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Environmental Factor

Environmental Factor

Your Online Source for NIEHS News

August 2019

NIEHS fellows continue success in FARE awards

The institute's emphasis on clear scientific communication is helping fellows win recognition.

Winners of the 2020 NIH Fellows Award for Research Excellence (FARE) have been announced, and that means good news for the NIEHS community. This year, 23 of 234 FARE winners are from NIEHS. The award program began in 1995 to celebrate the best scientific research by fellows at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

A select group

The institute has achieved similar success in previous years, but that makes its latest accomplishment no less remarkable. “It reflects the strength of our research and the fact that we have such outstanding fellows here at NIEHS,” said Tammy Collins, Ph.D., director of the NIEHS Office of Fellows’ Career Development.

Tammy Collins, Ph.D., NIEHS Collins has been a big supporter of scientists honing communications skills. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Each year, FARE hopefuls submit abstracts describing their work, which then are judged by the previous year’s winners. Authors of abstracts that are scored in the top 25 percent take home awards. And they receive much more than a plaque. Each winner earns a $1,500 stipend to attend a scientific meeting and present his or her research. Some will be selected to present their work at the NIH Research Festival in Bethesda, Maryland, on September 11.

Six of the 2020 awardees are repeat winners: Yi Fang, Ph.D.; Wan-Chi Lin, Ph.D.; Prashant Rai, Ph.D.; Chunfang Gu, Ph.D.; Daisy Lo, Ph.D.; and Monica Pillon, Ph.D.

Making science understandable

Collins attributed much of the NIEHS fellows’ success to communication skills. “NIEHS has really been ramping up the importance of being able to communicate your science to a general audience,” she said. “You have to be concise and submit an abstract that effectively and clearly tells people what the research is about, in a way that they can understand.”

That emphasis on communication is helping trainees connect with more people — and receive more recognition. Three 2020 FARE winners — Bevin Blake, Chitrangda Srivastava, Ph.D., and Dhirendra Kumar, Ph.D. — have won the NIEHS Big Picture, Small Talk Communication Challenge. In that challenge, NIEHS trainees are given three minutes to discuss their work in clear language.

Blake is a predoctoral researcher in the National Toxicology Program’s Reproductive Endocrinology Group, led by Sue Fenton, Ph.D. Srivastava is a visiting postdoctoral fellow in the Cell Biology Group, led by Anton Jetten, Ph.D. Kumar is a visiting fellow in the Systems Biology Group, led by Raja Jothi, Ph.D.

Twenty-two of the 23 winners are shown in the slideshow below, along with their mentors and research title. Not shown is Angelico Mendy, M.D., Ph.D., who was mentored by Darryl Zeldin, M.D. Mendy’s abstract was titled “Association of Urinary Levels of Bisphenols F and S Used as Bisphenol A Substitutes with Asthma Outcomes.”

FARE applications are accepted every year in February and March. The rules and regulations are available at the NIH Office of Intramural Training and Development FARE website.

