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University Awards Recipient

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Martha SusiarjoCongratulations to Dr. Martha Susiarjo, who received the School of Medicine and Dentistry’s Academic Mentoring Award in Basic Sciences

The Leadership Award for Excellence in Equity and Inclusion

Jakob Gunderson (Toxicology)Dr Jakob Gunderson

Dr. Jakob Gunderson studied the mediators and moderators of methylmercury toxicity in the laboratory of Dr. Matthew Rand. During his time at URMC Jakobs worked helped to extend our knowledge on the classically categorized neurotoxicant methylmercury, by uncovering novel targets for the toxicity of MeHg related to the neuromuscular system. Through these efforts Jakob was the recipient of the prestigious Bernard Weiss Toxicology Award for excellence and innovative research in the field of neurotoxicology and published seven manuscripts.

Jakob was also a leader and mentor both in the lab as well as away from the bench, with clear passions for diversity, inclusion, and equity in STEM. Over the course of his graduate career Jakob was instrumental in the creation and initial set of leadership for the Toxicology programs Diversity and Inclusion Group (DIG) where he played a large role in crafting the mission and vision statements that guide the work of the group. Jakob was also involved with the formation of outGRADS where he served as the first secretary, taking on the role of determining the organization and structure of the group.​

2022 Tox Retreat Award Winners

Friday, May 27, 2022

The Toxicology Training Program celebrated its annual Retreat and Awards Ceremony on Thursday, May 26, our first in-person retreat since 2019!  Some Program participants were not able to participate in this year’s event, so we have listed awardees here so you can congratulate them the next time you see them.

Neuman Award for Exemplary Scholarship and Citizenship

Alyssa Merrill

Alyssa MerrillAlyssa exemplifies the spirit of the Drs. Neuman in terms of her scholarship and engagement as a graduate student citizen of the University of Rochester. She is an excellent ambassador of our program and is making great strides in her science: she published her first first-author paper last year and has contributed to at least 4 others as a co-author. She has also garnered several recent scientific and leadership awards and is engaged in service activities like peer mentoring. Alyssa graduated from Nazareth College in 2017 with a BS in Biology. She is mentored by Drs. Marissa Sobolewski and Deborah Cory-Slechta on a project that is focused on fetal and maternal health outcomes following gestational endocrine disrupting chemical exposures.

Weiss Toxicology Scholar Award

Ian Krout

Ian KroutIan’s project focuses on the role of the gut microbiome in modulating methyl mercury toxicokinetics and toxicity via demethylation, which has implications for the systemic toxicity of methyl mercury. He is making excellent strides in scholarship. Ian is also generous with his time outside of the lab: he is an excellent ambassador for our Program, has served as a TA and peer mentor, served as a contact tracer during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, volunteered at the Ronald MacDonald House, among other things.

Infurna Publication Awards

Connor McGuire

Connor McGuireMcGuire CC, Lawrence BP, Robert J. Thyroid Disrupting Chemicals in Mixture Perturb Thymocyte Differentiation in Xenopus laevis Tadpoles. Toxicological Sciences 181(2): 262-272, 2021. Connor reported compelling findings about the immune system compromising effects of endocrine disruptors – applied at environmentally-relevant concentrations – using an alternative vertebrate model system. His findings showed that 1) endocrine disrupting chemicals in combination were more potent than when delivered singly and 2) that they impacted thyroid hormone function throughout development in a way that impacted CD8+ thymocytes.

Jasmine Reed

Jasmine ReedReed JM, Spinelli P, Falcone S, He M, Goeke C, Susiarjo M. Evaluating the Effects of BPA and TBBPA Exposure on Pregnancy Loss and Maternal-fetal Immune Cells in Mice. Environmental Health Perspectives 130: 370101, 2022. In this study, Jasmine showed that exposure to Bisphenol A or Tetrabromobisphenol A prior to and during early gestation resulted in mouse pregnancy loss accompanied by lower numbers of maternal regulatory T cells and indoleamine deoxegenase 1 expression, suggesting a disruption of maternal immune tolerance to the developing embryo.

Jiries Meehan-Atrash

Jires Meehan-AtrashMeehan-Atrash J, Rahman I. Novel Δ8‐Tetrahydrocannabinol Vaporizers Contain Unlabeled Adulterants, Unintended Byproducts of Chemical Synthesis, and Heavy Metals. Chemical Research in Toxicology 35: 73-76, 2022. Jiries authored this paper with Irfan Rahman. In this study, Jiries applied a variety of analytical techniques to show that vaping oils made from ‘legal’ hemp-derived CBD contain several forms of THC – including the psychoactive and illegal Δ9 form – cutting agents, and heavy metals, none of which are included in the labelling for these products and which could impact health.

Most Inquisitive Student Award

Sarah MorganSarah Morgan

Best Poster Presentation

Janine CubelloJanine Cubello

Best Platform Presentation

Christina PostChristina Post, PhD

Peoples’ Choice Poster Presentation Award (inaugural awardee)

Elizabeth PlunkElizabeth Plunk

Mentoring Award (inaugural awardee)

Anthony FranchiniAnthony Franchini, PhD