Gabbay Foundation honors bisphenol researchers
By Eddy Ball
Three NIEHS grantees are this year’s recipients of the Jacob Heskel Gabbay Award in Biotechnology and Medicine for their work on the health effects of bisphenol A (BPA). Along with their medallions, winners Patricia Hunt, Ph.D., Carlos Sonnenschein, M.D., and Ana Soto, M.D., will each receive a $5,000 cash prize during a ceremony and dinner Oct. 22 at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass., hosted by the Rosenstiel Basic Medical Sciences Research Center, which also administers the award for the foundation.
In 1998, the trustees of the Jacob and Louise Gabbay Foundation decided to establish a major new award in basic and applied biomedical sciences. “The Foundation, therefore, created the Jacob Heskel Gabbay Award in Biotechnology and Medicine to recognize… scientists in academia, medicine, or industry whose work had outstanding scientific content and significant practical consequences in the biomedical sciences,” the award website explains. This year’s winners were honored specifically for identifying the cellular effects of bisphenol in plastics.
In addition to receiving their awards, the winners also presented invited talks at the ceremony.
- Hunt explored the effects of BPA exposure on reproduction, in her talk, “Making a perfect egg: how age and the environment affect our reproductive health.”
- Sonnenschein’s presentation examined “The social impact of scientific discoveries: the case of endocrine disruptors.”
- Soto placed endocrine disruption into the context of the tissue organization field theory of carcinogenesis, with her discussion of “Cancer as development gone awry: the case for bisphenol-A as a carcinogen.”
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NIEHS Health Scientist Administrator Jerry Heindel, Ph.D., oversees grants to Hunt, a professor in the School of Molecular Biosciences at Washington State University, as well as to Sonnenschein and Soto, who are professors in the department of anatomy and cellular biology in the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at Tufts University School of Medicine. The winners were among the 38 authors of the 2007 Chapel Hill bisphenol A expert panel consensus statement (see story).
“Pat, Carlos, and Ana richly deserve this recognition,” Heindel said of the awards. “Their work has helped to dramatically change our understanding of endocrine toxicology and the very basis of carcinogenesis.”
Hunt PA, Lawson C, Gieske M, Murdoch B, Smith H, Marre A, Hassold T, Vandevoort CA. 2012. Bisphenol A alters early oogenesis and follicle formation in the fetal ovary of the rhesus monkey. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A; doi:10.1073/pnas.1207854109 [Online 24 September 2012].
Sonnenschein C, Wadia PR, Rubin BS, Soto AM. 2011. Cancer as development gone awry: the case for bisphenol-A as a carcinogen. J Dev Orig Health Dis 2(1):9-16.
Soto AM, Sonnenschein C. 2010. Environmental causes of cancer: endocrine disruptors as carcinogens. Nat Rev Endocrinol 6(7):363-370.
Vom Saal FS, Akingbemi BT, Belcher SM, Birnbaum LS, Crain DA, Eriksen M, Farabollini F, Guillette LJ Jr, Hauser R, Heindel JJ, Ho SM, Hunt PA, Iguchi T, Jobling S, Kanno J, Keri RA, Knudsen KE, Laufer H, LeBlanc GA, Marcus M, McLachlan JA, Myers JP, Nadal A, Newbold RR, Olea N, Prins GS, Richter CA, Rubin BS, Sonnenschein C, Soto AM, Talsness CE, Vandenbergh JG, Vandenberg LN, Walser-Kuntz DR, Watson CS, Welshons WV, Wetherill Y, Zoeller RT. 2007. Chapel Hill bisphenol A expert panel consensus statement: integration of mechanisms, effects in animals and potential to impact human health at current levels of exposure. Reprod Toxicol (2):131-138.