USC - Environmental Health Sciences
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Departmental News & Research Highlights:

    • Environmental carcinogens will be the focus of the fall program of the Winona B. Vernberg Distinguished Lecture Series, scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday, October 16, at the University of South Carolina’s Russell House Theater, located on Greene Street.

      Cancer epidemiologist Dr. Paolo Boffetta, who joined the faculty of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in 2010, will be the featured speaker for the lecture, titled "Environmental Carcinogens: What are the Risks?"
    • Prof Alan Decho recently gave an ‘invited lecture’ at the International Water Association Meeting Special Conference on Biofilms, held in Duisburg Germany.

      Decho will next visit the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in Richland WA., to conduct research using 3-dimensional cryo-TEM tomography to investigate entrance of nanoparticles into bacterial cells.
    • Chatterjee lab receives NIH funding for a project entitled " Sparstolonin B as a TLR antagonist in suppression of liver inflammation through Epigenetic mechanisms" (Project#4) as part of the newly funded NIH center grant --CAM Center for Epigenetic Regulation in Inflammation (PI: Dr. Prakash Nagarkatti). Dr. Daping Fan and Dr. Saurabh Chatterjee are the Co-Principal Investigators for the project. The Chatterjee lab receives $865000 of total costs for a period of 5 years from 2014-2019
    • Mr. Diptadip Dattaroy, Ph.D. student, Chatterjee Lab is among the top 50 applicants who are selected from among 2670 applicants internationally for an oral presentation in this years American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) annual meeting in Boston (Nov 2014). Mr. Dattaroy has already submitted his first manuscript for publication in just 9 months in the department.
    • Volz Lab awarded a two-year, $408K grant from the NIH's National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) to investigate the mechanisms of developmental toxicity for two high-production volume organophosphate-based flame retardants (OPFRs) commonly detected within indoor environments. This award builds on the research of a former PhD student (Sean McGee) in the Volz Lab as well as an ongoing collaboration with Heather Stapleton's group at Duke University.
    • Dr. Saurabh Chatterjee recieved COBRE PILOT funding from NIGMS (Part of the COBRE USC, Directed by Drs. Prakash Nagarkatti and Mitzi Nagarkatti). The project entitled " Resveratrol Modulation of environmental Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis" where Dr. Chatterjee is a PI recieved a total cost of $206,000 for 2 years.
    • Dr. Saurabh Chatterjee was awarded the ASPIRE I award (Role: Principal Investigator) for his proposal entitled “Epigenetic signaling of the transient receptor potential channel (TRPV4) in environment-linked nonalcoholic steatohepatitis”. With this award, Dr. Chatterjee has received two consecutive ASPIRE I awards in 2013 and 2014 respectively as a Principal Investigator. Dr. Dwayne Porter and Dr. Anindya Chanda were also part of proposals that were funded through ASPIRE II (Both as Co-PIs). The proposal entitled “A Multi-Disciplinary Data Sharing Center Prototype Using A New Numeric-Metadata (NM) Standard for Big Data”where Dr. Porter is a co-PI recieved $100,000 (PI Johnson et al – USC). Dr. Chanda is a Co-PI on a proposal entitled "Uncertainty quantification driven multi-scale model development for aflatoxin prediction" which also recieved a funding to the amount of $100,000 (PI: Dr. Terijanu et al.). ASPIRE awards are given to USC faculty for Advanced Support for Innovative Research Excellence."
    • Dr. Alan Decho is one of only six invited speakers at the International Biofilm6 Meeting in Vienna, Austria in May. Dr. Decho’s is was asked to present an overview lecture on ‘Microbial biofilms: merging the environment and health”.
    • Decho Lab publishes a paper in the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS) on the development of metallopolymers that enhance the effectiveness of commonly-used antibiotics against MRSA and other pathogens. The work was conducted in collaboration with Dr. Chuanbing Tang (Dept. Chem. Biochem) at USC.
    • Dr. Saurabh Chatterjee was invited to speak at a special symposium session entitled “Does this chemical make my liver look fat” at the 53rd Annual Meeting of the Society of Toxicology held at the Phoenix Convention Center, Phoenix AZ on 25th March 2014. He spoke along with Dr. Xie, Dr. Angela Slitt and Dr. Bruce Bloomberg, experts in the effects of the environmental toxins in development of metabolic syndrome and obesity. Suvarthi Das, graduate student of Chatterjee Lab, presented a poster at the 53rd Annual Meeting of the Society of Toxicology on 25th March 2014.
