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Walter A. Rosenblith New Investigator Award

The purpose of this award is to bring new, creative investigators into active research on the health effects of air pollution. It provides three years of funding for a small project relevant to HEI’s research interests to a new investigator with outstanding promise at the Assistant Professor or equivalent level. For information on HEI’s current research priorities, applicants should consult HEI's Strategic Plan . HEI expects to provide one or more awards from this RFA each year, depending on available funding and the number and quality of applications. The evaluation process considers the qualifications and background of the applicant, the quality and relevance of the research proposal, and the research environment of the applicant. For more information, please scroll down.
HEI Announces Recipient of 2015 Walter A. Rosenblith New Investigator Award NEW
Kymberly Gowdy, assistant professor in the Brody School of Medicine, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, has been selected as the recipient of HEI’s 2015 Walter A. Rosenblith New Investigator Award for her proposal “Scavenger Receptor B1 Regulates Oxidized Lipid Driven Pulmonary and Vascular Inflammation After Ozone Exposure.”
Gowdy received a Ph.D. in immunology and toxicology from North Carolina State University and subsequently conducted postdoctoral research at Duke University and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
She joined the faculty of the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at East Carolina University in 2014. Gowdy was recognized earlier this year by the American Association of Immunologists with both a Young Investigator Award and a Travel for Techniques Award. Gowdy’s research focuses on how exposure to agents in the environment, such as air pollutants, affects responses in the lung and elsewhere in the body and how it may increase susceptibility to chronic diseases. The objective of her Rosenblith Award study is to address the role of scavenger receptor-B1 (SR-B1) in ozone-induced lung injury and in subsequent development of cardiovascular disease. SR-B1 is a receptor for high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL) and mediates cholesterol transfer to and from HDL.
  Gowdy picture
SR-B1 also binds oxidized phospholipids, which are formed in response to reactive oxygen species under many conditions, including atherosclerosis.

Gowdy hypothesizes that the clearance of oxidized phospholipids in the lung during ozone exposure is mediated by SR-B1. She further hypothesizes that the lack of clearance of these oxidized phospholipids will lead to their translocation through the bloodstream, resulting in vascular inflammation and ultimately cardiovascular disease. The studies will be performed by exposing normal mice, as well as mice lacking the SR-B1 gene (SR-B1 knockout mice), to ozone in inhalation chambers and measuring levels of oxidized phospholipids along with multiple markers of pulmonary and vascular function. This study could shed new light on the mechanisms by which exposure to ozone may induce injury, both in the lung and in the circulatory system.

Named for the first chair of the HEI Research Committee, the Walter A. Rosenblith New Investigator Award supports the work of a promising scientist early in his or her career. In selecting award recipients, the Committee considers each applicant’s potential for a productive research career in examining air pollution and its effects on health, the support provided by the applicant’s institution, and the scientific merit of the research project and its relevance to HEI’s mission. The Committee also felt that Gowdy had an excellent group of mentors, both inside and outside her institution, who would make a valuable contribution to her training — a further key component of the award decision process. Gowdy is the 21st scientist to receive the Rosenblith Award since the inception of the program in 1999 (see the list of awardees at www.healtheffects.org/rosenblith.htm).

Walter Rosenblith
This award is named for Professor Walter A. Rosenblith (1913-2002), who served as the first Chair of HEI's Research Committee (from 1980 to 1989) and as a member of the HEI Board of Directors from 1990 to 1996. Professor Rosenblith's vision of science and standard of excellence enabled HEI to quickly develop a strong scientific program. At his urging, HEI developed a program that not only funds research that would contribute needed scientific information for regulation, but also research to strengthen the fundamental science related to environmental issues. Professor Rosenblith supported activities intended to attract people engaged in more basic scientific research so that they might bring new tools and new ideas to environmental questions.   



