OHSU student wins best poster at PNW-SETAC

05/05/09 Portland, Ore.

Zhenhong Li, a graduate student in OHSU's Division of Environmental & Biomolecular Systems, won the best Ph.D. student poster at the Pacific Northwest Chapter - Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (PNW-SETAC) regional meeting on April 16-18, 2009 in Port Townsend, Washington.

Her poster titled "Development of a Computational Model for Female Fathead Minnows Exposed to 17α-Ethynylestratdiol and 17ß-Trenbolone" describes a computational model that links exposure to estrogens and androgens in the environment with changes in apical reproductive endpoints such as plasma steroid hormone and vitellogenin (a precursor to an egg yolk protein) concentrations. This model is an important tool for making predictions of changes in reproductive function from exposure to environmental estrogens and androgens individually and in mixtures.

Li came to OHSU in January 2006 to work on an Environmental Protection Agency Science To Achieve Results (EPA STAR) project entitled, "Systems Biology Modeling of Fathead Minnow Response to Endocrine Disruptors." The project was a multi-institutional effort led by Principal Investigator Dr. Nancy Denslow of the University of Florida. Li works with Dr. Karen Watanabe, an assistant professor at OHSU, who led the computational modeling aspect of the project. Experimental data for the model was provided by EPA STAR project collaborators, and from EPA collaborators supported by an internally funded EPA project entitled, "Linkage of Exposure and Effects Using Genomics, Proteomics, and Metabolomics in Small Fish Models" (Lead Principal Investigators: Drs. Gerald Ankley and David Bencic).

Li's name  received a Student Awards Plaque that hangs in the Institute of Environmental Toxicology office at Western Washington University. She also received a cash award of $100, one-year paid memberships in SETAC (North America) and PNW-SETAC (regional chapter), and will receive financial assistance with travel expenses to attend the SETAC NA Annual Meeting in New Orleans on November 19-13, 2009.

PNW-SETAC serves as a focal point for toxicological interests in the Pacific Northwest region by encouraging interaction among toxicologists in government, industry, academia, and independent research organizations; by sponsoring scientific and educational programs in toxicology; and by fostering a broader understanding of the science of toxicology within the public and private sectors.