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Environmental Factor, January 2015

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ONES awardee honored by Society of Toxicology

By Eddy Ball

Vishal Vaidya, Ph.D.

NIEHS supports Vaidya’s research on fibrinogen signaling in kidney tissue repair. (Photo courtesy of Vishal Vaidya)

54th Annual Meeting and ToxExpo flyer

NIEHS grantee Vishal Vaidya, Ph.D., will receive the 2015 Achievement Award from the Society of Toxicology (SOT), in recognition of his significant early-career contributions to the field.

The award consists of a plaque and a $2,000 cash stipend to be presented at the SOT Annual Meeting Awards Ceremony March 22, 2015, in San Diego. It recognizes outstanding toxicologists who are fewer than 15 years into their careers since completing their highest awarded degree.

“Your selection as the 2015 Achievement Award recipient is a well‐deserved honor in recognition of your significant achievements,” wrote chair of the SOT Awards Committee Barbara Beck, Ph.D., in her Oct. 28 letter of congratulations.

Outstanding New Environmental Scientist (ONES) awardee

A specialist in kidney biology and systems toxicology, Vaidya has faculty appointments at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, where he directs the Laboratory of Kidney Toxicology and Regeneration; at Harvard Medical School, where he heads the Systems Toxicology Program within the Harvard Program in Therapeutic Sciences; at Harvard School of Public Health, where he directs the 5-credit graduate level course Principles of Toxicology-Molecular and Translational Toxicology every fall; and at the Harvard Clinical and Translational Science Center, where every spring he directs the course Understanding Biomarker Science: From Molecules to Images.

His laboratory uses cellular systems, mouse models, and human biospecimens, and applies methodologies at the interface of cell and molecular biology, systems pharmacology, and translational science in understanding kidney disease.

In recognition of his early-career potential, Vaidya received a 5-year ONES award in 2012, joining six other young researchers who shared approximately $4 million in grant awards made that year (see story). Prior to his ONES award, Vaidya was the recipient of an NIH Pathway to Independence Award, from NIEHS, in 2009 (see story).

Vaidya was also a summer intern at NIEHS during graduate school. He completed postdoctoral training in the renal division of Brigham and Women's Hospital, supported by a grant from the National Kidney Foundation in 2005, prior to his faculty appointments at Harvard.

Honoring toxicology’s best and brightest

In addition to his SOT Achievement Award, one of the society’s highest honors, Vaidya was selected for the SOT American Scientist of Indian Origin Young Investigator Award in 2012 and the Leading Edge in Basic Science Award in 2014. In 2013, he was one of just six scientists to receive the coveted Burroughs Wellcome Fund Innovation in Regulatory Science Award, which provides up to $500,000 over five years to support innovative research in regulatory science (see story).

SOT has presented the Achievement Award nearly every year since 1967. Vaidya joins a number of other outstanding young scientists with NIEHS ties who have received the award, including former NTP toxicologist Michael Waalkes, Ph.D.; 2006 ONES awardee Donna Zhang, Ph.D.; and veteran grantees Kenneth Ramos, M.D., Ph.D.; Martin Philbert, Ph.D.; Ivan Rusyn, M.D., Ph.D.; and Gary Miller, Ph.D.

Also honored by SOT

• University of Arizona research associate John Clarke, Ph.D., with a 2015 Best Postdoctoral Publication Award for NIEHS-funded research — Clarke JD, Hardwick RN, Lake AD, Lickteig AJ, Goedken MJ, Klaassen CD, Cherrington NJ. 2014. Synergistic interaction between genetics and disease on pravastatin disposition. J Hepatol 61(1):139-47.

• Professor and member of the NIEHS-funded Superfund Research Program at Duke University Theodore Slotkin, Ph.D., with the 2015 SOT Education Award

• Professor Emeritus Gunter Oberdorster, D.V.M., Ph.D., of the University Rochester’s NIEHS-funded Ph.D. program in toxicology, with the 2015 SOT Merit Award

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