The Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology (CEET) has established a Mentored Scientist Transition Award for all Junior Faculty (research track or tenure track Assistant Professors) who are receiving mentorship within their department, center or institute. Eligible applicants must plan to develop an independent research program in any area of environmental health science (EHS), for example, molecular and population based epidemiology, epigenetics, gene-environment interactions, lung and airway disease, and disruption of reproduction endocrinology and development with an emphasis on exposure to foreign chemicals, pollutants and toxicants etc). In addition, applicants who propose to use/or develop new methods to study exposure biology using biosensors, biomarkers, bioinformatics, and routes of exposure using cartographic and GIS modeling tools are encouraged to apply.
Applicants are asked to submit a 10-page proposal. The application must include: (a) Title of the Application; (b) personal information (name, position, title, affiliation, and contact information); (c) two-page NIH biosketch; (d) list of current and pending grant support; (e) an abstract: (f) a statement on how this project may lead to extramural funding in EHS; (g) specific aims; (h) significance which must state the relevance to environmental health or toxicological research; (i) preliminary studies; (j) methods; (k) references; and (l) justified budget. The references and budget are not counted towards the page limitation.
The applicant must identify the environmental exposure under study and a route to independent funding from NIEHS e.g. K03, K08, R21, RO1, ONES award or other mechanism. The application must include a letter of support from a mentor, a mentorship plan and a time-line for a grant application to NIEHS. The mentor must also include a copy of their current and pending grant support and for research track faculty clearly state why the research proposed is independent of their main research projects.
Applicants can request up to $50,000 per year for up to two years. Funding for the second year is contingent on progress achieved in the first year. Salary support for the junior faculty member is allowable.
Applications are accepted at any time, with availability of funding, and can be submitted in PDF format to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please check availability of funds before you begin to work on the application. Please email Mary Webster with any questions.
There are no deadlines for this application. However, a letter-of-inquiry is required before proceeding with the application and should be submitted 6 weeks before submitting the application. The purpose of the letter is provide a title of the application the applicant and and mentor names and to determine the availability of funding from the CEET. We anticipate making at least two awards annually, where the CEET fiscal year runs from April 1 to March 31.
Congratulations to our newest Mentored Scientist Transition Award recipient!
My research program focuses on identifying the molecular mechanisms responsible for developmental programming of diabetes and obesity in offspring exposed to an altered intrauterine milieu. It is within this context that I am studying how exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) in utero synergizes with the aberrant intrauterine milieu associated with maternal diabetes and obesity to affect fetal growth and development. I am currently investigating how in utero exposures to environmental toxins such as bisphenol-A (BPA) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) contribute to the development of diabetes and obesity in the offspring later in life. In one project, we measured concentrations of bisphenol A (BPA) in second trimester human amniotic fluid and found that low-level amniotic fluid BPA concentrations are associated with decreased birth weight. We will be examining the relationship between amniotic fluid BPA concentrations and genome wide DNA methylation patterns and gene expression profiles measured using RNA-Seq in corresponding amniocytes, a fetal-derived cell with stem cell properties. We hypothesize that fetal in utero exposure to BPA leads to increased markers of oxidative stress and other metabolic profile changes that result in alterations in levels of metabolic co-factors that are key components to the epigenetic regulation of gene expression. In a second project we are investigating how the lipotoxic environment of the human fetal liver exposed to maternal obesity potentiates the hepatic toxic effects of PFOA and PFOS, thus resulting in enhancement of hepatic de novo lipogenesis. The CEET Mentored Scientist Training Award will allow me to develop comprehensive approaches for integrating environmental health sciences (EHS) with basic, clinical, and computational biology, and public health research. My career development plan is to develop partnerships with experts in the field of EHS, thus gaining skills needed to integrate early life environmental exposures into my research on the developmental origins of diabetes and obesity.
Christopher Winterbottom, MD
My career goal is to become an independent clinical investigator with a focus on interstitial lung diseases including idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), and the role that oxidative stress, including that caused by ambient particulate matter and other environmental pollutants, may play in its pathogenesis. The proposed research study aims to characterize the inflammatory response in subjects with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis when challenged with diesel exhaust-induced oxidative stress. As a pulmonary and critical care fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, I have had extensive clinical experience in pulmonary and critical care medicine, including the care of a number of patients with IPF. This experience resulted in an appreciation for the challenges in caring for patients with such a poorly understood disease with such limited treatment options, and promoted a desire to pursue clinical research to further understand the pathogenesis of inflammatory lung diseases. My enrollment in the Master’s of Science in Clinical Epidemiology degree program at Penn has provided me with advanced training in epidemiologic and biostatistical methods, experience with protocol development and database management, and outstanding mentorship. These skills place me in an excellent position to work towards my career goals.
Rebecca Ashare, PhD
Dr. Ashare was recently appointed Research Assistant Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research focuses on evaluating biological, cognitive, and psychological risk factors associated with smoking behavior to develop more effective treatments for nicotine dependence.