SC-CTSI KL2 Scholar Receives NIEHS Award for Early-Career Researchers

William Mack, MD was one of six early-career researchers awarded the highly competitive grant known as the ONES award.

February 26, 2015

Note: USC researcher William Mack, MD, is an SC CTSI KL2 Scholar alumnus. The KL2 Post-Doctoral Training program provided Dr. Mack with support and opportunities to develop his skills to secure subsequent funding to advance his research in cerebrovascular disease.

William Mack, MD, assistant professor in the Department of Neurological Surgery and director of the Cerebrovascular Laboratory at the Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute, both within the Keck School of Medicine of USC, was one of six early-career researchers awarded the highly competitive grant known as the Outstanding New Environmental Scientist (ONES) award. This grant was created by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) to encourage early-stage researchers who want to discover how our environment influences human health. Mack and his team will research how exposure to particulate matter (air pollution) can be toxic to blood vessels in the brain and identify risks to cognitive health in vulnerable populations.

The awardees are as follows

  • Neelakanteswar Aluru, Ph.D., at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, will use zebrafish models to study how early-life exposures to toxic chemicals may lead to developmental disabilities.
  • Kara Bernstein, Ph.D., at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, will study how errors in DNA repair lead to tumor growth, and how at-risk individuals may be more sensitive to DNA damage.
  • Samir Kelada, Ph.D., at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will use innovative approaches to identify genes and pathways that play a role in the effect of ozone on asthma.
  • Kun Lu, Ph.D., at the University of Georgia, will study the interaction between the gut microbiome and arsenic, a widespread environmental pollutant and known human carcinogen.
  • William Mack, M.D., at the University of Southern California, will research how particulate matter exposure can be toxic to blood vessels in the brain, and identify risks to cognitive health in vulnerable populations.
  • Dana Miller, Ph.D., at the University of Washington, will explore the long-term effects of toxic substances on basic physiology.

“This talented group of awardees shows tremendous promise,” said Gwen Collman, Ph.D., who oversees all NIEHS grants as the director of the Division of Extramural Research and Training. “We believe the ONES grant will provide a firm foundation for building a successful career.”

Early stage scientists or new faculty members, who have never received a research project grant, may apply for next year’s funding now. For more information, visit Applications are due Feb. 27.

NIEHS supports research to understand the effects of the environment on human health and is part of NIH. For more information on environmental health topics, visit Subscribe to one or more of the NIEHS news lists to stay current on NIEHS news, press releases, grant opportunities, training, events, and publications.

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NIH Funding Acknowledgment: Important - All publications resulting from the utilization of SC CTSI resources are required to credit the SC CTSI grant by including the NIH funding acknowledgment and must comply with the NIH Public Access Policy.