Stempel College post-docs shine at Society of Toxicology Conference

At the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Society of Toxicology, postdoctoral associates Drs. Damaris Albores-Garcia and Aseel Eid were awarded honors for their respective work and research within Stempel College’s Brain, Behavior and Environment program, a FIU Emerging Preeminent Program.

Damaris Albores-Garcia (right) at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Society of Toxicology with fellow award recipients.

Albores-Garcia, a member of Dean Tomás R. Guilarte’s laboratory, received an award from the “Metals Specialty Section” in the category of “Postdoctoral Research Awards. Her research, entitled “Early-life lead exposure increases µ-opioid receptor levels in the juvenile rat brain: implications for opioid addictionfound that lead exposure during the developmental stage of life could have implications on the sensitivity to drugs and predisposition to drug abuse, such as opioids, later in life.

“It is a great honor to be recognized by the Society of Toxicology for the research I have been working on under the guidance of Dean Guilarte,” said Albores-Garcia. “We believe our research will help to understand the role of environmental toxicants, particularly lead, as this may be a risk factor for drug-seeking and risk-taking behaviors in adolescence. Our findings are especially relevant from a Public Health perspective, given the current opioid epidemic in the United States.”

Dr. Eid, a member of Associate Dean of Research Jason Richardson’s laboratory, was recognized with Toshio Narahashi Neurotoxicology Postdoctoral Fellow Travel Award for her research on DDT, a common pesticide, and how it can activate cells in the brain and increase inflammation. These findings are important because neuroinflammation is a common feature of many neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, Eid won second place in the Gabriel L. Plaa Education Award, which is awarded to postdoctoral fellows who are pursuing careers that will continue to mentor future scientists in toxicology.

Aseel Eid at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Society of Toxicology receiving her award.

“My goal is to pursue an academic career that allows me to continue research in mechanistic neurotoxicology and the Plaa award recognizes these successful efforts and brings attention to the research that we’ve completed with DDT,” said Eid.

The Society of Toxicology (SOT) is a professional and scholarly organization of scientists from academic institutions, government, and industry representing the great variety of scientists who practice toxicology in the US and abroad. The Society’s mission is to create a safer and healthier world by advancing the science and increasing the impact of toxicology.

“We are very proud of the research that both Damaris and Aseel are conducting,” said Guilarte. “The advancements they are making in Alzheimer’s disease and drug abuse research are bringing us a step closer to understanding the progression of brain diseases and risk factor.”

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