Clemens and Sun honored by the Allegheny & Erie Regional Chapter of the Society of Toxicology


Two second-year doctoral students in Pitt Public Health’s Department of Environmental and Occupational (EOH) were honored at the annual meeting of the Allegheny & Erie Regional Chapter of the Society of Toxicology, May 31 – June 1, in Morgantown, Va.

Zachary Clemens was awarded the Best Overall Methodology Award for his presentation, A novel 3D model to probe the cell-autonomous effects of arsenic on skeletal muscle physiology and regeneration. Clemens used a 3D in vitro model of muscle regeneration developed by Kai Wang in Fabrisia Ambrosio’s laboratory at EOH to address impaired muscle regeneration observed in arsenic-exposed mice and humans. Arsenic-related disease affects the health of hundreds of millions of people globally. The model provides a means to reduce animal experimentation, and helps address questions about how arsenic negatively affects the ability of muscle stem cells to repair skeletal muscle metabolism and allow muscles to regenerate – which has been linked to increased risk of cardiovascular and molecular diseases, as well as a decline in mobility in people. 

Yuchen Kristine Sun received the Maryanne Stock Student Research Award – a competitive award presented by the regional chapter for the past two decades in the name of Maryanne Stock, a research scientist in EOH who was very active in graduate student education and the regional chapter’s student programs. Sun’s proposal, The epigenetic effects of e-cigarettes on asthma risks using a co-culture system, will focus on the pathogenic effects of e-cigarettes on the respiratory system and asthma risk. She will use a novel system of multiple populations of cells to explore the toxicity of chemicals commonly used in e-cigarette and vaping fluids.

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