Print Version

For Release: November 12, 2010
Rick Adams (603) 653-1913

Dartmouth researcher honored with 2010 NIEHS Karen Wetterhahn Award

Courtney Kozul-Horvath, PhD

Hanover, N.H.—Dartmouth researcher Courtney Kozul-Horvath, PhD is the recipient of the 2010 Karen Wetterhahn Award presented Nov. 12, 2010, at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Superfund Research Program Annual Meeting in Portland, OR.

Kozul-Horvath was cited for her work with Joshua Hamilton, PhD and Bruce Stanton, PhD at Dartmouth Medical School, as part of the Dartmouth Toxic Metals Superfund Research Program, examining the harmful effects of constant environmental exposure to arsenic in drinking water at or below the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's standard of 10 parts per billion.

Kozul-Horvath demonstrated that low-level arsenic exposure in mice significantly impaired the immune response in the lung, which led to increased morbidity following influenza infection.

"Courtney has made an incredible contribution to our Superfund Research Program at Dartmouth and nationally," said Stanton "Her work has shown that low levels of arsenic in water have a negative impact on the ability of our immune system to fight off bacterial and viral infections."

"I am exceptionally proud of Courtney for winning this award," added Hamilton. "She is not only an outstanding scientist and one of the best students I have ever mentored, but she also exemplifies all the characteristics that Karen Wetterhahn, and this award in her honor, embody - dedication to research, teaching, mentoring, community outreach, and to serving as a role model for others. On a personal level, as a former postdoctoral fellow of Karen's and later as a close colleague, collaborator and friend, I am particularly pleased to see Courtney receive this well deserved honor in Karen's name."

Kozul-Horvath's work has garnered attention from the scientific community and the mainstream media, including a feature in the March 2009 issue of The Scientist magazine and an interview on NHPR. Kozul-Horvath has already won numerous other awards including: "Best Student Poster" at the Superfund Research Project's annual meeting in 2007 and 2008, various awards from the Society of Toxicology, and the "Outstanding Oral Presentation" award from the International Central and Eastern European Conference on Health and the Environment in 2008.

She has inspired other scientists to examine the health effects of low dose arsenic exposure and she is currently continuing her research in the Department of Immunology at Dartmouth Medical School, in the laboratory of Dr. Richard Enelow.

The research conducted by the Superfund Research Program (SRP) is a coordinated effort with the EPA, which is the federal entity charged with cleaning up the worst hazardous waste sites in the country. The SRP is a network of university grants that are designed to seek solutions to the complex health and environmental issues associated with the nation's hazardous waste sites.

Karen Wetterhahn was a chemistry professor at Dartmouth College and the founder of the Dartmouth Toxic Metals Superfund Research Program. Shortly after her tragic death in 1997, the NIEHS began presenting an award in her memory to recognize an outstanding graduate student or post-doctoral researcher that best exemplifies the qualities exhibited by Dr. Wetterhahn. The mission of the NIEHS is to reduce the burden of human illness and disability by understanding how the environment influences the development and progression of human disease.

Kozul-Horvath graduated as valedictorian of Regis College in 2006 and more recently received her PhD from the Pharmacology and Toxicology Department at Dartmouth. She is the 13th annual recipient of the award and the fourth Dartmouth College trainee to receive it, following after Angeline Andrew in 2000, Anne Spuches in 2004 and Roxanne Karimi in 2007.


Return to News Releases