Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) environmental health doctoral student Ms. Stephanie Kim has received the Karen Wetterhahn Memorial Award from the Hazardous Substance Basic Research and Training Program, or Superfund Research Program (SRP), of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). The award recognizes an “outstanding SRP graduate student or postdoctoral researcher who exemplifies qualities of scientific excellence.”
Ms. Kim received the award at the SRP Annual Meeting on November 29 in Sacramento, California. She was recognized for her research exploring how exposure to harmful contaminants impact cellular and molecular processes leading to metabolic disorders.
Ms. Kim examines how exposure to various chemicals, including phthalates and organophosphate flame retardants, alter metabolic mechanisms in human cells and in rodents. She is exploring how hazardous chemicals activate a nuclear receptor called peroxisome proliferator activated receptor gamma, which is essential in regulating how fat cells differentiate and function. Through her research, Ms. Kim hopes to understand how hazardous chemicals alter important metabolic processes that regulate fat, sugar, and energy balances in the body.
Ms. Kim has studied under the mentorship of BUSPH associate professor of environmental health Dr. Jennifer Schlezinger and associate professor of biostatistics Dr. Stefano Monti. “Stephanie is an excellent scholar, dedicated to scientific inquiry and to improving environmental health,” says schlezinger, who is the project leader. “The results of Stephanie’s work will revolutionize how we think about how exposure to hazardous chemicals contributes to the obesity epidemic and to the increased risk of developing metabolic disease.”