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Environmental Factor

Environmental Factor

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September 2016

Tenure means commitment to the future for two NIEHS scientists

Two NIEHS researchers, Guang Hu, Ph.D., and Scott Williams, Ph.D., were awarded tenure Aug. 1 by the National Institutes of Health.

NIEHS has two new tenured researchers — Guang Hu, Ph.D., head of the Stem Cell Biology Group, and Scott Williams, Ph.D., head of the Genome Stability Structural Biology Group. Both were awarded tenure Aug. 1 by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Hu’s stem cell work critical to lab success

Hu uses stem cells to study the molecular basis for the structure and function of cells as they differentiate into different cell types during early development. Stem cells are useful in disease modeling, drug discovery, regenerative medicine, toxicity testing, and environmental health studies.

“Guang is the leading stem cell biologist at NIEHS and a critical member of the Epigenetics and Stem Cell Biology Laboratory,” said Trevor Archer, Ph.D., head of the lab. “He was unanimously granted tenure at the NIH for his groundbreaking work, and we are thrilled to have him.”

“Tenure means that I will be able to continue doing what I love — working with other NIEHS scientists in a stimulating, collegial, and supportive research environment,” said Hu. Evidence of his enthusiasm for mentoring can be seen in the recognition his trainees have received, including a Pathway to Independence award and three NIH Fellows Awards for Research Excellence (FARE).

“I especially appreciate all the mentoring, guidance, support, and help from my branch chief, Dr. Archer, and other senior investigators, colleagues, and the NIEHS leadership.”

Hu earned his Ph.D. in 2003 at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas. He was a Helen Hay Whitney Foundation fellow and completed his postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School, before joining NIEHS in 2009.

Williams studies DNA repair and genome integrity

The research Williams conducts addresses fundamental questions of how DNA strand breaks are recognized and repaired. He studies how DNA repair processes are affected in inherited neurological diseases and how these repair processes can be targeted for tailored cancer interventions.

“Scott is an outstanding scientist who has made seminal contributions to our knowledge of DNA repair and genome integrity,” said Bill Copeland, Ph.D., head of the Genome Integrity and Structural Biology Laboratory. “We are honored to welcome him as a tenured senior investigator.”

Williams praised the support he has received from the NIEHS community for the work that led to tenure. “I’ve been able to work for the last six and a half years with a dedicated team of gifted young scientists, as well as with international leaders in genome stability research,” he said. “Tenure is a genuine commitment to my research, and I’m very grateful.”

Since his arrival at NIEHS in 2009, four papers from his group have been selected as NIEHS papers of the year, and Williams received the NIEHS Early Career Award in 2011. Trainees that he mentored have received numerous awards, including three FARE awards in the last five years.

Williams earned his Ph.D. in biochemistry in 2003 from the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, and completed his postdoctoral training at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California before joining NIEHS. He holds a secondary appointment in the NIEHS Signal Transduction Laboratory.

(John Yewell is a contract writer for the NIEHS Office of Communications and Public Liaison.)


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