EMGS 2021 Young Scientist Award Winner: Hailey Gahlon

2021 EMGS Young Scientist Award – Congratulations to Dr. Hailey Gahlon

Hailey Gahlon photo.jpg

We want to thank Drs. Nimrat Chatterjee, Clint Valentine, and John Wise, Jr. for participating in the contest. We had four outstanding candidates this year! You can view their videos by clicking here.

Hailey Gahlon: Scientist/Group Leader at ETH Zürich, Switzerland. The goal of her research aims to understand aberrant pathways in genome maintenance to realize the role of mutations in disease.  The core areas of her research include   elucidating   mechanisms of replication fidelity, DNA damage bypass and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) deletion formation. Bridging this gap in knowledge will contribute to understanding diseases like cancer, aging and mitochondrial disorders. Her research will lead to new knowledge of human health relevance and her strategy is rooted in the development and application of cutting-edge biophysical approaches.  

Nimrat Chatterjee: Assistant Professor at the University of Vermont. The goal of her research is understanding mechanisms that maintain genomic stability and how dysfunction in these processes results in human diseases such as cancer and neurodegenerative disorders.  Her lab focuses on DNA repair pathways that fix damaged DNA and the translesion synthesis process that tolerates DNA damage. It is the dynamism between these two pathways that maintain genomic health. They are specifically studying novel phenotypes of one translesion synthesis protein, REV1, that might help address missing links in understanding cancer etiology and are also examining how stress factors might influence REV1’s functionality in cancer sustenance and therapy resistance.  Her lab also actively explores the consequences of disrupting pathways that maintain genomic health in triplet repeat disorders.  It is particularly interested in examining the interplay of stress responses and DNA repair that instigates repetitive DNA instability. Her lab is carving its unique path to decipher genome instability  mechanisms  in  cancer  pathogenesis,  cancer  resistance  to  therapy, DNA repeat instability, and deciphering host-pathogen interactions. 

Clint Valentine: Director of Computational Biology at TwinStrand Biosciences. His research is focused on developing next generation technology for cancer detection and monitoring, drug and chemical safety assessment and cancer risk evaluation in humans. At TwinStrand Biosciences he built a computational biology department and leads over a dozen doctorate-level scientists and engineers who focus on building assays that apply to early cancer detection, cancer monitoring, forensics, and, most importantly, genetic toxicology, among others.  

John Wise, Jr.: Postdoctoral Fellow in Toxicology at the University of Louisville, School of Medicine. His research is proposing heavy metals as a class of gerontogens and intends to use heavy metals to investigate a clastogenic mechanism of aging where metals induce persistent DNA strand breaks, eliciting a DNA damage response, which contributes to chromosomal instability, cellular senescence, and systemic inflammation. Gerontogens are only recently classified (term coined in 1987 by George Martin), several are identified: cigarette smoke, ozone, PM2.5, and arsenic. His research will provide key insights into: 1) vulnerability of brain regions to Cr(VI) neurotoxicity across lifespan, 2) cellular targets of Cr(VI) toxicity in the brain, 3) how Cr(VI) may act as a gerontogen and induce/accelerate brain aging, 4) how Cr(VI) toxicity in the brain might change depending on age/life stage, and 5) a potential genotoxic mechanism for brain aging. These data will inform further mechanistic study into brain aging, heavy metal neurotoxicology, and age-dependent effects on neurotoxicology. Subsequent applications of this research will improve environmental and occupational safety limits for elderly citizens and open up new avenues for therapeutic intervention of age-associated diseases.

The 52nd EMGS Virtual Annual Meeting

EMGS is committed to helping young scientists - our future - make critical career transitions. At our Annual Meeting (LINK), we feature the EMGS Young Scientist Award, a chance for a new investigator embarking on an independent scientific career to give a plenary talk. 

The 52nd Virtual Annual Meeting: Real Science will feature the YSA Winner’s plenary lecture on September 25, 2021 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. To register for this event, click here. The Virtual Annual Meeting will provide a virtual venue for stimulating cross-disciplinary research and discovery. Register today!

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