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Environmental Factor, February 2012

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Prins honored by University of Illinois at Chicago

By Eddy Ball

Gail Prins, Ph.D.

Prins is shown during a 2010 presentation at NIEHS. She also presented at the BPA grantee meeting in January. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

NIEHS grantee Gail Prins, Ph.D., is one of three researchers who are winners of 2011 Researcher of the Year awards at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). These awards recognize the efforts and commitment of researchers who have demonstrated outstanding research achievements to advance the knowledge in their field of expertise.

The UIC Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research honored Prins for her internationally recognized leadership in prostate cancer research, particularly her research on the effects of early exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) on prostate development and risk of prostate cancer, which has advanced the field and directly influenced public policy. Prins and her co-winners will each receive a one-time $5,000 prize and a commemorative award at a ceremony Feb. 8 in Chicago.

Prins is a professor of urology and physiology, as well as director of the Andrology Laboratory at UIC. Her lab is accredited under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments and CAP / COLA certified. Prins is a reproductive biologist and a longtime NIEHS grantee. She currently has funding from three NIEHS grants to examine prostate carcinogenesis triggered by early and chronic exposures to estrogens and endocrine disrupting chemicals.

Prins is part of the NIEHS BPA consortium led by Jerry Heindel, Ph.D., a program administrator in the extramural division at NIEHS. “Gail richly deserves this recognition,” Heindel said of the award. “Her research is uncovering mechanisms responsible for prostate cancer that are rooted in exposure to endocrine disrupting compounds within critical windows of susceptibility during development, which will help inform strategies for primary and secondary prevention.”

According to its award website, UIC is one of only 108 Carnegie classified research universities with very high research activity in the U.S., and one of but four Illinois universities to be honored with this distinction. Along with Prins, UIC honored physicist Cecilia Gerber, Ph.D., for her leading role in the discovery of the single top quark production by an international collaboration at Fermilab, and gerontologist Susan Hughes, Ph.D., for scholarship that has significantly contributed to understanding the role of exercise in the lives of older adults.

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