(Photo MIT)



Eligibility Requirements
Scientists of any nationality holding a PhD, ScD, MD, DVM, or DrPH degree or equivalent are eligible to apply. At the time of application the candidate should have two to six years of research experience after obtaining the highest degree and must be at the Assistant Professor level or equivalent at an academic or research institution. Evidence that the candidate's institution is prepared to make a tangible commitment to helping the awardee become established as an independent investigator is required as part of the application. Candidates should possess outstanding research potential. Evidence of this potential, in the form of written letters of support and the candidate’s publication record, is an essential part of the application materials and will be valued equally with the scientific proposal.

Please note that an applicant who does not meet all eligibility requirements will not be considered for this award. HEI will not review applications from individuals with more than six years research experience after obtaining the highest degree. Time spent on non-research activities, such as medical residencies without a research component, may be excluded, however. Applicants should contact HEI to discuss their eligibility.

Please contact Dr. Annemoon van Erp if you have questions (Phone: +1 617 488 2346). For the full text of the Award please refer to the current RFA booklet on HEI's funding page

List of Awardees
Year Awardee and Project Title
1999 Francesca Dominici, Johns Hopkins University
"Air pollution and daily mortality in a national sampling frame "
2001 Quanxin Meng, Battelle Toxicology Northwest
"Mutagenicity of stereochemical configurations of 1,3-butadiene epoxy metabolites in human cells"
2002 Jamie Schauer, University of Wisconsin
"Source apportionment and speciation of particulate matter to support exposure and health studies"
2003 Michael Borchers, University of Cincinnati
"T cell subpopulations regulate airway inflammation and injury following acrolein exposures"
2004 Michelle Bell, Yale University
"Assessment of the mortality effects of particulate matter characteristics"
2004 Michaela Kendall, Uludag University, Turkey
"Molecular adsorption at PM surfaces: a compelling PM toxicity mediation mechanism"
2005 Jonathan Levy, Harvard School of Public Health
"Using geographic information systems to evaluate heterogeneity in indoor and outdoor concentrations of particle constituents"
2005 Timothy Nurkiewicz, West Virginia University
"Pulmonary particulate matter exposure and systemic microvascular function"
2006 Christopher Paciorek, Harvard School of Public Health
Integrating monitoring and satellite data to retrospectively estimate monthly PM2.5 concentrations in the eastern United States"
2006 Qunwei Zhang, University of Louisville
Activation of endothelial cells and gene expression in lungs following exposure to ultrafine particles"
2007 Charles Stanier, University of Iowa
"Development and application of a personal exposure screening model for size-resolved urban aerosols"
2007 Yifang Zhu, Texas A&M University—Kingsville
"Assessing children's exposure to ultrafine particles from vehicular emissions"
2008 Thomas Barker, Georgia Institute of Technology
"Extracellular matrix stiffness associated with pulmonary fibrosis sensitizes alveolar epithelial cells"
2008 Jiu-Chiuan Chen, University of Southern California
"Particulate air pollutants, risk of cognitive disorders, and neuropathology in the elderly"
2010 Jun Wu, University of California—Irvine
Adverse reproductive health outcomes and exposures to gaseous and particulate matter air pollution in pregnant women"
2011 Juana Maria Delgado-Saborit, University of Birmingham, UK
"Use of real-time sensors to assess misclassification and to identify main sources contribution to peak and chronic exposures"
2011 Richard Peltier, University of Massachusetts—Amherst
"Development of a new method for measurement of reactive oxygen species associated with PM2.5 exposure"
2012 Jason Surratt, University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill
"Understanding the health effects of isoprene-derived particulate matter enhanced by anthropogenic pollutants"
2013 Nga Lee (Sally) Ng, Georgia Institute of Technology
"Composition and oxidative properties of particulate matter mixtures: Effects of particle phase state, acidity, and transition metals"
2014 Lydia Contreras, University of Texas—Austin
"Understanding the impact of air quality on the changing chemistry of Regulatory Nucleic Acids"
2015 Kymberly Gowdy, East Carolina University
"Scavenger Receptor B1 Regulates Oxidized Lipid Driven Pulmonary and Vascular Inflammation After Ozone Exposure"

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