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Eight graduate students and post-docs received awards May 22 for their research in the MIT Center for Environmental Health Sciences (CEHS).
The awards were presented at the annual CEHS poster session, which highlighted the work of 17 of the center's affiliated labs from eight MIT departments and featured more than 40 posters.
This year's CEHS prizes were made possible by the Myriam Marcelle Znaty Research Fund in two categories: graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. The Myriam Marcelle Znaty Research Endowment Fund was established nearly 30 years ago to support the research of young scientists at MIT.
The first place winner of a $500 cash prize for the best graduate student poster is Aarthi Chandrasekaran from Ram Sasisekharan's lab, who presented her work on "Human Adaptation of Avian Influenza A Viruses."
The $100 second prize was awarded to both Tsz Yan Clement Chan, a graduate student in Peter Dedon's lab and Erika Noonan, a graduate student in Leona Samson's lab. Chan presented his work on "Metabolomic Approaches to Characterizing Changes in RNA Secondary Modifications in Cellular Responses to Toxins" and Noonan presented her work on "Modeling the Cell Decision Process in Responses to the DNA Lesion O6Methylguanine."
The third prize, which was a CEHS T-shirt, mug, pen, and lanyard, was awarded to Jared Toettcher, a graduate student in Bruce Tidor's lab. Toettcher presented his work on "p53-dependent and -independent Mechanisms Act Synergistically to mediate Sustained Cell Cycle Arrest."
Winners in the postdoctoral scholar category included:
First prize of $500 awarded to Scott M. Knudsen from Scott Manalis' lab, who presented his work on "Determination of Bacterial Antibiotic Resistance using a Suspended Microchannel Resonator."
Second prize of $100 was awarded to Peter Slade from Steven Tannenbaum's lab, who presented his work on "Enhanced Identification of Biotin-Derivatized Peptides."
Third prize was awarded jointly to Dragony Fu and Johan Peter Svensson, both from Leona Samson's lab. Fu presented his work on "Exploration of Molecular Repair Pathways Mediated by Human AlkB Dioxygenases" and Svensson presented his work on "Identifying Novel Human Damage Response Proteins based on Yeast Orthology."
CEHS has as its overall mission the study of biological effects and processes of exposure to environmental agents in order to understand and predict how such exposures affect human health. To that end, the center brings together 28 MIT faculty members from a total of eight MIT departments (in both the School of Science and the School of Engineering) plus one faculty member from the Harvard School of Public Health.