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Environmental Factor

March 2011

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Ron Mason honored by international scientific development group

By Eddy Ball
March 2011

NIEHS Principal Investigator Ron Mason, Ph.D.

Mason is a productive investigator who has published more than 350 peer-reviewed articles. He joined NIEHS in 1978. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

NIEHS Principal Investigator Ron Mason, Ph.D., has been honored once again for his outstanding contributions to the field of electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR), which is also known as electron spin resonance (ESR).

In his announcement of Mason's selection as 2011 Gold Medal winner Feb. 7, International EPR (ESR) Society (IES)( Exit NIEHS President Jack Freed, Ph.D., noted Mason's "long career with interests spanning physical chemistry through to medicine" and singled out his "pioneering work in the use of spin traps in vivo and methods for ascertaining true radical formation." The Gold Medal is the society's highest award.

EPR/ESR is a sophisticated spectroscopic technique that detects free radicals in chemical and biological systems. Mason is a physical chemist who heads the Free Radical Metabolism Group in the NIEHS Laboratory of Toxicology and Pharmacology.

Mason's group uses EPR/ESR and the immuno-spin trapping technique developed by his group in 2006 to detect and identify free radical metabolism of toxic chemicals, drugs, and biochemicals to unravel the molecular mechanisms that lead to oxidative stress and development of disease. The group has also become interested in determining measurable, sensitive and specific biomarkers for oxidative damage in rodents and humans.

The Gold Medal is the latest in a long list of awards for Mason's work. He was honored in 2010 by the Electron Spin Resonance Spectroscopy Group of the Royal Society of Chemistry with the 25th Annual Bruker Prize for his "major contribution to the field of ESR spectroscopy" (see story( He received the 2007 Senior Investigator Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society for Free Radical Biology and Medicine. In 2006, Mason was selected as NIEHS Scientist of the Year and, in 2008, as Mentor of the Year.

According to its Web site, IES has been an internationally active group since its inception in 1989. The Society strives to stimulate scientific development of EPR/ESR, facilitate communication among researchers, and encourage the use of the techniques across a wide variety of research fields.

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