February 2023 Notes from the Director

February Notes from the Director banner including a photo of Dr. States

Many of you probably heard that I ventured to Antarctica in January. Although our cruise was limited to the northern most part of the Antarctic peninsula, we were privileged to put feet to land fives times - twice on the mainland, and to cruise in the Zodiak boats twice in calm bays surrounded by glaciers with icebergs floating by. It was truly awe-inspiring. Even in the most austere environment on the planet, life still finds a way. Although it is the world’s largest desert, there are two plants, several mosses and a multitude of lichens and algae that manage to thrive in addition to the limited fauna. Several species of penguins, flying sea and land birds, and seals inhabit the shores with several species of whales in the waters. The trip included a day in Buenos Aires, which was special for me. I walked on cobblestone streets that my maternal grandfather very likely walked on 120 years ago when he first came to the Americas. If anyone is interested, contact me and I will make photos available.

The Center is thriving. Please join me in welcoming four new members: Mikus Abolins-Abols, Ph.D. (Biology, Arts & Science), Haixun Guo, Ph.D. (Radiology, Medicine), Brian E. Sansbury, Ph.D. (Medicine/ Environmental Medicine, Medicine) and Ted Smith, Ph.D. (Medicine/ Environmental Medicine, Medicine). We look forward to interacting with them at Center events and RIG meetings.

The Center retreat will be on February 14. Topics of discussion will include the report from the External Advisory Committee and plans for a symposium linked to the next visit of the Committee. We also will be discussing preparations for writing the renewal application. We wish those who submitted grants in February and March the best of luck. We need at least one more NIEHS R01 type grant to qualify for renewal.

The External Advisory Committee reviewed the Center in December. Thank you to those who attended the dinner and the presentations. The dinner provided the opportunity for Center members to meet the members of the Committee in the wonderful 21C museum. Overall, the view of the Committee was that the Center is progressing well. The Committee provided valuable advice regarding preparations for renewal and stressed the need for publications to cite the P30 grant. So, once again we remind the membership to acknowledge P30ES030283 in their publications. It was disappointing to see that only two of the twelve publications by Center members in December acknowledged the P30.

In March, we will host Dr. Koren Mann of McGill University as our quarterly external speaker. She will discuss her work on cardiovascular disease induced by chronic arsenic exposure. Note that the date she will be here is March 16, not the first Thursday of the month. We expect that her seminar will have broad appeal and look forward to seeing many of you in the audience.

Photo of Dr. States in Antarctica