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

Bevin Blake Bevin Blake, mentored by Sue Fenton, Ph.D. — “Gestational Exposure to the Perfluorooctanoic Acid Replacement, GenX, Induces Adverse Responses in Maternal Weight Gain and Placental Health in CD-1 Mice.”
Qing Chen, Ph.D. Qing Chen, Ph.D., mentored by Guang Hu, Ph.D. — “Post-Transcriptional Control of Mouse Embryonic Stem Cell Maintenance by Ccr4-Not Complex.”
Alicia Chi, Ph.D. Alicia Chi, Ph.D., mentored by Francesco Demayo, Ph.D. — “WNK1 in the Uterus: A Previously Undescribed Role in Mediating Implantation.”
Irina Evsyukova, Ph.D. Irina Evsyukova, Ph.D., mentored by Patricia Jensen, Ph.D. — “Developmental Disruption of Locus Coeruleus-Norepinephrine Signaling Results in Male-Specific Behavioral Phenotypes Relevant to Neurodevelopmental Disorders.”
Wei Fan, Ph.D. Wei Fan, Ph.D., mentored by Xiaoling Li, Ph.D. — “The Role of SIRT1 in Regulating Embryonic Stem Cell Sphingolipid Metabolism and Neural Development.”
Yi Fang, Ph.D. Yi Fang, Ph.D., mentored by Xiaoling Li, Ph.D. — “Histone Crotonylation Promotes Endodermal Commitment of Pluripotent Embryonic Stem Cells.”
Symielle Gaston, Ph.D. Symielle Gaston, Ph.D., mentored by Chandra Jackson, Ph.D. — “Childhood Chemical Hair Product Usage and Early Menarche among African-American Women.”
Chunfang Gu, Ph.D. Chunfang Gu, Ph.D., mentored by Stephen Shears, Ph.D. — “Understanding the Health Benefits of Quercetin and Other Dietary Flavonoids: Selective Inhibition of an Inositol Polyphosphate Kinase.”
Dhirendra Kumar, Ph.D. Dhirendra Kumar, Ph.D., mentored by Raja Jothi, Ph.D. — “ProteoGE: A Proteogenomic Tool for Integrating Proteomic, Genomic and Epigenomic Data to Discover Novel Protein-coding Genes.”
Xingyao Li, Ph.D. Xingyao Li, Ph.D., mentored by Stephen Shears, Ph.D. — “Signal transduction and Nutrient Balance: Regulation by Inositol Pyrophosphates of the Cellular Transport of Inorganic Phosphate.”
Wan-Chi Lin, Ph.D. Wan-Chi Lin, Ph.D., mentored by Michael Fessler, M.D. — “Epithelial Membrane Protein 2 Is Required for Fibrosis and Tissue Remodeling in the Lung.”
Jingli Liu, Ph.D. Jingli Liu, Ph.D., mentored by Darlene Dixon, D.V.M., Ph.D. — “A Nongenomic Mechanism for ‘Metalloestrogenic’ Effects of Cadmium in Human Uterine Leiomyoma Cells through G Protein-coupled Estrogen Receptor.”
Daisy Lo, Ph.D. Daisy Lo, Ph.D., mentored by Robin Stanley, Ph.D. — “Unraveling the Mechanism of Substrate Processing by the AAA-ATPase Rix7.”
Kathleen McCann, Ph.D. Kathleen McCann, Ph.D., mentored by Traci Hall, Ph.D. — “H/ACA snoRNAs Are Determinants of Stem Cell Homeostasis.”
Monica Pillon, Ph.D. Monica Pillon, Ph.D., mentored by Robin Stanley, Ph.D. — “Structural Basis for Active Site Coordination Within a Multienzyme pre-rRNA Processing Complex.”
Prashant Rai, Ph.D. Prashant Rai, Ph.D., mentored by Michael Fessler, M.D. — “Chronic Type I Interferon Excess Disrupts Tissue Macrophage Homeostasis In Vivo.”
Yun-Gil Roh, Ph.D. Yun-Gil Roh, Ph.D., mentored by Anton Jetten, Ph.D. — “GLIS2 Causes Kidney Fibrosis through Transcriptional Regulation of Cell Migration- and Immune Cell Recruitment-related Genes.”
Chitrangda Srivastava, Ph.D. Chitrangda Srivastava, Ph.D., mentored by Anton Jetten, Ph.D. — “The Transcriptional Mediator JAZF1 Plays a Critical Role in Regulating Metabolic Syndrome and Adipocyte Differentiation.”
Zhenzhen Wang, Ph.D. Zhenzhen Wang, Ph.D., mentored by Stephen Shears, Ph.D. — “Design and Application of LED-activated, Thermolabile Lipid Nanocarriers for Delivery of Polyphosphate Cell-Signals into Cell Cytoplasm.”
Hongyao Yu, Ph.D. Hongyao Yu, Ph.D., mentored by Guang Hu, Ph.D. — “INO80 Regulates Chromatin Landscape and Transcription to Maintain the Primed Pluripotent State.”
Fei Zhao, Ph.D. Fei Zhao, Ph.D., mentored by Humphrey Yao, Ph.D. — “The Remain of the Male: Unexpected Contribution of the Male Tract Mesenchyme to the Female Reproductive Tract.”
Jingheng Zhou, Ph.D. Jingheng Zhou, Ph.D., mentored by Guohong Cui, M.D., Ph.D. — “Silencing Dopamine Neurons During Sleep as a Potential Therapeutic Strategy for Parkinson’s Disease.”

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