LBL's Susan Anderson wins Pew environmental award

June 26, 1993

By Jeffery Kahn,

Aquatic toxicologist Susan Anderson of the Energy and Environment Division is one of 10 scientists from around the world who have been awarded grants of $150,000 each by the Pew Scholars Program in Conservation and the Environment.

The three-year grant is awarded to environmental scholars who have made outstanding contributions in both science and in the application of their findings in environmental management. Established in 1988 by the Pew Charitable Trusts, the program honors scientists whose work fosters global biodiversity.

Anderson received the grant for her work in ecological hazard evaluation. Rather than focus on quantitative measurements of exposures (for example, how many parts per million lead exposure), she assesses the biological effects of these exposures on organisms.

Her laboratory is developing new assays to assess genotoxic effects -- chemically-caused, sublethal damage that can be transmitted from one generation to the next. The assays could prove versatile enough to evaluate hazards from exposures to contaminated air, water, soil, and sediments.

Anderson plans to use the grant to fund two projects, both involving the use of sophisticated biomarker techniques to assess environmental hazards.

One project will be designed to create a global research strategy for determining whether sublethal genetic effects are occurring in various biota as a result of increased ultraviolet light exposure due to stratospheric ozone depletion. The second project will focus on developing techniques and creating a training program for assessing sublethal effects of contaminants in animals like whales or threatened bird species, which are difficult to study in a laboratory.

The Pew Scholars Program has named three rounds of award winners since its founding in 1988 and each group has included a researcher from the Energy and Environment Division.

John Harte was among the first group of awardees, receiving a Pew grant for his work on biological systems and climate change. In 1991, Ashok Gadgil was named for his research on energy-efficient policy issues affecting developing countries.

Anderson is the first toxicologist to have been chosen, and LBL is the only institution to have received more than one award.