      Chatterjee and Suvarthi
    • Suvarthi Das, graduate student of Chatterjee lab has won a travel award from the prestigious American Association for Study of Liver Disease (AASLD) Basic Research Single Topic Conference to be held at Miami from March 8-9, 2014. The award from AASLD is given to selcted graduate students whose work has been deemed to be cutting edge in the area of non coding RNAs in liver disease. Suvarthi will present a poster entitled "HEPATIC VASCULAR ENDOTHELIAL DYSUNCTION IN ENVIRONMENTAL TOXIN-INDUCED NONALCOHOLIC STEATOHEPATITIS IS REGULATED BY TLR4-miR21-GRHL3 AXIS".
    • Volz Lab publishes a paper in Environmental Science & Technology describing the development and optimization of a high-content screening assay for identification of chemicals impacting spontaneous activity in zebrafish embryos. Check it out at:
    • Charlotte Eckmann and Greg Isales — both undergraduate research assistants from the USC Honors College — awarded one-year $2500 Magellan Scholar Grants from the USC Office of Undergraduate Research. Charlotte will be investigating anthropogenically-influenced evolution of the human pathogen, Vibrio vulnificus, within the Norman Lab, while Greg will be investigating mechanisms of flame retardant-induced cardiac looping impairments within the Volz Lab. Congratulations Charlotte and Greg!
    • Norman Lab publishes a paper in Marine Pollution Bulletin describing the possible use of microbial integron gene distribution as a biomarker of urban impact on antibiotic resistance gene flow and ecosystem health. Check it out at
    • Suvarthi Das (Graduate Research Assistant and Ph.D. student, Chatterjee Lab) has a first author paper: “Purinergic receptor X7 is a key modulator of metabolic oxidative stress – mediated autophagy and inflammation in experimental nonalcoholic steatohepatitis”, accepted in American Journal of Physiology – Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology.
    • Dr. Ratanesh Seth (Post-doctoral Fellow, Chatterjee Lab) has a first author paper: CYP2E1-Dependent and Leptin-Mediated Hepatic CD57 Expression on CD8+ve T Cells aid Progression of Environment-Linked Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis”, accepted in Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology.
    • Dr. Ratanesh Seth (Postdoctoral fellow, Chatterjee Lab) presented his and Suvarthi Das’s poster at the prestigious AASLD Liver Meeting, held in Washington D.C. between November 2 and November 5 2013.
    • Chatterjee lab has five publications in less than thirteen months in the field of environment-linked nonalcoholic steatohepatitis/metabolic syndrome.
    • Volz Lab publishes a paper in Environmental Science & Technology describing the development and optimization of a high-content screening assay for identification of chemicals impacting cardiovascular function in zebrafish embryos. Check it out at:
    • NIH (Award R15ES022409) Sarah Rothenberg (PI) 2/2013-12/2015
      Title: Maternal methylmercury exposure through rice ingestion and offspring development
      Synopsis: This study will establish for the first time the relationship between maternal methylmercury exposure through rice ingestion and implications for offspring neurodevelopment.
    • USDA-NIFA (Award: 2012-69002-19796) Sarah Rothenberg (PI) 8/2012-8/2014
      Title: The effect of aerobic and/or intermittently flooded rice cultivation an AQP transcription levels and nutritional quality of rice grain.
      Synopsis:This study provides rice farmers and water managers information on mercury, arsenic and selenium levels in rice grain grown using less water.
    • Dr. Dwayne Porter has received $367,040 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to continue the support for the NOAA Centralized Data Management Office (CDMO; The purpose of the CDMO, located in Georgetown, SC, is to manage the basic infrastructure and data protocol to support the assimilation and exchange of estuarine and meteorological data, metadata and information within the framework of 29 National Estuarine Research Reserves located around the US from Alaska to Puerto Rico.
    • Dr. Dwayne Porter, Dan Ramage, Jeremy Cothran and colleagues from the University of Maryland, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association (SECOORA) have been funded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to assess and integrate the EPA's Virtual Beach Modeling program in to current water quality modeling efforts in support of pre-emptive issuance of beach swimming advisories.
    • Dr. Dwayne Porter has been awarded $192,387 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to continue to support the regional data assimilation center ( in support of NOAA's Integrated Ocean Observing System efforts in the Southeast.

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