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Environmental Factor, November 2014

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NIEHS scientists participate in 2014 NIH Research Festival

By Eddy Ball

Headshot of Qingshan Wang

Wang won FARE awards the last three years. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Headshot of Nicol

Nicol was selected for a Women Scientist Advisors Committee Scholar Award from this year’s pool of 113 women scientist FARE winners. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Despite continuing limitations on travel, several NIEHS and National Toxicology Program scientists and trainees were on hand for the 2014 NIH Research Festival Sept. 22-24 in Bethesda, Maryland. In line with the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies Initiative launched in 2013, the Research Festival was organized around the theme, “The Era of the Brain.”

In addition to talks and posters by institute scientists, the 17 NIEHS trainees who won the 2015 Fellows Award for Research Excellence (FARE) travel awards (see story) were recognized Sept. 22 during the opening plenary session.

Two NIEHS FARE winners received special recognition at the festival — Barbara Nicol, Ph.D., winner of one of just three Women Scientist Advisors Committee Scholar Awards presented this year (see story), and three-time FARE winner Qingshan Wang, M.D., who made a 20-minute oral presentation on his award-winning research, as part of the Sept. 23 concurrent symposia session, “Glia: A New Frontier.”

“I congratulate Barbara and Qingshan for this recognition of their excellent work,” said William Schrader, Ph.D., NIEHS deputy scientific director and training director. “They received special travel awards from the NIEHS Office of the Scientific Director, so they can use their FARE travel awards for other professional development opportunities.”

On the agenda

Oral presentations by NIEHS scientists:

  • During the glia session, Wang discussed the study he conducted with mentor John Hong, Ph.D., “A novel therapeutic strategy for Parkinson’s disease by inhibiting microglial NADPH oxidase.”
  • Also speaking in the glia session, National Toxicology Program neurobiologist and  lead researcher Jean Harry, Ph.D., explored “Microglia involvement in environmentally-induced neuronal death and stimulation of hippocampal neural progenitor cells.”
  • The “Stem Cells in Development and Diseases” concurrent symposia session featured a talk by lead researcher Guang Hu, Ph.D., “Transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation of embryonic stem cell self-renewal.”

Poster presentations of NIEHS research:

  • Nicol’s award-winning study, “Sox9/β-catenin Double Knockout Mice Uncover a New Paradigm in Testis Differentiation” co-authored with mentor and lead researcher Humphrey Yao, Ph.D.
  • A study, “Exposure to Indoor Allergens in Relation to Asthma: Results From the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)” by a team of respiratory biologists led by NIEHS Scientific Director Darryl Zeldin, M.D., and epidemiologist Paivi Salo, Ph.D.
  • Two theoretical studies led by biostatistician and lead researcher Shyamal Peddada, Ph.D. — “Modeling Fine Particulate Matter Along the Gulf Coast From the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, “ with co-author and postdoctoral fellow Casey Jelsema, Ph.D., who attended the festival; and “Analysis of Composition of Microbiomes (ANCOM): A Novel Method for Studying Microbial Composition” with a team of researchers from several institutions.

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