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Environmental Factor, March 2012

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Grantee and two trainees named science communication fellows

By Eddy Ball

Environmental Health Sciences logo
Portrait of Virginia Guidry, Ph.D

UNC postdoctoral fellow Virginia Guidry (Photo courtesy of UNC)

Three of the ten 2012 Science Communication Fellows announced Feb. 15 by Environmental Health Sciences (EHS) are receiving training or research support from NIEHS.

Like their predecessors, this year's fellows will spend the next year honing their communication skills and learning effective ways to inform journalists and the public about new research findings in environmental health and green chemistry. Their training begins with a conference March 8-10 in Washington, DC.

A number of NIEHS-supported scientists, including several Outstanding New Environmental Scientist awardees, have completed Science Communication Fellowships since EHS created the program in 2007. EHS and Advancing Green Chemistry (AGC) sponsor the fellowships. EHS publishes the online news sources, Environmental Health News and The Daily Climate. AGC publishes chemistry updates online.

According to EHS, the yearlong part-time training is designed to polish science communication skills, and prepare researchers for talking to reporters and the public about scientific topics. The fellows work with editors and writing staff at EHS to produce original research reviews and commentaries on media coverage. The program is unique because it involves scientists who identify findings that shed light on links among the environment, human health, and chemistry.

The following 2012 Science Communication Fellows have ties to NIEHS:

  • Virginia Guidry, Ph.D. — Guidry is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill, who also received predoctoral support from an NIEHS training grant. A winner of a 2011 UNC Impact Award, Guidry studies the health impacts of air pollution from industrial livestock production while working with communities to conduct research and emphasize environmental justice. She is currently collaborating with science classes to examine asthma-related outcomes in children attending middle schools near industrial swine and poultry operations.

  • Cheryl Stein, Ph.D. — Stein is an assistant professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. She is an epidemiologist primarily researching the effects of exposure to environmental chemicals on pregnancy health and later child cognitive and behavioral development. She is the lead on two NIEHS researcher-initiated grants.

  • Jennifer T. Wolstenholme, Ph.D. — Wolstenholme is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. Her research with mice investigates changes in social behavior and associated differences in gene expression in the brain following exposure to chemicals in plastics – specifically BPA. She examines the epigenetic modifications that may regulate these neurological changes to understand how some of these behaviors can be passed on to unexposed descendants. In addition, she plans to explore the individual differences that make some resilient to the exposures while others are susceptible.

Jennifer T. Wolstenholme, Ph.D.,

UVA postdoctoral fellow Jennifer Wolstenholme (Photo courtesy of Jennifer Wolstenholme)

Cheryl Stein, Ph.D.

NYU Assistant Professor Cheryl Stein (Photo courtesy of Cheryl Stein)

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