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Environmental Factor, May 2014

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SOT honors NTP and NIEHS researchers

By Shannon Whirledge

Salik Hussain, D.V.M., Ph.D.

Hussain is a visiting fellow with the NIEHS Office of Clinical Research. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

The 53rd annual meeting of the Society of Toxicology (SOT) provided an opportunity for NIEHS and NTP scientists to showcase their research to a global audience (see story). As in years past, at the annual conference March 23-27 in Phoenix, SOT specialty sections honored the outstanding work of trainees and researchers, through awards for outstanding achievement within each specialty.

Excellent training

Several awardees credited their achievements to their exceptional training at NIEHS and NTP. “NIEHS and NTP have been a huge part of my training,” said Rachel Goldsmith, Ph.D.

Katie Pelch, Ph.D., agreed. “Training here at NIEHS has been great, because I've been able to interact with, and collaborate with, so many different people studying many diverse topics,” she said. “The research for which I won the award is definitely different than what I had previously studied, but it has been a good opportunity for me.”

Expert mentorship

In addition to institutional support, mentors also received warm thanks. Salik Hussain, D.V.M., Ph.D., said his mentor, Stavros Garantziotis, M.D., has been tremendously supportive, allowing him to ask novel research questions. “Stavros has always encouraged me to develop autonomy and scientific rigor,” he said. “He also provided me with multiple opportunities to lead projects and train post-baccalaureate students, to polish my skills as an independent investigator.”

Goldsmith also acknowledged the guidance of her mentor. “Jonathan Freedman, Ph.D., provided the ideal combination of support and independence, making it possible for me to be successful in my postdoc,” she said.

Opportunities for collaboration

Collaborative opportunities further enhance the experience of trainees and researchers at NIEHS and NTP. “Here at the NIEHS, my mentor, Barry McIntyre [Ph.D.] has encouraged me to build upon my background in nanotoxicology by working with Nigel Walker [Ph.D.] on NTP projects involving nanomaterials,” said Brian Sayers, Ph.D. “Recognizing the need to broaden my expertise, both have ensured that I have the opportunity to work on other projects.”

Kembra Howdeshell, Ph.D., a health scientist with NTP, was selected out of a pool of 60 as the recipient of an abstract award. Her publication represented data obtained through collaboration between EPA and NIEHS to evaluate the developmental effects of in utero exposure of different phthalate mixtures on the male reproductive tract. Cynthia Rider, Ph.D., also of NTP, was a coauthor on the paper and worked on mathematical modelling of chemical mixtures for the study.

(Shannon Whirledge, Ph.D., is an Intramural Research Training Award (IRTA) fellow in the NIEHS Laboratory of Signal Transduction.)

Cythina Rider, Ph.D. and Kembra Howdeshell, Ph.D.

Howdeshell, right, is a health scientist in the OHAT. Rider is a toxicologist in the NTP Toxicology Branch. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Rachel Goldsmith, Ph.D.

Goldsmith is an IRTA fellow in the NTP Biomolecular Screening Branch. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Brian Sayers, Ph.D.

Sayers is an IRTA fellow in the NTP Toxicology Branch. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Olive Ngalame, Ph.D.

Ngalame is a postdoctoral fellow with the NTP Inorganic Toxicology Group. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Katie Pelch, Ph.D.

Pelch is an IRTA fellow in the NTP Office of Health Assessment and Translation (OHAT) and in the Inorganic Toxicology Group. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

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