NIOSH Nominates Studies for Prestigious CDC Science Award
Contact: Fred Blosser (202) 401-3749
June 6, 2006
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has nominated eight outstanding studies done by NIOSH researchers for a prestigious scientific award for 2006. NIOSH also submitted a nomination for a lifetime scientific achievement category under the award.
The 2006 Charles C. Shepard Science Award is sponsored by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), of which NIOSH is a part. The awards honors excellence in science at the CDC during the year 2005. The recipients of the 2006 award will be announced June 14, 2006.
"The studies nominated by NIOSH demonstrate the commitment of our scientists to finding new and better ways of understanding the underlying causes of occupational illnesses and injuries, and how to prevent them," said NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D. "These qualities reflect our commitment to conducting scientifically rigorous research, responding to real health and safety research needs, and moving innovative solutions into workplace practice."
The studies NIOSH nominated were published in peer-reviewed journals. The eight papers were nominated in the categories of Laboratory and Methods; Prevention and Control; and Assessment and Epidemiology.
NIOSH nominated six studies under the Laboratory and Methods categories. The nominated studies:
- Compared methods for testing for five biological agents: B. anthracis (anthrax); Y. pestis (causes pneumonic plague); F. tularensis (causes tularemia); Ricinis communis (ricin toxin); and Staphylococcus aureas (Staphylococcal enterotoxin B). The tests allow for simultaneous detection of the presence of any of these five agents in an individual and may help improve response time when reacting to bioterrorism events.
- Developed a new method for processing environmental air samples, allowing researchers to more precisely identify multiple specific fungal allergens simultaneously and streamlining the process for demonstrating patient-specific allergy to specific types of fungi.
- Characterized the effects of single-walled carbon nanotubes in the lungs of rats in laboratory studies. The studies established the first comprehensive characterization of such effects associated with this material. This research furthers current efforts to better understand the occupational health implications of nanomaterials.
- Researched the widely relied-upon method of using solanesol as a quantitative measure of tobacco smoke in environmental air samples. The study found that atmospheric ozone significantly breaks down solanesol, and the study said that this finding suggests that the current method is an unreliable way to measure tobacco smoke in the air. The authors of the study said that these findings are expected to have a major impact on the use of solanesol as a quantitative marker for tobacco smoke in occupational health studies.
- Attempted to identify and characterize genes that may stimulate cell growth, and possibly play a role in the development of lung cancer, as a result of occupational exposures to mineral dusts. The study resulted in the identification of a novel, mineral-dust-induced gene (mdig).
- Established the largest-ever U.S. database of head and face sizes for the nation's diverse group of respirator users, based on high-tech computer imaging. This research will help in efforts to design respirator face masks to fit the diversity of facial sizes and shapes in the 21st Century workforce.
One NIOSH-nominated study was included in the Prevention and Control category that:
- Demonstrated the need for ensuring precision in lung-function monitoring programs through investigation of new statistical methods. This greater precision will allow researchers to identify individuals with rapid decline in lung function at an earlier age, enabling intervention and treatment sooner.
Under the category of Assessment and Epidemiology, NIOSH nominated an article that:
- Estimated the extent of and risk factors for pesticide-related illnesses, from application both on school grounds and nearby farmlands, at schools nationwide. The article produced national estimates of the magnitude of potential risk for teachers and students from estimated exposures.
NIOSH also nominated Laurence D. Reed., for the lifetime scientific achievement award to recognize his long and distinguished 28-year career of research and advocacy in occupational safety and health. A captain in the Public Health Service, he is also the Deputy Director for the NIOSH Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations, and Field Studies (DSHEFS). During his career at NIOSH, Captain Reed has held various high-level positions, and through his leadership and vision, has achieved significant accomplishments in engineering controls, policy development, leadership, and collaborative partnerships, the nomination states.
The NIOSH nominations appear on the NIOSH web page at www.cdc.gov/niosh/updates/shepard2006.html . For further information about NIOSH research and recommendations for preventing work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths, call the NIOSH toll-free information number 1-800-CDC-INFO or visit the NIOSH Web site at www.cdc.gov/niosh/ .