WVU Student Receives EPA Fellowship
Only Fifteen Fellowships Awarded Each Year Nationwide

Tricia Lewis, a graduate student and research assistant in the West Virginia University Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Cell Biology recently received the fall 2007 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Greater Research Opportunities Fellowship for Graduate Environmental Study.

Lewis will study the effects of Propanil on the human immune system. Propanil is a pesticide used to kill weeds in rice fields.

“The EPA recognizes it’s important to re-examine these older chemicals for effects on the immune system,” Lewis said. “This fellowship puts us in a unique spot to continue our good work.”

Lewis, of Winnipeg, Canada, is one of only fifteen fellowship recipients in the U.S.  She will receive a $37,000 a year stipend for two years, which will pay for tuition, supplies and travel expenses. 

John Barnett, Ph.D., chair and professor in the WVU Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Cell Biology has served as a mentor to Lewis.

“Tricia has done a superb job here. When she goes to look for post-doctorate work, this competitive fellowship will have a very positive impact on her career,” Barnett said.

In addition to starting her fourth year of graduate school, Lewis is the mother of two small children, Summer, 4, and Willem, 2. She said becoming a mother has increased her awareness of the chemicals used in some food production and the effects those chemicals may have on the human body.

“Most people don’t realize how tightly the immune system is connected to other body systems,” Lewis said. “There can be great, widespread consequences to a person’s health if there are any changes to their immune system.”

For more information about the WVU Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Cell Biology, visit http://www.hsc.wvu.edu/som/micro/


- WVU -

For more information:
Amy Johns, HSC News Service, (304) 293-7087
dc: 09-26-07

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