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CEHS awards annual research prizes

The Center for Environmental Health Sciences (CEHS) at MIT held its annual poster session on May 27 in Morss Hall in Walker Memorial. The session highlighted the work of 18 of the center's affiliated labs from eight MIT departments and featured more than 50 posters.

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 three Harvard faculty members; a faculty member from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and two faculty members from the Harvard Medical School affiliated hospitals (Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital).

This year's CEHS cash prizes were split into two categories, graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. For each category, the prize for first place was $500, second-place prize was $100, and the third-place prize is a CEHS T-shirt, mug, pen and lanyard. The prizes were made possible by the Myriam Marcelle Znaty Research Fund, which was established nearly 30 years ago to support the research of young scientists at MIT.

Shao-shan Carol Huang of Professor Ernest Fraenkel's lab and Mary Ellen Wiltrout of Professor Graham Walker's lab tied for first place in the graduate student category. Huang presented her work on "A Steiner Tree Algorithm Reveals Hidden Components of Signaling and Regulatory Networks" and Wiltrout presented her work on "The Lesion Specificity of Rev1's Catalytic Activity in vivo." Third place went to Chandni Valiathan of Professor Leona Samson's lab, who presented her work on "Gene Expression Signatures Characteristic of Cell Sensitivity to DNA Damaging Agents."

In the postdoctoral scholar category, Dragony Fu of Professor Leona Samson's lab captured first place for his work on "Discovery of Novel Repair Substrates and Functions for the Human AlkB Bioxygenases." Second place went to Wan Simon Chan of Professor Peter Dedon's lab, who presented his work on "Quantification of 2-deoxyribose Oxidation Products in Oxidized DNA by Gas Chromatography-mass Spectrometry." Charles Knutson of Professor Steven Tannenbaum's lab finished in third place for his work on "Transnitrosation of Thioredoxin by S-nitrosoglutathione in vitro."

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