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Alexandra Heinloth Leaves NIEHS to Work in the Private Sector

By Eddy Ball
March 2007

Alexandria Heinloth
Research Fellow Alexandra Heinloth, M.D. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

On January 26, friends and colleagues packed into Rall D-250 to offer their best wishes to Alexandra Heinloth, M.D., who left NIEHS after working at the Institute as a fellow for the past six years. Heinloth was an investigator in the Laboratory of Molecular Toxicology of the Environmental Toxicology Program. In January, she accepted a position in clinical research at i3 Statprobe in Cary, a division of United Health Group, and assumed her new duties in February.

A native of Germany, Heinloth received her medical degree in 1998 from the University of W├╝rzburg, which was founded in 1402 and is known in Bavaria as Julius-Maximilians Universit├Ąt. She interrupted her residency in internal medicine at the university hospital in 2000 to pursue basic research training as a post-doctoral fellow at NIEHS. In 2006, she accepted an offer of a visiting research fellowship.

During her tenure at NIEHS, she worked under the direction of Senior Scientist Rick Paules, Ph.D., whom she described as "an excellent mentor." They collaborated in several programs sponsored by the former National Center for Toxicogenomics (NCT). She was part of the NIEHS Microarray Group, developing the technology used to monitor the expression of thousands of genes and analyze expression patterns.

She also worked with the Growth Control and Cancer Group in the Laboratory of Environmental Carcinogenesis and Mutagenesis. While at NIEHS, she co-authored 14 peer-reviewed studies and participated in numerous conferences and other professional development activities. "The Institute's emphasis on helping fellows publish in peer-reviewed journals was a real plus," she said. "With the encouragement of Rick [Paules] and my other colleagues at NCT and NTP [National Toxicology Program], I was able to develop my CV [curriculum vitae] while I was here."

As an NCT researcher, Heinloth participated in studies with the ToxPath Team, whose mission was to design and conduct seminal studies that provide definition to and stimulate development in the field of toxicogenomics. The team integrated global "omics" approaches into conventional studies of toxicity and disease processes. An important part of her duties with NCT involved monitoring the conduct of NCT programmatic studies outsourced to contract laboratories.

Heinloth will combine her training in medicine with her NIEHS laboratory research experience in her new position. i3 Statprobe is a full-service, global clinical research organization that is therapeutically focused on oncology, central nervous system disorders, endocrinology, and respiratory and infectious disease. As a part of i3 Statprobe, Heinloth will participate in clinical research and serve as a medical writer.

As much as she appreciated her educational experiences at NIEHS, Heinloth is ready for her new work. "I'm looking forward to utilizing more of my medical training in clinical research," she explained. "I certainly wouldn't rule out returning to NIEHS one day - it's been a wonderful experience - but for now I want to do more translational research."

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