Hyperreactivity in Asthma,"( Exit NIEHS published in the Proceedings of the National  Academy of Sciences USA.

Jordt's grants are administered by NIEHS Health Science Administrators Annette Kirshner, Ph.D., and Elizabeth Maull, Ph.D.

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