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Student & Alumni Achievements

Student & Alumni Achievements

UNC Student Wins Society of Toxocology Award

Mr. Abhishek Venkatratnam, doctoral student in environmental sciences and engineering at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, has won the Perry J. Gehring Best Graduate Student Abstract Award for 2017.

[Photo: Mr. Abhishek Venkatratnam]

The award is presented by the Society of Toxicology’s (SOT) Risk Assessment Specialty Section.

Mr. Venkatratnam’s doctoral research in environmental toxicology focuses on characterizing population variability in responses to trichloroethylene (TCE), a ubiquitous environmental contaminant and a known human carcinogen, to provide mechanistic underpinnings on the molecular events driving differences in TCE toxicity. He conducts his research under the mentorship of Dr. Ivan Rusyn, professor in the Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences at Texas A&M University and former faculty member at UNC’s Gillings School.

“The annual meeting of the SOT is a major professional event in toxicology and environmental health, which brings together more than 7,000 attendees from around the world,” Dr. Rusyn said. “The Gehring Award is a significant accomplishment and honor. Abhishek’s research is both timely and relevant to science-based decision making on TCE, a major environmental pollutant and Superfund contaminant.”

“I am deeply honored to receive this award,” Mr. Venkatratnam said, and I hope that my doctoral work is constructive in bringing improvements in risk assessment of TCE. Dr. Rusyn has been instrumental in the progress of my doctoral work, and I am very grateful to be a part of his lab. I also want to thank Dr. Avram Gold, Dr. Wanda Bodnar, other members of my doctoral committee, lab members and collaborators for their support.”

The work was funded, in part, by a grant from the Superfund Research Program at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

Mr. Venkatratnam accepted the award at the section meeting on March 13 in Baltimore, where his research poster, “A population-wide study of metabolism and toxicodynamics of trichloroethylene using Collaborative Cross mouse panel provides critical insights into the mechanisms of inter-individual variability,” was on display.

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