Environmental Factor

February 2011

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Center grantees named AAAS fellows

By Eddy Ball
February 2011

Marie-Francoise Chesselet, M.D., Ph.D.

Chesselet smiled as she responded to a question during a meeting of the Parkinson's Centers at NIEHS in October 2006. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Barbara J. Turpin, Ph.D.

Turpin's previous honors include the Cook College/New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) Research Excellence award presented by Rutgers University. (Photo courtesy of Barbara Turpin)

Two NIEHS centers grantees, neurobiologist Marie-Francoise Chesselet, M.D., Ph.D., and exposure science expert Barbara J. Turpin, Ph.D., are among scientists elected as 2010 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellows.

Chesselet(http://faculty.bri.ucla.edu/institution/personnel?personnel_id=45716) Exit NIEHS is the director of the NIEHS-funded Center for Gene Environment Studies in Parkinson's Disease at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Center for the Study of Parkinson's Disease(http://www.cspd.ucla.edu/) Exit NIEHS (PD). Currently the Charles H. Markham Professor of Neurology and chair of the Department of Neurobiology in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and author of more than 135 peer-reviewed manuscripts and 50 book chapters and reviews, she held faculty appointments at the Medical College of Pennsylvania and University of Pennsylvania before joining UCLA in 1996.

Turpin(http://envsci.rutgers.edu/php/viewfaculty.php?id=23) Exit NIEHS is a member of the NIEHS-funded Center for Environmental Exposures and Disease (CEED)(http://ceed.rutgers.edu/) Exit NIEHS, which is jointly sponsored by Rutgers and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. She joined the Rutgers faculty in 1994 and has more than 80 peer-reviewed publications. She is a professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences at the Rutgers University School of Environmental and Biological Sciences.

Chesselet and Turpin will each receive an official certificate and a gold and blue rosette pin Feb. 19 during the AAAS Fellows Forum during the 2011 AAAS Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

Environmental pesticides and risk for PD

Chesselet and colleagues at the UCLA center have discovered associations between high levels of exposure to specific environmental pesticides and PD and are building on this knowledge to determine the mechanisms of action that may be causing this association. They use an integrated, multidisciplinary approach to identify molecular pathways that are disrupted by these pesticides, identify additional agricultural pesticides that share similar mechanisms, and determine whether these also increase the risk of PD.

Supported by a Centers for Neurodegeneration Science grant(http://tools.niehs.nih.gov/portfolio/index.cfm?action=portfolio.grantdetail&grant_number=P01ES016732) managed by Program Administrator Cindy Lawler, Ph.D., the group is gaining a better understanding of the potential neurotoxicity of widely used pesticides, in an effort to protect the health of workers and the general population.

Air pollution, health, and climate change

In its announcement of her election, AAAS cited Turpin "for major contributions to our basic knowledge of the properties and effects of organic aerosols." Turpin investigates atmospheric chemical transformations that convert gaseous pollutants into aerosols - tiny solid particles and liquid droplets suspended in the air that are associated with increased heart attacks, reduced visibility, and climate change.

CEED, which is directed by Principal Investigator Helmut Zarbl, Ph.D., is supported by an NIEHS Environmental Health Sciences Center grant(http://tools.niehs.nih.gov/portfolio/index.cfm?action=portfolio.grantdetail&grant_number=P30ES005022) first awarded in 1988 and managed by NIEHS Program Administrator Les Reinlib, Ph.D. Turpin is a co-author on 13 of the nearly 800 publications associated with CEED's NIEHS funding.

A premier scientific society

Founded in 1848, AAAS serves some 262 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. The AAAS journal Science has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world, with an estimated total readership of one million.

AAAS began electing fellows in 1874, an honor bestowed upon members by their peers. Fellow nominations may be made by the steering groups of the Association's 24 sections, by the chief executive officer, or by any three fellows who are current AAAS members, so long as two of the three sponsors are not affiliated with the nominee's institution. Each nominee must receive the approval of a majority of the steering group members.

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