Graduate Student Recognized

At the Society of Toxicology (SOT) annual meeting, which took place in March 2014 in Arizona, Virunya Bhat, a graduate student working in the lab of David Eastmond, a professor of cell biology and neuroscience, was recognized for writing “One of the Best Papers Advancing the Science of Risk Assessment” in 2013.  Each of the authors received a certificate.

Bhat and Eastmond conducted the research in collaboration with Susan Hester and Stephen Nesnow of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  The research paper describes a comparison of risk assessment estimates derived using gene expression data and those derived from more traditional toxicological endpoints.

At the SOT meeting, Bhat and Hester organized a workshop titled “Toxicogenomic Technologies Can Improve the Assessment of Xenobiotic-induced Liver Injury and Inform Human Relevance.”  They also chaired the session.

Bhat, a Ph.D. candidate in the environmental toxicology graduate program, is the recipient of the 2013 Perry J. Gehring award for the best graduate student abstract in risk assessment.  Under Eastmond’s direction, her dissertation project is a collaboration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and deals with incorporating newer data types, such as toxicogenomic data, into the chemical risk assessment process to make it more efficient and less reliant on long-term animal testing.

Eighteen Graduate Students Honored With National Science Foundation Fellowships

Eighteen graduate students at UCR have received Graduate Research Fellowships (GRFs) from the National Science Foundation (NSF) this year.  The highly competitive fellowships are awarded to individuals early in their graduate careers based on their demonstrated potential for significant achievements in science and engineering.

The NSF awards the GRFs directly to graduate students selected through a national competition. The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program provides three years of financial support within a five-year fellowship period ($32,000 annual stipend and $12,000 cost-of-education allowance to the graduate institution) for graduate study that is in a field within NSF’s mission and leads to a research-based master’s or doctoral degree.

The UCR students who won the GRFs this year are:
Osinachi Ajoku (geosciences), Christina Armenta (psychology), Michelle Chebier (environmental engineering), Javier Fajardo (chemistry), Oscar Gonzalez (neurosciences), Eric Robert Lucien Gordon (entomology), Denise Jackson (microbiology), Wei Li (environmental engineering), Julisa Amanda McCoy (sociology), Elizabeth Ann McDevitt (psychology), Nicholas Nobles (computer science and engineering), Brooke Elizabeth Pickett (ecology), Michael Ryan Pina (organismal biology), Edwin Sabas Preciado (material science), Sarah Marie Reinhard (neuroscience), Peter Michael Ruberton (psychology), Kevin Fernando Welzel (entomology) and Jacklyn Whitehead (bioengineering).

UC Riverside lab offers Brazilian undergraduates an opportunity to do high-quality research

Three undergraduate students from Brazil spent nearly three months doing research in the laboratory of David Reznick, a distinguished professor of biology at UCR.  The students, who are supported by an international Research Experience for Undergraduates grant from the National Science Foundation, left the United States on April 16.  Two more students from Brazil will visit Reznick’s lab this summer and stay for three months.

The three students — Diego Rafael dos Santos Peixoto and Marianna de Miranda Gonzalez from the Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro; and Priscila Wilker Cortes from the Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro Faculdade de Formação de Professores — arrived in the U.S. on Jan. 23 to do research work that is part of Reznick’s ongoing study of the evolution of placentas in the fish family Poeciliidae.

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