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NIA and NIEHS intramural researchers team up for joint fellowships

Earlier this summer, the NIA and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) announced the winners of a new joint research fellowship designed to enhance collaboration among intramural research program (IRP) scientists at the two Institutes.

NIA Scientific Director Dr. Luigi Ferrucci and Dr. Darryl C. Zeldin, NIEHS Scientific Director, announced the three winning teams on June 12. The proposals were judged based on scientific merit, innovation, being central to the mission of the two Institutes, and their potential for building new collaborations. The program provides two years of collaborative postdoctoral fellowship support.

The inaugural winners are:

Dr. Isabel BeermanDr. Isabel Beerman of NIA and Dr. Douglas Bell of NIEHS for "Tobacco Smoke Exposure Driving Hematopoietic Stem Cell Aging: The role of epigenetic alterations of AHR and AHRR in dysregulation of HSC."

Beerman, a Stadtman Investigator in NIA's Translational Gerontology/Epigenetics and Stem Cell Aging Unit, said, "For me, the conversations Doug and I had while developing this proposal, discussing our respective research programs and potential new directions, were in and of themselves a benefit. We are grateful for the award that will allow us to pursue this new direction of research."

Dr. Robert BroshDr. Robert Brosh of NIA, and Dr. Fredrick Miller of NIEHS, for "Functional Significance of Mutations in Helicase Genes in Patients with Juvenile Dermatomyositis and anti-MDA5 Autoantibodies."

"We are excited to team up for a better understanding of an autoimmune disease that likely has age-relevant genetic and environmental roots. We anticipate this project will take us in new and interesting directions," said Brosh, a Senior Investigator in NIA's Laboratory of Molecular Gerontology.

Dr. Huaibin CaiDr. Huaibin Cai of NIA and Dr. Guohong Cui of NIEHS for "Pathophysiological Study of Fungicide Benomyl in Parkinson's disease."

Cai, a Senior Investigator in NIA's Laboratory of Neurogenetics, said "Increasing evidence demonstrates the contribution of environmental toxins including various pesticides to Parkinson's disease, the second most common age-related neurological disorder that affects millions of elderly people in the world. This proposed collaborative research project fits perfectly within the scopes of NIA and NIEHS' missions."

The winning investigators will co-mentor a postdoctoral fellow for two years, with travel between the NIA's Baltimore-based labs and the NIEHS' Raleigh-Durham, NC, campus.

Special thanks to the review committee for volunteering their time to evaluate the proposals and select the winners. The committee was co-chaired by Dr. Joel Abramowitz of NIEHS and Dr. Adam Cornish of NIA and included:

  • Dr. Trevor Archer (NIEHS)
  • Dr. Perry Blackshear (NIEHS)
  • Dr. Simonetta Camandola (NIA)
  • Dr. Bill Copeland (NIEHS)
  • Dr. Josephine Egan (NIA)
  • Dr. Michael Fessler (NIEHS)
  • Dr. Stavros Garantziotis (NIEHS)
  • Dr. Myriam Gorosope (NIA)
  • Dr. Tamara Harris (NIA)
  • Dr. Nikki Noren Hooten (NIA)
  • Dr. Steven Kleeberger (NIEHS)
  • Dr. Christopher Ramsden (NIA)
  • Dr. Jack Taylor (NIEHS)
  • Dr. Madhav Thambisetty (NIA)

A new round of the Fellowship competition is slated to begin next year, with further announcements on the application and award schedule coming in the Spring/Summer of 2019.