Two STEP Awards Support Career Paths


 On behalf of the Society of  Toxicology (SOT) Graduate Subcommittee, I am pleased to announce two new Supplementary Training in Education Program (STEP) awards to SOT graduate student members who have developed proposals for activities that support their future career direction.      


          v2Kimberly_Stratford.jpg                                                 v2Al Eryani IMG_8961.jpeg                


Pictured at the left is Kimberly Stratford and at the right Laila Al-Eryani.

Kimberly Stratford, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will be training with Alexandra Schneider of Helmholtz-Zentrum (HMGU) in Munich, Germany, in fall 2016. Dr. Schneider is involved in the Cooperative Health Research in the Region of Augsburg (KORA) cohort study. This long-term study seeks to survey the development and progression of chronic cardiovascular disease relative to multiple risk factors. Ms. Stratford has investigated the role of vitamin D deficiency (VDD) in cardiac function in mice models of air pollution exposure. While in Munich, she will learn statistical models to evaluate air pollution-induced health effects modified by VDD. In addition to learning the basic epidemiological methods, she also will provide assistance to HMGU scientists in understanding heart rate variability effects using analytical techniques that can be translated to human data.

Ms. Stratford’s advisor, Mehdi Hazari, states that this experience will “not only complement her basic science investigations but also provide some valuable training in epidemiological analyses.” Ms. Stratford predicts this training “will be monumental in my journey in becoming an independent cardiovascular toxicologist.”

Laila Al-Eryani, University of Louisville, will participate in the National Cancer Institute Molecular Prevention Course in Rockville, Maryland, August 1–5. This course provides a strong background about molecular biology and genetics of cancer, and an overview of cutting-edge research and techniques in the fields of molecular epidemiology, biomarkers, multi-omic, and translational research. Her dissertation research is focused on arsenic-induced skin cancer and the etiologic role of epigenetic changes, particularly differential miRNA expression. She is very interested in environmental toxicology and her future career goal is researching the etiology and the mechanisms of environmental toxicant-associated diseases.

J. Christopher States, Ms. Al-Eryani’s advisor, says “Her long-term goal is to be a principal investigator focused on environmental causes of chronic disease. The proposed training will provide her with state-of-the-art information on cancer prevention and in particular the role that big data will play.” In addition, he anticipates that the bioinformatics tools she learns will contribute to her research. Some of the course topics such as the human microbiome and metabolomics are not covered in courses at the University of Louisville.

A total of 14 STEP awards have been made. Information about these experiences is found in the STEP Reports. The next deadline for applications is October 9, 2016.


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