Dr. Kathleen M. McCarty, an SRP trainee from 2002-2005, is an environmental/molecular epidemiologist at Yale University. She received her Doctor of Science degree (ScD) from the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH). Her dissertation research, a component of Dr. David C. Christiani's SRP-funded research project, "Arsenic and Health in Taiwan and Bangladesh", focused on whether environmental co-exposures and host factors affected arsenic biomarker response and/or susceptibility to arsenic-related skin lesions in Bangladesh. This work resulted in five peer-reviewed first author publications.
Upon completion of her graduate studies, Dr. McCarty conducted postdoctoral research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), Department of Epidemiology, under the mentorship of Dr. Marilie D. Gammon. While at UNC, Dr. McCarty researched environmental and genetic factors that influence biomarker response and susceptibility to breast cancer. Her research used data from the Long Island Breast Cancer Study Project , which helped her investigate how polymorphisms in metabolic pathways modified the association between polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon(PAH) exposure and breast cancer risk, as well as PAH-DNA adduct biomarker response.
Dr. McCarty credits SRP for her many collaborative research opportunities. In 2004, she received an award to present her research to international colleagues at the Central & Eastern European Conference on Health and the Environment (CEECHE) in Prague, a meeting co-sponsored by the SRP. The meeting helped Dr. McCarty establish professional relationships with SRP students and investigators, such as Dr. Eugen Gurzau (Babes Bolyaii University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania). The pair continues collaborative efforts as they study gene-environment interactions related to arsenic exposure and skin cancer with Dr. Michael Snyder (Yale Graduate School of Arts & Sciences).
In 2006, Dr. McCarty joined the faculty of Yale with a joint appointment in the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences and the School of Medicine, Division of Environmental Health Sciences. As an assistant professor at Yale, Dr. McCarty continues to work with Dr. Gammon, investigating gene polymorphisms in oxidative stress pathways, PAH-DNA adducts, and breast cancer risk, in addition to building new research collaborations and relationships.
The SRP-sponsored training provided Dr. McCarty with an interdisciplinary education and research foundation that supports her career in environmental health sciences. She is appreciative of her strong scientific training, and acknowledges the SBRP program for the expanded collegial network it has provided, such networking and mentoring is invaluable for a new investigator. In that spirit, Dr. McCarty participated as a panelist at the 20th Anniversary Superfund Basic Research and Training Program Conference to discuss career paths with current SBRP students and postdoctoral trainees. Dr. McCarty also served as the USA Co-Chair for the organizing committee for the third CEECHE Conference in Romania, which was held in October 2008.
In 2009, Dr. McCarty was named Science Communication Fellow by Environmental Health Sciences, a non-profit group dedicated to science communication. She will use this opportunity to identify environmental health research results of interest to the general public and she will work to make them easily understood by those without scientific training in their background.