During June and July 2008, Winnon Brunson Jr. held a bioethics internship at the NIEHS under the direction of Dr. David B. Resnik through the Summers of Discovery Program. Mr. Brunson, who is from St. Louis, Mo., will be a junior at Grinnell College in 2008 – 2009. He is majoring in philosophy and is planning to pursue a career in public health. Mr. Brunson participated in a weekly seminar, attended ethics committee meetings, met with bioethics professors, and assisted Dr. Resnik with a project on the research misconduct policies of scientific journals. Mr. Brunson sent emails to a random sample of 400 journals from the ISI Science Citation Index and categorized and recorded their responses to requests for information. He also gathered data on the journals' impact factors, publishers, nationalities, and disciplines.
Three students had internships with NIEHS bioethicist Dr. David B. Resnik in the Summer of 2007. Two of the interns, Jason V. Altilio and Nancy N. Wang, were part of the NIEHS Summers of Discovery Program. The third intern, Christina Ford, is a post-doctoral student who will working as a guest researcher at the NIEHS until May 2008. The interns assisted Dr. Resnik with his research, performed their own research under Dr. Resnik’s supervision, attended seminars and lectures, and participated in experiential learning activities, such as visiting ethics committee meetings. Mr. Altilio and Ms. Wang also presented posters at the Summers of Discovery Poster Session.
Mr. Altilio is currently working towards a PhD in Philosophy at the City University of New York's Graduate Center. He has a BA in Philosophy from Long Island University in Brooklyn. He switched his major to Philosophy in his third year of study at Long Island University, after studying Pharmacy and earning a pharmacy intern license. His primary research areas are normative and applied ethics, and his bioethics interests range from ethics in pharmacy to research ethics. Additionally, as an Ethics Fellow at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City, Mr. Altilio assists in the bioethics portion of the medical students' education.
Dr. Ford graduated in 2004 with a PhD in Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology from the University of Miami, FL. Her research was supported in part by an HHMI pre-doctoral fellowship, and investigated the biochemical properties of a novel calcium-binding protein called tescalcin. She received her AB in Chemistry from Rollins College in Winter Park, FL. She has been a stay-at-home mom since the birth of her daughter in 2004. Dr. Ford has a long standing interest in biomedical ethics, and her graduate training reaffirmed the importance of research ethics and integrity. Her specific interests focus on the ethical dilemmas within basic science and genomic research, especially the conflicts of interests that occur between trainees, scientists, institutions and granting agencies.
Ms. Wang, a rising junior undergraduate student at Duke University, is pursuing a Psychology Major with a concentration in Neuroscience, and a Chinese Minor. Ms. Wang is also a pre-med student pursuing a certificate in Global Health. Last summer, she was only one of five students from the United States accepted into the 2006 European Summer Academy on Bioethics held in Ludwigshafen, Germany. Additionally, she was accepted to the Young Leaders Summit on Global Health held in New York City in October of 2006. She hopes to continue in her studies in medicine and become a physician with a special interest in Bioethics.
In 2006, Dr. Resnik hosted two interns through the Summers of Discovery Program, Karey Sutton and Andrea Northup. The interns conducted their own research under Dr. Resnik’s supervision; helped Dr. Resnik with his research and other projects; participated in a weekly bioethics seminar; attended Summers of Discovery events; such as seminars at the NIEHS; and took part in experiential learning activities, such as attending ethics committee or institutional review board meetings. The interns also both presented posters during the Summers of Discovery poster session on July 26.
Ms. Sutton, who is from Greensboro, NC, is a 2004 graduate of Howard University with a BS in Chemistry and a BA in Classical Civilization. She is currently a graduate student at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, in the department of Science and Technology in Society and is enrolled in the doctoral program, with an emphasis on bioethics and science and technology policy. In her doctoral research, she is studying the attitudes and views of minorities concerning genetic testing and research, under the direction of her advisor at Virginia Tech, Dr. Doris Zallen. Her poster was titled "Does Race Matter?: An Ethical Analysis of the Development of Race Specific Medications."
Ms. Northup, from Southbury, CT, is a rising junior at Tufts University, where she is studying Environmental Engineering and Community Health. In the future she hopes to receive an MPH and pursue her interests in public health and health care policy. Her poster was titled "Community Health Centers: Strategies for Stability and Growth."
In the summer of 2005, two students did internships with David Resnik, JD, PhD, NIEHS’ bioethicist and Vice Chair of the IRB. The interns conducted their own research, under Dr. Resnik’s supervision; helped Dr. Resnik with his research, participated in a weekly bioethics seminar; attended other seminars at the NIEHS, Duke, or UNC; prepared materials to be posted on the NIEH’s bioethics webpage; and took part in experiential learning activities, such as attending ethics committee meetings.
Caitlin Jones, who is from Pittsburgh, PA, just completed her third year of study at Princeton University with a concentration in bioethics. She conducted research on the impact of biotechnology on parenthood and family dynamics. Work completed at the NIEHS will help Ms. Jones to prepare for her senior thesis at Princeton, under the direction of Robert George (Professor of Jurisprudence, Princeton). Ms. Jones’ internship was part of the NIEHS Summers of Discovery program.
Dan Vorhaus, from Chapel Hill, NC, just completed his first year at Harvard Law School. Mr. Vorhaus has an AB from Duke University with a joint major in philosophy and computer science, and an MA from Lancaster University in Genetics, Culture, and Society. Mr. Vorhaus’ internship was supported by Harvard’s Summer Public Interest Funding program.
Dr. Resnik is named Vice Chair of the NIEHS Institutional Review Board for Human Subjects Research
David Resnik replaces Richard Sharp as the bioethicist at the NIEHS.
Rich Sharp Leaves
Richard Sharp, the first director of the Program in Environmental Health Policy and Ethics has left NIEHS and has taken a position with Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX.
He started at NIEHS as a graduate student, working in a research laboratory doing bench work. Once he completed his Ph.D, he then went on to become the director of a newly created Program in Health Policy and Ethics. During his term as the director, Rich accomplished much and his interns will remember him fondly.