John Essigmann - Students recognized for environmental health research

Grads and postdocs presented work at poster session held by Center for Environmental Health Sciences

May 21, 2013

The Center for Environmental Health Sciences (CEHS) at MIT held its annual poster session on May 10 at Morss Hall. More than 70 posters presented from the science and engineering laboratories affiliated with the Center, highlighting the work of the environmental health research communities of MIT and sister institutions.

Marcus Parrish of Professor Bevin P. Engelward’s lab won first place in the graduate student category. Marcus presented his work on “Investigation into the Role of DNA Damage and Repair during Influenza Infection.” Anthony Soltis of Professor Ernest Fraenkel’s lab and Fabio Caiazzo of Professor Steven Barrett’s lab tied for second place. Anthony presented his work on “Integrated Systems Analysis of High-fat Diet Induced Hepatic Dysregulation.” Fabio presented his work on “Air Pollution and Early Deaths in the United States: Quantifying the Impacts of Major Sectors in 2005.”

There was also a tie for third place. Bridget Wall of Professor Jacquin Niles’ lab presented her work on “Leveraging Defective DNA Repair in Plasmodium falciparum to Develop a Mutator Strain.” Jun Jie Ian Tay of Professor Bevin P. Engelward’s lab presented “Application of a High-throughput DNA Damage and Repair Platform in a Screen for Genes that Modulates Repair.”

In the postdoctoral scholar category, first place went to Bogdan Fedeles of Professor John M. Essigmann’s lab, for “Mapping the Road from Chronic Inflammation to Cancer: the Mutagenic Properties of the Inflammation Biomarker 5-chloro-deoxycytosine Revealed by a Multidisciplinary Study.” Second place went to Zachary Nagel of Professor Leona D. Samson’s lab, who showed his research on “High-throughput Assay to Assess the Global DNA Repair Capacity of Human Cells.”

Tied for third place were Stephanie E. Woods from the James G. Fox lab, who presented her work on “Laser-assisted Zona Drilling Improves in Vitro Fertilization using Fresh and Frozen Spermatozoa and Enables Efficient Recovery of Genetically Modified C57BL/6 Mouse Lines with Low Fertility”; and Nicole M. Iverson of professors John M. Essigmann and Gerald N. Wogan’s labs, who showed her work on “In Vivo Utilization of Near Infrared Fluorescent Single Walled Carbon Nanotubes as Tissue Localizable Biosensors.”

This year’s CEHS cash prizes were split into two categories: graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. For each category, the prize for first place was $500, second place prize was $100, and the third-place prize consisted of CEHS memorabilia. The cash prizes were made possible by the Myriam Marcelle Znaty Research Fund, which was established nearly 30 years ago to support the research of young scientists at MIT. 

CEHS studies the biological effects of exposure to environmental agents in order to understand, and predict, how such exposures affect human health. To that end, the center brings together 35 MIT faculty members from a total of seven MIT departments (in both the School of Science and the School of Engineering) plus four Harvard faculty members; from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and the Harvard Medical School affiliated hospitals (Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital).